Dr Kate Barnett OAM – Creating an unprecedented impact on health and aged care

Dr Kate Barnett OAM (BA ’70, DipEd ’71, MEd ’77) has over 30 years experience as a social policy researcher and analyst and has had a long association with Flinders University throughout her career. In 1970 she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts as one of the second intake of students at Flinders and one of the first intake for the Drama School. Following graduation with a Diploma of Education in 1971, she taught for two years and then returned to Flinders for the next five years, working as Study Skills Counsellor in the Health and Counselling Service, and completing her Master of Education and the Social Policy component of the Social Administration program. This led to her work as a policy officer in the Youth Bureaux of the SA and NSW governments.

n the late 1980s Kate returned to Adelaide and established one of Australia’s first social policy research and evaluation consultancy businesses, eponymously named. Over the next 25 years she increasingly specialised in ageing and aged care policy and her specific knowledge of the teaching nursing home model saw her being awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2014. From 2006 -2016, Kate was Deputy-Director of the University of Adelaide’s Workplace Innovation and Social Research Centre (WISeR).

Kate’s long term contribution to the field of gerontology has been, and continues to be, of significant value to the community, on both a state and national level. As is well documented, Australia’s ageing population presents both challenges and opportunities. It will have unprecedented impact on health, aged care and fiscal decision making in coming decades, but will also bring a growing number of purchasers of a range of products, making a positive contribution to the economy that is being felt now as the first wave of Baby Boomers reaches their mid-sixties. Her ongoing research in this field will ensure that best practice is taken into account by governments and community organisations.

For about ten years Kate was a member of the Flinders University Alumni Association Executive and at the time of the University’s 40th Anniversary in 2006, was appointed by the then Vice-Chancellor to be one of 40 Ambassadors supporting the milestone.

Late in 2016, and wishing to blend her policy and writing skills, Kate established a technical writing business called Stand Out Report.

Dr Kate Barnett OAM was awarded a Flinders University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017 for her significant contribution to the community, the state, and the nation as a social policy researcher in the areas of ageing and multiculturalism. In 2018 she was acknowledged in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to aged welfare.

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