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Medical Health Aged Care

Dementia Australia announces new CEO

Dementia Australia 3 mins read

Dementia Australia Chair Merran Kelsall AO has today announced Professor Tanya Buchanan as the incoming CEO of Dementia Australia, starting in May.

Last year, Maree McCabe AM notified the Board of her decision to complete her time as CEO in 2024 after 13 years with the organisation – firstly with Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, and then Dementia Australia.

“Finding someone to replace Ms McCabe was not an easy task,” Ms Kelsall said.

“We undertook a rigorous recruitment process involving Board members as well as a person living with dementia – the Chair of our Dementia Australia Advisory Committee.

“We were fortunate to attract such a strong pool of outstanding applicants for the CEO role – a great reflection of the reputation of the organisation and the value of the vision and purpose of Dementia Australia.

“It was important that we appointed someone who could build on the achievements made by Ms McCabe and the organisation during the past 13 years.

“I am very pleased to announce that we have appointed Professor Buchanan as the new CEO to lead the team in continuing to support and make a difference to the lives of Australians impacted by dementia.”

Professor Buchanan is currently CEO of Cancer Council Australia. She will take up her new role in May.

On her appointment, Professor Buchanan said: “I am thrilled to be joining Dementia Australia at such a significant time, which includes the ongoing aged care reforms, review of the Aged Care Act, the development of the National Dementia Action Plan and as the Federal Government is active in prevention initiatives.

“Growing evidence suggests up to 40 per cent of dementia diagnoses could be averted or significantly delayed with effective public health measures.

“I look forward to meeting key stakeholders and working with the team to continue to reduce the incidence and impact of dementia and to ensure every person affected by dementia has access to the best care and support possible so that we can improve outcomes for all Australians.”

Ms Kelsall also paid tribute to outgoing CEO Ms McCabe.

“Ms McCabe has led us through a significant period of change and growth for the organisation,” she said.

“She is compassionate, considered and authentic and, through her leadership, has made a tremendous difference to the lives of people impacted by dementia.”
Ms McCabe said being CEO of Dementia Australia had been an honour and a privilege.

“I extend my profound appreciation to those I have had the privilege of working with, including people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers, along with the amazing team at Dementia Australia, our supporters and my colleagues across the sector,” she said.

About Professor Buchanan

Professor Buchanan studied Nursing at Curtin University of Technology and an MBA in Health Services at Edith Cowan University. She also holds a PhD and a range of qualifications including governance qualifications from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Professor Buchanan commenced her career as a Registered Nurse with a considerable period of her clinical life spent in neuroscience, and has worked in health, academia, local government and the voluntary sector. She is also an Honorary Professor of Practice at the School of Health and Society (Public Health) at the University of Wollongong and is active in public health research and practice.
In 2011, Professor Buchanan won the Leading Wales Award for the not-for-profit sector and was admitted as a Member of the Faculty of Public Health by Distinction for her contribution to Public Health in the UK. In 2023, she was awarded the University of Wollongong Alumni Award for Social Impact.

Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated more than 421,000 Australians living with dementia, and the more than 1.6 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are impacted by dementia or who you are, we are here for you.

For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also visit


Media contacts: Christine Bolt 0400 004 553 / Sarah Price 0403 072 140

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.

Note to Editors:

We request, where possible, details for the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 appear alongside news stories about dementia, as these stories often prompt questions or concerns:

If this story has prompted any questions or concerns, please call the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 (24 hours, 7 days a week) or visit


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