Co-Chairs of ERA
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Valerie D’Astous is a babyboomer, who returned to academia following a career in nursing and raising her four children. She has international roots and attachments. She grew up in Montreal, Canada. Moved with her husband and children to Salt Lake City, Utah and is now completing a PhD in Gerontology at King’s College London. Valerie obtained two M.Sc. degrees (Human Development & Social Policy, and Gerontology) at the University of Utah where she was also employed in an adjunct teaching position prior to coming to King’s College London. Her overarching academic interests are situated in the circumstances of ageing vulnerable populations. Her PhD research focuses on the health care and supportive needs of adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Of particular concern is maintaining their wellbeing post parental caregiving.  She is deeply committed to making research count to positively impact the lives of older people. Moreover Valerie is passionate about gerontology and believes collectively we can raise awareness and learn from each other through our association with the British Gerontology Society.


Incoming Chair of ERA:

Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon, Theodore developed an interest in gerontology early on. By age 12 he was volunteering at a long-term care facility; a decade later he conducted a BSc with Specialisation in Psychology at the University of Alberta, which included a year as a Research Intern in a dementia care facility. 

Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, Theodore emigrated to Ireland to complete a MSc in Applied Social Research at Trinity College Dublin. After working as a Research Officer at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland he joined the Cambridge Institute of Public Health to pursue his doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge. Theodore’s primary interests are in positive aspects of ageing, e.g. resilience, and applying longitudinal modelling techniques within a life course epidemiological framework.



Deb Morgan (debmor123@fsmail.net)

Haley Wright (hayley.wright@coventry.ac.uk)

Alexandra Hillman (hillmanae1@cardiff.ac.uk).

Alexandra Hillman is a medical sociologist whose work focusses on the treatment and care of older people. Over the past five years she has been working in the field of dementia.  Alexandra works at WISERD – Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods – based at Cardiff University. She is currently working on the ESRC funded study entitled: ‘Improving the experience of dementia and enhancing active life: living well with dementia’ The IDEAL study, where she is undertaking qualitative research with people with dementia and their families to identify factors that impact on their ability to live well with the condition.  In her previous project- funded as part of a Wellcome trust Society and Ethics Postdoctoral Fellowship award- she explored the social and ethical implications of ‘early’ diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

Deborah Morgan
is a researcher at the Centre for Innovative Ageing at Swansea University, where she is a thematic lead on the Future of Ageing Research development group. She also teaches on the Health and Ageing Module of the MSc in Gerontology and Ageing Studies. Deborah has six years’ experience as a researcher, having worked on projects at Swansea University, Cardiff University and the University of South Wales, on a range of health and social care projects. Most recently she has worked on a collaborative project with Brunel University exploring the mobility needs of people with disabilities.Her research interests include Loneliness and Social Isolation, Later Life, Chronic Illness, Disability, Social Care, New Ageing Populations, Lifecourse Perspectives, Social Inequalities, Public Health and Substance Misuse in Later Life. Deborah has recently completed her PhD exploring Transitions in Loneliness and Social Isolation in Later Life.

Hayley Wright is a postdoctoral Research Associate at Coventry University, in the Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement. She has been interested in cognitive neuropsychology since her undergraduate degree in Applied Psychology, and her PhD thesis investigated the alleviation of visual attention deficits after stroke. More recently, she has developed an interest in cognitive ageing and decline in the general population. Through her research, she intends to investigate and promote the modifiable lifestyle factors which help to protect cognitive function and wellbeing in older age. She has a keen interest in research into earlier and more accurate detection of dementia, and the provision of tailored support for people with dementia and their families and carers. She maintains an active interest in the cognitive neuropsychology of stroke and dementia, and in the development of assessments to detect subtle nuances in cognitive impairment and behavioural manifestations in these groups.