2023 Strategic Innovation Program recipients

AAG and the AAG Research Trust congratulates the following individuals on their successful applications for the 2023 Strategic Innovation Program.



Dr Melanie Hoyle

The University of Queensland

Dr Melanie Hoyle is an early career researcher, research fellow, and lecturer in occupational therapy at The University of Queensland. Her expertise in mixed-methods research is complemented by a growing reputation in co-design for teaching and research. Melanie's passion lies in promoting participation and life satisfaction among people with disabilities, utilising research findings to improve clinical practice and inform policy. Her collaborative approach involves partnering with older people, people with disabilities, and health professionals, spanning hospital and community-based practices to create inclusive and supportive communities. Through her work, Melanie strives to enhance the health, well-being and agency of diverse populations.


CARE-SCI: Co-designing Actionable Recommendations to Enhance support for older adults with Spinal Cord Injury navigating age-specific policy

Spinal cord injury (SCI) marks an abrupt and life-changing transition, with prevalence rising amongst older adults. While this often results in an immense number of challenges, one identified by older patients, families and health teams is inequity created by limitations in age-specific home and community care policies and funding. In Australia, people 65+ can receive government-funded services through My Aged Care (MAC). While different funding types are available, depending on needs and circumstances, there is stark contrast noted when available services/opportunities are compared to those of insurance-based schemes (i.e., NDIS and NIISQ) who provide for younger people and people with catastrophic injuries. To appreciate how differences impact on outcomes, there is a need to explore and understand patient journeys, outcomes, and the intersection with policy and funding from stakeholders' perspectives. This project will employ experience-based co-design and interpretive description to co-design actions to improve practice and advocate for relevant change.

Award: $30,000

Dr Rachel Milte

Flinders University

Dr Rachel Milte is Matthew Flinders Senior Research Fellow in Health and Social Care Economics at the Caring Futures Institute Flinders University. She is a growing national and emerging international reputation in innovative health services research. She has proven experience in undertaking high quality economic evaluations along-side clinical trials, and analysis of health care expenditure in the context of the Australian health system. Her current research focus is on developing new theoretical frameworks and methods to enable the full inclusion of people living with dementia into person-centred outcome assessment in health services research and enable rigorous and inclusive economic evaluation.


Giving people with dementia a voice in aged care quality assessment

This project aims to develop tools designed to be used by older people in residential aged care to drive inclusivity in reliably self-reporting the quality of care received. This is a significant response to the recommendations of by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. It will support the successful implementation of widespread  compulsory reporting of person-reported quality of life and quality of care experience as part of the new suite of Aged Care Quality Indicators, being rolled out from April 2023. Expected outcomes include proof of concept that an accessible-communication version of a validated person-centred quality assessment tool can be developed and applied in aged care. This will provide a practical framework for the more widespread development and application of communication-accessible quality of life and quality of care instruments for use with people with dementia, to allow accurate aged care sector monitoring.

Award: $29,866

Awarded in partnership with Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF)

Dr Lisa Wong

Western Sydney University

Dr Lisa Wong has worked in aged care, mental health and palliative care for over 35 years. Lisa has been teaching health care professionals in universities and was a clinical educator at the same time. Lisa achieved her PhD in Nursing from the University of Technology Sydney, and the area of her PhD study is dementia. Lisa also has a Master’s degree in Care of Elderly People from the UK. Lisa’s long-held passion is to improve the quality of care for elderly people and their carers, especially those with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.


The effectiveness of a co-designed and culturally adapted dementia support program for Chinese-Australian carers

The original Carer Support Program (CSP) was effective in achieving carer self-efficacy and improved self-management of health/well-being (Chenoweth et al., 2016). This Chinese version of the CSP will adapt and translate the effective components of the original program for Chinese carers. The aim of this project is to investigate whether the Chinese version of CSP proves effective for carers as occurred with the original CSP. The proposed project will use a quantitative pre/post/follow-up study design, comparing pre/post data for CSP effectiveness using validated measures, and follow-up data to assess program benefits for carers. The CSP consists of eight weekly support sessions delivered to carers via local Chinese community services. Seven carer support groups, with up to 10 carers per group, will be involved. This study will potentially increase carer self-efficacy for caregiving and improve carer health and well-being. The study also aims to further inform culturally relevant carer support programs.

Award: $29,730.79