Karen Dempsey

Senior Epidemiologist


Doctorate in Public Health, Charles Darwin University, 2016; Master of Applied Epidemiology, Australian National University, 2003; Master of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, James Cook University, 1999; Bachelor of Nursing, University of New England, 1994; Certificate of Midwifery, Royal Darwin Hospital, 1987; Certificate of Nursing, Royal Darwin Hospital, 1982


Darwin – Royal Darwin Hospital; Darwin – Charles Darwin University


Karen is an epidemiologist and a registered nurse/midwife with over 35 years’ experience. The first ten years of Karen’s health career were spent working as a Remote Area Nurse with the NT Department of Health (DoH) and Indigenous Resource Centres in various communities across the Top End including East Arnhem Land. Following her return to Darwin, Karen worked with the Department of Health at the Centre for Disease Control and Health Gains Planning Branch, initially as a research assistant and in the latter years as an epidemiologist.

Karen is with Menzies' Education and Training unit where she is the course coordinator for Epidemiology and Clinic Trials in the Masters of Public Health Program. 

Karen has recently completed a Doctorate of Public Health using a linked dataset to describe the epidemiology of road traffic injuries in the NT from 1999 to 2007.

•    Lecturer in the Masters of Public Health Program
•    Epidemiologist with Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia


  1. Epidemiologist Dr Karen Dempsey - part of the NT COVID-19 response

    Epidemiologist Dr Karen Dempsey - part of the NT COVID-19 response


    When Timor-Leste voted for independence in 1999, violence erupted in the small island nation. Many Timorese were evacuated to Darwin to escape the withdrawing Indonesian troops. The Northern Territory Centre for Disease Control (CDC) managed the diagnosis...

  2. Short courses really right for the times

    Short courses really right for the times


    For pandemic-priority it is hard to beat the Menzies School of Health Research which newly offers, a graduate certificate in infectious disease prevention and control.

1. Condon JR, Zhang X, Dempsey K, Garling L, Guthridge S. (2016) Trends in cancer incidence and survival for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the Northern Territory. Medical Journal of Australia;205(10):454-458. 
2. Coffey P, Condon J, Dempsey K, Guthridge S, Thompson F. (2016) A retrospective population-based study of induction of labour trends and associated factors among aboriginal and non-aboriginal mothers in the Northern Territory between 2001 and 2012. BMC pregnancy and childbirth;16(1):126.
3. Thompson F, Dempsey K, Mishra G. (2016) Trends in Indigenous and non‐Indigenous caesarean section births in the Northern Territory of Australia, 1986–2012: a total population‐based study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
4. Parker C, Tong S, Dempsey K, Condon J, Sharma SK, Chen J, Sievert W, Davis JS. (2014) Hepatocellular carcinoma in Australia's Northern Territory: high incidence and poor outcome. Medical Journal of Australia;201(8):470-4.
5. Maple-Brown LJ, Brown A, Lee IL, Connors C, Oats J, McIntyre HD, Whitbread C, Moore E, Longmore D, Dent G, Corpus S, Kirkwood M, Svenson S, van Dokkum P, Chitturi S, Thomas S, Eades S, Stone M, Harris M, Inglis C, Dempsey K, Dowden M, Lynch M, Boyle J, Sayers S, Shaw J, Zimmet P, O'Dea K. (2013) Pregnancy and neonatal diabetes outcomes in remote Australia (PANDORA) study. BMC pregnancy and childbirth;13(1):221.
6. Webby R, Carville KS, Kirk MD, Greening G, Ratcliff RM, Crerar S, Dempsey K, Sarna M, Stafford R, Patel M. (2007) Internationally distributed frozen oyster meat causing multiple outbreaks of norovirus infection in Australia. Clinical Infectious Diseases;44(8):1026-1031. 
7. Zhao Y, Dempsey K. (2006) Causes of inequality in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the Northern Territory, 1981-2000: a decomposition analysis. Medical Journal of Australia;184(10):490. 
8. Page WA, Dempsey K, McCarthy JS. (2006) Utility of serological follow-up of chronic strongyloidiasis after anthelminthic chemotherapy. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene;100(11):1056-1062. 
9. Johnston FH, Morris PS, Speare R, McCarthy J, Currie B, Ewald D, Page W, Dempsey K. (2005) Strongyloidiasis: a review of the evidence for Australian practitioners. Australian Journal of Rural Health;13(4):247-254. 
10. Burt T, Currie B, Kilburn C, Lethlean AK, Dempsey KE, Blair I, Cohen T, Nicholson G, (1996) Machado-Joseph Disease in East Arnhem Land, Australia: SCA3 Expanded Repeat Confirmed in Four Families, Neurology, 46: 1118 -1121.