Senior, Kate Associate Professor

Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology, Research For Social Change

  • Centre for Health Initiatives
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • School of Health and Society

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Kate  Senior is  a medical anthropologist with extensive experience working with remote Aboriginal communities, with an emphasis on understanding the way that people live and conceptualise health and well being and the barriers they face when accessing health services. Recently Kate's research has focussed on the health and well being of Indigenous adolescents, and in 2012, Kate was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to explore young people's lived experiences of the social determinants of health. Kate's work has also explored young people's understanding of sexual health and relationships.

Available as Research Supervisor

Selected Publications


Impact Story


  • <p>Educators, Health workers, youth workers and parents often struggle to find a safe and engaging way to talk to young people about sexuality, sexual decision making and relationships. Based on more than ten years of sexual health research with young people and the development of an innovative and youth-friendly methods, the Life Happens game provides this opportunity. Life Happens was created in collaboration with the HIV and related programs unit (NSW health) in 2016 and since that time more than fifty copies of the resource have been purchased by schools and other youth focussed organisations, across Australia and internationally. on the basis of the success of this resource we have been asked to adapt Life Happens to explore other issues which are important to young people. Life Happens has becomes the basis for an anti-smoking intervention with young Indigenous people (in collaboration with Grand Pacific Health) and a tool to explore young women's experiences of domestic violence (with the Illawarra Women's Health Centre). It is also a central component to explore contraceptive uses and preference as part of the Gates funded Geldom project and will be trialled in Kenya and Uganda. The life Happens team was awarded a staff encouragement prizes in the 2016 UOW Pitch and the 2017 Vice Chancellor's Award for excellence in community engagement. An important new direction in 2017, which arose through on-going consultation with our community partners, has been the development of a new resource which utilizes the Life Happens methodology; Life Happens Junior.</p>

Available as Research Supervisor

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Adolescent sexual health, Indigenous health and well being.

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Exploring Normalisation of Alcohol Consumption in Thailand, and Investigating Influences of Alcohol Marketing, Advertising and Promotion on Young Thai People’s Drinking Attitudes and Perceptions
    Doctor of Philosophy The symbolic meaning associated with sun protection and tanning in adolescents: A study of attitudes and behaviours in outdoor environments Kurtulmus, Yasmen
    Doctor of Philosophy An Auto Ethnography of Major Psychotic Illness McMahon, Rachael
    Doctor of Philosophy Beyond ‘policy-based evidence’ in Aboriginal health: refocussing the research-policy nexus to enhance the value of health research Mason, Joanna
    Doctor of Philosophy Art and Urban Aboriginal Adolescent Identity Moyle, Catherine
    Doctor of Philosophy Empowering vulnerable youth through participatory action research Grozdanovski, Laura
    Doctor of Philosophy The Banyan Tree: Cross-cultural transitions of Pakastani Muslims in Australia Kabir, Muhammad
    Doctor of Philosophy Health Professional Moral Distress and Whistle Blowing: An Exploration of the Organisational Ethical Environment in Nauru Offshore Detention Centre. What is Really Valued? Elkovich, Kim

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Anthropology, Australian National University, School of Asian and Pacific Studies, A Gudbala Laif? Health and wellbeing in a remote Aboriginal community- what are the problems and where lies responsibility? 1998 - 2003
  • Litt.M. in Anthropology, Australian National University, • Dogged by disease: Hydatid disease among selected Indigenous and minority populations and the efficacy of control programs. 1994 - 1996

Teaching Overview


  • From 2004-2009 I was Head of Education at the Menzies School of Health Research and the Coordinator of the Public Health Program. I worked to develop a niche market MPH focussing on the core areas of Indigenous health and tropical public health. I developed new units in Qualitative Health Research, Medical Anthropology and Public Health and Community Development and Public Health. At UOW I revised and taught the units the Social Determinants of Health and the Social Determinants of Indigenous Health. in 2015 I began organising student placements in the remote Indigenous community of Ngukurr, so that students could learn first hand the impacts of the social determinants of health and well being.

Full Name


  • Kate Adele Senior

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Kate  Senior is  a medical anthropologist with extensive experience working with remote Aboriginal communities, with an emphasis on understanding the way that people live and conceptualise health and well being and the barriers they face when accessing health services. Recently Kate's research has focussed on the health and well being of Indigenous adolescents, and in 2012, Kate was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to explore young people's lived experiences of the social determinants of health. Kate's work has also explored young people's understanding of sexual health and relationships.

Selected Publications


Impact Story


  • <p>Educators, Health workers, youth workers and parents often struggle to find a safe and engaging way to talk to young people about sexuality, sexual decision making and relationships. Based on more than ten years of sexual health research with young people and the development of an innovative and youth-friendly methods, the Life Happens game provides this opportunity. Life Happens was created in collaboration with the HIV and related programs unit (NSW health) in 2016 and since that time more than fifty copies of the resource have been purchased by schools and other youth focussed organisations, across Australia and internationally. on the basis of the success of this resource we have been asked to adapt Life Happens to explore other issues which are important to young people. Life Happens has becomes the basis for an anti-smoking intervention with young Indigenous people (in collaboration with Grand Pacific Health) and a tool to explore young women's experiences of domestic violence (with the Illawarra Women's Health Centre). It is also a central component to explore contraceptive uses and preference as part of the Gates funded Geldom project and will be trialled in Kenya and Uganda. The life Happens team was awarded a staff encouragement prizes in the 2016 UOW Pitch and the 2017 Vice Chancellor's Award for excellence in community engagement. An important new direction in 2017, which arose through on-going consultation with our community partners, has been the development of a new resource which utilizes the Life Happens methodology; Life Happens Junior.</p>

Potential Supervision Topics


  • Adolescent sexual health, Indigenous health and well being.

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Exploring Normalisation of Alcohol Consumption in Thailand, and Investigating Influences of Alcohol Marketing, Advertising and Promotion on Young Thai People’s Drinking Attitudes and Perceptions
    Doctor of Philosophy The symbolic meaning associated with sun protection and tanning in adolescents: A study of attitudes and behaviours in outdoor environments Kurtulmus, Yasmen
    Doctor of Philosophy An Auto Ethnography of Major Psychotic Illness McMahon, Rachael
    Doctor of Philosophy Beyond ‘policy-based evidence’ in Aboriginal health: refocussing the research-policy nexus to enhance the value of health research Mason, Joanna
    Doctor of Philosophy Art and Urban Aboriginal Adolescent Identity Moyle, Catherine
    Doctor of Philosophy Empowering vulnerable youth through participatory action research Grozdanovski, Laura
    Doctor of Philosophy The Banyan Tree: Cross-cultural transitions of Pakastani Muslims in Australia Kabir, Muhammad
    Doctor of Philosophy Health Professional Moral Distress and Whistle Blowing: An Exploration of the Organisational Ethical Environment in Nauru Offshore Detention Centre. What is Really Valued? Elkovich, Kim

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Anthropology, Australian National University, School of Asian and Pacific Studies, A Gudbala Laif? Health and wellbeing in a remote Aboriginal community- what are the problems and where lies responsibility? 1998 - 2003
  • Litt.M. in Anthropology, Australian National University, • Dogged by disease: Hydatid disease among selected Indigenous and minority populations and the efficacy of control programs. 1994 - 1996

Teaching Overview


  • From 2004-2009 I was Head of Education at the Menzies School of Health Research and the Coordinator of the Public Health Program. I worked to develop a niche market MPH focussing on the core areas of Indigenous health and tropical public health. I developed new units in Qualitative Health Research, Medical Anthropology and Public Health and Community Development and Public Health. At UOW I revised and taught the units the Social Determinants of Health and the Social Determinants of Indigenous Health. in 2015 I began organising student placements in the remote Indigenous community of Ngukurr, so that students could learn first hand the impacts of the social determinants of health and well being.

Full Name


  • Kate Adele Senior

Geographic Focus