NSW Division

The New South Wales Division of the AAG has an Executive Committee who meet bi-monthly in Sydney to design events about ageing that inspire and enlighten and to oversee representation of AAG in various NSW policy forums. 

We run a range of seminars and forums across NSW including Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. New ideas are showcased, interesting subject matter presented, exciting research findings are discussed and orations by leading specialists in their fields always ensure these events are well attended. An annual two-day Rural Conference is held in a different country town each year to bring city and country people together, to network with local communities and provide resources and new research direct to those working and living across the State.

We also have two Chapters based in the Hunter and Illawarra. These groups bring together local members and others with an interest in gerontology. Each Chapter hosts local seminars and events and offer a wonderful local networking opportunity.

We pride ourselves on providing good networking opportunities to our members and anyone interested in ageing issues. We encourage everyone to participate so you too can be kept up-to-date and inspired by greater knowledge about ageing.

Division Co-Chairs

Keryn Curtis 

Keryn Curtis is a consultant writer and communication and engagement specialist who has specialised in ageing across a number of roles for the last 20 years. From 2016-2020 she worked at The Benevolent Society developing the coalition-led EveryAGE Counts campaign against ageism.  She was previously a journalist and founding editor of Australian Ageing Agenda magazine and website. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of older people and is personally part of a fledgling "seniors'  co-housing project in Sydney's inner west called The AGEncy Project.

Joyce Siette 

A Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University. She merges neuropsychology and informatics research areas to improve care and outcomes for older adults in community and residential aged care. She is a strong advocate for addressing the needs of older adults and promoting transparency of quality in aged care. Her current work focuses on the role of social capital in dementia development and how electronic data systems can support providers to monitor and improve aged care quality . Joyce was actively involved in the organisation of this year’s AAG conference events, and is a member on the Emerging Researchers in Ageing committee.


Kim Keily 

A senior research fellow at UNSW and hold conjoint appointment at Neuroscience Research Australia. Kim has a PhD in lifecourse epidemiology and cognitive ageing. His primary research interests cover aspects of healthy ageing, focusing on i) the social, functional and cognitive impacts of sensory loss in late life, and ii) social determinants of healthy life expectancy. Kim's research is supported by the ARC, NHMRC and Dementia Australia.  Kim has been an active AAG member since 2009, and after a brief hiatus due to relocating to NSW in 2018, Kim is keen to reengage with the AAG via contributing to the State committee and local Illawarra chapter.   Previous roles with AAG include: ACT division as student representative (2010-2011), ACT general committee member (2012-2015), and national conference committee member (2016). Awarded RM Gibson in 2014.Kim is currently serving a three year term on the AAG Research Trust Grants Committee reviewing RM Gibson grants.


Dr Reza Kahlaee 

Is currently a Post-doctoral Scientist at Westmead hospital and a conjoint lecture at the faculty of medicine and health, The University of Sydney. Reza has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. His PhD research was focused on modelling an algorithm for a software screening tool to reduce drug-drug interactions and medication-induced falls in older adults. The current focus of his research is on developing machine learning methods that capture heterogeneity and identify disease mechanisms in complex human diseases and developing risk prediction and early warning clinical systems. An AAG and committee member. He is interested in Biomedical engineering, Big data research, Statistical and analytical analysis, especially in health science, Artificial intelligence, Cognitive, brain science, life science informatics, Health science, interdisciplinary research incorporating health science, computational methods in Biomedical Engineering & biology, aged care health, AI and IP(Intellectual Property). Reza is also interested and active in interdisciplinary collaboration across the health and engineering/ technological sector to improve living and health conditions. Before his academic career, Reza has vast corporate experience as a senior consultant, manager and technical manager in instrumentation, biometrics and bioinformatics, process automation, solution architect and policy manager.

Student & Early Career Group Representative

 Dr Luna Xu

A Scientia lecturer with Heart Foundation post-doctoral fellowship at School of Population Health, UNSW. Luna's research focus on population health. She is interested in big data research in particular focus on exploring the importance of healthy eating for primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases in older people. She has PhD in Public Health (Australia), Masters of Public Health (Australia) and Nursing (United Kingdom), and Bachelor of Nursing (China). Luna has joined as AAG member since 2014, and involved as committee member at NSW division since 2018. She also involved in the Early Career Research group at AAG NSW division, and ECR representative for AAG Conference planning committee in 2019.

Board Nominee

Anita Westera

Anita’s passion is improving the care and support of older people through strengthening the nexus between research, policy and practice. She is an academic, registered nurse and former policy adviser to the Commonwealth, NSW Governments and NSW Parliament. As a Research Fellow at the Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong, she undertakes applied research and evaluation projects regarding older people, aged care, dementia and mental health services, including supporting the work of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Her 2020 election to the AAG Board of Directors and Trustees of the AAG Research Trust builds on over two decades involvement within the NSW and Illawarra AAG Commitees

Committee Members

Dr Anthony Brown 

The CEO of Health Consumers NSW, he is an Adjunct Fellow at the School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Wollongong. Anthony has over 30 years' experience working with older people in both the community and university sectors. Including coordinating the NSW response to the United Nations International Year of Older People in 1999. In 2014 he completed a PhD looking at retired men's community engagement and has also led research projects into older men's perception of health and wellbeing, and men's access to aged care. Anthony has been an active member of the AAG since 2006, he is a former NSW Student Representative and former Chair of the NSW Division. In 2017 he was honoured as a Distinguished Member.

Carrie Hayter 

Carrie Hayter is a passionate advocate for the rights of older people, people with disability and their allies and works to create and design peer or user led services. With over 28 years' experience working in social care in Australia and England, Carrie has an intimate knowledge of ageing and disability. She is the Managing Director of Carrie Hayter Consulting who has worked with over 500 aged care and disability services across Australia, in transforming how they work alongside service users to create inclusive services. She also works part time as the Consumer Engagement Manager, Health and Medical Research for Health Consumers NSW.

Professor Linda Rosenman 

Chair of the Trustees of the AAG Research Trust and AAG appointee to the AJA Inc Management Committee Professor Linda Rosenman has been a member of AAG for 25 years. She has recently retired after an academic and senior management career at University of Queensland where she is professor emeritus, Victoria University (Melbourne) and Charles Darwin University where she is a professorial research fellow. Her research focuses upon superannuation and retirement incomes, financial elder abuse and intergenerational transfers of care and wealth.

Professor Vasi Naganathan MBBS, FRACP, PhD, MMed (Clin Epi), Grad Cert Med Ed 

An academic at the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney and a Consultant Geriatrician at Concord Hospital in Sydney. His research interests are wide including: health of older men, oral health, falls, fractures and osteoporosis, pharmacology in older people and the application of evidence-based medicine to older people. Vasi collaborates with and exchanges ideas with some of Australia’s leading researchers and thinkers in Geriatric medicine and Ageing Research. He is the current president of the Australian New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine.

Paul Sadler 

Chief Executive Officer of Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), the peak body representing not-for-profit aged and community care service providers. He also runs the aged care consultancy business Paul Sadler Consultancy. Paul was the CEO of Presbyterian Aged Care NSW & ACT from April 2007 to March 2021. Before that, Paul was CEO of Aged & Community Services NSW & ACT, held various positions on ageing and disability issues in the NSW Government, including Manager of HACC (Home and Community Care) and Ageing Programs, and worked as a social worker with frail older people, people with disabilities and their carers. Paul is a Fellow of the Australian Association of Gerontology.

Sharon Wall (Illawara Chapter Chair) 

Sharon has worked in Ageing and Aged Care for over 40 years and is a long-standing member and inaugural fellow of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) and is the current chair of the Illawarra Chapter. She is the director of Ageing by Caring Pt Ltd and is also the Project Coordinator of the Koori Dementia Care Project under the auspice of NeuRA (Neuroscience Research Australia). This project is translating research undertaken by the Koori Growing Old Well Study into capacity building and resources for Aboriginal communities.

Sarah Fogg 

has thirty years' experience in the ageing field, having worked for older people's consumer organisations, government and service providers. Her particular focus and passion has been on public policy and consumer advocacy. She is currently a Community Member of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Guardianship Division.

Luke Testa  

A PhD candidate and Research Assistant at the Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, Australian Institute for Health Innovation, Macquarie University. He has a Master of Public Health with Distinction and a Master of Research in Health Innovation. Luke is currently investigating the effectiveness of hospital avoidance programs for older people residing in aged care facilities, and aiming to identify key factors that determine care decisions and care transitions for older people between aged care facilities and hospital services. His areas of interest include the interface between residential aged care and the hospital system, program evaluations, health systems improvement efforts and analysing and linking data collections.

Dr Louise Horstmanshof (BA, GradDipApPsych, MOrgPsych, PhD) 

Has been researching and publishing for over 20 years, focusing on person-centred ageing and aged care. In 2018, she completed a comprehensive Realist Evaluation of the Dementia Literacy Toolkit Project for the North Coast PHN. She has led two Australian Department of Health (formerly HWA) grant projects for Southern Cross University. Her team won a community engagement award for their work linking professional entry students from Nursing and Allied Health with community aged care. Dr Horstmanshof is highly esteemed both within the University and the sector more broadly. She is the Director of Postgraduate Education and Chair of the School Board (School of Health and Human Services) and co-leader of the ANZAHPE University Health Clinics Collaborative. She serves on the steering committee for the Ballina Dementia Friendly Alliance and on the Regional Executive of the United Protestant Association (UPA), North Coast Region, NSW.

Rhonda Smith 

Dr Jed Montayre 

A senior lecturer in the School of Nursing & Midwifery at Western Sydney University. Jed has a strong clinical background in gerontology and medical-surgical nursing.  He is an experienced nurse academic, who have worked in the Philippines and New Zealand. Jed’s teaching areas include biosciences for nurses, gerontology and aged care nursing. Jed’s research focuses on population ageing, cardiovascular health of migrant populations, nursing policy and workforce issues.

Jed has written and published several research papers on influence of culture to health, transitions, adjustments and acculturation experience of older immigrants into the mainstream societies. Jed is an associate editor of Australasian Journal on Ageing.

Dr Felicity Barr (Hunter Chapter Chair) 

A social gerontologist with a long history of service to AAG, most recently as President of the Hunter Chapter in NSW.  Building on her successful career with DVA, she is now Deputy Chair of HNE local health district board and sits on other government and NFP committees.

Hamish Robertson 

A Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney. I am also a medical geographer with experience in health, ageing, disability and multicultural issues. I have worked in the NSW healthcare system including a decade in ageing research at Prince of Wales Hospital. My PhD research was on the geography of Alzheimer\'s disease in New South Wales. I am interested in spatial science applications in the health, ageing and disability sectors including spatial visualisation as a tool for collaborative research, analysis and service development. I also write in areas such as big data, health informatics, and cultural heritage issues. I am a Board member of SHARE, a small NFP that runs exercise classes for older people. I also work with Meals on Wheels NSW in my academic role and am a member of Nutrition Australia. My professional memberships include AAG, HSRAANZ, ACHSM and I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).

Rik Dawson 

A gerontological Physiotherapist with extensive experience working with older Australians. He has over 25 years of professional experience, dedicated to enhancing physical wellbeing through exercise and education. An experienced business owner and company director with comprehensive experience of managing large teams and advocating for sustainable aged care reform. He has enrolled in a HDR program at The Institute of Musculoskeletal Health, USyd focusing on Telehealth Physiotherapy with older people. He is the current Vice President of the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Dr Louise Lavrencic 

A background in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, and undertook her PhD at the University of South Australia investigating structural and functional correlates of cognitive reserve in older adults. She is passionate about understanding the factors that affect cognitive ageing and dementia in late life, and how we can help people to age well. Louise currently works across a number of research and translation projects being run by the Aboriginal Health and Ageing Team at NeuRA, including implementing a co-designed and culturally-grounded stress reduction program in collaboration with Aboriginal communities.

Jane Hwang 

Is an early career researcher in the Justice Health Research Program at the School of Population Health, UNSW Sydney. She completed her PhD in the School of Psychiatry, UNSW Sydney. Jane has expertise in ageing well in marginalised populations, forensic psychiatry, neurodiversity, and the health of justice-involved populations. She has a broad range of mixed-methods research experience on a range of projects including: evaluating programs for reducing violent offending and reoffending, investigating accelerated ageing/frailty in Australia's growing older prisoner population, and conceptualising 'ageing well' for adults on the autism spectrum. She is an associate investigator with the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute and an associate of the UNSW Human Rights Institute. Jane also co-convenes an undergraduate criminology course at UNSW: CRIM3022; "Public Health and Corrections". At the AAG, she is a current SECG Development and Events Working Group Member, an expert on the Prison Leavers Project and served in the past as a AAG NSW Student and Early Career representative.

Mae Ling Lim 

A postgraduate researcher at the Neuroscience Research Australia and University of New South Wales. Her PhD focuses on understanding the relationship between health literacy and fear of falling in older people. Mae is particularly interested in understanding how health literacy can empower older people to take active care of their health and increase the uptake and efficacy of evidence-based fall prevention programs. Mae is also a working group member of the AAG Student and Early Career Research Group since 2020.

Madeleine Radnan 

Completed her Bachelor of Advanced Science (Hons) at UNSW. She had completed a double major in psychology and neuroscience, and proceeded to complete her honours in neuroscience. During this period, her research involved neurophysiological techniques to understand the cellular mechanisms of long-term depression in the lateral septum. In 2018 Maddie commenced her PhD at The MARCS Institute where she combined her interests of technology and wellbeing. The research focused on characterising older adult engagement where she delivered a technology driven psychosocial intervention to older adults in residential care. Madeleine has continued at the MARCS Institute where she is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Research Assistant working across projects involved in autobiographical memory processes across the lifespan, memory tools, older adult music education to support wellbeing, and communication between older adults in residential care.

Dr Zhaoli Dai 

An epidemiologist with over a decade of experience to in nutritional epidemiology for the prevention and management of chronic diseases. She has led large population-based cohorts in Singapore, the U.S., and Australia, focusing on musculoskeletal diseases and cardiometabolic health. Recently, her work assessed evidence-based clinical guidelines to understand how vitamin D and calcium recommendations were formulated to prevent osteoporosis. She also uses administrative health records to study high-risk medication prescriptions and healthcare delivery in residential aged care. Dr Dai’s work has been featured in New York Times and the Australian Ageing Agenda. She is currently on the editorial board for BMC Geriatrics and a peer reviewer for BMJ, Advances in Nutrition, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, the Heart Foundation, and the American Society for Nutrition. Her research passion is to identify practical strategies through health behaviours to reduce disease burdens and improve quality of life in ageing populations.

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