Kate Senior
Kate Senior Web Picture

Associate Professor of Public Health
Australian Research Council Future Fellow
PhD (Anthropology) Australian National University

PHONE: 02 4239 2523




Kate Senior is a medical anthropologist, with twenty years of experience working in remote Indigenous communities in Australia to explore people’s understandings of health and well being and their relationships with their health services. Kate has a particular interest in the health and well being of Indigenous Adolescents and was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship in 2012 to explore how young people live and understand the social determinants of health.  Previous to this, Kate led a multi-state ARC Linkage project to explore young people’s sexual health and their understanding of risk, vulnerability and relationships. As part of this project Kate developed a range of innovative and youth friendly research methods to effectively engage young people in sexual health research. Kate’s other major research projects include an exploration of youth gangs and their motivations in Port Keats (NT) funded by the Australian Criminology Research Council and the evaluation of the Alice Springs Alcohol Management Plan (Funded by the NT departments of Health and Justice). 

Kate also has an interest in quality of life research and has been a member of the international research group, ‘Culture Health and Bioethics’, through the University of Uppsala, Sweden, leading a stream with a focus on the ethics and quality of life implications of health research in Indigenous populations.



  • Indigenous health
  • Adolescent Health and Well Being
  • Sexual Health
  • The social determinants of health and well being
  • The application of ethnographic methods in public health research
  • Quality of life research



  • ARC Future Fellowship (2012), Youth futures in the Northern Territory: Developing a research focus on the health and quality of life of adolescents. 
  • University of Wollongong Internationalization grant to develop cross-institutional courses in qualitative research ethics with Osfold University(Norway).  



  • Kishan Kariippannon -‘Exploring the use of social media and emergent technology to engage youth and promote youth health in the Northern Territory’. (Primary Supervision) 
  • Rachael McMahon- “I’m Broken” an auto-ethnography of the mental health system (Primary supervision) 
  • Sue McMullen ‘Growing up fast in Boroloola, the experience of young women in a remote Aboriginal community (Primary supervision) 
  • Mascha Fredericks Young Indigenous people and their interactions with health services in Katherine, NT (primary supervision)
  • Daniele Aquino ‘Young people’s understanding of diet and infant feeding in a remote Aboriginal community’ (primary supervision) 
  • Kathleen Prokovich , Stigma and Uptake of the HPV vaccine (primary supervision) 
  • Ratchakorn Kaewpramkusol- Normalisation of alcohol in Thailand (Associate Supervision) 
  • Brett Dwyer ‘Thinking the internet In Ho Chi Min City’ (Associate Supervisor).



Scholarly book chapters and monographs 

  • Senior, K and Chenhall, R, 2015, “More than just the organs” embodied story telling as a basis for learning about sex and relationships’ chapter accepted for Allen, L, Rasmnussen, M. L  (eds), Handbook of Sexuality Education.  
  • Senior, K and Chenhall, R, 2015, ‘Men’s business, women’s business-Indigenous sexual health, in M Temple Smith (ed) Sexual Health: a multidisciplinary perspective, IP Communications, Melbourne. 
  • Chenhall, R, Holmes, C, Lea, T, Senior, K and Wegner, A, 2011, Parent-School engagement: exploring the concept of ‘invisible’ Indigenous parents in three north Australian school communities, The Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University Darwin. 
  • Senior, K. A, 2005, ‘Men’s business, women’s business-Indigenous sexual health, in M. Temple Smith and S. Gifford (ed) Sexual Health: an Australian Perspective, IP communications.


Refereed journal articles  

  • Senior, K, Helmer J and Vodic A, 2015, Gangster Style, Foreigner style: young people, consumerism and intergenerational tension in a Cambodian province, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 5 (2): 103-111. 
  • David, J, Thomas, S, Randle, M, Daube, M and Senior, K, 2015, Tactics from tobacco, alcohol and junk food ‘playbooks’ public health experts discuss gambling industry tactics and public health advocacy responses, accepted for Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 
  • Burbank, V, Senior, K and McMullen, S, 2015, Putting sex back into gender: adolescents and precocious pregnancy in remote Aboriginal Australia, accepted for Anthropological Forum. 
  • Helmer, J, Senior, K, Davison, B and Vodic, A, 2015, Improving sexual health for young people: making sexuality education a priority, Sex Education, 15 (2): 158-171. 
  • Chenhall, R, Martinelli, L, Mclaughlin, J, Paulsen, B, Senior, K, Svalastog, A, Tunon, H and Werdelin, L, 2014, Culture, science and bioethics: interdisciplinary understanding of and practices in science, culture and ethics, New Zealand Online Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 1(2): 1-25. 
  • Helmer, J, Senior, K and Cunningham, T, 2014, ‘The need for a comprehensive survey of youth wellbeing in the Northern Territory’, Applied Research in Quality of Life, published on Line 3 July 2014. 
  • Senior, K, Helmer, J, Chenhall, R and Burbank, V, 2014, “Young clean and safe?” young people’s perception of risk from sexually transmitted infection in regional, rural and remote Australia, Culture Health and Sexuality, 16 (4): 453-466. 
  • Chenhall, R, Davison, B, Fitz, J, Pearse, J and Senior, K, 2013, ‘Engaging youth in sexual health research: refining a youth friendly method in the Northern Territory of Australia’, Visual Anthropology Review, 29 (2): 123-132. 
  • Cunningham, T, Ivory, W, Chenhall, R, McMahon, R and Senior, K, 2013, Youth gangs in a remote Indigenous community: importance of cultural authority and family support, Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, 457:1-6. 
  • Chenhall, R and Senior, K, 2013, “The concept is universal, it’s the picture you paint that is different” key issues for Indigenous Australian alcohol and drug residential treatment centres, International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, 34 (2/3): 83-95. 
  • Senior, K, 2013, Review of Emergency Contraception: the story of a global reproductive health technology, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 217-218. 
  • Senior K and Chenhall, R, 2013, Health beliefs and behaviour: the practicalities of looking after yourself in an Australian Aboriginal community, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 27 (2): 155-174 
  • Chenhall, R and Senior, K, 2012, Treating Indigenous Australians with alcohol/drug problems: assessing quality of life, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 30 (2): 130-145. 
  • Senior, K and Chenhall, R, 2012, ‘Boyfriends, babies and basketball: present lives and future aspirations of young women in a remote Aboriginal Australian community’, Journal of Youth Studies 15(3):369-388. 
  • Chenhall, R. Senior, K and Belton, S, 2011, ‘Negotiating human research ethics: case notes from anthropologists in the field’, Anthropology Today, 27 (5): 13-18. 
  • Chenhall, R, Senior, K, Cole, D, Cunningham, T and O’Boyle, C, 2010, ‘Individual quality of life among at risk Indigenous youth in Australia’, Applied Research In Quality of Life, 5:171-183. 
  • Western, R, Brooks, R, Gladman, J, Senior, K, Denley, L, Silove, D, Whyman, N, Kickett, M, Bryant, R, Files, J, 2009. ‘Ethical research in partnership with an Indigenous community, Australian Psychiatry, 17, S51-S59. 
  • Chenhall, R and Senior, K, 2009 ‘Those young people all crankybella: Indigenous youth, mental health and globalisation, International Journal of Mental Health, 38 (3): 28-43. 
  • Senior, K and Chenhall, R, 2008 ‘Walkin’ about at night: the background to teenage pregnancy in a remote Aboriginal community’, Journal of Youth Studies, 11(3): 269-281.  
  • Senior, K and Chenhall, R, 2008 ‘Lukumbat marawana: a changing pattern of drug use by youth in a remote Aboriginal community’, Australian Journal of Rural Health, 16: 75-79. 
  • d’Abbs, P, Schmidt, B, Dougherty, K and Senior, K, 2008 ‘Implementing a chronic disease strategy in two remote indigenous Australian settings: a pilot evaluation’, Australian Journal of Rural Health, 16: 67-74.  
  • Senior, K, and Chenhall, R 2007, “Stopping sniffing is our responsibility” community ownership of a petrol sniffing program in Arnhem Land, Health Sociology Review, 16 (3-4): 315-327. 
  • Senior, K, Chenhall, R, McRae-Williams, E, Daniels, D and Rogers, K, 2006, ‘Dogs and Aboriginal people, exploring the relationship within the context of the social determinants of health’, Journal of Environmental Health, 6, 4:39-47. 
  • Senior, K. A, Chenhall, R, and Daniels D, 2006, ‘“Stuck nose”, reasons to sniff in a remote Aboriginal community, Contemporary Drug Problems, 33: 451-472. 
  • Mowbray, M and Senior, K. A, 2006 ‘A study in conservative populism: Richard Trudgen’s Why Warriors Lie Down and Die, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 17 (2): 216-224. 


Refereed Conference papers 

  • Chenhall, R, Holmes, C, Lea, T, Senior, K and Wegner A, Mc Rae Williams, E and Holmes, C, 2010, ‘(In)visible parents: Indigenous parental engagement approaches in the Northern Territory of Australia’ Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), International Education Research Conference, Melbourne. 
  • Wegner, A, Lea T, Holmes, C, McRae Williams E, Chnehall, R, Thompson H and Senior, K, 2010, ‘Unearthing assumptions of engaged research about (Indigenous) engagement within school communities, 2010 AUCEA National Conferences: Communities, Participation and Partnership, Launceston, Tasmania. 
  • Senior, K, Chenhall, R and Cole, D, 2008, ‘Self assessed quality of life among at Risk Indigenous youth’, 13th National Health Outcomes Conference, 1 May, Canberra. 
  • Senior, K, 2006, Understanding chronic disease in remote Aboriginal communities, Australian Health Outcomes Collaboration Conference, Canberra, 8th August. 


Published reports 

  • Clapham, K, Winch, S, Harwood, V, Kelly, P, Chandler,p, Kampers, D, Thomas, S and Senior, K, 2015, Illawarra Aboriginal community profile: a snapshot of an Urban Aboriginal community, University of Wollongong. 
  • Aquino, D, Marley, J. V, Senior, K, Leonard, D, Joshua, A, Huddleston, A, Fergusson, H, Helmer, J, Hadgraff, N, and Hobson, V, 2013, Early childhood nutrition and anaemia prevention project, Summary Report, Fred Hollows Foundation, Darwin 
  • Ivory, W, Chenhall, R, Cunningham, T, Nagel, T, Lloyd, R, McMahon, R and Senior, K, 2012, Developing successful diversionary schemes for youth from remote Aboriginal Communities, Report prepared for the Australian Criminology Research Council and The Northern Territory Department of Justice. 
  • Vodic, A, Senior, K, Dwyer, B and Szybiak, P, 2012, A remote Chance? Widening Participation of remote Indigenous students in the Northern Territory via ICT-enabled learning. A report forming part of the Charles Darwin University’s Diversity and Structural Adjustment Fund project, Charles Darwin University, Darwin. 
  • Cunningham, T, Senior, K, Ivory, B and Fitz J, 2009, ‘Katherine Drinking Camps- 1st Report’, Report prepared for the NT Department of Justice. 
  • Senior, K, Chenhall, R, Ivory, B and Stevenson, C, 2009, ‘moving beyond the restrictions’ an evaluation of the Alice Springs Alcohol Management Plan’, report prepared for the NT Department of Justice. 
  • d’Abbs, P, Schmidt, B, Dougherty, K, Senior, K, Scuffham, P, Fowler, G, Davies, S, 2006, Implementing the North Queensland Indigenous Chronic Disease Strategy: A pilot evaluation, prepared under a Public Health Education and Research Program (PHERP) Project: Chronic disease workforce development and evaluation framework, North Queensland and Northern Territory.


Last reviewed: 17 January, 2017