Aged care heroes receive honours

A total of 739 Australians were recognised in the Order of Australia.

Professor Deborah Parker has been appointed an Honorary Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant services to community health – particularly through palliative and aged care research – in this year’s Australia Day honours.

Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda, Professor Parker said, while the honours are awarded to individuals, hers was also in recognition of all the work carried out by many people over many years.

“I’ve worked with some amazing researchers and clinicians over a long period of time to be able to establish palliative care for older people. So it’s a recognition of that and, hopefully, by providing that little spotlight nationally people will understand the importance of continuing to improve the care of older people throughout their life but particularly at the end of their life.”  

Professor Parker (above) is a professor of nursing aged care (dementia) at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Technology Sydney, a role she has held since 2016.

Professor Parker is also co-director of the UTS Ageing Research Collaborative and an editorial board member of the UARC Aged Care Sector reports.

At the University of Queensland, Professor Parker is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Nursing. Professor Parker is also an Adjunct Professor of Nursing at Western Sydney University. She is also a member of the Australian College of Nursing, Palliative Care Nurses Association and Australian Association of Gerontology.

Professor Parker is former president of Palliative Care New South Wales and has previously held positions on the Queensland Palliative Care Council, National Council for Palliative Care and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Professor Parker’s program of research includes international collaborations in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada. She is also a member of the European Palliative Care Association Advance Care Planning for Older People Taskforce. During her career, Professor Parker has written over 100 publications in the field of nursing aged care.

A total of 739 people were recognised in the Order of Australia (General Division) in the Australia Day 2024 list. Among them, Professor Jacqueline Close, also appointed a AM for significant service to medical research, and to medicine as an orthogeriatrician.

Professor Jacqueline Close

Professor Close has been clinical director of the Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre at Neuroscience Research Australia since 2005. Professor Close is also Conjoint Professor, Geriatric Medicine at the University of New South Wales.

She is also a consultant orthogeriatrician at Prince of Wales Hospital, a role she has held since 2005. Professor Close has also been a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, Osteoporosis Australia, since 2012. She is also chair of the Scientific Committee of international body the Fragility Fracture Network.

Scott Chapman

Also appointed a AM on Friday, Scott Chapman for significant service to the community of Victoria through a range of governance roles.

Mr Chapman is current chair of Doutta Galla Aged Services. He is also board ambassador at the provider’s Harmony Village site in Shepparton – where he was a former director.

Dr Jennifer Ann Gowan was appointed a AM for significant service to medicine as a pharmacist, to professional societies, and to community health.

Dr Jennifer Gowan

Dr Gowan has been an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, since 1990. She is also a clinical associate at RMIT University.

Dr Gowan is a consultant for the Department of Health, Victoria, where she trains aged care staff in the fields of medication legislation, administration, and the safe use of medicines. She was vice-president of the Victorian branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia between 2021 and 2023.

Catherine Walker received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to education, and to the community.

Ms Walker is president of Friends of Horton House and Warmington Lodge – aged care facilities operated by Yass Valley Aged Care. She is also president of the Yass Aged Care Foundation among other related roles.

Paul Brophy received an OAM for service to aged welfare, and to the community. Mr Brophy was manager of the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence Sambell Lodge aged care facility in Victoria from 1990-2017. A former aged care nurse, Mr Brophy has also been an organiser of the Celebration of Life music and dancing events for up to 20 aged care homes across Melbourne since 2005.

Gary Inberg

Gary Inberg received the OAM for service to the Jewish community of NSW, and to business. Among other roles, Mr Inberg has been vice-president at Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Homes for 20 years.

For 15 years, Mr Inberg was chair and non-executive director of Camelot Nursing Home in Maroubra, a beachside suburb of Sydney. He was also involved with the establishment of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at UNSW. 

Also receiving an OAM – Mary Sutcliffe for service to the community through music. Among many other roles, Ms Sutcliffe plays piano at aged care homes in the Narrandera area of NSW.

Malcolm Thiele received an OAM for service to veterans, and to the community. Mr Thiele was a federal representative on the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Senior Australian of the Year

Yalmay Yunupinju

Teacher, linguist and community leader Yalmay Yunupinju was announced as the 2024 Senior Australian of the Year Friday for her outstanding contributions to First Nations education and culture.

For four decades, Ms Yunupinju guided teaching at Yirrkala Bilingual School – north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory – before retiring in March 2023.  

Advocacy peak for older Australians COTA Australia congratulated Ms Yunupinju on the award. “Yalmay Yunupinju continues in the distinguished footsteps of Professor Tom Calma AO, an esteemed figure renowned for his impactful advocacy in the realms of human rights and social justice,” said COTA chief executive Patricia Sparrow.

“Yalmay Yunupinju is truly an inspirational leader,” added Ms Sparrow. “She’s living proof that there is no limit to what we can achieve, no matter what our age.”

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Tags: Australia Day honours, Catherine Walker, Dr Jennider Gowan, Gary Inberg, Malcolm Thiele, Mary Sutcliffe, Paul Brophy, Professor Deborah Parker, Scott Chapman,

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