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Our people at CARE

Steering Committee

Associate Professor Chrystal Jaye

Chrystal Jaye image CARE Director

Associate Professor Chrys Jaye is based in the Department of General Practice and Rural Health (Dunedin). Chrys is a medical anthropologist who applies an anthropological imagination to health studies. Her research interests include medical education and the hidden curriculum, teamwork in clinics, communities of practice, general practice and public health, medical anthropology in New Zealand healthcare, moral economy and capital, ageing and rural studies and death and dying.

Associate Professor Chrystal Jaye

Associate Professor Yoram Barak

Yoram Borak imageCARE Deputy Director

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 Abey-Nesbit

Rebecca Abey-Nesbit imageRebecca is a statistician with the Department of Medicine in Christchurch. She recently completed her PhD, which involved identifying risk factors for hip fracture in older adults with complex needs, and using these risk factors to develop a hip fracture risk score to identify individuals at an elevated risk of hip fracture. Her current research projects involve identifying patterns of multimorbidity over time in older adults and exploring risk factors associated with loneliness and caregiver stress among older adults.

Ms Rebecca Abey-Nesbit

Dr Fiona Doolan-Noble

Fiona Doolan-Noble imageFiona is a senior research fellow in rural health and a professional practice fellow in inter-professional education. She is particularly interested in ageing in rural settings and the enablers and barriers to positive ageing in rural areas. She has a specific interest in the health and wellbeing of ageing farmers and their safety on farm and their sense of self.

As well as her research interests, Fiona also works in establishing rural inter-professional education initiatives. These enable final year undergraduate health and social care professionals to gain experience working collaboratively in rural settings, as well as providing them the opportunity to experience life in rural New Zealand and all it has to offer.

Dr Fiona Doolan-Noble

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 Paula O'Kane

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

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

Dr 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

Ayesha Qureshi

Student Representative

Ayesha Qureshi imageAyesha is a PhD student at the University of Otago. She completed a Master’s in Psychology and clinical training as a Psychologist in Pakistan. She started her PhD in 2019 at the school of Physiotherapy with Professor Leigh Hale, Associate Professor Nicola Swain and Dr Daniela Aldabe.

The aim of Ayesha's PhD research is to develop a resilience and wellbeing programme for family carers of stroke survivors. The experiences of being a family carer for her mum, who survived multiple strokes, sent her on a research journey to explore how carers can be best supported in their role. She is currently implementing a resilience programme for stroke survivor carers in Dunedin and Oamaru as part of her PhD research.

Ayesha Qureshi

Dr Paulo Henrique Silva Pelicioni

Paulo Henrique Silva Pelicioni imageDr Paulo Henrique Silva Pelicioni is a Division of Health Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow Researcher (2021-2022) at the School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago. Dr Pelicioni is also a physiotherapist who undertakes interdisciplinary research at the intersection of physiotherapy, medical science and public health.

Dr Pelicioni's research focuses on falls in older people and people with neurological disorders. He is currently funded by a short-term strategic project, Brain Research New Zealand, to develop tools to assess the posture, balance, and gait of older adults and people with neurological disorders, including stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

REMOTE study

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

Lara Vlietstra

Lara Vliestra imageAfter graduating as a physiotherapist in the Netherlands, and finishing her master's degrees in Clinical Health Sciences and Geriatric Physiotherapy, Lara decided to stay in academia and pursue a PhD.

Lara is currently in the last year of her PhD with the Department of Medicine and School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago New Zealand, working in the sarcopenia research area.

She is the student representative for the New Zealand Association of Gerontology and Collaboration of Ageing Research Excellence, as well as a committee member on The Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research EMCR committee.

Lara Vlietstra

Professor Debra Waters

Debra Waters imageProfessor Debra Waters is the Director of Gerontology Research at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

She is the Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology, an executive member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Sarcopenia and Frailty Research, an affiliate of Australian Institute of Musculoskeletal Science in Melbourne Australia and a task force member on the International Conf of Frailty and Sarcopenia (ICFSR) coordinated in Europe. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico, an appointment which she has held since arriving in New Zealand in 2005.

Her research is focused on falls and frailty prevention and also the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function with ageing (sarcopenia) and she has collaborators in Europe, UK, Asia, Australia, Canada and the US.

Professor Debra Waters

Research students

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

Visit our Research page for listings and their topics

Terms of Reference

CARE and Management Board Terms of Reference (PDF)