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.

Prof Susan Brumby – Deputy Chair

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 Bernard Shiu- Director

Bernard is the owner and Clinical Director of Banksia Medical Centre in Newcomb. He was awarded the RACGP Victorian GP of the Year Award in 2020. Bernard is Deputy Chair of the RACGP Victoria Faculty and serves as an examiner for the college, as well as a supervisor and medical educator of almost 10 years. Bernard regularly lectures at Deakin University’s School of Medicine and serves as an expert member for numerous official scientific and research organisations. He has been invited to multiple DHHS committees as a medical expert and has also been a Director of the Australian GP Alliance since 2019.

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.

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.

Marie-Louise Aitken – Director

An experienced psychologist and health board director, Marie worked as a psychologist in rural private practice in Horsham and Warracknabeal for over 20 years. She brings a wealth of knowledge concerning the mental health issues faced by rural people. She is a life governor and past president of Rural Northwest Health and is a board member of Wimmera Health Care Group. Marie is a link graduate of the AICD.

Cath Evans – Director

Cath is a lawyer and former Registered Nurse. She worked in hospitals across the Melbourne and metropolitan area whilst undertaking degrees in Law and Arts. She was a practising lawyer, specialising in litigation and transitioned into executive management roles, becoming the CEO/COO of professional service firms, operating in Australia, NZ and the UK. She was previously a Director of Bayside Health (Alfred, Caulfield and Sandringham Hospitals) and is currently a Director of Wayss, an organisation that provides emergency assistance to women experiencing domestic violence and homelessness services. She is also a Director of Colac Area Health.

Our executive team

Rowena Clift

Rowena Clift: Chief Executive Officer

Rowena commenced as Chief Executive Officer in June 2020 and was previously Director of Service and System Integration at WVPHN. 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 clinical, service redesign and system transformation and recently completed a secondment as Acting Chief Executive Officer of Ballan District Health and Care.  Rowena is a Board Director for both Western District Health Service and G21 Alliance.

Andrew Giddy: Executive Director Strategy and Engagement

Andy’s role aims to ensure alignment between the strategic directions of WVPHN and the work that we undertake to support better health outcomes across our region. The role works with all of the teams across WVPHN to support engagement with our stakeholders to make sure their voices are heard in the development of programs. The role also combines feedback from stakeholders with the diverse data sets that are available to WVPHN to tailor our activities to our regional needs. This new portfolio includes engagement, communications, Aboriginal health and strategy.

Prior to joining WVPHN in March 2021, Andy worked in the University, TAFE and Clinical Research sectors and sometimes works as a veterinarian in Emergency Animal Disease outbreaks and bushfire response.

Janelle Jakowenko: Executive Director Operations

Janelle has 25 years experience in the health sector, starting out in one of the more obscure allied health professions as a medical photographer. Building on an early career based on medical artefacts, in 2008 she completed a Masters in eHealthcare with high distinction. She was one of only a handful of telehealth experts at the time, long before a pandemic turned it into business as usual.

From 2010 to 2012, Janelle was a subject matter expert for the RACGP in telehealth and eHealth. She then went on to lead national programs for the Australian Medicare Local Alliance in telehealth and cross-sector collaboration. After AML Alliance was defunded she moved into the acute sector leading complex, whole-of-organisation projects; firstly to Barwon Health, then to the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service. In Cairns she successfully led a $50 million organisational turnaround strategy that had high-quality care as the core principle.  Janelle is passionate about continuous improvement of complex systems so the people within can focus on their driving purpose. Her driving force is to enable equitable and meaningful care to ensure it is delivered to the people of Western Victoria as close to home as possible.

Nigel Jarvis: Executive Director Finance and Corporate Services

Nigel has 11 years of finance and corporate services experience in the health sector, with the past 5.5 years in executive roles within the private acute setting. Nigel also has public health experience through previous employment and board director role. He holds a degree in Commerce and is a Certificate Practicing Accountant. Currently serving on the Ballarat Foundation board as Treasurer and Chair on the Finance Committee plus Beaufort and Skipton Health Services board as Treasurer and Chair on the Finance and Audit Risk Management sub-committee.

Western Victoria PHN organisational chart as at June 2021

Last modified: 30 November, 2021