Below is a list of current NARI executive staff members.
- Professor Briony DowBSW MA PhDDirectorBriony Dow is Director of the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) and Honorary Professor at the School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne and Honorary Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University. At NARI Briony oversees a range of both aged care and social and clinical gerontology research programs, including her own research into elder abuse and carer mental health. Briony has been at NARI for 17 years during which time she has published over 80 peer reviewed publications and over 30 major reports to government. Prior to her work at NARI, Briony practised as a social worker in community aged care. She is a past President and Life Member of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) and she is on a range of national advisory groups, including the AIHW Aged Care Data Advisory Group and Elder Abuse Action Australia Advisory Committee.
- Debra O'ConnorBSW, MSW, MBL, (GAICD)Deputy Director, Executive ManagerMs Debra O'Connor is the Executive Manager and a Deputy Director of NARI. Ms O’Connor joined NARI in 2007 and is a member of the executive team and is responsible for all the operational and research governance functioning of NARI as well as supporting the Board and their subcommittees. She also manages the education and professional development program. Ms O’Connor maintains a strong interest and some advisory roles in psychosocial research undertaken by NARI. As part of her role she oversees fundraising and communications programs and external relations and partnerships development. Ms O’Connor’s career path has included managing health services as well as lecturing. She is currently a member of the RMIT Social Work Program Advisory Committee and has recently graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is the NARI Company Secretary.
- Associate Professor Frances BatchelorPh.D B. App Sc (Physio), Grad Dip Ed (Sport Science), M. Hlth St.Director, Clinical Gerontology, Melbourne Ageing Research CollaborationAssociate Professor Frances Batchelor is a Principal Research Fellow and Physiotherapist. She has over 30 years of clinical experience in rehabilitation, aged care and neurology and completed her PhD at the end of 2010. At the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) she is a Principal Research Fellow and Director of the Clinical Gerontology Division. She is also a Research Lead for the Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration, a NARI led initiative that brings together 18 partners from universities, aged care providers, primary care, advocacy groups and peak bodies and with support from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Associate Professor Batchelor’s doctoral work focussed on Falls Prevention After Stroke for which she successfully conducted a large RCT of a multifactorial falls prevention for people returning home after stroke rehabilitation as well as a longitudinal study of the relationship between falls, physical function and fear of falling. Her current research interests are falls prevention, balance and gait assessment and management, physical activity, the role of technology in ageing and improving health services for older people. Associate Professor Batchelor’s career is focused on collaborative approaches to research, policy and practice change to improve the lives of older people.
- Associate Professor Bianca BrijnathBA (Hons) PhDDirector, Social GerontologyBianca Brijnath is the new divisional director of social gerontology at NARI. Her disciplinary training is in primary healthcare, public health and medical anthropology and her research expertise is in mental health and care in primary care and community-based settings. Within these disciplinary and contextual boundaries, she has undertaken several studies exploring mental health and culture, mental health and the life-course, and mental health and compensable injury. Over the course of her career, she has helped secure approximately $4.2 million in research funding, including fellowship support from the NHMRC for her research on depression and help-seeking among South Asian and Anglo-Australians. She has methods expertise in qualitative methods, systematic reviews, and quantitative techniques and her research is multidisciplinary and applied. Bianca has authored over 60 publications, including a sole-authored book with Berghahn Books and is section editor for BMC Public Health. In recognition of her talents, she was accepted into the International Primary Healthcare Leadership Programme delivered by the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, UK.
- Dr Joan OstaszkiewiczM. Nursing Research, PhD, GC (Higher Ed. Learning & Teaching)Director, Aged CareDr Ostaszkiewicz is the divisional director of Aged Care Research at NARI. She is also a Registered Nurse with academic expertise in gerontological nursing issues related to the quality and life and quality of care of older people in residential aged care facilities. She has a particular interest in improving the quality of continence care for older people who are care-dependent. Joan’s most recent research resulted in a new paradigm for the management of incontinence among care-dependent older adults in residential aged care homes, termed the ‘Dignity in Continence Care Framework’. The framework privileges the care-dependent person’s dignity as the main goal of care. In 2018 Joan was awarded a Translating Research into Practice Fellowship from the Medical Future Fund Next Generation Clinical Researchers Program to trial an intervention based on the framework. She is also developing a suite of instruments to identify and measure violations to the dignity of care-dependent older people during continence care interactions. This body of research has resulted in the identification of attributes of dignity-protective continence care. Joan has strong collaborative relationships with several international research groups and is a longstanding and active member of the International Continence Society, the Continence Foundation of Australia, the College of Nursing, the International Learning Collaborative, and is a founding member of the Continence Nurses Society Australia. Her expertise has been sought by the International Consultation on Incontinence, and the Royal Commission into Quality and Safety in Aged Care. Joan has written 6 book chapters published and authored 55 peer-reviewed articles, including 7 systematic reviews/meta-analyses. She has presented at 65 national and international conferences (21 as invited speaker). Joan’s early research established the prevalence of incontinence in Australian subacute and acute care settings, identified gaps in evidence about continence management for frail older adults, revealed ethical challenges associated with providing continence care, and described the inadvertent negative effects of regulation on the quality of continence care in residential aged care facilities. In 2010, she developed a suite of continence assessment and management resources for residential aged care. Her systematic review research addresses the efficacy of toileting assistance programs for the management of incontinence as well as the effects of education about incontinence on nurses and nursing assistants’ knowledge, attitudes, practices and patient outcomes. Her professional contributions include the development and international validation of the role profile of the Nurse Continence Specialist as well as Practice Standards for Nurse Continence Specialists in Australia. Joan has been the recipient of several awards, including the 2014 Association of Commonwealth Universities Titular Fellowship and the Deakin University Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research Inaugural Postdoctoral Fellowship.
- David RischbiethChief Financial Officer