Our Research Consultants

Meaningful Ageing Australia is proud to be associated with a growing number of national and international experts in the fields of spirituality and ageing. Below is a list of our honorary research consultants who assist us with current evidence to inform both our creation of high quality resources and our advocacy work.

If you are a recognised academic in the fields of spirituality and ageing and would like to hear about the benefits of collaborating with us, contact admin@meaningfulage.org.au.

Richard Egan

PhD, PG Dip Public Health, MPhil, DipTchg, DipREd, BA (1st Class Hons)

Richard Egan lives, works and surfs in Dunedin, New Zealand. He is a senior lecturer in health promotion, based in the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit, Department of Preventative & Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago. His background includes five years working as a health promoter / professional advisor in a Public Health Unit and five years secondary school teaching. Richard’s Master’s thesis examined spirituality in New Zealand state schools, his PhD thesis explored spirituality in end-of-life care and he has qualifications in theology, English literature, religious studies, and public health.

Richard’s academic interests centre on supportive care in cancer, health promotion and the place of spirituality in health and wellbeing. He has been involved in a range of spirituality research including in the areas of aged care, dementia, palliative care, medical education, nurses’ spiritual care, renal care, and Pacific people’s spiritual care. Richard is a past-president of the New Zealand Public Health Association and is currently on the Board of the Health Promotion Forum. Sarah (wife), Benji (son, aged eight) and Milo (dog) remind Richard about ‘what matters most’.

Richard Fleming

BTech(Hons), DipClinPsy, PhD

Richard Fleming is a psychologist who has worked with the elderly for more than thirty years. In the 1980s, while occupying the position of Regional Coordinator of Mental Health Services in the S.E. Region of the NSW Department of Health, he played a major role in the deinstitutionalisation of psychiatric services by leading the development of purpose designed facilities.

In 1995 he began working for HammondCare, establishing their Dementia Services Development Centre and in 2010 he was appointed as a Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences in the University of Wollongong. In 2016 he led the consortium of five universities and Alzheimers Australia that formed Dementia Training Australia, the organisation that is responsible for the Australia wide delivery of Australian Government funded dementia training and education.

He has published papers on spirituality and depression, environmental design, reminiscence therapy, reality orientation, depression, assessment of the elderly and service evaluation and is the principal author of books on care planning for people with dementia, environmental design and a comparison between Australian and Japanese dementia care.

Ann Harrington

RN (TWH), DNE (CCHS), B.Ed (SACAE), M.Ng (Flinders), PhD (Flinders), FACN MPCNA

Ann Harrington is Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Flinders University. She leads a team of 21 researchers comprising academics and PhD students researching in the area of aged care.

Her masters and PhD degrees were conducted with research into spirituality and her ongoing publications reflect this focus. Spiritual care is an important component of palliative care and she has 34 years of experience in palliative care, spiritual care and aged care. Ann became a member of the Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies from its inauguration in 2001. Ongoing links through CAPS has seen Ann develop national and international contacts including the Center for Religion, Spirituality and Aging, Duke University, George Washington Centre for Spirituality and Health in the USA and the Centre for Spirituality and Disability in Aberdeen University in the UK.

The importance of culture and spirituality has been at the forefront of Ann developing knowledge in this area. From 2003-2013 she was chairperson of the Spirituality and Health movement in Australia, with keynote speakers drawn from the USA and Australia. Through these conferences and professional connections she has contributed to the body of knowledge in the area of spirituality, culture, dementia, workforce planning and aged care.

Rosalie Hudson

RN, Dip Arts, B App Sci, B Theol, M Theol, Grad Dip Geront., PhD.

Rosalie is a consultant/nurse educator in aged care, palliative care, dementia care and ethics. She is a sessional teacher in a variety of university programs and other education contexts: in each of these roles the spiritual component of health care is addressed. She holds an honorary associate professorship at the University of Melbourne (school of nursing) and adjunct associate professorship at Charles Sturt University. Rosalie’s nursing experience includes ten years’ community care with management roles and twelve years as director of nursing of a nursing home with a focus on palliative care.

Rosalie chaired the Human Research Ethics Committees at Epworth Hospital for 10 years and the University of Divinity for 10 years. Her Master’s thesis: ‘The theological significance of death’s limit and its implications for the church’s pastoral care’ and her doctoral thesis: ‘Personhood, community and death: the transforming power of relationships within the nursing home’ emphasised holistic care. Rosalie has published widely in books, nursing and theological journals and presented many papers nationally and internationally, incorporating spirituality wherever appropriate.

In her palliative care teaching, Rosalie emphasises the spiritual component of the World Health Organisation’s definition of palliative care: ‘. . . integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care’. Rosalie regularly addresses chaplaincy forums about spiritual care within aged care; for example, within Catholic chaplaincy services. She is also a guest lecturer for the Centre for Palliative Care, presenting papers to post graduate health professionals on the spiritual component of palliative care. Rosalie welcomes involvement with Meaningful Ageing’s promotion of spiritual care within aged care.

Bruce Rumbold

MSc, PhD, BD(Hons), PhD, MA

Bruce holds postgraduate qualifications in physics, pastoral care and health social science, and has published in all three fields. His longstanding interest in palliative care began with doctoral work in England in the mid-seventies, and has continued throughout palliative care’s period of development in Australia. The health promoting model employed by the La Trobe University Palliative Care Unit, with its emphasis on social and spiritual care, is particularly congenial to his interests in community development, pastoral care, and spirituality. Bruce has research interests in end-of-life care reform and in particular, community capacity building around end of life concerns.

Bruce is the spiritual care lead for La Trobe University’s Healthy Ageing Research Group. Some publications relevant to Meaningful Ageing’s mission include Rumbold, B. (2006). The Spirituality of Compassion: A Public Health Response to Ageing and End-of-Life Care. Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging, Vol. 18 (2/3), 31-44; Rumbold, B. (2011). Health promoting palliative care and dying in old age. In Gott, M. & Ingleton, C. (Eds.) Living with ageing and dying: palliative and end of life care for older people (pp. 75-89). Oxford: Oxford University Press; Rumbold, B. (2012). Compassionate care: Engaging the spirit in care. Progress in Palliative Care 20 (2), 106-113; Rumbold, B. (2013). Spiritual assessment and healthcare chaplaincy. Christian Bioethics. doi: 10.1093/cb/cbt027; Rumbold, B., Aoun, S. (2014). Bereavement and palliative care: A public health perspective. Progress in Palliative Care 22(3), 131-135; Rumbold, B., Aoun, S. (2016). An assets-based approach to bereavement care. Bereavement Care doi: 10.1080/02682621.2015.1115185.  He is a joint editor of the Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare: Cobb, M, Puchalski, C & Rumbold, B. (eds.) The Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2012).

Bruce Stevens

PhD Boston Uni 1987

Professor Bruce A. Stevens was born in the USA but spent most of my life in Australia. He has served in parish ministry, as an Anglican minister in the parishes of St John’s Reid, an associate in Church of the Redeemer in Boston and rector of St Pauls Millis, then Holy Covenant, Jamieson. In 1993 he went into private practice as a clinical & forensic psychologist. He founded Canberra Clinical and Forensic Psychology in Canberra City. The last five years he was the convenor of the clinical psychology training program at University of Canberra and in February 2015 came to CSU/St Marks as Wicking Professor of Ageing and Practical Theology and director of Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies (CAPS). He has developed a research team at CSU which is doing research about the needs of older prisoners and Salvation Army Officers quality of life. He worships at Wesley Uniting Church in Forrest, Canberra. He has four adult children.


John Swinton

BD, PhD (Aberdeen), RMN (Registered Mental Nurse), RNMD (Registered Nurse for People with Learning Disabilities)

The foundation for much of John’s research and teaching has emerged from his background in nursing, ministry and healthcare chaplaincy. It was whilst working in these fields that he began to gain a passion for developing modes of care that are genuinely person centred and which take seriously the significance of theology, spirituality and religion within the processes of healing and community building. John has a particular interest in multidisciplinary education and research. At present he teaches cross-college courses in the schools of nursing and medicine at the University of Aberdeen. For a number of years he has taught an interdisciplinary course on spirituality and health that involves nursing students, medical students and students from the Arts and Theology. He also teaches on spirituality and healthcare to nurses and occupational therapists. John has published extensively within the area of practical theology, pastoral care, mental health studies, disability theology and nursing. A selection of publications of interest to Meaningful Ageing Australia’s community include:

Dementia: Living in the Memories of God (2012) Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefulness and Gentle Discipleship Waco: Baylor Press (Especially chapters 7 & 8) Swinton, J. (2014). ‘What’s in a name?: Why people with dementia might be better off without the language of personhood’. International Journal of Practical Theology, vol 18, no. 2, pp. 234-247; Swinton J (2016) ‘The Meanings of Spirituality: A multi-perspectival approach to ‘the spiritual.’ (Book chapter) In Grosvenor Essay No. 11: Towards and Integration of Science and Christianity. Swinton, J. (2014). ‘Spirituality-in-Healthcare: Just Because it May Be ‘Made Up’ Does Not Mean That it is Not Real and Does Not Matter’. Journal for the Study of Spirituality, vol 4, no. 2, pp. 162-173; S Swinton, J. & Payne, R. (eds) (2009). Living Well and Dying Faithfully: Christian Practices for End-Of-Life Care. Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, MI, USA.