Dr Judith Katzenellenbogen

Indigenous cardiovascular disease expert

Dr Judith Katzenellenbogen is a cardiovascular epidemiologist who leads Aboriginal heart disease and stroke research within the School of Population and Global Health's Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Discipline. She focuses on applying linked data methods to the study of Aboriginal CVD, building capacity in Aboriginal health and using the research to advocate for changes that will improve Aboriginal health outcomes. 

Initially trained as an occupational therapist, Dr Katzenellenbogen’s interest and expertise in epidemiology has underpinned a public health career with broad professional experience in South Africa, New Zealand and WA. She initiated the first WA Burden of Disease Project at the WA Health Department, subsequently completing a PhD thesis through UWA in 2009 on the burden of stroke. This work pioneered data linkage methods for stroke in Australia.

She was awarded an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (2012-2015) to undertake research into heart disease in Aboriginal Western Australians, expanding linked data analytic applications to the study of cardiac conditions in Aboriginal people. That project was recognised in the “NHMRC 10 of the Best”.


Dr Katzenellenbogen was awarded a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship (2016-2019). Her analyses of multi-jurisdictional stroke, rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and coronary heart disease linked data will provide population-based information on disease occurrence and outcomes, building expertise and infrastructure to harness data nationally.

Her most recent NHMRC-funded project involves determining the burden of RHD in five Australian jurisdictions. This epidemiological, economic and health systems data will contribute to the End RHD Strategy being developed to end RHD in Australia. She also leads the process evaluation of a trial investigating the impact of culturally secure rehabilitation services on Indigenous stroke outcomes. 

Dr Katzenellenbogen’s research team works collaboratively with a network of national and international stakeholders, including Indigenous researchers, non-government organisations and health services.


There is a crucial need for translational Indigenous cardiovascular disease research addressing the call for comparative data across the nation, to monitor Closing the Gap targets and identify what works.Dr Judith Katzenellenbogen


2018 – 2020

National Health and Medical Research Council

  • Burden of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and impact of prevention strategies: comprehensive evidence to drive the RHD Endgame
  • Katzenellenbogen, J., Bessarab, D., De Klerk, N., Geelhoed, E., Hung, J., Martini, A., Nedkoff, L. & Sanfilippo, F.


National Stroke Foundation

  • Early process evaluation: Real-world data to inform better implementation of an Aboriginal stroke rehabilitation trial
  • Katzenellenbogen, J. & Thompson, S.

The University of Western Australia

  • Exploring associations between lifecourse geo-social exposures and rheumatic heart disease in Great Britain: looking to the past to inform current RHD prevention strategies
  • Carapetis, J., De Klerk, N. & Katzenellenbogen, J.

2017 – 2018


  • Burden of rheumatic heart disease: comprehensive measurement to drive the Endgame
  • Katzenellenbogen JM, de Klerk N, Dempsey K, Sanfilippo F, Abouzeid M, Regan A, Cannon J, Carapetis J.

2016 – 2019

National Heart Foundation

  • FLF - Cardiovascular diseases in Indigenous Australians: monitoring progress and closing the Knowledge to Action gap
  • Katzenellenbogen, J.


Contact Dr Judith Katzenellenbogen