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 Curtin School of Allied Health and the enAble Institute, 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 completed a PhD at Curtin University in 2019. 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 evaluation 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, behavioral and clinical sciences. Her research work includes trialing rehabilitation technology, health behavior change techniques, and virtual medical modalities to large patient cohorts.

Events and Uni Sponsorship Awards

Barbara Blundell is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work and teaching and research academic in the School of Allied Health at Curtin University.  Barbara's research interests have a particular focus on ageing and disability issues (including aged and disability care and caregiving), elder abuse, human rights, and advocacy.  She has conducted a number of research projects in these areas over the past 20 years, in partnership with both government and non-government organisations in Western Australia, Queensland, and nationally. 


Board Nominee

Dr Gill Lewin has recently retired following a nearly thirty year career in ageing research during which time she headed up research in Silver Chain, a large community-based health and aged care organisation, and later combined this with a Professorship at Curtin University.  While Gill and her colleagues completed projects and wrote and published papers and reports on a diverse range of topics about health and care services for older people, Gill’s especial research interest was on the development and testing of service models that enabled and empowered older people to optimise their health and ageing experience. 
Gill has been a member of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) since 1994 and has held a number of roles including Chair of the WA Committee and National President.  Gill is currently a director of the corporate trustee, a member of the Research Trust Steering Committee and a member of the Reconciliation Action Group.  Gill was appointed to the Commonwealth’s Council of Elders in January 2022.

Committee Members

Leon Flicker AO has trained clinically and 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 the creation of the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing at the University of Western Australia. Leon remains a practicing geriatrician 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 460 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 in geriatric medicine and with people with dementia.


Roger Warne (FRACP) began training in Geriatric Medicine in 1976 at Royal Perth Hospital.
His advanced training experience includes Geriatric Medicine, Long Term Care, Neurology Psychiatry, Rheumatology, and Intensive care.



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. 


Dona M P Jayakody currently works as a Senior Research Audiologist at Ear Science Institute Australia. She is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia. Dona received her PhD in Audiology from the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand in 2012.


Marcus Ang is a lecturer at Edith Cowan University. He completed his PhD at The University of Newcastle and is interested in the research of Falls Prevention, Older People and their Carers.




Former office holders
Kristen San Miguel - Secretary 2019
Sheridan Read - Events & Uni Sponsorship Awards 2019
Kelly Gurr - Events and Uni Sponsorship Awards 2020

Leon Flicker - Chair

Former general Committee members
Aisling Heavey/Smyth - 2021
Ann Zubrick - 2019
Jennifer Grieve - 2020
Carol Douglas - 2021

Page last updated Dec 2021


AAG Western Australian Division
Scholarships to attend the 2021 AAG Conference

The 54th AAG Conference – “Innovation in Ageing for the Future” will be held 9th-12th November 2021, with pre-workshops being held on 9th November 2021. Further information about the conference can be found here.

The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) WA Division is offering two grants to support attendance to the conference. One grant each up to the value of $1250 will be offered.

Scholarships are offered in two categories:

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

Applicants are required to be current members of AAG

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

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 July 2021.


Connect with Us

Join the mailing list

Keep up to date with the latest news and events by subscribing to the AAG Newsletter

Follow @AAG