CEO Primary Matters – 1 November 2023

2023 Annual General Meeting 

A big thank you to all those who came to our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday night, we appreciate everyone who took the time to attend in-person or online. It was a night of big changes for Western Victoria Primary Health Network’s (WVPHN) Board, which said goodbye to our Board Chair, Lynne McLennan. 

Board Director Karen Foster and retiring Chair Lynne McLennan.

Commencing in 2015, Lynne was the inaugural Chair of WVPHN. At the time, WVPHN was new entity, formed by the merging of Barwon Medicare Local, Grampians Medicare Local and South West Medicare Local. Lynne has a passion for primary care and the role it plays in the health of communities in western Victoria. In her time at WVPHN, she has presided over many changes and substantial financial growth in commissioning of services. On behalf of our Board, Executive team and staff, we wish Lynne all the best for future endeavours.  

We also welcomed two new board members: Karen Heap and Professor Gary Rogers.   

Karen is the CEO of Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC). A proud Yorta Yorta woman, Karen has followed in her mother’s footsteps as a remarkable leader who has given back to her community. Since becoming CEO of BADAC in 2004, BADAC’s staff has increased from 15 to 112 and is still growing as BADAC has become a thriving health provider and community space.  

Gary is a health professions educational leader, public health researcher and GP with a focus on HIV medicine. He commenced as Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine at Deakin University in June 2020, and during his long career has established a deep understanding of the history of primary health care policy in Australia, as well as the considerable challenges that currently face the sector 

Both Karen and Gary will bring immense expertise and experience to the board of WVPHN, and we feel incredibly lucky to be able to draw on their knowledge as WVPHN continues its mission of improving health and wellbeing outcomes for the people of western Victoria. 

We also released our 2023 Annual Report, which you can read here. 

Vale Dr Trevor Banks 

Everyone at WVPHN offer their condolences to the family and friends of Dr Trevor Banks, who passed away last week. A long-time GP in Belmont, Trevor developed an interest in palliative care that eventually led to him creating, along with other community members, Hospice Foundation Geelong, which, when it started in the early 1980s, was only the second hospice organisation in Victoria. Trevor retired from general practice to work directly in palliative care in 1989, and in 2003 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to medicine and the community, especially in palliative care. He was directly involved with WVPHN through our Palliative Care Special Interest Group, which he contributed to greatly. Many in the wider Geelong community will mourn Trevor’s passing and feel eternally grateful for his work.  

Movember Means Men’s Health 

Once again, it’s that time of the year when our beloved partners, fathers, sons, brothers or friends  spend a month growing the hair on the top of their lip to raise awareness of men’s health. While the moustaches can vary from mediocre to the monumental, the focus on raising awareness and funds for men’s mental health, prostate and testicular cancer is truly magnificent. It’s also a good reminder to check in on the health of the men in your life (or better still, check yourself in!). Find out more about supporting or getting involved with Movember here.
Rowena Clift, WVPHN CEO
1 November 2023 

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