Governance Authority

The Governance Authority is responsible for the overall performance of the CDPC, to ensure its activities meet overarching performance indicators and reflect the desires of funding partners.

Ms Janice Besch (Chair)


Janice Besch is the Director of the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research. The NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (The Dementia Institute) is a key element of the Australian Government’s $200 million initiative to boost dementia research and collaborates with Australia’s best researchers while also drawing on the expertise of consumers, health professionals, industry and policy makers to translate evidence into policy and practice.

Janice comes to her role with a depth of experience in the University, government, the arts and not-for-profit sectors. She headed the University of New South Wales Grants Management Office for five years and was a member of the Group of Eight Research Directors Group during that period, the members of which play a key sectoral liaison role with the national research funding agencies. She has held senior strategy and management positions at Macquarie University, the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Queensland and the Australian Market & Social Research Society. She has been listed in the Who’s Who of Australian Women and has been an active member of the Australasian Research Management Society since joining the profession in 2005, including serving as its President for three years 2014-2017.

Dr Jennifer Lawrence

Ms Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence is the Chief Executive Officer at Brightwater Care Group.

A Medical Scientist by background, Jennifer worked initially at Royal Perth Hospital before taking the role of Chief Scientist with a private pathology organisation. Jennifer held a number of executive roles within the private pathology industry both locally and interstate before moving to Brightwater Care Group in 2003.

Before being appointed CEO and as part of the Executive at Brightwater, Jennifer managed the business operations of services for older people and people with disabilities, she was responsible for overseeing the build of 2 aged care facilities and a $20m rebuild of the Oats Street Rehabilitation service, and had responsibility for occupational health and safety, workers compensation, Quality and Compliance and Insurance for Brightwater Care Group.

Jennifer has also established the Brightwater Research Centre which is Brightwater’s research arm and has published and presented research internationally.

Jennifer is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a non-executive Director of the Leeuwin Foundation and is a member of ACHSM.

Ms Megan Corlis

Ms Megan Corlis

Megan Corlis is the Director of Research & Development at Helping Hand Aged Care. She is a registered nurse who has worked extensively across the acute and aged care sectors in senior roles both as a clinician and in management. Megan’s current role is focussed on creating innovative collaborations between industry and researchers. She worked as a ‘catalyst’ with the Thinker in Residence, Dr Kalache and is working to integrate his concepts of ‘age friendliness’ across a range of sectors and the broader community. She has been instrumental in setting up a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of South Australia which has resulted in a number of research activities.

She has held a number of roles across the industry including Board Member on the North east Division of General Practice and for TAFE. Currently she is on the Advisory Committee for the Centre for Culture and Languages at UniSA, the National ANMF Committee on Nursing Pathways and numerous groups involved with research from Workers with English as a Second language through to Decent Work Conditions.

Megan’s strengths are in transference of research into the practice area. She has a strong consumer focus and passionately believes in co-design as an important principle for working with older people. Her collaborative arrangements have resulted in a number of excellent partnerships both including non traditional partners which have provided valuable project activities.

Dr Christopher Poulos

Professor Christopher Poulos

Professor Chris Poulos is the Foundation Hammond Chair of Positive Ageing and Care with the University of New South Wales (Australia) and a rehabilitation physician with over 25 years clinical experience. He is also the Immediate Past President of the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, former chair of the Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Centre Management Advisory Committee, and Visiting Principal Fellow with the Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong.

Ms Maree McCabe

Ms Maree McCabe

CEO of Dementia Australia. Maree’s career background has involved senior executive positions across the mental health and aged care sectors. Since Maree’s appointment as CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia Vic in 2010, she has successfully overseen an 84 per cent increase in staff, driven the development of the Perc Walkley Dementia Learning Centre - a world first multisensory environment for experiential learning in dementia care and has successfully expanded critical dementia support services in regional Victoria including the establishment of multidisciplinary regional hubs in Geelong, Ballarat, Drouin and Bendigo.