The CRE Frailty and Healthy Ageing is a global team of collaborators from a wide variety of the fields including geriatrics, general practice, orthopaedic surgery, rehabilitation medicine, nursing, geriatric pharmacotherapy, gero-kinesiology, health economics, knowledge translation and geography.

  • Chief investigators

    Professor Renuka Visvanathan

    Geriatric medicine and gerontology

    Professor Renuka Visvanathan is an academic geriatrician with the University of Adelaide, a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Clinical Director of the Aged & Extended Care Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Central Adelaide Local Health Network.She specialises in nutritional frailty research and is interested in preventing the impact of frailty and improving the wellbeing and quality of life for older people. Professor Visvanathan features in a video about her work.

    Professor Jonathan Karnon

    Health economics

    Jon Karnon is Deputy Director of Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute, College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University, South Australia. He has been undertaking applied economic evaluations to inform the value for money of health care technologies and services for over 20 years. He also uses routinely collected health care data to inform improvements in service provision. Jon is President of the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand and has sat on the Economic Sub-Committee of the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Advisory Committee since 2009.

    Professor Alison Kitson

    Nursing and knowledge translation

    Professor Alison Kitson is the inaugural Vice President and Executive Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University, South Australia. Prior to this appointment she was Dean and Head of School at Adelaide Nursing School at the University of Adelaide. She is internationally recognized for her expertise in Knowledge Translation activity relating to better understanding the mechanisms that enable new knowledge such as guidelines or clinical innovations to be introduced into clinical practice.

    Professor Justin Beilby

    General practice and reform

    Professor Justin Beilby is Vice-Chancellor of Torrens University Australia and a qualified practising General Practitioner, board member and leader in primary care/general practice reform in Australia over the past 20 years. He has served as President of the Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand (2011-2013), a clinical lead in the development of Health Workforce Australia’s National Training Plan, which developed a new model for the Australian healthcare system.

    Professor Ian Cameron

    Rehabilitation medicine

    Professor Ian Cameron is a consultant physician in Rehabilitation Medicine and Chair of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Sydney. He has extensive expertise in injury, musculoskeletal injury, catastrophic injury, rehabilitation and disability; specifically disability and health in older people. He is an expert advisor to Government and private sector on injury management, rehabilitation programs, and health services for older people and people with disabilities.

    Professor Simon Bell


    Professor Simon Bell is a NHMRC Dementia Leadership Fellow and Director of the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety at Monash University. His expertise spans pharmacoepidemiology and health services research, with a particular interest in promoting the safe and effective medicines use among older people. Together with international colleagues, has recently established the Optimising Geriatric Pharmacotherapy through Pharmacoepidemiology Network (OPPEN) and Neurodegenerative diseases Global Epidemiology Network (NeuroGEN).

    Associate Professor Mellick Chehade

    Orthopaedic and trauma surgery

    A/Prof Mellick Chehade is an orthopaedic trauma surgeon with an international reputation in musculoskeletal and trauma education, hip fracture care, surgical wound management, and biomechanical research in fracture healing. He is a member of the Global Fragility Fracture Network and Australia and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR) and has a special interest in translation of best evidence into practice through policy.

    Dr Helen Barrie (Feist)

    Demography and human geography

    Dr Helen Barrie is a social gerontologist. Dr Barrie is based in The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise in UniSA Business, Unioversity of South Australia.  Her research examines population change with a research focus on older populations, housing, ageing-in-place and the nexus between living independently, the built environment and access to services and community.

    Emeritus Professor Derek Frewin AO

    Independent chair

    Emeritus Professor Derek Frewin AO is the Independent Chair of the Management Committee of the Centre of Research Excellence in Frailty and Healthy Ageing. He is a Clinical Pharmacologist/Cardiovascular Physician by training and is currently a Senior Consultant Physician at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. His past roles have included those of being Dean of the Adelaide Medical School, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Chair of the Committee of Deans of Australian Medical Schools and a Member of the Australian Medical Council. Emeritus Professor Frewin has had a long-standing commitment to the care of the elderly and the management of cardiovascular problems in this group.

  • Associate investigators

    Professor Matteo Cesari

    Geriatric medicine and gerontology

    Professor Matteo Cesari is Director of the Geriatric Unit at the Fondazione Ca' Granda-Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico (Milan, Italy) and Professor of Geriatrics at the University of Milan (Milan, Italy). His research expertise is in the screening, assessment and management of the frailty condition to prevent the disabling cascade. Prof. Cesari has been serving as consultant to the World Health Organization in the development of recommendations for healthy ageing and integrated care for older people. He is the coordinator of the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society (EUGMS) Special Interest Group on ‘Frailty in older persons’, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Frailty & Ageing, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Gerontology Medical Sciences. He is a member of the International Consensus Committee on Frailty with associate investigators Prof. Morley and Prof. Rockwood. He will actively contribute to the centre for screening pathway research projects.

    Professor John Morley

    Geriatric medicine and gerontology

    Professor John Morley is a geriatrician based at St Louis University (SLU), Missouri, USA. He leads the International Consensus Committee on Frailty which includes associate investigators Prof Cesari and Prof Rockwood. He is Divisional Director of Geriatrics at SLU, which has functioned as a major Geriatrics Center over the last 25 years and he is Editor to the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. Professor Morley will actively contribute to the proposed epidemiology and screening pathway research where he and Prof Visvanathan will be developing a new screening tool for frailty in residential aged care.

    Professor Ken Rockwood

    Geriatric medicine and gerontology

    Professor Kenneth Rockwood is a geriatrician leading the Geriatric Medicine Research Unit (GMR),  Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada with research expertise in clinical and epidemiological frailty. He pioneered the cumulative deficit model of frailty diagnosis and has developed the Clinical Frailty Scale and the Hierarchical Assessment of Balance and Mobility tool which have been widely used by researchers and clinicians globally. He will collaborate with centre researchers in the epidemiology research projects and the provide guidance and mentorship of junior centre researchers.

    Dr Olga Theou

    International gerontology network - Gero-kinesiology

    Dr Olga Theou is a Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity, Mobility, and Healthy Aging and an assistant professor in the School of Physiotherapy and the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has extensive experience in clinical and epidemiological frailty and in mobility/physical activity assessments and prescription, in both community and clinical settings. Dr Theou will collaborate with the CRE researchers in physical activity, mobility and epidemiology research and she will play a pivotal role on the support the mentorship of junior centre researchers.

    Dr Tim Schultz


    Dr Tim Schultz is a research fellow in the Adelaide Nursing School. He is an experienced systematic reviewer and researcher in health services and patient safety. He recently led a stepped wedge randomised controlled trial in a hospital setting evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention to improve nutritional screening and patient care and is coordinating the School’s Higher Degree by Research program. Dr Schultz will co-lead the coordination of the mentorship activities of the centre in collaboration with Dr Yu.

    Associate Professor Solomon Yu

    Geriatric medicine

    Dr Solomon Yu is Deputy Director of the Aged & Extended Care Services (AECS) and a geriatrician with a PhD in the epidemiology of sarcopenia and the development general practice screening tool for sarcopenia. Dr Yu is clinical lead for training within our specialist geriatrics service (AECS). He has served as national training site accreditation lead for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Geriatric Medicine Education and Training Committee, a subcommittee of Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM). More recently, he was invited to join as member of South Australia Medical Education and Training Health Advisory Accreditation Committee. He is currently serving as a councillor for the federal council of ANZSGM and Australia and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research (ANZSSFR). He is currently co-supervising postgraduate students in collaboration with the Chief investigators and co-lead the coordination of the mentorship activities of the centre in collaboration with Dr Schultz.

    Dr Danielle Taylor

    Health geography / Demography

    Dr Danielle Taylor is a health geographer at the University of Adelaide, with experience in the application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for health research. Her research interests include the application of spatial technology to: health inequalities; spatial epidemiology; accessibility analysis; improving strategic service planning and resource allocation. She is the recipient of the 2017 Hospital Research Foundation Mid-Career Fellowship, based at the Basil Hetzel Institute. Her fellowship research seeks to understand the influence of social and environmental factors, in particular local measures of accessibility, as enablers or barriers to healthy ageing and indicators of frailty risk. The research aims to produce valuable geographic information and evidence to inform policy, resource allocation and planning initiative that aim to treat and reverse frailty and support healthy ageing across all Australian regions and communities.

  • Advisory group

    Mr Richard Hearn

    Mr Richard Hearn

    Independent chair

    Richard Hearn is the independent chair of the CRE Advisory Group. He brings an in depth knowledge of aged care sector from his previous work at Resthaven Inc where he was regional director and most recently CEO. He was awarded Aged and Community Services Australia’s SA/NT Distinguished Service Award last year in recognition of his contribution to the sector.

    Ms Jane Mussared - Council of the Ageing, SA

    Chief Executive Officer of Council of the Ageing

    Ms Jane Mussared is the Chief Executive Officer of Council of the Ageing (COTA) South Australia. Jane Mussared is well known as a passionate advocate for thinking differently about what our ageing means - for individuals, for families and for our SA community. She is also a member of national policy committees, such as the National Aged Care Alliance advisory group on Home Care.

    Mr Lui Di Venuto - South Australian Division of the Australian Association of Gerontology

    President of the SA Australian Association of Gerontology

    Mr DiVenuto is the President of the SA Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG), Australia's peak national body linking professionals working across the multidisciplinary fields of ageing, since 1964. AAG has connected professionals with an interest in gerontology to help them collaborate and exchange information on ageing. The AAG's goal is to expand knowledge of ageing in order to improve the experience of ageing.

    Mr Darren Birbeck

    Chief Executive Officer of Resthaven

    Mr Darren Birbeck is the Chief Executive Officer of Resthaven and was appointed 1 June 2020. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration. He is a Fellow of the Certified Practising Accountants Association of Australia and achieved an Order of Merit in the Company Directors Course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Darren has held Board positions with Resthaven Inc. 2016-2018 (Treasurer in 2018), Board Member – Aged & Community Services SA & NT – 2012 to 2015, and ACSA SA & NT Finance Advisory Committee Member – 2005 to 2015 Previously, Darren worked in local government as General Manager of Corporate Services with the City of Charles Sturt, and prior to this was General Manager of Corporate Services with ECH (formerly Elderly Citizens Homes) in South Australia.

    Dr Chris Bollen

    Faculty Board Member of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioner

    Dr Bollen is a Faculty Board Member of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioner. He is currently a member of the Clinical Communications Advisory Group of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. He is a practicing general practitioner at Oakden Medical Centre in Adelaide, South Australia and also Director of BMP Healthcare Consulting. He has a longstanding passion in relation to care for older people and is currently actively involved in frailty research in primary and aged care.

    Mr Peter Tsokas

    Chief Executive Officer, City of Unley

    DPeter Tsokas was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the City of Unley in November 2011. Since then Peter has steered the City of Unley to becoming an Age Friendly City. In 2012 the City of Unley became South Australia’s first member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age Friendly Cities & Communities. In 2013, Peter led his team to form a partnership with the University of South Australia to develop an Active Ageing Strategy which was officially launched in March 2016. The City of Unley’s Active Ageing Strategy aims to ensure a sincere and committed approach as an organisation to planning, developing and implementing policies, programs and services that address the changing needs within the community.

    Ms Sara Blunt

    CEO/National Chair, Kalyra Communities/ ACSA

    Sara is national Chair of Aged and Community Services Australia and CEO of Kalyra Communities. A returned servicewoman, her military and overseas experiences cause her to highly value governance, ensuring a good society. As a result, she has actively contributed to a wide range of Boards and Advisory Committees over her career. Sara has a humanitarian view and is highly focussed on improving the systems, structures and services for older people ensuring wellbeing and quality of life for all those of us with the good fortune to be living longer.

    Ms Cassie Mason

    Director, Office for Ageing Well

    Cassie Mason is the Director of the Office for Ageing Well in SA Health, focused on developing and implementing dynamic and innovative social policies and programs to support older South Australians to age well. She currently has portfolio responsibility for state ageing policy, SA Government aged care strategy, retirement villages, Seniors Card, ageing community grants and South Australia’s new Adult Safeguarding Unit, established under landmark legislation. Office for Ageing Well is also currently leading an Australian-first CCTV pilot project, to explore whether this type of audio-visual surveillance technology has a place in aged care facilities to improve the safety and wellbeing residents.

    Cassie is passionate about raising awareness of issues affecting older people, and working collaboratively with government, non-government and the community to engage people in the decisions that affect them.

  • Research fellows

    Dr Rachel Ambagtsheer

    Research fellow - Frailty, Healthy Ageing, Primary Health Care

    Rachel is an Early Career Researcher currently working with Professor Justin Beilby at Torrens University on the issue of frailty screening within general practice, a project of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence: Frailty Trans-Disciplinary Research To Achieve Healthy Ageing, led by Professor Renuka Visvanathan. Rachel’s key research interest is the health and well-being of older people, with an especial focus on older people’s interactions with health care services and systems.

    Assistant Professor Mandy Archibald

    Research fellow - Knowledge translation

    Assistant Professor Mandy Archibald is an Interdisciplinary Artist and Scientist with the University of Manitoba, and the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM), Canada. Mandy’s research focuses on using arts-based and applied mixed methods to enhance person-cantered research, public engagement with health research, and to improve the communication of research findings within knowledge translation frameworks and chronic illness contexts. As the knowledge translation focused research fellow in the Centre of Research Excellence on Frailty, Mandy has worked with older adults, frail elders, and health care professionals to assess awareness and understandings of frailty, and communicate research findings from the CRE projects using arts-based knowledge translation methods to alter attitudes, knowledge, and behavior from a person-centered perspective.

    Dr Joanne Dollard

    Postdoctoral research fellow - Gerontology and technology

    Dr Joanne Dollard's PhD was in psychology, using a mixed methods approach to examine the common belief held by many community dwelling older people that they have a lower chance of falling than other older people. Jo’s research continues to focus on health related issues for older people. Currently, Jo is coordinating the clinical trial called Ambient Intelligent Geriatric Management (AmbIGeM) system, which aims to prevent falls in hospitalised older people, through the use of wearable technology. She is also investigating sedentary behaviour and strategies to reduce to this in hospitalised older people. Jo is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, based at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research) and in the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Frailty and Healthy Ageing.

    Dr Agathe Daria Jadczak

    Postdoctoral research fellow - Exercise physiology & frailty

    Dr Agathe Daria Jadczak is an exercise physiologist and sports scientist from Germany. She holds a postdoctoral position within the CRE and is currently coordinating the FIRST Study (Frailty In Residential Sector Over Time), a prospective cohort study in cooperation with Resthaven Inc. The study will help to validate a new frailty screening tool for residential aged care and investigate residents’ health over time, associated health outcomes and health care costs. Agathe just finished coordinating the EXPRESS Study (EXercise and PRotein Effectiveness Supplementation Study), a community based intervention study in cooperation with CSIRO. She investigated the feasibility and the effects of exercise in combination with protein supplementation on physical function in frail older adults. The results are currently being analysed. Agathe also continues her research into exercise advice provided by general practitioners and the impact of medical education programs.

    Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza

    Research fellow - Knowledge translation

    Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza holds a PhD from Deakin University. Her research, in the field of health promotion (behaviour and health), investigated consumers’ semiautomatic decision-making, in relation to environmental cues as triggers of unhealthy food selection and consumption. Previously, she completed studies in Mass Communication/Journalism and several postgraduate subjects in Anthropology.

    Her postgraduate experiences involve research projects in the areas of Marketing Science and Consumer Behaviour, as well as scientific journalism. She is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Flinders University (NHMRC CRE in Frailty and Healthy Ageing), around the field of Knowledge Translation (KT). She also collaborates with the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies (APPRISE CRE), the Adelaide BioMed City Partners, Health Consumers Alliance, South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and other entities in relation to consumer's engagement with health research.

    Dr Mark Thompson

    Research fellow - Occupational therapist

    Mark Thompson is an occupational therapist with extensive experience in ageing and rehabilitation. He is a managing director of Inspire Therapy, a private allied health and therapy service: Mark's research is focused on the epidemiology of frailty and factors associated with improvement or worsening of frailty status. He also has an interest in evidence informed practice, and Aboriginal healthy ageing. He holds a Master of Public Health, and was awarded his PhD on April 6th 2020 for his thesis entitled “Frailty in Older Adults: Findings from Longitudinal Studies”. Mark is a research fellow with the CRE Frailty and Healthy Ageing.

    Dr Azmeraw Amare

    Research fellow - Epidemiologist

    Dr Azmeraw Amare is a clinical epidemiologist with expertise across the disciplines of genetic epidemiology, public health and healthy ageing. He completed a PhD in medicine at the University of Adelaide (awarded the 2018 University Doctoral Research Medal for Outstanding research at PhD level). Dr Amare’s research focusses on understanding the role of genetic and environmental factors on complex health conditions related to healthy ageing, longevity, frailty and mental health. In CRE, he applies advanced statistical methods on big data collected from Older Australians and provide scientific evidence for an informed clinical and policy decisions, ultimately enabling healthy ageing”.

    Dr Michael Lawless

    Research fellow - Knowledge translation

    Dr Michael Lawless is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University under the supervision of Prof Alison Kitson. Michael completed his PhD in 2017 at the School of Psychology at the University of Adelaide where he used qualitative research methods to explore health communication about dementia risk-prevention in print and online social media. In the CRE, Michael works with the Knowledge Translation team on several interrelated, collaborative projects aimed at developing evidence-informed and contextually relevant initiatives to improve frailty awareness and management in different settings.

  • Students and trainees

    Dr Sally Suriani Ahip

    Family physician and PhD candidate

    Dr Ahip is a Malaysian family practitioner who commenced a PhD 2017 under the supervision of CRE in Frailty and Healthy Ageing chief investigator Professor Renuka Visvanathan (University of Adelaide) and associate investigator Dr Olga Theou (Dalhousie University, Canada).  Dr Ahip’s thesis is titled: The Malaysian Pictorial Fit-Frail Scale (M-PFFS): Development and Testing of Feasibility, Validity and Reliability In Malaysia. She is carrying out this research in a number of regions across Malaysia and her work is supported by a Government of Malaysia Scholarship.

    Dr Anupam Gupta

    Senior consultant, Senior clinical lecturer and PhD candidate

    Dr Anupam Gupta is a Senior Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine with The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and has been a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Adelaide for the past 8 years. He is currently undertaking a PhD on 'Lower limb spasticity and dystonia' under the supervision of Professor Renuka Visvanathan, Professor Simon Koblar and Professor Ian Cameron.

    Unyime Jasper

    Physiotherapist and PhD candidate

    Unyime Jasper is a Physiotherapist with extensive experience working with older people. Jasper’s research is focused on preventing frailty, immobility and sedentary lifestyle in older people. He also has interest in healthy ageing over the life course. He holds a Master of Science in Gerontology, and is currently working towards a Doctor of Philosophy with supervisors Professor Renuka Visvanathan, Associate Professor Solomon Yu and Dr. Agathe Jadczak.

    Dr Kareeann Khow Sok Fun

    Geriatrician and PhD candidate

    Dr Khow has completed her MBChB and is undertaking a PhD under the supervision of Professor Renuka Visvanathan, Associate Professor Solomon Yu and Dr Pazhvoor Shibu. She is investigating frailty, falls, hip fractures and clinical outcomes in older people.

    Dr James Smyth

    Senior consultant  - Emergency medicine and PhD candidate

    James Smyth is an emergency physician who is undertaking research on the utility of frailty and activities of daily living (ADL) assessments in the management of emergency department   patients from nursing homes in the context of the growing aged population, associated emergencies and multi-disciplinary care. His supervisor is Professor Renuka Visvanathan.

    Shin Liau

    Pharmacy PhD candidate

    Shin is a practising pharmacist with experience in providing pharmaceutical services to older people including those in aged care facilities as well as the local community. Shin is undertaking her PhD under the supervision of Professor Simon Bell and Dr Samanta Lalic at the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety. Her research explores the patterns and outcomes of medication use according to frailty status in a range of practice settings, with a focus on Victorian public hospitals and Australian residential aged care facilities, in comparison to international aged care facilities.

    Completed higher degree students

    • Dr Agathe Jadczak PhD- Thesis: Exercise and Older People: Strategies to Prevent, Treat and Delay Frailty.
    • Dr Clare McNally PhD- Thesis: An Exploratory Investigation of the Oral Health of Hospitalised Older People. 
    • Dr Rachel Ambagtsheer PhD-  Assessing the Appropriateness of Frailty Screening in the Australian General Practice Context: Ethics, Accuracy, Feasibility and Acceptability.
    • Dr Michael Lawless PhD- Thesis: 'Mind your Mind': Representations of Dementia Risk-prevention in News and Digital Media.
    • Dr Mark Thompson PhD- Thesis: Frailty in Older Adults: Findings from Longitudinal Studies.
    • Dr Beatriz Martins PhD- Thesis: Built Environment and Frailty: Understanding the influence of neighbourhood
      on older people’s health.

  • Professional staff

    Leonie Baker

    Centre manager

    Leonie is the centre manager providing research and administrative support for the Centre. She has a background in molecular biology and worked as a researcher in surgical, immunology and population health research before becoming a CRE and Program Grant Manager in public health with UniSA and a Research Manager at SAHMRI.