WA Division

The Queensland Division of the AAG brings together a broad range of people with an interest in ageing and provides opportunities to network and discuss the latest news in gerontology through regular seminars and events.

The Queensland Division also collaborates with other organisations across the State to support networking and knowledge building. The Division has an active student and early career group which holds its own events as well as participating in broader State activities.

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.

n 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

Dr Chiara Naseri is an Early Career Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia School of Allied Health, and WA Centre for Health and Ageing. She brings outstanding capability in ageing research, as an experienced physiotherapist and community service developer in older adults areas working both in clinical physiotherapy and research for over 20 years and recently completed a PhD (2020) focused on older adults recovery after hospital discharge at Curtin University. She has published 15 articles, 8 as first author and over 20 presentations regarding fall prevention and rehabilitation. She is an active AAG member and secretary of the WA AAG Committee. Dr Naseri has been awarded the 2022 Hal Kendig Research Development Program Award. With her research team she will conduct a project to understand what influences older people to join a community hub to engage in healthy ageing programs, particularly vulnerable older people at risk of isolation due to chronic disease or other limitations.

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

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.

No content found