Kay Patterson, AO

Invited Speaker, Gerontology

The Honourable Dr, Australian Human Rights Commission, NSW

    Dr Kay Patterson was the Age Discrimination Commissioner for seven years until July 2023. She has demonstrated a strong interest in issues affecting older people throughout her professional life. Leaving school at 15 and then managing a small business, she returned to school and gained a BA (Hons) at the University of Sydney and a PhD in Psychology and Dip Ed at Monash University. She taught allied health science students for 11 years. She studied gerontology at two universities in the USA and used the knowledge gained during those visits to co-develop the first Victorian post-graduate diploma in gerontology and to introduce gerontology into the undergraduate behavioural science courses.

    Prior to her term as Age Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Patterson was a member of the Senate from 1987 until 2008. During this time she served in many capacities, including as Minister for Health. As Age Discrimination Commissioner, her three key priority areas were: age discrimination and the workplace; elder abuse in the community; and older women’s risk of homelessness. She is a current member of the Australian Government’s Council of Elders, which plays a critical role in making sure older Australians have input into shaping reforms about aged care and ageing generally.

    Dr Patterson will speak on Elder abuse and how health care professionals can play a part in combatting it.