th aag conference
Capitalising on the Ageing Dividend Re-imagining our future 02–04 November 2016 NATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE

2016 Conference Scientific Committee

Dr Jane Sims (Scientific Committee Chair)

Senior Research Fellow in the Healthy Ageing Research Unit (HARU), School of Primary Health Care, Monash University
Honorary Senior Fellow, Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne

Dr Jane Sims has been involved in teaching and research in gerontology for the past two decades. Her area of expertise is healthy ageing, especially physical activity promotion in older people. She has been an Executive Committee Member of the Australian Association of Gerontology’s (AAG) Victorian Division since 2004, served as Hon. Secretary and Vice President and is currently President. She was Scientific Program Coordinator for the IAGG 2011 Asia Oceania Regional Congress and was part of AAG’s National Council prior to the recent constitution change.





Dr Danny Hills (Conference Planning Committee Chair)

Senior Lecturer, Monash University

Dr Danny Hills is a Registered Nurse and has worked as a clinician, manager and educator in mental health and clinical governance, both in rural and metropolitan community and hospital settings. His academic teaching and research roles have focused on mental health and aged care workforce development, health sciences and nursing. His primary research interests are in health services research, workplace aggression, mental health, ageing and aged care, and health workforce development, performance and outcomes. He currently leads a Cochrane Review of studies on education and training for preventing and minimising workplace aggression directed toward healthcare workers.






Dr Helen Feist (AAG President)

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide
Acting Director for the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre, University of Adelaide

Dr Helen Feist is President of AAG and Acting Director of the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide. Helen has been an active committee member of AAG at both state and national level since 2004, and is also an active member of the Institute of Australian Geographers and the Australian Population Association. Helen’s particular research and professional interests include place and ageing, rural issues and their influence on older people, community connectedness and the social networks of older people, and the demography of ageing. Much of this work has an emphasis on spatial analysis. Helen’s background is in community development, working in not-for-profit community based organisations for over 20 years, both in Australia and overseas.







Professor Renuka Visvanathan

Director, Adelaide Geriatrics Training and Research with Aged Care (G-TRAC) Centre
Clinical Director, Aged & Extended Care Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (& Basil Hetzel Institute), Central Adelaide Local Health Network
Associate Investigator with the University of Adelaide School of Medicine's NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health at Royal Adelaide Hospital and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). 

Professor Visvanathan has an international reputation in the research area of nutritional frailty. She is especially interested in the provision of quality health care to prevent the impact of frailty (e.g. falls and fracture) as well as improve the wellbeing, function and quality of life of frail, older people and consumers with dementia. She is also interested in research that is likely to translate into improved clinical practice.

Professor Visvanathan is Clinical Director of the Aged & Extended Care Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (& Basil Hetzel Institute), Central Adelaide Local Health Network since 2005. 

She is Director of the Adelaide Geriatrics Training and Research with Aged Care (G-TRAC) Centre, which which include an innovative partnership project between the University of Adelaide and Resthaven Inc. at Paradise. GTRAC is a collaborating partner of the South Australian Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre.  

Professor Visvanathan is Associate Investigator with the University of Adelaide School of Medicine's NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital campus and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).  

Professor Visvanathan is currently a member of the Healthy Ageing subcommittee to the Economic Development Board of South Australia. Professor Visvanathan is a current board member of Resthaven Inc.. She is a current committee member of the Australasian Association of Gerontology Executive- SA Division and a member of the Policy and Planning committee of the Australia and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine.

Professor Visvanathan is a member of the Expert Advisory Board to the 49 million European Sarcopenia and Physical Frailty In Older Persons: Multicomponent Treatment Strategies [SPRINTT] Project and also a member of the Editorial Board to Frailty.net, an international education resource that aims to help primary care physicians and other health professionals involved in the care of older persons implement frailty into clinical practice.  

2016 Abstract Reviewers

Dr Joanne Dollard
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Medicine, University of Adelaide

Dr Joanne Dollard is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Medicine, University of Adelaide, based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research). Dr Dollard’s background is in psychology. She has research expertise in health related issues for older people using quantitative and qualitative research methods and has previously conducted studies in falls prevention including help-seeking by older women and older peoples’ perceived risk of falls.

Dr Dollard is currently coordinating a stepped wedge randomized trial on an Ambient Intelligent Geriatric Management system (AmbIGeM), an NHMRC funded project led by Professor Renuka Visvanathan. This hospital based falls prevention study uses a technology system that will alert nursing staff when patients are on their own and moving in a way that might result in a fall (such as getting out of bed unaided). 

Joanne Dollard started her PhD in March 2005 in the Discipline of General Practice and Psychology. Previously she was employed as a Research Associate at the Spencer Gulf Rural Health School based in Whyalla. Major projects she worked on were about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce issues, rural general practitioner’s use of evidenced based practice, falls prevention in older people and developing a primary health care research and evaluation workforce in rural health. Her PhD topic is around Aboriginal cultural awareness and cultural safety. More specifically, if non-Aboriginal health professionals participate in Aboriginal cultural awareness training, do their attitudes and behaviour toward Aboriginal clients/patients change, and does this result in culturally competent care. This research will generate information to add to the evidence base about effective ways of providing culturally safe health care for Aboriginal people.

Dr Xiaoping Lin
Research officer, National Ageing Research Institute (NARI)

Xiaoping Lin is a research officer at the National Ageing Research Institute. Her research interests include mental health and family relationships in late life. Born in mainland China she emigrated to Australia in 2004. Due to her immigration experience, she is particularly interested in cultural diversity in the ageing process and has been involved in a number of project with older immigrants. She completed her PhD entitled “Older parent-child relationships and their associations with older people’s psychological wellbeing: a comparison of Australian-born people and Chinese immigrants” at the University of Melbourne in 2014.

Dr Jane Fyfield
Director, Healthcare International

Jane 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, establishing new services and evaluating existing services. She is Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors of Southern Cross Care Victoria and is the Chair of the Governance Improvement Committee. Jane is a member of the Policy and Planning Committee of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, a member of the AAG Victorian Executive Committee and a Board Director of the Sir Edward Dunlop Medical Research Foundation.

Jane is a Director of Healthcare International, which specialises in services for aged care. She is also a Consultant for Australian Healthcare Associates and 
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. 

Dr Sue Malta
Social Connections and Relationships Stream Leader, National Ageing Research Institute (NARI)

Dr Sue Malta is the Social Connections and Relationships stream leader at NARI. She is currently Project Manager for the NHMRC-funded study IMPACCT (Improving Mood through Physical Activity for Carers and Care Recipients Trial) and is also working with other NARI researchers on the Hospital Environmental Improvement project (HEIP) for the Department of Health & Human Services, reviewing and updating the NARI-developed environmental audit tool. Sue is also involved with the Residents of Retirement Villages of Victoria (RRVV) survey, along with her colleague Sue Williams. Sue is a collaborator on the ARC-funded, Sex, Age & Me study (http://sexageme.org.au/) in conjunction with the Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health & Society and the University of Sheffield and is also involved in other ongoing collaborative research projects with Swinburne University where she is an Adjunct Research Fellow.

Sue’s research interests include older adults, sexuality and the Internet, social connectedness and social isolation, as well as relocation and reacculturation. She is particularly interested in the idea that older adults are not supposed to be sexual beings. Sue gives many media interviews and community/academic presentations on various aspects of ageing, sexuality and online dating. Sue has previous experience as a research project officer/research assistant on various projects within academia, local government and the community development sector. Until recently she was co-editor of Nexus, the newsletter of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) and the Managing Editor/Editor of iJETS (the International Journal of Emerging Technologies & Society). Sue is a member of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) and TASA, where she convenes the Ageing and Sociology thematic group.

Dr. Shailaja Nair,
Consultant Geriatrician, Aged & Extended Care Services, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Dr Shailaja Nair is a consultant geriatrician working at the Aged & Extended Care Services, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide. Her clinical work involves providing specialist geriatric care in a multidisciplinary approach to older people across a wide continuum from the hospital to the community including residential facilities and older peoples’ homes, as well as working with various community health care providers to achieve optimal patient care. In addition to her clinical work, she completed a Masters of Philosophy with the University of Adelaide in the area of “Postprandial Hypotension in Older People”. Her research presentation was awarded the RM Gibson Prize at the Australia and New Zealand Society For Geriatric Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting in 2013 for her platform presentation ‘Intermittent Walking: A Potential Treatment Strategy For Older People With Post-prandial Hypotension’ and two further awards in 2013 and 2014 for her presentations at the Basil Hetzel Institute Research Day. She was the former secretary of the Australia New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine South Australian division. 

Sharon Hills
Registered Nurse

Sharon Hills is a Registered Nurse. She has broad experience in acute care, community care and general practice nursing, with particular interests in mental health, ageing, and chronic and complex care. Sharon was recognised as ACT Primary Care Nurse of the Year in 2015.  Sharon has a Master of Primary Health Care and Master of Nursing with Honours (1st Class) and undertakes sessional work at the University of Canberra and Monash University. She has a keen interest in health literacy and health promotion, and innovation and teamwork in general practice, particularly as it relates to care and care optimisation for community-dwelling older people. Sharon is currently working with research partners investigating the detection and treatment of anxiety in later life.

Judith Lewis
Clinical Social Worker, SA Health

Judy’s professional involvement in the area of acute mental health, particularly in relation to older South Australians, underpins her academic interest in the problems associated with population ageing from both policy and individual perspectives.  Judy is in the final stages of completing a PhD in the Discipline of Geography, Environment and Population at the University of Adelaide exploring the issues relating to older women of the Baby Boom generation and their connection with the labour force.  With a varied career spanning 35 years, Judy’s past involvement with professional and not for profit organisations in the areas of professional practice and project management, child protection, mental health and ageing, have provided her with a broad range of skills that she has been able to apply to her current professional practice and research.  

Dr Frances Batchelor
Deputy Director of Health Promotions, NARI

Dr Frances Batchelor is the Deputy Director of Health Promotions at NARI. She is also the stream leader for Falls and Balance, MARC project leader and a research and clinical physiotherapist. Her research interests include falls prevention after stroke; falls prevention across community, residential care and hospital settings; identification and management of mild balance dysfunction; and the interface between technology and falls. Her current projects include the evaluation of balance and gait in minor stroke, and the development of an e-learning resource on physical activity. Before coming to NARI, Frances worked in neurology and aged care in Australia, Germany and England in both acute and sub-acute settings. She was awarded her PhD in 2010 from the University of Melbourne.