WA Division

Western Australia

The Western Australian Division of the AAG is a committee with a diverse mix of gerontologists, academics, health care providers and advocacy groups who all value strongly the importance of expanding knowledge on ageing. The committee meets bi-monthly to organise a range of forums to provide opportunities for members and the wider community to become engaged with issues relevant to the field of ageing. The WA Division often collaborates with other organisations to develop these forums and welcomes the opportunity to work with other organisations both locally and nationally who are interested in gerontology.

The Division is also committed to supporting students and early career researchers and for several years has been sponsoring several awards for postgraduate students, including the ‘Australian Association of Gerontology Prize’ at Edith Cowan University which is awarded to the student receiving the highest mark in the unit “Health and Health Challenges for older adults.” The Division is keen to welcome new students to join the committee who are interested in meeting new people from a diverse range of backgrounds and working together to support networking and promoting research in the field of ageing.

Division Chair

Elissa Burton is a Sport Scientist and currently works as a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Physiotherapy & Exercise Science, Curtin University. Elissa’s research focus is in the areas of exercise with older people, healthy ageing, falls prevention, and interventions to assist people living with mild cognitive impairment and dementia and their carers. Elissa has collaborated with a number of community care organisations and has conducted a lot of research with older people receiving home care services, particularly reablement. Her research focus is the promotion of physical activity and exercise in older people to assist them to live independently, in their home, for as long as they choose.


Hilary O'Connell is an Occupational Therapist with 30 years’ experience as a clinician, manager and project leader in the United Kingdom and Australia across the disability and aged care sector. Her passion rests with enabling/wellness focused service models in community care.
Hilary’s UK OT career included centre based neurological rehabilitation, specialist advisor determining medical housing needs, and as a clinician and Occupational Therapy manager for Adult Social Care Services in London.
In Australia Hilary has worked across a number of clinical and community settings. Hilary’s aged and community care knowledge has enabled her to pioneer the implementation of a number of major reform projects. Including research and development of the nationally recognised Silver Chain Home Independence Program and whilst at CommunityWest working in partnership with the WA HACC program to develop and implement the Wellness Approach and the Western Australian Assessment Framework (WAAF).
Since joining the Independent Living Centre (ILC) WA in 2014 Hilary has led a project team working in partnership with the WA HACC Program on a best practice Home Modifications and Assistive Technology service delivery model for WA HACC clients.
Her current role as an ILC service manager includes oversight of the ILC Regional Assessment Service and Allied Health Services and continued research and service development in the areas of reablement, falls and home modifications and assistive technology.

Secretary and Student & Early Career Group Representative

Chiara Naseri is an experienced physiotherapist who has recently completed a PhD at Curtin University. She has an interest in collaborating across disciplines to enhance older adults’ independence. She combines this in a post-doc role at Curtin University, and as a lead in research and service development at Independent Living Assessment (ILA). In 2016 Chiara was awarded a scholarship as part of an NHMRC funded project grant through the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science. Her PhD research focused on fall prevention with an international project team led by Professor Anne-Marie Hill. She evaluated a falls prevention education program for older adults (n=390) to facilitate health behaviour change and recovery of independence post-hospitalisation. Her current focus is on maximising the health-related quality of life of older adults with disability and prevention of secondary disabilities. Chiara collaborates with international interdisciplinary and dynamic research programs spanning public health, social, behavioural and clinical sciences. Her research work includes trialling rehabilitation technology, health behaviour change techniques, and virtual medical modalities to large patient cohorts.

Events and Uni Sponsorship Awards

Barbara Blundell is a Social Work lecturer and researcher at the School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work, and Speech Pathology at Curtin University. Barbara’s research interests have a particular focus on elder abuse, ageing and disability issues, human rights, and advocacy. She has conducted a number of research projects in these areas over the past 15 years, in partnership with both government and non-government organisations in Western Australia, Queensland, and nationally



Kelly Gurr works in the Social Care division at Silver Chain and is responsible for the Allied Health services delivered across Western Australia




Board Nominee

Professor Gill Lewin currently holds the position of Research and Evaluation Specialist at Access Care Networks Australia (ACNA). Prior to her present position and a period working overseas, Gill worked at both Curtin University and the University of Western Australia. In Curtin as Professor in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine and in UWA as Research Academic in the West Australian Centre for Rural Health. Gill has been involved in research on ageing since she joined Silver Chain, a large Australian not for profit community health and aged provider, as the Research Manager in August 1993. Her particular research interest during her time at Silver Chain was the development and testing of care models that promote the independence of older people.


Committee Members

Leon Flicker AO has trained clinically in research in Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne and was appointed inaugural Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Western Australia in 1998. He established a productive research unit aimed at translational issues focusing on the health needs of older people culminating in 2006 at the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing at the University of Western Australia. Leon remains a practicing geriatrician and is Head of Inner City Geriatric Services at Royal Perth Hospital. Leon has served on numerous government committees addressing the health needs of older people. He is a Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine. He has published over 350 peer-reviewed articles addressing a wide variety of health issues in older people. In 2017 Leon was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia for his work with people with dementia.


Jennifer Grieve



Roger Warne




Carol Douglas started her nursing carer in Tasmania.  Since then Carol has worked in various clinical and management roles in the acute, community and residential setting.  Here passion for working with older people lead her to return to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in 2004 to implement the Residential Care Line program.  More recently Carol completed her Masters in Nursing (Aged Care) Nurse Practitioner.



Caroline Vafeas is experienced nurse having worked within many clinical areas in both hospital and community locations in Scotland, England, Channel Islands and Australia. She completed her PhD in Nursing 6 years ago and has a 30% role in research. She is currently the Director of undergraduate Nursing Studies within the School of Nursing & Midwifery at Edith Cowan University. She also has an active research role, mainly in the area of older adults and residential aged care. She has published in the area of older adults as well as dementia. 





Former office holders

Kristen San Miguel - Secretary 2019
Sheridan Read - Events & Uni Sponsorship Awards 2019

Page under reconstruction Feb 2020


AAG Western Australian Division
Scholarships to attend the 2020 AAG Conference

The 53rd AAG Conference - Digital "Climate for Change in Ageing" will be held 18-20th November 2020, with collaborative forums and workshops being held on 9,10 & 17th November 2020. Further information about the conference can be found here.

The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) WA Division is offering a number of fully funded individual registrations to support your attendance at this conference.

For applicants who are accepted, conference registration fees will be paid directly through the Division.

Scholarships are offered in two categories:

  • Category I: Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Category II: Student and Early Career Members

When applying you will be asked to:

  • Provide details of any abstract accepted (desirable)
  • Describe in 250 words or less why you should receive this scholarship and how it would benefit you, your research and/or your future career in gerontology.

To apply please click here  

Applications must be received by Monday, 28 September 2020.


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