Researcher biography

Dr Nagham Ailabouni is a Lecturer at the University of Queensland, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences.

She is of Christian Palestinian Jordanian descent (Arabic) and was born in the United Arab Emirates. She completed her undergraduate Pharmacy degree at the University of Otago and is a New Zealand and Australian registered pharmacist with extensive clinical pharmacy experience in various healthcare settings including hospital, aged care and community pharmacy. In 2018, Dr Ailabouni was appointed as a Hospital Chief Pharmacist of the South Canterbury District Health Board in New Zealand where she led a team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to provide medication services to 400,000 people in the South Canterbury region.

Dr Ailabouni completed her PhD titled "Deprescribing in Older New Zealanders" from the University of Otago, Dunedin in 2018. Her PhD program involved exploring the barriers and enablers of deprescribing, the process of reducing harmful medications, from the perspective of key stakeholders (General Pracititioners and registered nurses). She then designed using the identified barriers and implemented an interventional study to deprescribe high-risk medications taken by older adults residing in the aged care setting. Her research findings showed that deprescribing is safe and feasible and could provide older adults several health benefits including less reported side effects, fewer falls and improved mood. Her PhD program was the first to explore deprescribing in New Zealand and it paved the way for further larger studies to be conducted in this field thereafter.

Dr Ailabouni's main research foci include person-centred deprescribing, quality use of medicines in people living with dementia, and implementation science. In 2020, Dr Ailabouni was selected as an inaugural US Deprescribing Network Scholar. In 2021, she was awarded an international pilot award from the National Institute of Health (US Deprescribing Network). She is currently leading this project as an international collaboration between the University of Queensland and the University of Maryland to co-design a conversation tool for people living with dementia to initiate a deprescribing conversation with their healthcare provider. In addition to this project, Dr Ailabouni has led six different consumer-centric translational research projects focussed on improving medication appropriateness in older adults in North America and Australasia.

Professionally, Dr Ailabouni was elected and served as the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) Otago Branch in 2014-2016. She was elected once again and served as the President of the PSNZ South Canterbury Branch in 2016-2018. Currently, Dr Ailabouni is a co-chair of the American Geriatrics Society Polypharmacy and Deprescribing Special Interest Group. Dr Ailabouni enjoys being part of other early career researchers' professional development and growth. She is currently supervising two Postdoctoral Research Fellows, co-supervising a PhD candidate and looking forward to growing her supervision roles.