About Us

What is PALZ?

PALZ is a support organisation established to ensure all those from a high-powered work environment, and with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, or similar, are able to maintain dignity and respect through active participation and interaction within a socially and intellectually stimulating environment.

PALZ is providing input into research currently being undertaken by NARI – the National Ageing Research Institute Inc.

PALZ has tax-deductability status.

Meet our Board Members

Associate Professor Michael Woodward AM (MB, BS, MD, FRACP)


Associate Professor Michael Woodward accepted the invitation to be the Patron of PALZ – Professionals with Alzheimer’s, in November 2016.

Associate Professor Michael Woodward is Head of Aged Care Research and the Memory Clinic at Austin Health in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He is a specialist in geriatric medicine with a major interest in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias. As head of the Memory Clinic and the Medical and Cognitive Research Unit he is involved in currently over 30 research trials of new therapies for AD and related disorders. He is immediate Past President of the AC4R – the Australasian Consortium of Centres for Clinical Cognitive Research that brings together researchers into therapeutic agents for dementia. He is a board member of Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria and chairs their Dementia Research Foundation, which administers a $2 million fund that awards $300,000 of research funding each year.

Associate Professor Woodward’s publication record includes numerous original research and review articles and several book chapters. Recent publication-related roles include his chairmanship of the ‘Geriatric Therapeutics’ section of the editorial board of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice. He is also a member of the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Reference Committee, which approves drugs for Australian Veterans.

Recent professional organisational positions include Chair of the Committee for Physician Training and member of the Board of Censors, Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He is currently a member of the Education and Training Subcommittee of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, having previously chaired that subcommittee. He was previously President of the Australian Association of Gerontology, Victorian branch.

Associate Professor Woodward is frequently called upon to share his broad knowledge and experience of geriatric medicine, especially dementia, at major scientific meetings in Australia and overseas.

Cathy Roth OAM


An early career in Medical Imaging, in both the public and private sector, led to senior management roles. Subsequently Cathy managed a busy function centre for a number of years before being approached to take up an executive management role with the Australian International Airshow, which she enjoyed very much. Cathy left this role to undertake the duties of Rotary International District Governor in 2005, following which she established her Executive Management Consultancy.

A move from Medical Imagining to Management saw Cathy add a number of Management Diplomas and a Business degree to her qualifications., with her currently undertaking a Masters degree in Leadership.

Cathy has been exceedingly active in both the business and wider community over many years with numerous leadership roles, including having been being elected the first female President of the Geelong Chamber of Commerce, and the first female President of a Rotary Club in the ANZO region. Cathy has served on/chaired over thirty different Rotary club, District, and international committees with a number of these still current. She has represented the International President at conferences both nationally and internationally, on a number of occasions. In the community Cathy has likewise held a wide range of roles from Geelong Performing Arts Centre Trustee to Barwon Water Board Director, and in the health area as Chair of the McKellar Centre Hydrotherapy Centre fund-raising committee, Chair of the Mercy Health Rice Village Advisory committee, and as a member of the Anam Cara Board. Cathy also sits on the State Committee of the Order of Australia Association.

Cathy’s contributions have been acknowledged through both the Medal of the Order of Australia, her selection as a State finalist in the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year awards, and through a number of business and Rotary awards.

Dr Murray Verso


Murray is a retired general practitioner. He and his wife, Irene ran a family practice in Williamstown, Victoria for 37 years. His medical interests included infectious diseases, mental health, and aged care. He also ran medical education programs for his peers and served on various professional bodies. He is an Honorary Life member of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

As well as in medical organizations, Murray has had governance experience in the independent school sector. For 27 years, Murray was a member of the Council of Trinity Grammar School, Kew, including 9 years as Chairman of the Council. The school’s Early Learning Centre is named in his honour.

Murray has been a Rotarian for more than 40 years and held many senior positions in the service organization. These include club president, District Governor, and District Rotary Foundation Chair.

He is currently the Australian and New Zealand End Polio Now Coordinator raising awareness and funds for Rotary’s number one humanitarian priority – eradicating poliomyelitis from the world.

Christine Heath


Christine graduated with a Bachelor of Economics from LaTrobe University and went on to work in Corporate Superannuation Advisory at organisations such as Westpac and Aon. She obtained a Graduate Diploma in Investment and Finance and a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning, but decided that commuting from Geelong to Melbourne was too difficult with a young son, so joined her husband around 20 years ago to help run Pace Advertising in Geelong.

Christine completed her MBA in 2023 and has always been very active in the community, having held many volunteer roles over the years. She is currently a Board Member of Meli, Volunteering Geelong and now PALZ.

Christine is passionate about making a difference to the growing number of people in the community struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease and like many of us, has directly experienced the effect of the illness on her family.

Dan Simmonds


A graduate of Melbourne University, Dan holds degrees in both Law and Commerce. He is accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria as a Business Law Specialist, and is a graduate of the Family Business Institute’s accreditation program for family business advisors.

Principal of the law firm, Mast Lawyers, Dan deals with strategic and business planning processes across a wide range of industries, creating real world solutions to the many legal and practical challenges faced by businesses and the families that own them.

In 2010, Dan was awarded the Law Institute of Victoria President’s General Award in recognition of excellence and outstanding contribution within the legal profession.

Dan has been, and continues to be, very active within the local and wider community, holding a number of community and business leadership roles, including that of Chair of the Committee for Geelong. He currently holds key positions on a number of Boards, including as Chair of the Barwon Health Foundation, Chair of Kardinia Health, Director of Ace Radio Broadcasters P/L, Deakin University School of Law Academic Advisory Board, Trustee of the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, and committee member: Australian Institute of Company Directors (Geelong regional sub-committee).

Frequently Asked Questions

How and when does PALZ operate?
  • Autonomous groups with annual reporting requirements to PALZ Board.
  • Each group co-ordinated by a facilitator; Secretary provided by Service club, Health-care agency, Council, or interested citizens
  • Each group provided with a set of Standard Operating Procedures for guidance.
  • Appropriate venue eg. Council Hall; corporate meeting room
  • Bi-monthly meetings 10am-11.45am
  • Corporate-style speakers
  • Speakers briefed on audience need for multi-sensory inputs and repetition of key points
  • Non-meeting months may be industry visits, social events, or specific professional groups eg engineers, managers, lawyers, electricians
  • Future plans include an annual conference.
Who are the members of each group?

Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or similar diseases; who are at the early stages of the disease; who have worked within an environment that has been mentally challenging; and the departure from which has left that person with a sense of significant social and intellectual deprivation.

Where does PALZ operate?

PALZ is able to operate anywhere there is a need, and will be expanded across Australia and beyond over the coming years. It simply requires notification to the Board that there is intent to establish a group (as above) and adherence to governance requirements.

Why is there a need for PALZ?

Diagnosis is often accompanied by social and intellectual deprivation and feelings of loss of personal identity and self-worth. PALZ restores dignity whilst ensuring that intellectual and social capabilities, with like-minded high-thinkers, are maintained.