Meet our speakers

Find out all about our expert speakers here, including the voices of those living with dementia and their carers. Sign up below to receive updates on topics and speakers in the countdown to 5-6 September 2024.

Leigh Sales AM

ABC Journalist and Author (AUS)

Leigh Sales AM is a multi award-winning author and journalist at the ABC and anchors the much-loved Australian Story program. Before that, she presented the network's prime time current affairs program 7.30 for 12 years.

She has been the face of the ABC's major events coverage, including federal election and budget nights.

Leigh has interviewed every living Australian Prime Minister and innumerable world leaders and celebrities from Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair to Paul McCartney and Elton John. She's the author of five books, including the national bestseller Any Ordinary Day, Well Hello co-written with Annabel Crabb, and her latest Storytellers - a fascinating insight into the vital and much-misunderstood profession of Journalism.

Dr Nathalie Huitema

Sexologist and Psychologist (US/NL)

Dr Nathalie Huitema holds a PhD in human sexuality and is a trained psychologist with a focus on older adults. She is a registered psychologist in the Netherlands and a licensed sexologist in the US.

In her role as a sex educator, Dr Huitema has pioneered diverse sexuality training programs for long-term care. She is a (co-)author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, and her insights have been featured on radio shows and podcasts.

Specialising in the intersection of sexuality, ageing, and consent, Dr Huitema brings over 15 years of practical expertise to her field, acquired through her work in long-term care in the Netherlands. Nathalie's internationally focused work reflects a commitment to advancing understanding and awareness in the realm of human sexuality, particularly concerning older adults.

Dr Nathan Davies

Professor of Ageing, Applied Health and Care Research, Queen Mary University of London (UK)

Dr Nathan Davies is Professor of Ageing, Applied Health and Care Research, and Co-Centre Lead Psychiatry and Mental Health at Queen Mary University of London.

He is an internationally renowned expert in palliative dementia care, with interests in ageing, dementia, clinical decision making, unmet complex needs and eHealth. He has over 130 publications.

Dr Davies has an extensive record of high impact research in dementia care, including interventions on decision-making and inclusion, which have been implemented in health and care services globally. His work has included a decision aid for family carers supporting people with dementia, and a novel toolkit of rules-of-thumb for practitioners making end of life care decisions.

Dr Samir Sinha

Director of Geriatrics, Sinai Health System (CAN)

Dr Samir Sinha is the Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and the Director of Health Policy Research at Toronto Metropolitan University’s National Institute on Ageing.

A Rhodes Scholar, Samir is a highly regarded clinician and international expert in the care of older adults. As an inaugural and current member of Canada’s Ministerial Advisory on Dementia, he helped to develop and implement Canada’s National Dementia Strategy in 2019.  In 2021, he was appointed to serve as a member of the Government of Canada’s National Seniors Council and recently led the successful development of Canada’s new National Long-Term Care Services Standard.  

Dr Tom Russ

Director, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre (UK)

Dr Tom Russ trained in medicine and psychiatry in Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands and London and undertook doctoral training at the University of Edinburgh. He works clinically with older people with dementia and has a PhD in dementia epidemiology.

He is an honorary Consultant Psychiatrist (NHS Lothian), Network Champion of the Neuroprogressive and Dementia Research Network (NHS Research Scotland), and Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre (PPLS, University of Edinburgh). He is interested in geographical variation in dementia and the environmental risk factors for dementia that might be responsible for this variation.

Senator Anne Ruston

Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care (AUS)

The Hon Anne Ruston has been a Senator since September 2012. She is currently the Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Shadow Minister for Sport and Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate.

Prior to the 2022 election, Senator Ruston was a Cabinet Minister, holding the positions of Minister for Families and Social Services, Minister for Women’s Safety and Manager of Government Business in the Senate for three years.

Before her election to the Senate, Anne held several senior positions in government and the private sector, including as the inaugural chief executive of the National Wine Centre. She was also a primary producer and irrigator, owning and operating the largest commercial rose garden in Australia.

Olga Pandos

Lecturer in Law and PhD Candidate, University of Adelaide (AUS)

Olga is a lecturer in Law and a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide, Adelaide Law School, Australia. In 2020, she was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia. Her PhD is in technology law and ethics, drawing upon her scientific background in biochemistry and genetics, examining the ethical and regulatory implications of heritable human genome editing.

Her research traverses medical law and ethics, with a specific focus on decision-making capacity, consent, supported decision-making, access to justice for vulnerable populations and reform. The intersection of health, medicine and the law are fundamental themes within Olga’s research.

Olga has extensive experience working within policy and law reform. She has been a lead researcher and project manager at the South Australian Law Reform Institute for four years. Her research has been published in leading peer review law journals. She has been an author of six reports to State Government. Most recently, Olga led and was lead author of the statutory independent review of the Mental Health Act in South Australia. Prior to her work at the South Australian Law Reform Institute, Olga worked as a policy officer for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Bill Yeates

Lived Experience Associate Consultant, Dementia Support Australia (AUS)

After graduating from Pharmacy, Bill entered the field of education where he was a school administrator and taught senior physics and chemistry for over 35 years.

In August 2019, at the age of 59, he was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease. Bill has a keen interest in learning how to best manage his diagnosis on a daily basis and has created his own website where he enjoys helping and showing others how it is possible to still lead a better life. Besides being a volunteer surf lifesaver, Bill competes in masters swimming, finswimming, pool rescue and surf lifesaving championships, at a local, state, national and international level. In August last year, Bill travelled to Fiji and participated in his first ever ocean swim.

Currently, Bill is a member of Dementia Australia's Advocate Program and has been Vice Chair of Dementia Alliance International for the past two years. He is also a member of the World Health Organisation GDO KE Focus Group, member of the Global Review Panel for ADI Accreditation of dementia care and a member of the Public Involvement Panel for StepUp. Recently, Bill accepted the position of Living Experience Associate Consultant with Dementia Support Australia.

In the last few years, Bill has started to share his experiences at national and international conferences as a way of raising awareness about dementia, focussing mainly on post-diagnostic care and support via his holistic approach to life and the development of reablement plans. His goal here is to show by example that it is still possible to live a rewarding and fulfilling life.

Angela Raguz

General Manager, The Dementia Centre and Residential Care, HammondCare (AUS)

Angela Raguz is an Australian leader in dementia care, both in residential and ‘at home’ care. She is the General Manager of The Dementia Centre, and also the General Manager, Residential Care for HammondCare, which specialises in complex dementia care. Angela is highly qualified in best practice dementia design and quality service delivery and improvement, deeply involved from conception to planning of a residential service to commencement and operation and ensuring that services are aligned to philosophy of care.

Angela has worked in the aged care industry for 30 years, is a Registered Nurse and holds an MBA. 

Ashley Roberts

Dementia Consultant, The Dementia Centre (AUS)

Ashley Roberts has over 15 years’ experience of working in aged care. Upon earning his Graduate Diploma in Dementia 2013, Ashley ran his own dementia training company, ‘Dementia Inspired’, and chaired several committees to help develop dementia-friendly communities across the south-east of England. Ashley came to work as a dementia consultant for Dementia Support Australia in August 2017 and has recently graduated from the University of Tasmania’s Wicking Centre with a Master’s Degree in Dementia.

A key focus in the last few years has been exploring ways that people living with dementia in residential aged care facilities can be supported to maintain sexual and intimate relationships, in a time when facilities increasingly struggle to balance meeting the needs of people whilst protecting them from harm. This was the topic of his major project proposal through the Master’s that earnt him a high distinction.

Gwenda Darling

Dementia Advocate (AUS)

Gwenda received a dementia diagnosis in 2012. The diagnosing geriatrician gave her five years with medication, three without. The decision was made to take no medication but she never underestimated the ability of her neural pathways. 

Gwenda continues to live a full life with her dementia, even though it is changing. Gwenda advocates as a volunteer, and assists others in rural communities in navigating aged care services and dementia needs. Gwenda is a member of the National Older Persons Reference Group, (OPAN) Council of Elders, Dementia Australia Advisory Committee and AdNET registry steering committee, and an investigator with University of Western Australia, Deakin University and QUT research grants. Gwenda is also involved in many other research projects and advisory groups.

Encouraging everyone to talk about dementia, not only for the person living with the diagnosis and their family but friends, neighbours and the wider community, is another integral part of her life.

By being open about the impact of her own behaviour-variant frontotemporal dementia, Gwenda has helped not only herself, but all those she comes in contact with. She hopes that communities will start accepting and supporting those living with dementia to continue to live well in their own homes as long as possible. As a Palawa mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, her family see her as the matriarch and have joined in the fight to destigmatise dementia in communities.

Martin Rix

Chief Executive, Belong UK (UK)

Martin combines extensive experience in specialist dementia and nursing settings with a strong track record in development projects, ensuring that the pursuit of innovation, excellence and quality outcomes continue to drive Belong’s development as the organisation expands and evolves its services.

He joined Belong from another UK based care organisation, NorseCare, in 2022, where he had worked for over 10 years. He was Chief Operating Officer and led a portfolio of 36 care homes and housing with care schemes.

Martin started his career in property consultancy before developing a passion for social care. He is also a Chartered Management Surveyor and Civil Engineering graduate.

Martin lives in Cheshire with his wife and twin daughters and is passionate about music, sports and the arts. When time allows, he is likely to be found outdoors with his family, at the easel or perhaps helping with his other job, managing the local Under 10s girls’ football team.

Prof John Swinton

Author and Theologian, University of Aberdeen (UK)

The Rev Prof John Swinton, FBA, FRSE, is a Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care at the University of Aberdeen. He is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland, and worked for more than a decade as a registered nurse specialising in psychiatry and learning disabilities. He also worked for a number of years as a hospital and community chaplain.

John serves as an honorary professor and researcher at Aberdeen’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Nursing. In 2004, he founded the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability and in 2014 he founded the University’s Centre for Ministry Studies.

John has published widely in the areas of disability theology, spirituality and health, qualitative research, and mental health. He is the author of Dementia: Living in the Memories of God.

Nicole Smith

Chief Operating Officer, Community Home Australia (AUS)

Nicole Smith is a dedicated advocate for using empathetic, enabling, and relationship-centred models within the aged care sector. With a background in nursing and a passion for enhancing the lives of those living with dementia, she has spearheaded several initiatives aimed at fostering inclusive and supportive communities. Her latest venture, in partnership with Dr Rodney Jilek, is the co-creation of Community Home Australia (CHA) and their all-inclusive Indonesian Resort (CHAIR), which seeks to revolutionise accommodation options for our elders. 
Nicole's experience as a clinical first responder for Aspen Medical, funded by the Commonwealth, provided her with invaluable insights into the challenges faced by nursing homes during the pandemic and beyond. Working across four states and witnessing the dire circumstances first-hand solidified her determination to enact positive change in this space. 
Her dedication to improving the quality of life for individuals living with dementia and their caregivers is evident in her multifaceted approach, which combines expertise in nursing, gerontology, and community engagement to create meaningful and lasting impact.

Lindsay Bent

Clinical Lead, Ambulance Victoria (AUS)

Lindsay Bent is an intensive care paramedic of 34 years with Ambulance Victoria. He currently holds the position of Clinical Lead, Communications Centres.

Lindsay led the introduction of motorcycle paramedics in Victoria, and was the operational lead for the development of Australia’s first Mobile Stroke ambulance.

Currently, Lindsay is developing a revised clinical model to facilitate remote clinical support to deliver statewide remote guidance and instruction to Ambulance Victoria operational staff and external health services.

In 2009, Lindsay was appointed as an Officer of the Order of St John for sustained and diligent volunteer service to St John Ambulance Australia.

Marie Alford

Head of Dementia Support Australia (AUS)

With a background in social work, advocacy and leadership, Marie has a strong commitment to social justice and consumer engagement. Having worked in behaviour support programs for over 20 years, since the early Commonwealth initiatives, she is the strategic lead for Dementia Support Australia, a HammondCare-led service delivering national dementia support programs, and Head of Dementia Professional Services for The Dementia Centre.

She is a member of the Department of Health and Aged Care Expert Advisory Group. Specific areas of expertise are behaviour support and complex dementia, sports-related brain injury and supporting people living with dementia from diverse life experiences and backgrounds.

Prior to joining HammondCare, she was the Director of the South Australian and Northern Territory Dementia Training Study Centre, and General Manager of Alzheimer's Australia South Australia.

Dr Tim Henwood

Group Manager, Research and Development, Southern Cross Care (AUS)

Dr Tim Henwood is passionate about seeing older adults get access to better health pathways independent of their age, disease or disability. As a researcher he has worked on a number of important projects that show people are never too old or too sick to push back on disability, and that exercise participation is key to later life independence. With Southern Cross Care (SA, NT and Vic) he was able to translate this into an evidenced based model of care, building one of Australia's most recognised allied health, therapy and respite services, offering significant physical, social and mental health benefits for its community membership. As the Principal Consultant for AgeFIT Solutions he continues to advocate for older Australians and is focused on supporting aged and health service providers to develop wellbeing offerings that align to their business models and have measurable health benefits for their clients. 

Sarah Mitchell

Daughter of Wendy Mitchell (UK)

Sarah Mitchell is a Registered Nurse in the north of England, with a background in palliative care and oncology.

She supported her mum, well-known blogger Wendy Mitchell, to live as independently as she could with dementia over a period of 10 years.

Following Wendy’s death in February 2024, through the act of ‘voluntary stopping eating and drinking’ (VSED), Sarah feels moved to share her experience in order to push forward the discussion around the complexities of dementia and assisted dying.

Dr Melanie Tan

Independent Clinical Governance and Medico-legal Consultant (AUS)

Dr Melanie Tan is an Independent Clinical Governance and Medico-legal Consultant. With experiences as a medical practitioner (in acute care), lawyer (in aged care, health and medical negligence), and co-carer at home in a palliative situation, Melanie offers a holistic and common-sense approach to contemporary clinical governance. As a CHIA (Certified Health Informatician of Australasia), Melanie also understands how health technology impacts clinical governance, and how clinical governance supports health technology. Melanie assists providers across all sectors to deliver the best care and support they possibly can (simultaneously mitigating medico-legal risks). In doing so, she helps identify, define and resolve complex issues at the intersection of law, medicine, care and governance, with an independent and objective perspective.

Dr Emma Hodges

Development Director, Compassionate Communities UK (UK)

Dr Emma Hodges is an experienced senior leader committed to improving health and care systems and services, removing health inequalities where possible.

Emma works as a freelance consultant on a range of assignments related to organisational development, health care, equity, and diversity.  She is also Development Director for Compassionate Communities UK, a charity that is based on public health palliative care, advocating for place-based system change.

One of her recent assignments is with CommonAge, helping produce the Dementia in the Commonwealth Report.

Emma has a professional background in human resources, organisational development and as a hospice CEO.  She holds a doctorate in health planning and management. Her research was a mixed methods study on the organisational factors influencing English hospices’ approach to services for people with dementia. She has a keen interest in organisational institutionalism and how that influences change.

Scott Duval

Assistant Commissioner, South Australian Police (AUS)

Assistant Commissioner Scott Duval joined South Australia Police in 1982 and has experience as a general duties patrol officer and a Detective with Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), as well as specialist crime experience in both metropolitan and country areas. In 2004 Scott was promoted to Inspector and his first posting was Officer in Change Adelaide CIB, then as the Officer in Charge Pedophile Task Force. In successive officer promotions Scott has been the Officer in Charge Licensing Enforcement Branch, Drug Investigation Branch, Media and Marketing Section, Executive Support Section and Regional Operations Service.

In 2017 Scott was promoted to Assistant Commissioner and has held the portfolios of Security and Emergency Management Service, Crime Service, Operations Support Service and since September 2020 has the portfolio for policing of the metropolitan area of Adelaide through Metropolitan Operations Service.

Scott is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and in 2015 was awarded the Australian Police Medal. He has also participated in the Pearls in Policing Program an international executive policing collaboration between Australia, Europe, United States of America, and South-East Asia. He is also a graduate member of the Company Directors Course.

Scott is married with two children and two grandchildren. He has a strong interest in travel with his wife and family and is a keen golfer.

Julane Bowen

Dementia and Mental Health Law Advocate (AUS)

Julane has over 30 years public sector experience, mainly with various NSW agencies and not for profits. Julane has held senior roles in policy development and implementation, organisational design and capability, corporate services, and operational service delivery. Julane is now very active in dementia advocacy and serving people living with rare dementias and their carers. Julane met her husband Jeff four decades ago while both were travelling in Europe. Jeff was an international commercial pilot who Julane was able to join on many trips, exploring the wonders of the world together. Sadly, when Jeff retired at age 65 his health deteriorated rapidly, two years later a diagnosis of bvFTD rocked all retirement plans. Julane experienced first-hand the difficulties of the unknown that is dementia. Diagnosis was slow and required constant advocacy to get the necessary tests required for answers. Legal problems became a daily occurrence, the most significant being the fight to get Jeff home to live out his days surrounded by his family. Julane responded by returning to university and obtaining an Honours Law degree, where she hopes to advocate for other families on the dementia journey.

Concurrent speakers

Kyobe Allan

Founder and Team Leader
My Grand Paa-maa Uganda (Age Unheard) (Uganda)

Kyobe Allan is the founder of My Grand Paa-Maa Uganda (Age Unheard), an NGO that advocates for the rights and wellbeing of older persons and bridges the gap between generations. When older people face challenges, Age Unheard swings into action. Allan is a human rights activist and advocate. He has over time found answers to the unanswered questions about Alzheimer's disease and dementia in Uganda and Africa through his organization Age Unheard.

Hayley Antipas

Graduate Researcher/Director
University Of Melbourne / Attuned Health Group (Australia)

Hayley Antipas is an experienced music therapist, music and wellbeing consultant, public speaker, and PhD researcher with the University of Melbourne. Her PhD research examines the effect of music therapy skill sharing interventions on the residential aged care workforce who support people living with dementia. Hayley has presented on this topic at national and international conferences and is a leader in the field.

Dr Poki'i Balaz

Researcher
University Of Oregon And Kula (United States)

Dr. Kealohaku’ualohaku’upoki’i (Poki’i) Balaz is a dedicated public health executive leader focused on healthcare policies and systems change, particularly for underserved and aging populations. With extensive experience as a geriatric nurse practitioner and caregiver, she advocates for culturally sensitive approaches to caregiving and resource optimization. Dr. Balaz's expertise spans clinical practice, leadership and consulting, where she addresses critical healthcare issues and inefficiencies tailored to organizational needs. Her advocacy extends to national platforms, contributing to the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council and Policy Advisory Board for Elderly Affairs, where she influences legislation protecting aging residents. Recognized for her contributions, Dr. Balaz has received awards such as the Alzheimer Association’s Advocate of the Year and been honoured by various organizations. She holds double board certification as a family nurse practitioner, a Doctorate in Nursing Practice, and an Executive MBA, all from the University of Hawai'i. As a board member of the Alzheimer's Association Leadership Board and a participant in the Obama Foundation Scholars Program, she continues to drive impactful change in healthcare and advocacy.

Elizabeth Baxter

Dementia Services Specialist
VMCH (Australia)

Elizabeth is a dementia services specialist overseeing projects and staff training across residential, community and disability care at VMCH. She is passionate about raising awareness of and implementing best-practice dementia care across all settings.

Janet Bennett

Cognitive Clinical Nurse Consultant
Eastern Health (Australia)

Janet Bennett is a cognitive clinical nurse consultant with extensive experience in supporting people living with dementia and their carers. She provides post-diagnostic support, education and behavioural management strategies, as well as linking the people in her care into relevant community services. Janet has been nursing for over 25 years, has an Associate Degree in Dementia Care and is undertaking her Masters in Advanced Clinical Nursing Nurse Practitioner, with a focus on gerontology. She has worked as an accredited dementia consultant across Australia works as a clinical nurse consultant in residential aged care.

Leah Bisiani

Dementia Specialist
Twilight Aged Care (Australia)

Leah Bisiani is registered nurse and dementia consultant with 35 years' experience in aged and dementia care and a Master of Health Science. The person-centred frameworks designed by Leah won the 2010/11 Lend Lease Australian and Global awards for Excellence in Innovation. As her proficiency and reputation as an innovator expanded, Leah commenced working in the fields of consulting, clinical advisory, research, and education. Her life’s work and vision is to transform cultures of care, providing a powerful voice to challenge current practice, and forging approaches that uphold the human rights of all people with dementia and facilitate the continuation of life based on recognition of self and individual uniqueness. “Be the Change You Want to See in the World”. (Ghandi).

James Boag

Retired
(Australia)

James Boag is a retired accountant who took an interest in dementia when his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's with a view to knowing as much as her carers when she eventually went into care. Having started with UTA's MOOC 'Understanding Dementia' he went on to complete the Bachelor of Dementia degree in 2022 and is currently working towards a Master of Dementia degree. James has had extensive experience speaking with other carers to discuss their needs and problems. In his spare time he paints to amuse himself and listens to music.

Kellie Bradley

Clinical Nurse Consultant Palliative Aged Care
Palliative Care South East (Australia)

Kellie Bradley is a nurse consultant in palliative and aged care with over twenty years of palliative care experience. She provides specialist palliative care to people living in residential aged care who have a life limiting illness. Kellie has post graduate qualifications in Palliative Care and Palliative Aged Care and is currently studying a Masters of Nurse Practitioner, enhancing her commitment to providing palliative care in residential aged care settings.

Dr Ruth Brookman

Research Fellow
MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University (Australia)

Dr Ruth Brookman researches at the MARCS Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University. She also teaches in the School of Psychology. Ruth originally worked as a speech pathologist and retrained in clinical psychology, graduating with a combined PhD/MClinPsy in 2021. She was subsequently awarded a competitive research fellowship in healthy aging: caregiving and mental health. Her work includes programs to enhance interactions between care staff and aged care residents. She is also examining how engagement practitioners use linguistic and non-linguistic techniques to facilitate relationship-building and meaningful interactions with aged care residents, including those with dementia.

Prof Dympna Casey

Established Professor and Head of Nursing and Midwifery
University of Galway (Ireland)

Dympna Casey has experience of leading collaborative national and international research projects and has been awarded more than €12 M in research funding.

Prudence Chan

Clinical Director
Pacific Rehab Group (Singapore)

Prudence Chan is the clinical director, consultant occupational therapist and dementia care specialist of Pacific Rehab Group. She is engaged as the visiting dementia care consultant of Lions Home for the Elders to support its development of the SMART Ward and Innovation Workgroup focused on the adoption of AI technology, specifically humanoid, social robots, robotic pets and virtual reality (VR). Prudence is a key opinion leader and mentor for dementia in the digital space. She is also engaged as a researcher and subject matter expert in dementia by the National University of Singapore.

A/Prof Hui Chen (Rita) Chang

Associate Professor
Western Sydney University (Australia)

Dr Rita Chang, with two decades of expertise in aging and dementia research, earned her PhD from the University of Sydney in 2010. As an Associate Professor at Western Sydney University, she's received multiple awards for her teaching and research, notably the University VC's OCTAL Awards and Vice-Chancellor’s award for Emerging Researcher in Research Supervision. Dr Chang leads projects on feeding difficulties and dementia care, publishing extensively and supervising research students. Her work, recognised globally, influences aged care policies and practices in Australia and beyond. An active researcher, Dr Chang’s contributions are pivotal to advancing dementia care and policy development.

Pelden Chejor

PhD Student
Edith Cowan University (Australia)

Pelden Chejor is a PhD student with the Centre for Research in Aged Care in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. He is a pharmacist by training and has a Master of Public Health from Edith Cowan University. He is interested in studying the dementia care experiences of ageing culturally and linguistically diverse people and the impact of culture and language in the provision of dementia care.

Shih-Wei Chen

Graduate Student
National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan)

Shih-Wei Chen is currently a graduate student in the Master's class of the Taiwan Institute of Language Research and Teaching at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. He is an Amis from the Austronesian language groups in Taiwan. His Amis name is Falas.

Katrina Crump

Practice Specialist - Dementia and Behaviour Support
Uniting NSW/ACT (Australia)

Katrina is a highly experienced and driven advance practice nurse with a passion for improving the quality of care for people living with dementia. Throughout her career she has worked with a variety of small and large aged care providers at both local and national levels, gaining extensive knowledge, understanding and expertise across clinical care and governance. With postgraduate qualifications in both aged care nursing and person-centred dementia care, Katrina is a current nurse practitioner student specialising in dementia care and gerontology, showcasing her dedication to further advance understanding and support practice in these areas.

Dr Kathleen Doherty

Senior Lecturer
Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre (Australia)

Kathleen Doherty is the project lead for the Dementia Respite Education and Mentoring (DREAM) project. A senior lecturer at the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, Kathleen Coordinates the Master of Dementia program and most recently led development of Equip Aged Care Learning, free online education for the aged care workforce. Her research interests include building dementia literacy through education.

Dr Jac Fennell

Senior Lecturer
University of the West of England (United Kingdom)

Jac is a senior lecturer at UWE Bristol and managing director of HUG by LAUGH. She is passionate about research that helps to design a better world for people and co-designs sensory products to positively benefit people's wellbeing. One product, HUG, that she developed with colleagues at Cardiff Met University, in collaboration with the NHS, care homes, charities and people living with dementia, has been evaluated with great success showing it has significant impact on a person’s wellbeing. In partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, it is sold across the world through the HUG by LAUGH spin-out, bringing comfort and joy to thousands of people.

A/Prof Celia Harris

Associate Professor
Western Sydney University (Australia)

Celia Harris is a cognitive scientist at Western Sydney University. Her research focuses on understanding how cognition interacts with the environment, and how we can design environments to support cognition and wellbeing for older people.

Gail Hilton

Head of Strategy
Childhood Dementia Initiative (Australia)

With a masters degree in development studies and undergraduate degree in biology, Gail has more than 15 years of experience in managing projects and delivering services within the paediatric, adolescent and young adult health sector. After many years in the oncology space, Gail has been involved with childhood dementia as a health issue for 5 years. Gail is responsible for all connections with families and health and social care professionals and is leading a number of projects to build the evidence base around the needs of families impacted by childhood dementia across Australia in order to drive improvements in care.

Helen Hislop

Dementia Framework Implementation Lead
Sydney Local Health District (Australia)

Helen Hislop - BAppSci (Physiotherapy), MAppSci (Physiotherapy) - has worked in and managed aged health community services in Sydney Local Health District for ten years, across a broad range of Commonwealth funded programs. This aged health experience, combined with caring for her father with Parkinson's disease dementia, has led to a keen interest in dementia care and ensuring people living with dementia and their families are at the fore. Beginning in 2024, Helen has led the implementation of the Sydney Local Health District Dementia Active Health Care Framework and Roadmap 2024-2030.

Jung-Chun Hsu

PhD Student
National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan)

Mr. Jung-Chun Hsu is currently the principal of Jiaxing Elementary School in Hsinchu County. He is also a PhD student in the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Languages and Language Teaching at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. He is an Atayal from the Austronesian language group in Taiwan, and his Atayal name is Makus Suyan.

Dr Paul Jansons

Research Fellow
Deakin University (Australia)

Dr Jansons is an exercise physiologist and research fellow at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University. He also holds an honorary appointment with the Bone and Muscle Research Group, within the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University. His clinical and research expertise focuses on co-designing home-based personalised reablement strategy programs delivered via Digital Voice Assistants in adults aged 60 years and over with mild cognitive impairment and/or dementia.

Harpreet Kalsi-Smith

Senior Project Manager
Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (Australia)

Harpreet Kalsi-Smith brings 20 years of experience specialising in health and wellbeing, driving innovation and change. She has been working alongside KBHAC for the past 5 years. Her own lived experience has driven her to work for better care for all approaching end of life. Harpreet founded the Kindness Company in 2023, she is Board Director of Compassionate Communities Australia, holds a Masters in Conflict Resolution, is a consumer advocate, integral sound healer, reiki master, trauma informed practitioner and end of life doula.

Jillian Kidd

Team Leader NSW Nightingale Program
Dementia Australia (Australia)

Jillian Kidd is Team Lead for the NSW Nightingale Program. She joined Dementia Australia in September 2023. Jillian continues in her 25 plus years in the aged care sector to advocate for improved recognition and care for the rights and needs of people living with dementia. Working with a range of aged care services across governance and risk, education, care consultancy and compliance has provided unique opportunities to collaborate, connect and build capability with clients, carers and staff, informing the development of local policy, procedure and education.

Dr Wei Qi Koh

Lecturer in Occupational Therapy
University of Queensland (Australia)

Dr Wei Qi Koh is a lecturer in occupational therapy at the University of Queensland. She is also an occupational therapy clinician, and has worked with older adults across different life trajectories. Her research interests are in implementation research, assistive technology, aged care, care of older people, and people living with dementia

Lisa Leach

Nurse Unit Manager
Bindaree Retirement Centre, Mansfield District Health (Australia)

Lisa Leach is the Nurse Unit Manager of Bindaree Retirement Centre, one of Mansfield District Health's residential aged care facilities in the Victorian High Country. Lisa is passionate about residents' quality of life and creating meaningful engagement. Without meaningful engagement in our aged care facilities, Lisa says, "life would be like a constant long haul flight, the only demarcation would be the meals!". Lisa completed her nurse training in the UK and previous experiences include district nursing and school nursing. Lisa's interest and passion for aged care grew when her own grandmother at 92 years old entered aged care.

Sharon Leadbetter

Workplace Mental Health Specialist
(New Zealand)

Sharon Leadbetter is a member of a volunteer Daughters and Sons Dementia Carers group based in Sydney. She has been a carer for both of her parents with different health conditions, including one with dementia for 12 years. Sharon has an MA in Psychology and Certificate in Health Promotion and currently works as a workplace mental health and wellbeing specialist. She has worked in the public health and health promotion sectors in New Zealand, England and Australia and has co-chaired conferences and facilitated events.

Dr Ruby Lipson-Smith

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Western Sydney University (Australia)

Ruby Lipson-Smith is a healthcare researcher with a particular interest in co-design and engaging with people with lived experience. Her research investigates how healthcare environments, programs, and technologies are designed and used, and their impact on users.

Olivia Maurice

PhD Student, Research Assistant
MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University (Australia)

Olivia's research investigates the effects of language experience and stimulus modality (auditory vs visuospatial processing) on domain-specific executive functioning in older adults. She is broadly interested in understanding the brain mechanisms driving multilingual advantages on memory, attention and inhibition.

Dr Isabelle Meyer

Executive Director
Dementia Training Australia (Australia)

Isabelle Meyer joined Dementia Training Australia as Executive Director in February 2023. She has extensive experience as a Senior Executive managing service delivery in Health and Education sectors. Isabelle strives to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia and the staff who support them. Among Isabelle's transition and service reform initiatives are emergency patient transport, indigenous health, palliative and residential care, NDIS, and community aged care. Former roles include Deputy Chief Procurement Officer, NSW Health; CEO, Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries NSW; Chief of Staff, Senior Advisor, and Director of Social Policy, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Dr Bronwyn Morkham

National Director
Young People In Nursing Homes National Alliance (Australia)

An experienced individual and systemic advocate, Dr Bronwyn Morkham has worked with state and federal governments in health and disability systems policy and improvement, particularly around the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s interactions with other service systems such as health and aged care. Bronwyn has served on a number of state and federal advisory bodies and is presently working on the Alliance’s Joint Solutions Project to identify a system of care for people living with young onset dementia in Australia and a roadmap of services responsible for delivering that care.

Naomi Moylan

Younger Onset Dementia Program Coordinator
Brightwater Care Group (Australia)

Naomi Moylan is an occupational therapist (OT) who has specialised in working with people living with dementia and their care partners. Naomi is currently working as a younger onset dementia (YOD) project coordinator to develop YOD-specific services including reablement-focussed multidisciplinary services in the community and permanent care options. Prior to this role Naomi worked as an OT in residential care, community, tutoring and community development work. Naomi is a member of the OT Australia Aged Care National Reference Group and has recently joined the Australian Dementia Network YOD Special Interest Group Executive.

Nicoline Mundey

Dementia Care and Training Manager
Rembrandt Living (Australia)

Nicoline is a dementia care and training manager in a small not-for-profit aged care provider, driven to deliver high quality and down to earth services to residents and clients. She has worked in aged care for over 30 years with experience across all roles (including care working) both in Australia and in The Netherlands (where she was born and lived until her late 30s). Nicoline is particularly passionate about bringing a positive approach to dementia care to Australia and is a qualified trainer/consultant /champion teacher and Mentor with Teepa Snow.

Dr Purity Mwendwa

Research Fellow
Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (Ireland)

Dr Purity Mwendwa is a DOROTHY/Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience in Dublin, Ireland, a Visiting Fellow at the University of Greenwich in the UK and a Fulbright Scholar. Her project ENGAGE (dEvelopiNG A neiGhbourhood model for dEmentia) explores how people with dementia living in rural Kenya can be supported to continue living well in their communities. ENGAGE is co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).

Kate Noble

Intergration and Priority Populations Coordinator
South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (Australia)

Kate is a qualified recreational therapist who has worked in various health fields over the past 20+ years. She is currently working at the SWSPHN on the Peace of Mind project which highlights the impact dementia has on people living in South Western Sydney. As part of the project the SWSPHN has undertaken numerous programs to support people living with dementia and their journey. Kate holds a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, Bachelor of Applied Science (Diversional Therapy) and an Undergraduate Certificate in Health Service Management (Dean’s List). She is currently studying her Master of Dementia at the University of Tasmania

Olivia Paulik

Aged Care Clinical Nurse Consultant
St George Hospital (Australia)

Olivia Paulik is a clinical nurse consultant in aged care currently working at St George Hospital as a clinician, as well as with the Stage 3 Redevelopment Team. Olivia has extensive experience in aged care, as well as previous experience working in community nursing, ambulatory care, and orthopaedics. Olivia holds a Master in Education – Adult Education (UTS). Olivia has experience in the conduct of research, including study design, systematic review, data collection and analysis, and publication of research findings.

Emma Payne

Founder
The Daisie Chain (Australia)

Falling in love with the Latin rhythms and freedom experienced with Zumba, Emma became a qualified instructor, teaching, mentoring, running masterclasses and training international guests. Over time, Emma realised the power music and movement has to: Connect without words. Express oneself. Bring back memories. Uplift and support emotional and physical wellbeing. A power that everybody deserves to experience. With this came Emma’s purpose to inspire joy through music, movement and entertainment in aged care. And so The Daisie Chain was born. Connecting performers & instructors to share in the power of music and movement with our community.

Megan van Genderen

Nutrition and Wellness Lead
Group Homes Australia (Australia)

Megan is a clinical nutritionist and former carer of a person living with dementia. Her passion for elevating food enjoyment and wellbeing through food related engagement, personalised meals and nutritionally fortified food creates positive health outcomes both clinically and psycho-emotionally for people living with dementia.

Monique Pockran

Founder
Dahlia Dementia Guidance & Support (Australia)

Monique founded Dahlia Dementia Guidance and Support in 2023 to positively impact those impacted by and living with dementia. Drawing from lived experience, she navigates aged care complexities, aspiring to offer a more compassionate, informed, and inclusive approach, prioritizing holistic well-being for individuals, families, caregivers, and communities. Other positions Monique currently holds Community Home Australia - Board Member The Lantern Alliance - Leadership Team The Association of Age Services Professionals (AASP)- Committee Member Wentwest - Clinical Consumer Council for the Western Sydney PHN – Consumer Representative Westerns Sydney Local Health District – Consumer Representative

Dr Linda Schnitker

Conjoint Research Fellow
Bolton Clarke- QUT (Australia)

Linda is a conjoint Research Fellow between the Bolton Clarke Research Institute and Queensland University of Technology School of Nursing. Linda is a nurse researcher and designs and implements scientific studies that focus on improving the care of older people in residential aged care, including those who live with cognitive impairment and dementia, with a strong emphasis on implementation and sustainability of those changes in practice.

Dr Debra Scott

Executive Medical Officer and Patient and Palliative Care Advisor
CJD Support Group Network Australia (Australia)

After completing a Science Degree at Macquarie University and then an MBBS through the University of Sydney, Debra obtained dual specialty qualifications –completing a fellowship in both General Practice (FRACGP) and in Palliative Care (FAChPM). While a GP registrar, she cared for a patient with CJD from initial symptoms through to end-of-life care in the community and became passionate about advocating for the unique care needs of prion disease patients and their families. In 2023, she became the executive medical officer to the CJDSGN Australia; as well as a member of the friends and advisory group to the CJDISA. (voluntary roles)

Dr Louisa Smith

Senior Lecturer, Disability and Inclusion
Deakin University (Australia)

Louisa (she/her) is a qualitative social researcher in disability, dementia and complex support needs. Louisa has a particular interest in research that actively develops supports for those who are most socially isolated, including people with disabilities and/or dementia who experience gender and sexuality diversity, live in large residential accommodation or are from refugee backgrounds. Louisa leads a 4 hear MRFF grant developing models of care for LGBT+ people living with dementia. An example of such work with people with dementia is documented in this short video.

Dr Charlotte Stephens

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Spartanburg Regional Hospital, South Carolina (United States)

Dr Stephens is a board-certified family nurse practitioner and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. She is an Associate Professor in the Hunt School of Nursing Graduate Nursing Program for Gardner-Webb University and maintains an outpatient psychiatric practice specializing in geriatrics. Her nursing career began in the 1980's. She brings to nursing a rich history of bed side and community health nursing. She laughs and explains she has added a new academic degree every decade. She will always be a life long learner. She speaks on the topic to dementia and family care from her lived experience.

Lisa Twigg

Daughter, Family Carer
(Australia)

Lisa is an independent social worker, however, it is from the perspective of being a daughter that she published a book about her family's dementia experience, entitled Eighty Years Without Dementia. Diagnosis Doesn't Define Life. Since her dad's peaceful death at home in 2023, Lisa has become passionate about sharing not only her family's dementia story, but also their end-of-life story. Her motivation stems from a desire to a) create a legacy for her beloved dad, b) educate the wider community about compassionate dementia and care and palliative choices.

Teresa Walker-Hassett

Registered Nurse, Family Carer
(Australia)

Teresa has a varied background in healthcare, as a registered nurse working in the community sector and later as clinical care co-ordinator. Teresa has taught nursing students and supported health workers through their learning journeys to effectively care for a wide variety of patients, from acute injury, chronic illness and palliative care. Teresa most particularly took interest in cultural competency in nursing, helping nurses demonstrate their best qualities in nursing. Teresa is also a mother, sister and a daughter, and travels with her mother through her cognitive change journey.

Millie Lupton

Architect
Bickerton Masters (Australia)

Millie is a Registered Architect, working within the Seniors Living Sector at Bickerton Masters. Millie is passionate about creating supportive environments that reflect best-practice design for all stages of life. This is reflected in the considered planning of her projects, which provide residents with home environments that enable the option to age in place. She enjoys the challenge of finding the balance required between creativity and practicality in developing aesthetically pleasing and functional design outcomes for seniors’ accommodation. Millie has played a role in the design and delivery of a number of significant seniors living projects across integrated aged care and seniors living sites and land lease developments. Most recently, she has been involved in HammondCare’s ‘Wahroonga’, Wesley Mission Queensland’s ‘Rosemount Retirement Community’, Crowley Care’s ‘Florence Price Place Apartments’ and Latitude 25’s ‘RV Lifestyle Village’.

Kelli Potts

Executive Manager of Operations and Finance
Crowley Care, Ballina (Australia)

Kelli Potts is a dedicated professional who holds a Masters of Business Administration and is the Executive Manager of Operations and Finance at Crowley Care, Ballina. Since joining Crowley Care, Kelli has a played pivotal role in the development of the site from a traditional retirement village to a dynamic full service aged care provider. Kelli has a special interest in the impact of design and living environments on individuals and communities, particularly for creating dementia friendly spaces. She inspires peoples well-being through fostering connections and engagement at all stages of life. Kelli brings her expert executive management skills, including organizational governance, to the Dementia Inclusive Ballina Alliance (DIBA). Kelli is instrumental in supporting DIBA with innovative solutions and fresh approaches to support people with dementia in the broader community.

Natasha Chadwick

Founder and Managing Director
NewDirection Care (Australia)

Natasha Chadwick is the founder and managing director of NewDirection Care, an innovative, privately-owned organisation that has created the world’s first inclusive MICRO TOWN® aged care community. A pioneer in the Australian aged care industry, Natasha is passionate about changing the way we care for our elderly members of society and those living with dementia, including younger onset dementia. This desire took her on a mission to invent an alternative to traditional institutional settings to provide an innovative change to residential care. Her commitment to innovating and rewriting Australia's aged care as we know it has been recognised with numerous awards, including the innovAGEING – Aged Services Innovator of the Year 2021 and the prestigious 2019 Australian Business Women of the Year at the Telstra Business Women Awards.

Sara McCunnie

Senior Architect
Ryman Healthcare (New Zealand)

Sara McCunnie is a Senior Architect, specialising in aged-care design in both NZ and Australia. She is interested in how aged-care typologies will adapt to support human rights in the context of demographic challenges. Her architecture practice involves testing empirical design research in real-world settings using tools such as clinical data to measure the success of design interventions. As a member of the Dementia Alliance International: Environmental Design Special Interest Group, she is dedicated to promoting design that respects the dignity, autonomy, independence and equality of opportunity of people living with dementia

Sharron Tancred

Founder and CEO
Tailored Artworks Pty Ltd (Australia)

Sharron Tancred MIDA is a pioneer in applying art for therapeutic purposes in healthcare. For nearly two decades she has assessed, remediated and created dementia-friendly environments through science-driven designed art. Sharron collaborates with governments, universities, and providers across Australia like Regis, Blue Care, Australian Unity, and Arcare. She is renowned for her global perspective, meticulous research, and ability to identify challenges, delve into scientific inquiry, and craft innovative artistic solutions that facilitate improved health outcomes. With a commitment to innovation and a passion for transformative impact, she continues to shape the landscape of healthcare through her evidence-based art practice.

Conny Schneider

Retired Researcher
Eastern Health (Australia)

Conny is retired research consultant for the Neuroscience Department at Eastern Health. She is also a retired clinical Social Worker and has worked in acute and subacute hospital care. She has extensive experience in the field of neurology, dementia care and palliative care. Conny has completed a Master of Social Work, Applied Master of Gerontology, and a qualification in Clinical Neuroscience research. Conny’s past academic experience includes lecturing postgraduate Gerontology students as well as Social Work students on field placements. Most of Conny’s research has been in the field of social work and as leading investigator in integrated health care for people with Younger Onset Dementia as well as evaluation and management of behavioural symptoms of dementia in transition care. Her current research focuses on identifying barriers and challenges in service delivery post diagnosis for people with Younger Onset Dementia.

Prof Cathy Treadaway

Professor Emerita
Cardiff Metropolitan University (United Kingdom)

Cathy is Professor Emerita at Cardiff Metropolitan University and was the Principal Investigator of LAUGH and LAUGH EMPOWERED PSCI research projects that developed the HUG product. She is a designer with many years experience of designing products for industry around the world and is considered to be an expert in design for dementia care. Through her work she pioneered Compassionate Design, which is an approach that places loving kindness at the heart of the design process and seeks to focus the designer’s attention on the person living with dementia, their senses, and how they connect with others and the world around them.

Karn Nelson

Executive General Manager - Research and Positive Ageing
The Whiddon Group (Australia)

Karn Nelson is executive general manager, research and positive ageing, for The Whiddon Group, with experience as a consultant in strategic marketing and innovation across many sectors including health and wellness, retail, professional services and government. Karn is responsible for Whiddon’s research and innovation programs, particularly, innovation in the wellbeing space and improving quality of life for older people. Karn is responsible for the development of Whiddon’s MyLife relationship based care model, which was one of the 3 inaugural winners of the Aged Care Quality Agency’s National Excellence awards as well as several other award winning and evidence-based wellbeing programs.

Dr Tiffany McComsey

CEO
Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (Australia)

Tiffany is CEO of Stolen Generations Survivor Led organisation - Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation where she has worked for the past 12 years. She has spent close to two decades working and advocating with Aboriginal community members and organisations in inner city Sydney. Tiffany has a PhD in Social Anthropology and was the inaugural coordinator of Just Reinvest NSW. She is a passionate community advocate and is a member of the Executive Committee of Just Reinvest NSW.

Joanne Roseman

Clinical Nurse Consultant
Dementia Australia (Australia)

Joanne Roseman is a registered nurse with over 40 years of clinical experience ranging from children to the aged. She has provided palliative and end of life care across the age spectrum, in both acute and community services. Her passion for supporting people living and dying with dementia, and their carers, stems from caring for her father who died from the disease in 2018. Joanne was thrilled to join Dementia Australia as part of the Nightingale team in May of this year

Bronwyn Arthur

Improvement Facilitator
University of Wollongong (Australia)

Bronwyn Arthur joined PACOP as an improvement facilitator in March 2022. She is a registered nurse and holds a Master’s Degree in Palliative Care in Aged Care, and has worked in various roles and settings in her career. She is passionate about building staff capacity and knowledge in the management and care of this group of people and their families, and is an avid advocate for people living with advanced dementia who are approaching end of life. PACOP has provided Bronwyn with the ability to do the work that she most cares about, and to collaborate with organisations like Dementia Australia.

Mike Godfrey

Business and Training Consultant
(Australia)

Mike Godfrey is a member of a volunteer Daughters and Sons Dementia Carers group based in Sydney. He joined the group when his dad was placed into care with dementia at the age of 98, which progressed until his death at 101. Mike was the primary carer for his dad for seven years. Mike has a BA in Psychology and 50+ years in the corporate world, including running his own business and training consultancy for over 30 years in Australia, NZ and the Asia-Pacific region.

Bobby Redman

Dementia Advocate
Dementia Australia (Australia)

At the age of 67, psychologist Bobby Redman was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Now retired, Bobby has committed herself to dementia advocacy and is passionate about using her experience to improve the future for people living with dementia. Her clinical background has equipped her with knowledge and skills that have shaped her advocacy and vision for access to interventions that keep people with dementia functioning for longer.

Mili Dhir

Senior Physiotherapist
Cabrini Residential Aged Care (Australia)

Mili is a Senior Physiotherapist based at Bolton Clarke’ s Cabrini Residential Aged Care home in Sydney. She is dedicated to evidence-based practice, providing tailored physiotherapy treatments aligning with Bolton Clarke's commitment to high standards. She is actively involved with the Cabrini team to ensure a safe work environment and the appropriate use of equipment. She has excelled in fostering community engagement and upholding clinical excellence. Through targeted educational training sessions on Dementia, Managing Sleep and Fatigue, Master Your Mind, CPR and Defibrillation Basics and Falls Prevention at diverse community centres, she supports clients, volunteers, and community workers to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults.

Kirsty Ghali

Experience Solutions Lead
Group Homes Australia (Australia)

Kirsty Ghali is a change and project manager, currently the experience solutions lead at GHA implementing a Food and Mood Project. She holds a Bachelor of Science Psychology degree with extensive experience working with organisations through change, analysing and implementing new processes and procedures and implementing IT systems with a strong focus on cultural change linking people with systems. Kirsty has experience working in aged care, corporate and charity organisations. Well-versed in analysing, organizing, process improvement, cultural management and communication ensuring all stakeholders are included in the journey of change.

Dr Margaret Pozzebon

Speech pathologist
Age Right Speech Pathology (Australia)

Dr Margaret Pozzebon is a speech pathologist with extensive experience in the clinical evaluation and management of adults with younger onset dementia diagnosed with language onset dementia conditions, such as primary progressive aphasia, behavioural variant Frontotemporal dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease. She has worked and supported clients and their families from early diagnosis through to the advanced phases of their illness. Margaret’s interest in understanding the specific needs of people living with complex and atypical forms of dementia led her to pursue a PhD in the lived experience of primary progressive aphasia. She is passionate about helping people with younger onset dementia to live their best life despite the illness challenges.

Alan Blackwood

Policy Director
Young People in Nursing Homes National Alliance (Australia)

Alan has worked across rehabilitation, no fault insurance schemes, advocacy, policy and peer networks. He has served on advisory and reference groups and has been involved in numerous campaigns in the disability and health sectors. Alan has also provided direct advocacy assistance to individuals and families and has extensive networks across the health, disability and housing sectors.

Bill Yeates

Lived Experience Associate Consultant
Dementia Support Australia (Australia)

After graduating from Pharmacy, Bill entered the field of education where he was a school administrator and taught senior physics and chemistry for over 35 years. In August 2019, at the age of 59, he was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease. Bill has a keen interest in learning how to best manage his diagnosis on a daily basis and has created his own website where he enjoys helping and showing others how it is possible to still lead a better life. Besides being a volunteer surf lifesaver, Bill competes in masters swimming, finswimming, pool rescue and surf lifesaving championships, at a local, state, national and international level. In August last year, Bill travelled to Fiji and participated in his first ever ocean swim. Currently, Bill is a member of Dementia Australia's Advocate Program and has been Vice Chair of Dementia Alliance International for the past two years. He is also a member of the World Health Organisation GDO KE Focus Group, member of the Global Review Panel for ADI Accreditation of dementia care and a member of the Public Involvement Panel for StepUp. Recently, Bill accepted the position of Living Experience Associate Consultant with Dementia Support Australia. In the last few years, Bill has started to share his experiences at national and international conferences as a way of raising awareness about dementia, focussing mainly on post-diagnostic care and support via his holistic approach to life and the development of reablement plans. His goal here is to show by example that it is still possible to live a rewarding and fulfilling life.

Julane Bowen

Dementia and Mental Health Law Advocate
(Australia)

Julane has over 30 years public sector experience, mainly with various NSW agencies and not for profits. Julane has held senior roles in policy development and implementation, organisational design and capability, corporate services, and operational service delivery. Julane is now very active in dementia advocacy and serving people living with rare dementias and their carers. Julane met her husband Jeff four decades ago while both were travelling in Europe. Jeff was an international commercial pilot who Julane was able to join on many trips, exploring the wonders of the world together. Sadly, when Jeff retired at age 65 his health deteriorated rapidly, two years later a diagnosis of bvFTD rocked all retirement plans. Julane experienced first-hand the difficulties of the unknown that is dementia. Diagnosis was slow and required constant advocacy to get the necessary tests required for answers. Legal problems became a daily occurrence, the most significant being the fight to get Jeff home to live out his days surrounded by his family. Julane responded by returning to university and obtaining an Honours Law degree, where she hopes to advocate for other families on the dementia journey.

Dr Elissa Pasula

Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist
Neuropsychology Melbourne (Australia)

Dr Elissa Pasula is a Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist at Neuropsychology Melbourne. Her expertise is in the assessment and diagnosis of rare dementias, particularly frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Elissa has facilitated FTD carer support groups over a number of years. She has provided education to medical and allied health professionals in the public health system on the complexities of diagnosing rare dementias and the importance of post-diagnostic support.

Nan Yu

Founder and CEO
My Dementia Companion (Australia)

Nan Yu is the founder and CEO of My Dementia Companion, and is a passionate advocate for improving dementia care.  He generously contributes to the sector through various pro bono work at both the frontline and management level, and is also a Board Director at Care Connect and Caladenia Dementia Care. In addition to his commitments for dementia and aged care, Nan currently leads Commercial Excellence for a global pharmaceutical company's Australian and New Zealand operation. Prior, Nan was a management consultant and clinical pharmacist within the public health system. He holds a double degree in Pharmacy (H1 Honour) and Commerce from Monash University.

Sarah Yeates

CEO
Caladenia Dementia Care (Australia)

Sarah Yeates has been the CEO of Caladenia Dementia Care for the last 23 years. Caladenia provides services and supports for people living with dementia of any age and any stage, and has been operating since 1983 in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Sarah has a passion for improving the lives of people living with dementia, and co-chairs the Eastern Dementia Network, and the Dementia Knowledge Network. Sarah volunteered for six years as Secretary for the Dementia Alliance International, and is President of her local community house.

Dr Shahinoor Akter

Research Fellow
John Richards Centre for Rural Ageing Research, La Trobe University (Australia)

Shahinoor Akter is a Research Fellow at the John Richards Centre for Rural Ageing Research at La Trobe University, where she is coordinating and managing the GreenConnect Dementia Respite program. Shahinoor received her PhD in Public Health and Behavioural Science from the University of Newcastle. Shahinoor is an experienced researcher in global health, health equity, and Indigenous health. With a multidisciplinary background in anthropology, behavioural science, and public health, she possesses extensive expertise in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method research approaches. She has coordinated and led several complex research projects in resource-poor settings in Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Graeme Fleming

Living With Dementia
(Australia)

Graeme, a retired Production Manager with Hydro Tasmania, was diagnosed with younger onset dementia three years ago at 63 years of age, and is used to the shock reactions he receives when people learn that he is living with dementia. He noticed things were not right with his memory and was losing things and not knowing where they were. Graeme enjoys golfing, pottering around in the garden, taking trips around Tasmania with his wife Amanda, spending time with his children and grandchildren, or the newest edition to their family, their dog Ruby.

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