The Victorian Division of the AAG provides a forum for discussing gerontology issues and brings together people from all disciplines associated with ageing and aged care, from sociologists and clinicians through to policy makers and healthcare providers. It promotes networking among members and opportunities to keep up to date with the vast array of developments within gerontology through its regular meetings. The Division hosts bi-monthly Forums and collaborates with partners across the State to offer workshops on topical subjects.
The Division also supports and encourages the development of postgraduate students and early career researchers across the field of gerontology. It financially assists their membership of the Association. The Division has two student representatives who facilitate active networking for emerging researchers in ageing.
Irene Blackberry is the Director of the John Richards Initiative in rural ageing and aged care at La Trobe University. She has a medical background and an expertise in pragmatic trials of complex health services intervention across the community, primary, secondary and tertiary settings drawing on both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Her current research focuses on improving access to care and health outcomes for a diverse range of older people in rural communities including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and disadvantaged communities. She has attracted nearly $4M in competitive research funding and published over 60 research papers in leading international journals and key reports. She is a member of the NHMRC Research Translation Faculty and an Associate Editor of the Primary Care Diabetes Europe. She was an executive committee member of AAG VIC and a founding member of the AAG VIC rural chapter.
Robin Harvey is the Course Coordinator for the Master of Gerontology and Bachelor of Health Science (Leisure & Health) programs at Charles Sturt University, based in Albury and has taught in these courses since 2006. Prior to her academic role, Robin gained more than 30 years of experience in social work, specializing in ageing and mental health and health promotion programs with older people. Robin has a strong commitment to the further development of gerontology education for health professionals across the tertiary education sector and through her contribution to the AAG. She has been a member of the AAG Victorian Executive since 2008.
Judy Tang is a clinical neuropsychologist with specialisations in geriatrics and rehabilitation. Judy has been with the Lincoln Centre for Research on Ageing since 2008, assisting primarily in research involving persons with dementia and their carers. Judy currently works in the ACAS evaluation unit. Her expertise in quantitative research is utilised in reporting on the Aged Care Assessment Program at a state level. She has published articles and presented at international conferences on topics such as healthy ageing, anxiety and pain, and dementia.
Judy is also the director of Jurmaine Health, a centre that provides neuropsychological assessments and neuromusculoskeletal treatment. Her role at Jurmaine Health has provided Judy with the opportunity to work with government services, community organisations as well as family law firms and insurance companies. She also actively participates in the APS Psychology and Ageing Interest Group (PAIG), which promotes learning and knowledge transfer of research and social issues on ageing. She also holds a place in the Victorian Police and Multicultural Advisory Committee (PACMAC).
Student & Early Career Group Representative
Joanne Mihelcic has just completed her PhD at the Centre for Social and Organisational Informatics at Monash University. Joanne applies interdisciplinary perspectives to her research and practice. Her qualifications include Bachelor of Education (University of Melbourne), Graduate Diploma in Media Studies (Deakin University), and Masters in Information Management Systems (Monash University). Her studies have supported a career that has spanned: Health, Education, Media & Arts and Knowledge Management.
The topic of Joanne’s research is "The Storyline Project: Determining a therapeutic use for the personal archive in aged care and dementia". The research uses qualitative methods: grounded theory, in-depth cases and open interviews to explore and study the creation of person-centred records. It investigates what it means to create, use and manage this type of personal record to support memory and identity for the person with early stage Alzheimer’s disease and the impact of these findings on archival research. This research is supported by the Alzheimer’s Australia Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Dementia. Joanne’s other professional interests include research and information ethics, and knowledge translation.
Claudia Meyer (Board Nominee) is a Research Fellow at the RDNS Institute in Melbourne. The RDNS is a community-based organisation delivering clinical nursing and care services to people in their homes across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Claudia combines her skills as an experienced physiotherapist with her research expertise, moving research into action for community-dwelling older people and their carers, specifically in the areas of equity in healthcare, falls prevention and dementia care. She draws upon her expanding network in the community care, hospital and academic sectors to drive her belief in reducing the gap between research and clinical practice. Dr Meyer is the current President of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) Council of Student Organizations. She has been an AAG Victorian Executive committee member since 2008 and is immediate past National President of the Student and Early Career Group (position held in 2009-10 and 2013).
Jane Sims is the immediate past division chair and has been involved in teaching and research in gerontology for the past two decades. Jane has served on the Victorian Division’s Executive Committee since 2004 in a variety of roles: Hon. Secretary 2006-2010; Vice Chair 2010-2012 and Division Chair 2012 to 2016. Jane was Scientific Program Coordinator, IAGG 2011 Asia-Oceania Regional Congress and 2016 AAG Annual Conference. She served on AAG’s National Council and has been a Distinguished Member since 2012. Jane is the Chair of the Scientific Committee for the 2016 Annual AAG Conference.
Briony Dow is the Director of NARI and Honourary Clinical Associate Professor, University of Melbourne Psychiatry and Social Work. Briony has been an AAG member since 2003, on the Victorian Division Committee since 2007 and the National Council (Board) since 2009 - 2016. She was Victorian Division Chair from 2009 to 2012 and President of AAG from 2013 to 2015. She has contributed to AAG conferences since 2003 and is a regular contributor to the AJA, as an author, reviewer and substitute committee member.
Briony has over 15 years' experience as a social worker in community care and rehabilitation. She is particularly interested in older carers. She was a Carers Victoria Board member from 2008 to 2013 and her PhD and much of her subsequent research has been about carers. She is also interested in health policy and reform and has worked closely with the Department of Health Victoria for the past 10 years on improving health care for older people. She has over 30 peer reviewed publications and as many government reports.
Jane Fyfield has qualifications in geriatric medicine, public health and health administration and has worked in the public, private and government sectors as a clinician and a non-clinical consultant. She has also taught in a number of university and TAFE courses including medical, nursing and allied health in clinical areas, epidemiology, biostatistics and ageing. Jane has assisted many health services (hospitals and community organisations, in rural and metro areas) and aged care organisations in developing strategic services plans, re-orienting their businesses and establishing new services. She is on the Board of an aged care organisation in Victoria, a member of the Policy and Planning Committee of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine and an Associate Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Services Management. Jane is a Director and Consultant in the consulting business, Healthcare International, which specialises in services for aged care.
Jane was an Advisor in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for almost twenty years until September 2013. As the National Medical Advisor in Health Strategy and Gerontology, she was involved in, among other things, brokering and managing research projects, building partnerships with researchers, evaluating research applications for DVA and translating the research findings into policy and practice. Other activities at DVA have included policy and services delivery advice in the areas of acute, primary and community care as well as aged care, mental health and health promotion and the identification of service gaps and opportunities for veterans. She was also involved in the provision of staff and health provider education.
Ralph Hampson has more than 30 years’ experience in the health and community services sector. Ralph is passionate and committed to working with individuals, groups and organisations so that they can be the best in their field. Ralph's experience includes government organisations, hospitals, member based associations, mental health services, child welfare, disability, aged care and not-for-profit organisations. His teaching experience includes The University of Melbourne and MONASH University in research, social policy, health and ageing. I have held positions on Boards and Committees, including CANTEEN - the self-help group for Young People with Cancer, Australian Association for Adolescent Health, Public Sector Union, and Very Special Kids. In 2013 I joined the board of St Mary’s House of Welcome.
Over the last decade he has specialised in aged care, completing a PhD in the field in 2009. My work has focused on the impact of the built environment on people who live in residential aged care facilities, and has been published in journals, newsletters and industry magazines. I have also been invited to speak about my work on radio, and have presented at local, national and international conferences.
Rajna Ogrin currently leads the Centre of Wound Care at RDNS Institute, with RDNS being the largest provider of homecare in Australia. A podiatrist by background, Dr. Ogrin has research interests in prevention of foot problems in people with diabetes, accelerating healing of older people with wounds; physiology of healing; community based, patient-centred interprofessional wound care and translating evidence into practice.
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