ANZFPS Executive Committee Nominations 2024

In accordance with bylaws of the Australia and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society (ANZFPS), voting for positions of the Executive Committee will soon open. Thank you to all members who submitted bids for the various positions.

Nominations and bios are provided below for the following positions:

  • Vice President (1 position available)
  • Secretary (1 position available)
  • Student Member (1 position available)
  • General Member (4 positions available)

All members are eligible to vote and voting will open after Easter. Members will receive an email which will include a unique link allowing them to place their votes. We would like to encourage all members to take the time to vote as this will decide our Executive Committee for the next two years.

Voting remain open until close of business Monday 15th April.

Position Vice President
Name, Affiliation Bio
Dr Daina Sturnieks, University of New South Wales Dr Sturnieks has a PhD in human biomechanics (UWA). She is Senior Lecturer in Anatomy at UNSW Medicine and Conjoint Senior Research Scientist at NeuRA. Her research focuses on understanding biomechanical, sensorimotor and neurocognitive contributions to balance and falls in older people and clinical groups, and randomised controlled trials of novel interventions to prevent falls involving balance, stepping and cognitive training. She has over 100 research publications and book chapters on topics related to balance and fall prevention. Dr Sturnieks is active in translating research findings into community, aged care and hospital settings, and in the education of health care professionals on the issue of falls and fall prevention. Bid: I have contributed to the running of the ANZFPS since its inception in 2003, on the local organising committee of our first national conference. In 2010, I assumed the role of Web Manager and expanded this role to Communications Manager by leading our quarterly newsletter, social media and employing an administrative assistant to enhance our efficiency, capacity and impact. I also established the Education Subcommittee which provided new resources and events for Society members. In 2014, I was co-host of our biennial conference in Sydney, which attracted 488 attendees and a modest profit ($32,221) while keeping cost to members low. I have enjoyed my role as Vice President of the Society for the past two years, in particular, in assisting the organisation of our successful joint conference in Perth and by representing the society in advocating for local and national action towards a coordinated effort towards fall prevention.

Prof Debra Waters, University of Otago

Professor Debra Waters has over 20 years of falls prevention research, advocacy, and leadership. She splits her time as a Research Professor between University of Otago (UoO) in New Zealand and University of New Mexico (UNM) in the USA. Her research areas are: 1) community-based approaches for falls prevention in ethnically diverse communities and 2) the etiology and prevention of sarcopenia and frailty. She has research collaborators in Europe, Canada, Australia, Asia, and Brazil. Her UoO falls research on the peer-led Steady as you Go (SAYGO) model (adapted from Otago Exercise Programme (OEP)), reached a 20-year milestone in 2023 leading to a national roll-out. This work informed her UNM research through National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHHD) 5-year funding. The OEP was culturally adapted with a Native American community, and grant funding goes directly to the tribe to support trained Zuni community health workers who speak Shiwi to deliver OEP. She also collaborates with Katrina Pōtiki Bryant on the Maori “Taurite Tu project. Current leadership roles include: Director of Gerontology Research at UoOtago (2014-current), Co-director of the University of Otago Tū Ora/ Otago Falls Network, Co-Director of Healthy Ageing Otago, and International Conference on Frailty and Sarcopenia task force member. She was NZAG Vice President (2014-2022) and served on the Management Executive, becoming Deputy Director, and then Director, of the NZ Government research funding body The National Science Challenges: Ageing Well (2014-2020). She has served as the NZ Councilor and Secretary for the Australia New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research (2017-2020) and founded the UoO Network of Ageing Research (2011-2014) which received UoO theme funding that she led until 2018.

Position Secretary
Name, Affiliation Bio

Dr Sze-Ee Soh, Monash University

I am nominating to serve as Secretary on the Australia and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society. This appointment will provide me with an opportunity to make sustained contributions to the translation and dissemination of falls prevention research into clinical practice. It will also allow me to work with experienced committee members to facilitate the multidisciplinary study and implementation of falls prevention initiatives in older people and those with balance impairments. I am a teaching and research academic at Monash University, Victoria with extensive clinical experience as a physiotherapist working with older adults in various settings. In addition to my undergraduate and PhD degrees, I also hold a Master in Biostatistics. My research follows two key streams: health challenges impacting older adults at heightened risk of falls such as people with osteoarthritis and cancer survivors; and improving the research methods used in ageing research. I have contributed to the translation of falls prevention education by coordinating training courses to >400 health professionals since 2015. I was an executive committee member of the Victorian Division of the Australian Association of Gerontology and chair of the one-day conference sub-committee from 2020-2022. I was also a member of the Gerontology National group scientific committee for the 2023 Australian Physiotherapy Association National Conference. I am currently a member of the Physiotherapy Research Foundations Grants Review Committee and the inaugural Editorial Board statistician for the Journal of Physiotherapy. I have excellent organisational and time management skills, and am able to cope with concurrent teaching, research and administrative responsibilities. If elected to the committee, I will bring my unique skill set as an educator, researcher and clinician, to work effectively across different disciplines and communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, and to impact the unacceptably high falls and fall hospitalisation rates in Australia.

Dr Anna Hatton, The University of Queensland Dr Hatton is a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy, and Master of Physiotherapy Studies Program Director, at The University of Queensland. Over her career to date, she has accrued a stellar track record of research and teaching achievements, within the field of falls prevention and rehabilitation science. She has obtained >$2.5M funding from the most eminent bodies in her field, including the NHMRC, Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia, Diabetes Australia, and Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. Within six months of commencing her research career, Dr Hatton was one of the first allied health professionals to receive a prestigious British Geriatrics Society Fellowship. Dr Hatton has also attracted the attention of peers, governmental and professional bodies, culminating in >$100K of personal awards, including a 2010 Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship (one of only two UK recipients). She holds leadership positions within The University of Queensland, including Co-Director of the Centre for Neurorehabilitation, Ageing and Balance Research and Deputy Chair of the Neurorehabilitation and Ageing Research Theme. She has published >50 articles, which represent over 30 collaborations with the world’s leading science and technology institutions (e.g., Imperial College London, Oxford University). She is an Associate Editor for Gait & Posture, and Board Member and External Relations Committee Co-Chair for the International Society of Posture and Gait Research. Dr Hatton is an award-winning lecturer within the field of gerontology tertiary education, having received citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning at Departmental, School, Faculty, University, and National level. Dr Hatton has served on the ANZFPS Executive Committee for over a decade; as a General Member from 2012-2016, as Assistant Secretary during 2016, and as elected Secretary since 2017. Over this time, she has also contributed to the Society as a member of the Education and Awards Sub-committees and undertaken chairing responsibilities at the ANZFPS biennial conference.
Position Student Member
Name, Affiliation Bio

Ms Amanda Bates, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District

I would like to nominate for either the position of student member or general member of Australia and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society Executive Council. I am PhD candidate with the University of Sydney, and in my final year of postgraduate studies. My PhD topic is implementing home exercise programs for older people, with a focus on exercise for preventing falls. My PhD supervisors include Anne Tiedemann, Cathie Sherrington and Heidi Gilchrist. My previous studies have included exercise science, nutrition and dietetics and public health. I also work in the field of Health Promotion for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. My current position has a focus on healthy ageing, physical activity and preventing falls in older people. I have over 20 years of experience working in the field of Health Promotion. I am passionate about physical activity for older people and have seen the incredible benefits people have made when commencing an exercise program. I have presented my work at the past two Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society conferences and was awarded the best scientific research oral presentation at the 2021 conference. I am a current student member of the Australia and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society Executive (along with Charlotte McLennan) and would like to continue to assist the Australia and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society to achieve its goals. I feel that my experience in the field of Health Promotion and falls prevention, along with my current studies would be an asset on the committee.

Ms Charlotte McLennan,
Sydney Local Health District
I am a clinician researcher based in Sydney Local Health District who is passionate about improving care to reduce patient and population falls. I have a 10year+ career as an Aged Care and Rehabilitation Physiotherapist which has placed me well to be researching fall prevention in the hospital setting; the focus of my PhD, which I am one year through. My hospital role and research involve working closely with frontline multi-disciplinary clinicians, patients and their loved ones, health managers, and academics to design, evaluate and implement fall prevention programs in hospitals. My primary PhD supervisor is Prof Cathie Sherrington. I have been a member of the ANZFPS since 2020. I have presented at and attended the last two conferences. I was fortunate to have been a member of the ANZFPS Executive Council in the prior term, however this included an 8-month break while I was on maternity leave so I would love the opportunity to contribute further. I am a member of the 2025 ANZFPS Conference Organising Committee. I am motivated, efficient and an effective communicator; attributes I believe would be valuable to the role of ANZFPS Executive Committee Member. I have experience working in fall prevention in hospital and community settings as well as increasing relevant falls academic experience (e.g. contributing to the 2023 update of the Australian Falls Guidelines). I have valuable relationships with students, clinicians, managers, academics, and policy makers relevant to fall prevention nationally and internationally.
Position General Member
Name, Affiliation Bio

Dr Meghan Ambrens, Neuroscience Research Australia

Meghan is a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Falls, Balance & Injury Research Centre at Neuroscience Research Australia, Associate Lecturer at University of New South Wales, and an Associate Investigator with the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute and Human Rights Institutes. Meghan is an experienced mixed methods researcher, interested in falls prevention, optimal ageing and preventive health, and how this translates to improvements in patient health outcomes and health policy. Meghan is involved in the national call for action, headed by the ANZFPS and Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) Prevention of Falls Injuries. This advocacy action calls for a national statement on preventing falls in Australia. Meghan is also leading the social media campaign for the ANZFPS as a member of the EMCR group. The social media campaign aims to increase awareness about the lack of policy or strategic action on fall prevention in Australia. Meghan is strongly committed to the importance of putting falls back on the agenda. Meghan is spearheading thought on reframing what older people value in terms of their health and designing programs that address these values and promote a multidisciplinary preventive approach to healthcare. Through this, Meghan has convened an ageism working group to understand the role of implicit bias specifically related to ageing. This work aligns with 2021 World Health Organization call for action that creates health ageing and communities the foster the inclusion of older people as valued and active members of society. Meghan is a member of the ANZFPS EMCR sub-committee. Meghan also holds a master’s in public health.

A/Prof Frances Batchelor, National Ageing Research Institute

I am nominating for an Executive Member role at the Australia and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society. With 35+ years of physiotherapy clinical practice in gerontology and neurology and 13+ years research expertise, I bring a wealth of experience and genuine commitment to advancing fall prevention initiatives in Australia and New Zealand. I am a Senior Principal Research Fellow and Clinical Gerontology Director at the National Ageing Research Institute. I completed my PhD on Falls Prevention After Stroke in 2010 and since then have focused on leading impactful research across 4 key areas: falls and fall prevention, healthy ageing, health and aged care systems, and technology in health and aged care. In addition to my undergraduate/PhD qualifications, I hold a Master of Health Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy. The combination of my clinical, research and policy expertise will be highly valuable in supporting ANZFPS initiatives such as influencing policy, raising awareness, supporting capacity building and facilitating evidence-based practice. I am currently a committee member of the Victorian Falls Coalition, an initiative supporting evidence-based fall prevention in hospitals. I co-led the Safe Exercise at Home website development and play a key role in ensuring its relevance. I was a collaborative author of the 2022 World Falls Prevention Guidelines. I led the development of a web-based, publicly available Falls and Balance Services Directory. I have a collaborative approach to research and stakeholder engagement, and have strong, impactful relationships with national and international fall prevention experts. I am committed to mentoring early and mid-career fall prevention researchers and capacity building with clinicians from a range of disciplines. If elected, I will bring my research, clinical and policy expertise to strengthen partnerships, support the society’s activities, and promote the multidisciplinary study and implementation of falls prevention in older people.

Ms Katrina Anne Potiki Bryant, University of Otago

As an indigenous physiotherapist Ms Bryant is interested in incorporating original Māori rehabilitation techniques into modern day health practices. She drives research out of Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou to address in falls prevention and has conducted research leading to the development falls prevention community exercise programmes engaging pakeke and kaumātua/ elderly Māori. Ms Bryant has led further implementation of this research, receiving funding and delivering weekly programmes into 25 + Māori organisations around Aotearoa New Zealand. She is also Associate Dean Māori and lecturer at UoO School of Physiotherapy, co-chair of Tū Ora/ Otago Falls Network, member of NZAG and member of the organising committee for the 2030 IAGG World Congress to be held in New Zealand and Australia. She has a special interest in research and implementation of effective falls prevention programmes and is developing an international indigenous network of falls researchers and practitioners.

Dr Melanie Farlie, Monash University

I am an early-mid career physiotherapist researcher and academic, with a particular interest in health professions education to promote knowledge and skills in the area of fall prevention. I completed my PhD in 2017 which led to the development of the Balance Intensity Scale. I worked clinically in geriatric rehabilitation across the care continuum for 20 years prior to taking up my current academic position. I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy, and Research Fellow in the Monash Centre for Scholarship in Health Professions Education, both at Monash University. I have served on the ANZFPS Executive Committee since 2016. In my most recent term I have co-led the ECR subcommittee with Dr Morag Taylor where we have worked to expand the focus to EMCR researchers and increase the sub-committee membership to include EMCRs and HDR students from across Australia and New Zealand. In addition, my service has included the administration of the registration, delivery and production of the EMCR Webinar program. I seek re-nomination to the executive committee to continue contributing to the ANZFPS in my role as an advocate for EMCRs and the ongoing delivery of the ANZFPS Webinar Series.

Dr Kristie Harper, Curtin University / Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Dr Kristie Harper (PhD, GradCertHlthSc, BSc OT) is a clinician researcher and an occupational therapist with over 23 years of experience. Kristie holds a conjoint position between Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Curtin University, Western Australia. Kristie’s research has worked to build an evidence base for falls prevention and management in the Emergency Department (ED) setting. She has received over $3.3M in funding as a chief investigator and published over 26 papers. She is Chief Investigator on an MRFF project aiming to develop and evaluate a model of care to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of acute care for older adults including best practice falls prevention and management. Recent awards include WA Occupational Therapist Clinical Excellence Award, 2023 and finalist for WA Health Excellence Award, 2023.
Kristie is the current occupational therapy lead on the North Metropolitan Health Service Falls Network, WA Post Falls Review Committee, the WA Health Department Falls Special Interest Group (invited member) and attends the WA Falls Community of Practice. She is recognised as an occupational therapy leader in fall prevention in older adults and has been an invited speaker for community organisations. Kristie’s international collaborations include reviewing and updating the American Geriatric Emergency Department Guidelines for falls management and is a member of the ANZFPS Early Career Researcher Sub-Committee. She sits on the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee as a clinician researcher (2016-Current) and on the Dementia and Ageing Domain of Curtin University’s enAble Research Institute. Kristie has previously worked in rural settings and in the Northern Territory and is passionate about raising falls awareness and working with consumers and clinicians to continue to improve fall prevention and management practice.

Prof Ngaire Kerse, University of Auckland

Ngaire is President New Zealand Association of Gerontology, Co-director Co-Created Ageing Research Centre at the University of Auckland. She has a long history of falls prevention research and was host for the Auckland conference in 2022 (online event).  She is passionate about growing the next generation of fall prevention practitioners. 

Prof Lynette Mackenzie, The University of Sydney

Professor Lynette Mackenzie is seeking re-election as a general member of the committee. Lynette works as a Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Sydney. She conducts research in falls prevention and has the following projects: CI on the iSOLVE program developing and providing GPs with resources and processes to integrate falls prevention into their everyday practice with their older clients. This also involved upskilling allied health providers to provide evidence-based interventions when GPs referred to them. This project has resulted in a suite of online training materials freely accessible; CI on a Sydney Health Partners funded project to pilot test an adaptation of Stepping On for older people with severe mental illness living in the community; Developer of the Home Falls and Accidents Screening Tool (HOMEFAST) which can screen for people at increased risk of falling in their home environment. The tool is used internationally and has been translated into several languages; A project funded by the Sydney Vietnam Initiative to develop OT interventions for falls prevention in Vietnam; CI on a Malaysian government funded project exploring the role of home hazards on falls and risk of falls among community- dwelling older stroke survivors in Klang Valley area; CI on a UK funded project investigating the engagement of general practitioners in falls prevention assessment and referral to allied health practitioners. Lynette also teaches on Occupational Therapy units for MOT and undergraduate OT students relating to home and community functioning and needs of people with disabilities (assistive device use and home modifications). As a general member of the committee my occupational therapy background could complement other professional backgrounds of committee members. Lynette has also had a lot of experience in organising professional conferences and meetings.

Dr Troy Tararo-Ruhe, University of Otago

Dr Troy Ruhe is a Research Fellow at Va’a o Tautai, University of Otago completing his Health Research Council funded Post-doc in Pacific health research. He is passionate about Pacific health research methodology and is currently investigating measures of research impact on Pacific communities in Aotearoa. Earlier this year Dr Ruhe was collecting taro leaves for a family dinner in the Cook Islands when he received the news he was the inaugural recipient of the Tofā Sāili Pacific Early Career Award. Seeing tangible outcomes resulting from his research has been a rewarding aspect of his job, as he found with his undergraduate research on Pacific falls prevention that led to the inclusion of additional strength and balance exercises in a Pacific elders exercise program. As a young, Pacific Māori man his passion is genuinely improving the health of Pacific peoples. “Ideally, the future of health research looks like people doing work with their own communities to restore how it is that they want to be living, and having the measures for those communities to say ‘this is what health looks like for us’.”