Sep 27, 2022

Australian ageing experts named to UN’s Healthy Ageing 50 initiative

Australian ageing experts named to UN's Healthy Ageing 50 initiative

Australian-born Dr Jane Barratt, University of Sydney Professor Yun-Hee Jeon and University of Adelaide Professor Renuka Visvanathan have been recognised as leading global experts in ageing, named in the United Nations’ first ever Healthy Ageing 50: leaders transforming the world to be a better place to grow older initiative.

Fifty individuals were selected from a nominated pool of 500 global leaders, recognising “inspirational champions that showcase what is already possible in the area of healthy ageing”.

The initiative is part of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030), a global collaboration focused on building age-friendly environments, combatting ageism, developing integrated care and improving long-term care for older persons. 

“The UN Decade of Healthy Ageing offers us an unprecedented opportunity to put in place the right policies and services, so that more people experience later life in good health and can continue to do the things they value,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

“I have the pleasure of recognising these world-changing leaders who, often with limited resources, show what can be done – and how – to improve health and wellbeing for older persons.”

Professor Jeon is the Sydney Nursing School’s Susan and Isaac Wakil Professor of Healthy Ageing, and Director at StepUp for Dementia Research and StepUp for Ageing Research.

She is a Registered Nurse and leading Australian researcher in psychogeriatrics and gerontology, where she is focused on dementia care and chronic illness. 

A Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University o Adelaide, Professor Visvanathan is a clinician, researcher and educator who has been the Head of Unit for the Aged and Extended Care Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital since 2005.

She also leads the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre of Research Excellence in Frailty and Healthy Ageing (CRE). Professor Visvanathan has delivered meaningful training and education back home in Malaysia for the care of older people.

Dr Barratt, Ph.D., is the Secretary General for the International Federation of Ageing (IFA), where she has campaigned and advocated for the rights of older persons for the past 20 years. 

Now based in Toronto, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work involved with improving quality of life for older people.

Dr Barratt said she is honoured to be named in the inaugural Healthy Ageing 50.

“I am proud to be one of the Healthy Ageing 50 – 50 leaders recognised for their efforts to improve the lives of current and future generations of older people,” said Dr. Barratt.

“As an Australian, I am honoured to be recognised by the WHO and I could never have imagined that 20 years of international service to older people across the globe would lead to such recognition.

“There are no borders when it comes to what Australians can achieve.”

The announcement of the Healthy Ageing 50 coincided with the 20-year milestone of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). 

This announcement has been made ahead of the upcoming United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons.

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