We thank the 65 specialists that contributed to The Best 30 Years.

Dr Claudia Meyer

Senior Research Fellow, Bolton Clarke Research Institute

Dr Claudia Meyer is a Senior Research Fellow in the Bolton Clarke Research Institute in Melbourne. Claudia combines her skills as an experienced physiotherapist with her research expertise, particularly to move research evidence into action. She works at the strategic level as a Board Director of the Australian Association of Gerontology and the student/early career representative for the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Asia-Oceania Region.

Older people are firmly at the centre of all Claudia’s work. She is adamant that people living with dementia have voice and choice in their healthcare decisions, and that preventing falls is critical to promoting dignity and independence. Her work is underpinned by a human rights framework, inclusive of diversity and grounded in health equity.

Emily Smith

Sports Podiatrist & Founder of Emily Braidwood

Emily Smith is a Sports Podiatrist consulting from four highly-regarded sports medicine across Sydney, and is the founder of revolutionary insole company, Emily Braidwood.

Emily has a myriad of career achievements including working with numerous Olympians, the Wallabies, Bangarra Dance Theatre and NSW Swifts, as well as being a thought-leader in women’s foot health & insole technology. Emily's passion is to provide cost-effective and accessible foot care to all Australians, to facilitate a fit, healthy & empowered population.

Flora Galoustian

Doctor, Balmain Dentist

Dr Flora Galoustian graduated from the University of Sydney. After working in private practices in Sydney for three years, she relocated to London studying at Nuffield College completing her primaries at the Royal College of Surgeons. Dr Flora has established a successful practice working for over twenty- five years in Balmain, Sydney, specializing in cosmetic, general, preventative dentistry and orthodontics.

Dr Flora is a pioneering dentist having a strong interest in cosmetic dentistry. She is passionate in helping patients age gracefully by taking pride in the appearance and maintenance of their dentition. As a result, she utilizes the latest technology and offers her patients exclusive treatments including modern orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign. Each of her new patients are given thorough personalized instructions in how to maintain proper oral hygiene at home.

Hugh Mackay

Social psychologist

Hugh Mackay is a social psychologist and the bestselling author of 22 books, including eight novels. His latest book, The Kindness Revolution, was published in 2021.

He has had a 60-year career in social research, and was also a weekly newspaper columnist for over 25 years. He is currently an honorary professor in the Research School of Psychology at ANU, and a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre. Among other honorary appointments, he has been deputy chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts, the inaugural chairman of the ACT government’s Community Inclusion Board and an honorary professor at Macquarie, Wollongong and Charles Sturt universities.

Hugh is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and the Royal Society of NSW. In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, he has been awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW, Western Sydney and Wollongong universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015.

As a director of COTA Australia, Hugh has a strong commitment to ensuring that the voices of older Australians are heard.

Jamie Ford

Head of Partnerships, Five Good Friends

My passion is empowering people to have purpose and meaning in every single day, enabling people to live happy, healthy and connected lives for as long as possible! I do this in my day job as Head of Partnerships at Five Good Friends, my side job as a fitness instructor and as a mother of two young daughters. I’ve spent the last 15 years in the proactive health and wellbeing space at the global management consulting firm, EY, Queensland’s second largest employer Uniting Care Queensland and two tech scale-ups, one focused on education and now Five Good Friends.

My roles always gravitate to creating the new, leading strategy and innovation to ensure everyone can live a vibrant life, a life they love. And I practice what I preach with daily fitness, reflection, meditation and gratitude, eating yummy, nutritious and balanced foods and staying socially connected. Looking after our health and wellbeing starts at a young age and simply never stops!

Jenika Graze

Palliative Care Nurse

BA, DipAppSci (Nursing), GradDipEd (Health), GradDipHealth (Palliative Care), DipMissiology Jenika is an experienced palliative care nurse who currently works in community palliative care supporting those who choose to die at home. Jenika has also had numerous roles in the aged care sector, both in residential care and in the community. She spent thirteen years working in Nepal, and helped establish the first palliative care training there.

She continues to run workshops in Australia, Nepal and India on a wide range of topics, and in particular palliative care and communication skills. Jenika enjoys integrating spiritual care into her professional practice in these different cultural contexts. Jenika is passionate about adding meaning and purpose to life, in all its stages, through interpersonal connectedness and meaningful community. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and four children. 

Joel Feren

Dietitian, The Nutrition Guy

Aside from his media work and nutrition consulting, Joel Feren is an experienced aged care dietitian. He specialises in senior nutrition and is adept at helping older people meet their nutritional requirements while carefully managing any comorbidities. Joel has experience working in the aged care sector.

He has assisted residential aged care providers with the optimal management of nutrition and hydration for residents with a particular focus on the promotion of quality of life.

Jon Owen

Rev, Wayside Chapel 

A qualified social worker, Jon’s life has been dedicated to living and serving amongst Australia’s most disadvantaged. His work saw him living in Mount Druitt (Bidwill) for 10 years where he shared his home with people seeking asylum, refugees, people in recovery, and ex-prisoners. He has many stories – including being attacked by samurai swords, seeing a battle tank drive past his house, and mistakenly being sent to immigration detention.

Born in Malaysia and migrating to Australia in the 1970s, Jon’s life is testament to the power of hospitality. Jon heads up Wayside Chapel and continues Wayside’s mission of creating community with no “us and them”.

Professor Judy Lowthian PhD, MPH, BAppSc(SpPath)

Head of Research and Principal Research Fellow, Bolton Clarke

Dr. Judy Lowthian leads a multidisciplinary research team as the Head of Research and Principal Research Fellow at Bolton Clarke, Australia’s largest not-for-profit aged and community care provider. She is an Adjunct Professor with University of Queensland's Faculty of Health, and Associate Professor at Monash University's School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine. Judy transitioned to research following a career in rehabilitation and health services management.

Judy’s passion is developing, implementing and evaluating innovative ways to improve care quality and safety for older people. As a gerontological health services researcher, Judy has strong connections with consumer and government organisations, health and aged & community services. She collaborates widely, and works on national and international committees and taskforces for management of older people.

Leon Shohmelian

Principal Solicitor, Shohmelian Legal

Leon has graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws. He has been acting for clients in the retirement village and aged care space for over 15 years. Since establishing his own practice, Shohmelian Legal, in 2013, Leon has primarily acted for residents in retirement villages and people moving into care.

He regularly assists and advises families who are helping loved ones transition through different levels of care, and is passionate about providing caring and professional advice in this area. Since 2017, Leon has been recognised by clients and peers as being a leading lawyer in this field by Doyle’s Guide, and his firm, Shohmelian Legal, as a leading firm in this area of the law.

Melissa Levi

Clinical Psychologist

Over a decade ago, Melissa Levi embarked on a career as a Clinical Psychologist specialising in older people's mental health and dementia. She describes it as one of the richest sources of fulfilment in her life.

Melissa has come to know that while every family’s story is unique, they all share the same fears, uncertainties, and questions about the ageing journey. In 2010, these became the questions of her own family, when Melissa's beloved grandfather, her Zaida, was diagnosed with dementia. Melissa is committed to educating and empowering every family, so that they may walk the ageing journey with greater confidence, ease, and grace. In realising this mission, Melissa has written a "What to Expect When... Your Father is Ageing and has Dementia and Can No Longer Live on His Own and is Dying and You Have No Idea What to Do” sort of book, due to be published by Hachette Australia in 2023.

Norman Swan

Doctor and Author

Trained in paediatrics, Dr Swan was one of the first medically qualified journalists in Australia, with a broadcast career spanning more than 30 years. He currently hosts Radio National's The Health Report and co-hosts Coronacast. He also reports on 7.30 and is a guest reporter on Four Corners; appears on The Drum and is an occasional host of Radio National Breakfast. He is also an author, in particular of 'So You Want To Live Younger Longer?'

In addition to being an active journalist and health broadcaster, Dr Swan is committed to evidence-based approaches to help young people, which is why he sits on the board of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth. He was also the co-founder of Tonic Media Network, a health channel that plays in GPs' waiting rooms.

Patrizia Ravalico

Sydney Inner West Counselling Practice The Sydney Relationship and Family Practice

Patrizia Ravalico has a 35-year clinical experience in mental and relationships’ health across the age spectrum. Her approach is to locate an individual systemically within the full context of their lived experience. She is aware of the many changes -physical, mental and psychological - that occurs in advancing years. She works with the individual and, if necessary, the partners and families to deal with the many life stressors that accompany ageing, such as decline in health, loss of loved ones, loss of independence and relocation to a new living situation.

She works in a trauma sensitive way and has extensive experience and training in addressing the individual’s needs and relationship needs in a sensitive and non judgemental way. She recognises that healthy ageing is a continuous process of taking opportunities to maintain and improve physical health, mental and cognitive health and the importance of maintain independence and nurturing meaningful relationships.

Rachel Lane

Principal, Aged Care Gurus

Rachel is Australia’s Aged Care Guru. She writes regular columns on retirement living and aged care for the Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne’s Age and the Brisbane Times. She regularly speaks on TV and Radio. She has co-authored a number of books, including the Best Seller Aged Care, Who Cares? and her new book, Downsizing Made Simple.

Rachel has specialised in retirement living and aged care for more than 15 years and holds a Masters in Financial Planning which included a thesis on the financial drivers of consumers and operators in aged care. She credits her close relationship with her grandmother – affectionately know as “Ducky” – for passion for assisting people to navigate the financial maze of retirement living and aged care decisions.

Rik Dawson

Gerontological Physiotherapist, Australian Physiotherapy Association

Rik Dawson is an experienced aged care physiotherapist, and he is now enrolled at Sydney University as an PhD candidate where he will be exploring the opportunities that telehealth offers to bring physio home so that frail older people are able to receive physiotherapy where and when older people need it. This research will answer key questions about whether the role of technology can reduce falls, enhance mobility and quality of life of older people with and without dementia receiving aged care services in their home or in residential aged care.

As the vice president of the Australian Physiotherapy Association Rik has a passion for advocating for increased access to essential services such as physiotherapy for all people but especially for older people. Physiotherapy led exercise programs reduce falls and improve quality of life but due to access issues and a lack of funding older people miss out.

Tim Ferguson

Comedian, Cheeky Monkey Comedy

Tim Ferguson is a comedian and filmmaker. He's an ambassador for The Human Rights Commission For Disability IncludeAbility Project. He's doing his best not to grow old "gracefully".

Warrick Bishop

Doctor, Healthy Heart Network

Passionate about stopping heart attacks, Warrick has more than a decade as a preventative cardiologist, that’s one you see to avoid a heart attack! His aim is to inform, educate and empower individuals to have the best heart health care. He believes patients get the best care when they have the best understanding.

He is the Founder and CEO of the Healthy Heart Network, best selling author of 3 books, he has been involved with the Australian Heart Foundation and other professional bodies contributing to guidelines, academic papers and public policy. Warrick’s message is “Prevention is Better Than Cure”, and his “why” is “To help People Live As Well as Possible For As Long As Possible”.