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Dawn Bessarab is Director for the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health at the University of Western Australia (UWA). Dawn is an Indigenous woman of Bard (West Kimberley) and Yjindjabandi (Pilbara) descent.
Prior to joining the UWA, Dawn worked as an Indigenous Health Researcher at the Centre for Health Innovation Research Institute at Curtin University where she collaborated with people working in the field of chronic disease; cardio vascular, cancer and ageing.
Dawn has extensive experience across the Western Australian public sector, specifically in the area of child protection, family violence, alcohol and substance abuse and the criminal justice system. She has worked for the Department of the Attorney General across courts and tribunal services, and the Department of Child Protection (then Community Development) as a social worker and an Aboriginal child protection worker.
Professor Bessarab is interested in the application of Indigenous research methodologies such as ‘yarning' and the translation of research into policy and practice. She advocates the importance of understanding the cultural traditions of Aboriginal people and is engaged in research looking at interventions and collaborative approaches to addressing health issues affecting Aboriginal people. Dawn is a chief investigator on a number of National Health and Medical Research Council grants and her expertise in Aboriginal research is highly regarded.