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 a lecturer in the Master of Gerontology program at Charles Sturt University, based in Albury and has taught in this course since 2006. Prior to her academic role, Robin gained more than 30 years of experience in social work, specialising in ageing and mental health and health promotion programmes 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. Her research interests include gerontology education and ageing and natural environments. She has been a member of the AAG Victorian Executive since 2008, a founding member of the AAG VIC Rural Chapter and is currently also a founding Co-convenor of the national Ageing Workforce and Education Significant Interest Group (AWESIG) of the AAG.
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
Briony Murphy is a PhD student and Research Assistant with the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University. Briony commenced her PhD research in March 2014 using existing medico-legal death investigation information to describe the prevalence and nature of intentional deaths among nursing home residents in Australia. Briony is passionate about maximising the use of existing medico-legal datasets to improve service provision and health outcomes for some of society’s most vulnerable populations. As a Research Assistant she examines the frequency and nature of external cause deaths in Residential Aged Care Services (RACS) in Australia to identify potential risk factors and inform prevention strategies.
Briony has a background in criminal justice administration and injury prevention research after graduating from RMIT in 2013 with first class honours in Criminal Justice Administration (BA) for her thesis on service contacts proximate to intimate partner homicide. While completing her thesis, Briony worked in the Coroners Prevention Unit at the Coroners Court of Victoria, where she assisted on a number of research projects with an injury/death prevention focus and became familiar with the coronial process and the use of medico-legal information for research purposes. Briony is also one of the recipients to the Inaugural Arthur Everitt Award at the 2016 AAG conference and 2016 RM Gibson Research Fund Recipients.
Dr Claudia Meyer is a Research Fellow at the Bolton Clarke Research Institute in Melbourne. Bolton Clarke is a large not-for-profit organisation providing services across the spectrum for at-home support, retirement village living and residential care across Australia, New Zealand and parts of 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 immediate Past President of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) Council of Student Organizations, continuing as the Asia-Oceania representative. She has been an AAG Victorian Executive committee member since 2008 and has served as the National President of the Student and Early Career Group.
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.
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.
Dr Danny Hills is a Registered Nurse and is a Senior Lecturer at Monash University. He has worked as a clinician, manager and educator in rural and metropolitan settings in mental health and well-being, patient safety and clinical governance, and workforce development. Dr Hills’ academic teaching and research work spans the last 15 years, and his academic interests are increasingly focussed on the role of design and design thinking in reducing workplace aggression, driving innovation in health care safety and quality, and improving health and well-being.
Dr Joanne Mihelcic is a researcher in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre(DERC) at RMIT University. Joanne applies interdisciplinary expertise to understanding how people experience the social and material world. Her doctoral research involved working with people diagnosed with early stage dementia to understand how their personal stories and the recording of these support memory, identity and personhood.
Joanne's qualifications include: PhD, Bachelor of Education, Graduate Diploma in Media Studies, and Masters in Information Management and Systems. These studies have supported a particular interest in ageing and a career that has spanned: Health, Education, Media and Performing Arts, as well as Knowledge and Information Management.
Dr Mihelcic has been an AAG Victorian Executive Committee member since 2013 and served as the Student Representative(Victoria) for the Student and Early Career Group from 2011-2016.
Rajna Ogrin is currently working as Senior Research Fellow at Bolton Clarke Research Institute, a large Not-For-Profit provider of services across the spectrum of at-home support, retirement village living and residential care across Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia. A podiatrist by background, Dr. Ogrin has research interests in chronic disease management, prevention of foot problems in people with diabetes, accelerating healing of older people with wounds; community based, person-centred interprofessional care; and translating evidence into practice. Her work is underpinned by co-design with key stakeholders, and involving the use technology as indicated. Her focus is to make meaningful improvements in the lives of older people.
Dr Helen Rawson is a Registered Nurse and Senior Research Fellow in the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research – Monash Health Partnership. In this partnership, Helen supports collaboration between Monash Health, Deakin University and other industry partners. Helen has a passion for the delivery of safe and quality care for older people across the health spectrum and this is demonstrated by her research activities which involves older people in acute, subacute and residential care settings. Helen is also interested in the care of older people from culturally and linguistically diverse groups. As a registered nurse Helen has extensive experience in working with older people in the acute and residential care settings and undertakes many professional activities in this regard.
Jo Tropea is a clinical researcher and the Program Manager at the Melbourne EpiCentre, University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health. She has over 6 years’ research experience in the fields of geriatric medicine and chronic diseases, and 12 years’ experience in coordinating collaborative projects. Her research interests are broad and include: research into current practice and best practice care of the older person, in particular people with cognitive impairment; implementation and evaluation of health service interventions; and use of administrative data to assess adverse and suboptimal outcomes.
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