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Community Advisory Committee

Barwon Health supports people’s right to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care. Barwon Health does this by partnering with Consumer Advisors.

Consumer Advisors are involved in many ways across Barwon Health, including as members of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC).

The Community Advisory Committee is a sub-committee of the Barwon Health Board and was established to connect Barwon Health with the community. The committee is comprised of 8 to 12 community members (Consumer Advisors) and three Barwon Health Board members, and meets five times a year.

Meet the Community Advisory CommitteeJason Trethowan 1

Jason Trethowan, Community Advisory Committee Chair and Board Member

Jason commenced as Chief Executive Officer at headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation in January 2017. Jason has spent most of his career in the health sector where he has been driven by a passion to improve health services and access to care for all Australians. Before beginning at headspace he spent 18 months as CEO of the Western Victoria Primary Health Network and held previous CEO roles from 2007 with the General Practitioner’s Association of Geelong and Barwon Medicare Local. 

Robyn Davis, Board Member

Robyn has practised law since being admitted to the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1987. She has a legal practice in Geelong and lives with her husband on the Bellarine Peninsula. Robyn has extensiveRobyn Davis 2 community interests. She is a member of Women in Community Life Advisory Committee to the Geelong Council; Board Member and former Chairperson of Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault; Board Member and Secretary of Minerva Family Services. Robyn is also a volunteer legal advisor with Barwon Community Legal Service.

Virginia Todd, Board Member

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Virginia has 17 years’ experience working across five departments in the Victorian Public Service. She has worked both centrally and in regions in strategic land use planning, the community services sector, youth programs and on community strengthening programs.

Virginia also has an extensive history in service redevelopment of human services programs including foster care, residential based care and family support services. Virginia has experience in local government having been both an elected representative and senior manager. Currently, Virginia is a Senior Project Manager in Regional Development Victoria, Department of Economic Development, Jobs Transport and Resources. 

Sharelle McGuirk, Consumer Advisor

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Sharelle McGuirk is a Wergaia, Wamba Wamba woman (from North West Victoria) who has lived, been educated and based on Wadawurrung Country for over 45 years.  Currently employed with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing as a Senior Policy Officer supporting the implementation of the Aboriginal Workforce Fund, Sharelle’s career has predominantly focussed on Aboriginal Higher Education and Aboriginal Employment.

From mid - 2018 until the end of May 2021 Sharelle worked for the Department of Health (& Human Services) in the Prevention and Population Health Branch, which included policy management, monitoring and reporting on Aboriginal Health Prevention funding programs and initiatives.   Prior to that she was employed by Barwon Health as the Aboriginal Workforce Officer to implement their inaugural Aboriginal Employment Plan and develop and launch their Online Aboriginal Cultural Awareness E Learning Tools.  Sharelle further assisted in the engagement, development, and implementation of both of Barwon Health’s Reflect and Innovate Reconciliation Action Plans. For almost 20 years she was employed at the (former Institute of Koorie Education) at Deakin University providing administration, emotional and cultural support to Aboriginal students throughout their Higher Education journeys. 

Sharelle is a current member and Traditional Owner at Barenji Gadgin Land Council in Horsham, is a long-standing member, former Chairperson (1.5 years) and Director (4 years) of the local Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative.  She is also a mother to four healthy, intelligent and assertive young women aged between 15 and 22 and hopes that they continue her legacy in being active Aboriginal community members.

Sharelle is passionate and committed to Closing the Gap and improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, more specifically in health, education and employment. She enjoys volunteering her time and is honoured and humbled to represent Aboriginal Consumer experiences and provide Aboriginal cultural expertise on the Consumer Advisory Committee. 

Bruce Butler, Consumer Advisor

Jason Trethowan 1

"As someone who has been very lucky in life, I feel a duty to exploit that lived experience. There is no better place in Geelong to offer that experience than with Barwon Health. Being a consumer advisor with Barwon Health gives me an opportunity to advocate for members of our community who are not in a position to advocate for themselves." - Bruce Butler

Bruce is a carer and advocate for a disabled young man. He has also volunteered at the University Hospital Geelong in several roles assisting the public. These experiences have demonstrated some of the challenges facing many in our community.  Those challenges arise from many difficulties in diverse areas such as mobility, sight, hearing, literacy, poverty, mental health, obesity, remote living, language and cultural difference. Bruce is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers UK and he had a long career as an engineer and manager in the natural gas industry which has provided him with a rich vein of experience and insight.  That insight is informed by working with many different cultures in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Holland, Japan and Malaysia. 

Wendy Bourke, Consumer Advisor

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Wendy has lived in Geelong for 45 years. Wendy has worked for 35 years in administration and now works for Ryman Healthcare Retirement Village in Ocean Grove. Wendy has been involved with committees of local sporting clubs and considers herself privileged to be a part of the steering committee that has overseen the implementation of an allabilities netball division with Geelong Football Netball League. It is important to Wendy that all members of the community are given the opportunity to be involved, heard and listened to. Wendy believes this offers an opportunity for growth and awareness for everyone involved. As a Consumer Advisor Wendy looks forward to using her past health experiences to encourage empathy and compassion to consumers of Barwon Health. 

Kim Edgar, Consumer Advisor

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Kim is a librarian and branch manager by profession and prior to working in libraries she worked in the hospitality, aviation and health sectors. Kim’s involvement with Barwon Health has been as a patient and as carer to her three sons. She has a particular interest in mental health awareness, youth suicide prevention and advocating for family inclusive practice after losing her middle son to suicide in 2018. Kim is also an active member of the headspace National Family and Friends Reference Group and plans to undertake studies in mental health peer work.

Alison Lewis-Nicholson, Consumer Advisor

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Alison started her working life via a Graduate program in Hospital Administration in the UK and after working in hospitals moved into Social work and Family Therapy. The majority of Alison’s career has been in Geelong in both public and private practice. Now retired, Alison is a volunteer in the Life Stories program in Barwon Health Palliative Care. Alison has an interest in how an individual navigates the large organisation of Barwon Health, to receive skilled and compassionate care.

Skye McGrath, Consumer Advisor

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Skye is committed to providing the Community Advisory Committee with a voice for community members of the Barwon region who have been or are affected my family violence. Furthermore, Skye seeks to advocate for single parents and those who have children with autism. Skye has worked with the Strengthening Hospitals Response to Family Violence (SHRFV) project for the last 3.5 years and her shared experience has helped to provide a more informed approach to staff training and how staff respond to presentations of family violence throughout the hospital. Skye had the honour of helping develop a trauma card that gives women the opportunity to seek help in a private way. Skye also helped develop processes and procedures throughout Barwon health that firmly establish the responsibility the hospital has to the wider community in relation to family violence.

Justine Martin, Consumer Advisor

Justine Martin

Justine Is a small business owner in Geelong, professional artist, teaches other disabled people Art Wellness. Justine also coaches people in how to overcome adversity and gain resilience in their own lives through her past experiences. Justine is a mother of two children and a grandmother to six.

Justine has been involved with Barwon Health as a regular consumer for the past 9 years, ongoing lifelong treatment through-out Barwon Health enables Justine to see first-hand many aspects as a current consumer, leading her to become a Consumer Advisor four years ago. Justine is passionate and driven in improving patient care throughout Barwon Health.

Justine has been involved in many committees and projects within her time as being a consumer advisor, including the refurbishment of Andrew Love Cancer Centre Day Ward.

In 2019 Justine was awarded the Barwon Health Volunteer of The Year Consumer Representative and City of Greater Geelong Women In Community Life Living with a Disability Award.

Current Community Advisory Committee Vacancies

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Consumer Advisor Member

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Consumer Advisor Member

NOW RECRUITING: Consumer Advisors

Barwon Health is now recruiting consumer advisors to join the Community Advisory Committee

It is a priority for Barwon Health to attract, recruit and support Consumer Advisors from:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • People who have a disability, or people who care for someone with a disability
  • People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • People from LBGTIQA+ communities
  • People with an interest in improving women’s and children’s services
  • Young people, including people with an experience of mental health services
  • Older people who are interested in shared decision making about their health care

If you are interested in becoming a Community Advisor on the Community Advisory Committee, please read the role description and complete the Expression of Interest form. Applications can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last Modified: Friday, 11 June 2021

Contact

Consumer Engagement Manager

Ph 4215 8922

[email protected]