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Our people at CARE

Steering Committee

Dr Lara Vlietstra

Lara Vliestra imageCARE Co- Director

After successfully graduating as a physiotherapist in the Netherlands, Lara obtained two masters’ degrees before coming to Otago to complete her PhD in pre-sarcopenia.

Besides her ongoing research projects and her teaching, she is currently the Deputy Director for CARE, a National Executive member of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology (NZAG), Council member for the Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research (ANZSSFR) and an Associate Editor for the Australasian Journal on Ageing.

Dr Lara Vlietstra

Dr Paula O'Kane

CARE Co-Director

Paula O'Kane image

Paula is part of the Work Futures Otago group, in the Department of Management, Otago Business School.

As part of this group, Paula leads a UORG funded project exploring how and why people occupy their time as they grow older, as well as understanding how life histories have impacted working as we age. Ageing is under-explored in the work context and with a global ageing population we need to prepare to work longer successfully and healthily. This requires understanding both the individual and organisational perspectives, to recommend “best practices” for supporting older people to work.

Paula’s other interests include social media and work, performance management and remote working.

Dr Paula O'Kane

Associate Professor Yoram Barak

Yoram Borak image

Associate Professor Yoram Barak is a consultant psychogeriatrician in the Department of Psychological Medicine (Dunedin). His work is within the prevention, assessment and treatment of late-life psychiatric disorders. His book, “Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease” has recently been published in the USA.

Associate Professor Yoram Barak

Dr Rebecca McLean

Rebecca McLean imageRebecca McLean is a Senior Lecturer (Public Health), Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago.

She specialises in transport, mobility and health research with a focus on applied research to improve public health through the provision of accessible, safe and sustainable transport. Dr McLean’s main research areas are road safety and access, driver licence and transport policy, and injury epidemiology.

She is Principal Investigator of a NZ Health Research Council project (NZPATHS: New Zealand Prospective Older Adult Transport and Health Study), and a co-investigator on several young driver projects.

Dr Rebecca McLean

Dr Narun Pat (Pornpattananangkul)

Narun Pat imageNarun is a lecturer with the Department of Psychology, University of Otago. Narun studies individual differences in cognition, emotion and motivation. His laboratory employs cognitive neuroscience methods (such as magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalogram and polygenic scores) along with modern data science tools (such as big data, machine learning and computational modeling). Ageing is one of the domains of individual differences being studied by Narun and his team.

Dr Narun Pat

Associate Professor Meredith Perry

Meredith Perry imageI am a physiotherapist and experienced mixed-methods researcher who has an interest in the management of long term conditions and disability across the lifespan.

I research concepts such as person centred care and the therapeutic relationship required for enabling self-management (of which physical activity is one component). The work also considers how participation, as a construct, is informed by societal and political discourse and can result in health inequities due to inaccessible services, resources and environments. Managing long term conditions and disability frequently requires multiple sectors and professionals, thus I am also interested in the development and delivery of the interprofessional curriculum and services to enable improved patient outcomes.

I am an original member of the University of Otago, Wellington Interprofessional Teaching Initiative (WITI), on the executive committee of Collaboration for Ageing Research Excellence (CARE) and a member of several international and national professional organisations and NGO’s.

Dr Meredith Perry

Dr Lynne Taylor

Lynne Taylor 2020 imageDr Lynne Taylor is Jack Somerville Lecturer in Pastoral Theology, Theology Programme, School of Arts, University of Otago. She is interested in human flourishing across the life span, including how local churches support the holistic well-being of both their members and the wider community.

Lynne's current research includes two trans-Tasman collaborations. One explores how COVID‑19 impacted the pastoral care, worship and community engagement practices of churches. The second investigates older people’s experiences of reengaging with Christian churches after many years' absence; exploring why older people return to church, what keeps them engaged; and provides a means of understanding appropriate ways to foster this contributor to wellbeing, for those who desire it.

Dr Lynne Taylor

Our Steering Committee Terms of Reference

CARE and Management Board Terms of Reference (PDF)

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CARE affiliated researchers

CARE affiliated PhD candidates

More about research students and their topics

CARE researchers provide academic supervision to a number of students conducting research studies.

Visit our Research page for listings and their topics