Board and Management

Our board

Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN) is governed by a skills-based, nine-member board with a mix of five appointed and four elected directors. Together, they bring to the organisation many years’ experience and knowledge of both the health sector and communities within our region

Lynne McLennan – Chair

Lynne is an experienced Chair and brings strong governance and leadership skills and knowledge to the board. She has a thorough understanding of the challenges associated with the primary health sector, having worked for more than 20 years in primary care redevelopment roles in rural and regional areas, across all levels of government. Lynne has been Chief Executive Officer of UFS Dispensaries Ltd since 2001, is currently the Deputy Chair of the Committee for Ballarat and has been President of Ballarat Health Services for more than six years.

Jim Elvey – Deputy Chair

Retired and living in Meredith, Jim has worked at at high level in local government, conducted a consulting practice over several years, performed as chief executive officer to a national board and held the positions of Director and Deputy President of Ballarat Health Services. Jim was formerly Chair of Grampians Medicare Local. Jim brings extensive organisational management experience to the Board.


Mark Harris – Director

Mark brings to the organisation the perspective of an experienced allied health professional, currently providing clinical services to the Geelong community. Having worked in health management at both government and local levels, he understands the complexities of health care and the need for the right services to be delivered at the right place at the right time.


Karen Foster – Director

Karen is a communications professional with many years’ experience in journalism, public relations and marketing. A Port Fairy resident, Karen operates a design and communications agency from Warrnambool. As Executive Officer for the Great South Coast region’s peak advocacy body, the Great South Coast Group, she also brings to the board extensive regional networks and knowledge.

Prof Susan Brumby – Director

Susan is the founding Director of the National Centre for Farmer Health and has many years’ practical experience as a rural nurse, midwife and primary health care manager. As an Executive Director of Western District Health Service since 2000, she brings to the board extensive understanding of the daily workings of regional and rural health services and primary care interfaces. She has published widely and presented nationally and internationally on rural and regional health with specific expertise in farmer health. She is Course Director for Agricultural Health and Medicine at School of Medicine at Deakin University, a current member of the Victorian Agricultural Advisory Council, and a board member of South West TAFE.

Dr Jane Opie – Director

Jane has worked as a General Practitioner since the early 1990s including roles as a practice owner, GP subcontractor and Clinical Director overseeing clinical governance.

She supervises GP Registrars and medical students, holds the position of senior clinical lecturer with Deakin University’s School of Medicine and holds a Masters Degree in Public Health. Jane was previously the medical advisor for WVPHN. She is passionate about improving health, wellbeing and health care services to the community and continues to work to reduce inequity and champion quality preventive health care.

Tyrone McCuskey – Director

Tyrone is currently Chief Executive Officer of McCallum Disability Services and has over 25 years commercial management experience across a number of industries, in particular the health sector. His most recent roles include General Manager Corporate Services Ambulance Victoria and CFO UFS Dispensaries Ltd plus several Directorships with specific proficiency within disability organisations. Tyrone is a CPA and AICD member and Williamson Fellow.

Dr Jon Barrell – Director

Dr Jon Barrell MBBS DRACOG FRACGP has 33 years’ experience of Rural General Practice in Daylesford and Trentham and is Director of Hepburn Primary Health Care Pty Ltd (Springs Medical). He is a strong advocate for effective, efficient and sustainable primary care and continues to work to enhance the training of future generations of primary care clinicians. He is a Conjoint Senior Clinical Lecturer in the School of Medicine, Faculty of Health at Deakin University and has been a Board Member of Daylesford District Hospital, Vice Chairman of the Ballarat and District Division of General Practice, Project Manager for the Victorian Rural Divisions Co-ordinating Unit, Captain and President of Hepburn Springs Golf Club and Birch Ward Councillor to Hepburn Shire Council.

Dr Amir Rahimi – Director

Dr Amir Rahimi is an experienced general practitioner and medical administrator with almost 25 years post graduate working experience overseas and in Australia. He returned to Geelong to concentrate on aged care general practice after a few years experiencing diverse settings from large Melbourne hospitals to small rural settings in western Victoria. Dr Rahimi has worked as a GP at Horsham and served as director of medical services in three rural health services. He is committed to emphasising and improving the role of primary health in health care. Dr Rahimi is currently a member of Colac Area Health board and previously served as director for the GP Association of Geelong, Barwon Medicare Local and Western Victoria PHN. Dr Rahimi’s qualifications include a masters degree in accounting and he has completed the Australian Institute of Company Director course.

Our executive team

Rowena Clift: Chief Executive Officer

Rowena commenced as Chief Executive Officer in June 2020 and was previously Director of Service and System Integration at Western Victoria PHN. Rowena has over 20 years of experience in the health care industry and has qualifications in Nursing and Health Systems Management.  She held previous leadership roles across various organisations in the acute sector in both clinical, service redesign and system transformation and recently completed a secondment as Acting Chief Executive Officer of Ballan District Health and Care.

Samantha Sharp: Director Commissioning and Performance

Samantha commenced with the organisation in February 2018 after spending the previous three and a half years at Moreland City Council as the Manager of Aged and Community Support. She has had significant experience in Home and Community Care (HACC) services with a continuous quality improvement lens, driving quality outcomes. In addition, she has worked to drive sector based change in the ageing landscape through collaborative regional projects. Sam has spent over 20 years working in different services in the South West of Victoria, having worked in Aged Care, Children’s Services, Youth Work, Community Development, Emergency Management and Drug and Alcohol for Glenelg Shire Council, Portland District Health, and the former Portland Community Health Centre. Sam has a Bachelor of Arts Education, Bachelor of Social Work, Masters of Business Administration and an Advanced Diploma of Public Safety. She also completed the 12-month Leadership Victoria – Williamson Community Leadership Program.

Tony Ficca: Company Secretary and Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Tony is the Director of Finance and Corporate Services and has previously held a number of executive positions in the health care industry, including 10 years as Director of Finance at St John of God Geelong Hospital and consulting on strategic development at Defence Health Insurance. He was also the Executive Director Finance and Company Secretary at GMHBA for over six years. Tony holds a Bachelor of Commerce, is a fellow of the Australian Society of CPA’s and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Tony is also on a number of Boards and Committees in Geelong including genU, The Geelong College, Strive2Thrive and Kardinia Park Stadium Trust.

Director Service and System Integration (Vacant)



Organisation chart

Western Victoria PHN organisation chart

Last modified: 9 June, 2020