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.
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 community members (Consumer Advisors) and Barwon Health Board members, and meets five times a year.
Meet the Community Advisory Committee
James Bell, Consumer Advisor
James is a mental health Consumer Consultant at Barwon Health Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services. Here he applies his mental health lived experience by assisting consumers to be involved in their treatment, support and recovery planning and inform and enhance services responses to quality improvement initiatives and frameworks.
Prior to this, he worked in hospital administration and as a Health Information Manager elsewhere in regional Victoria, and before that worked in the financial services industry. He is a volunteer for the mental health mutual support and personal development group Grow and is passionate about mental health support, services and reform.
Wendy Bourke, Consumer Advisor
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.
Bruce Butler, Consumer Advisor
"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.
Jessica Chappell, Consumer Advisor
Jessica is the Communications Manager at the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority. Here she offers a wealth of expertise and strategic advice in communications, corporate affairs and media relations. Before this, her career spanned various large and complex government organisations, including the National Disability Insurance Agency, Golden Plains Shire Council, the Borough of Queenscliff, and Yarra City Council. Jessica is a current Board Member at Geelong United Basketball and holds a Master’s degree in Business (Marketing).
A native of the Geelong region, Jessica's passion lies in the development and improvement of accessible patient-centred care, women’s health, maternity services, emergency and intensive care and medical research. As an Ambassador for DonateLife, Jessica plays a pivotal role in raising awareness about organ and tissue donation. Her personal connection to the cause fuels her dedication, as she actively engages in campaigns and initiatives to advocate for positive change.
Anelyse Everill, Consumer Advisor
Anelyse brings 30 years of lived experience as a member of the gender diverse community and lives on a property west of Geelong where she harvests enough hay to feed her animals and replants natural shelter belts with Landcare. She looks after rescued race horses, dogs and sheep. She has worked in the hospitality industry for over 40 years, ranging from the offshore oil and mining industries, to five star hotel restaurants. The last 18 years of her career was as a TAFE teacher in hospitality management and commercial cookery. AneIyse is a member of several consumer advisory committees with health services including Monash Health, South West Healthcare, and Grampians Health. She has advised these organisations on a project led by the Victorian Department of Health to implement ‘change of name’ and ‘change of gender’ fields on iPM (Patient Administration System) and Electronic Medical Records intake forms. Anelyse’s most recent achievement was with Barwon Health co-designing an LBGTIQA+ specific resource for patients of our palliative care service.
Paige Humm, Consumer Advisor
Paige is a proud Autistic/ADHD individual and is looking forward to contributing her lived experience of disability to drive inclusive, accessible health services for the Geelong region. Professionally, Paige is a sole trader operating under Inclusive Behaviour, providing individualised, accessible, and person-centred supports to people with a disability that are firmly grounded in a human-rights, neuro-affirming approach. Paige also provides training to professionals and organisations to develop their skills in providing inclusive disability supports, affirming and supporting people to live the lives they wish to lead. A current PhD candidate at Monash University, Paige travels Australia delivering presentations at local and national conferences surrounding the importance of disability rights, supported decision making and person-centred services. Paige was recently awarded the City of Greater Geelong’s People with Disability Advocacy and Leadership Award for her work with Barwon Health and the wider Australian community.
Paige was born and raised in Geelong and spends her spare time with her husband, two cats, friends, and family. Paige’s interests include arts and crafts, tv shows, video games, animals and reading the latest research and practices surrounding neurodiversity.
Alison Lewis-Nicholson, Consumer Advisor Co-Chair
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.
Libby Mears, Board Member
Libby Mears was appointed non-executive director of the Barwon Health Board in July 2023. Libby is an experienced chief executive and board chair who has held positions across a number of reputable organisations.
Libby is an authentic leader, committed to a values-driven, strengths-based organisational culture and enabling an engaged workforce.
In 2020, Libby was a Victorian State Finalist in the ‘For Purpose’ category in the Telstra Business Women of the Year 2020 awards. She holds a Master’s degree in Health Sciences (MHSC) in Public Health/Health Promotion.
Her years of experience include stints at TAC, St Joseph’s College Geelong, Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, G21 Geelong Region Alliance and more.
Vanessa Schernickau, Consumer Advisor
Vanessa, a government executive renowned for her unwavering commitment to community empowerment, collaborative practices and guided by astute political acumen excels in fostering organisational cultures during periods of transformation and expansion. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Geelong Regional Library Corporation, she passionately advocates for public libraries and their role in delivering community benefit.
Vanessa has held various senior government roles, including Regional Director Barwon South West for the Department of Transport and as Chief Executive Officer for the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee. At the City of Port Phillip, she played a pivotal role in securing funding for the Victorian Pride Centre.
Her qualifications include a Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Development from Deakin University and a Master of Business Management from Federation University and she is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Vanessa brings her insights to the committee as a carer for someone supported by the Barwon Health mental health teams.
Susan Sdrinis, Board Member Chair
Susan is a medical practitioner and specialist medical administrator.
She has held roles as Executive Director Medical Services and Director Medical Services in Victorian public hospitals and as a Senior Medical Advisor in the Victorian Department of Health.
Her interests are in the areas of clinical governance, medical governance and professional issues, and mentoring clinician managers and medical administrators in training.
Susan is also currently a member of the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner Advisory Council.
Fay Stewart-Muir, Consumer Advisor
Fay is a Boon Wurrung Elder with a background in nursing and education. As a specialist in Boon Wurrung and Wemba Wemba languages, Fay has co-authored four children’s books, and is a Cultural Educator in kindergartens and schools on her traditional Boonwurrung country, as well as here in Geelong. Fay serves on the Koori Court of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (Melbourne and Geelong), and is a Koori Independent Prison Visitor. Fay was named on the King’s Birthday 2023 Honours List for a Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division – for service to the Indigenous community of Victoria.
Family is a big part of Fay’s life, especially her grandchildren, nephews and niece, and their children. Fay’s interests are reading, writing and mentoring teachers in First Nations Culture. Fay would like to contribute a First Nations perspective on how Barwon Health looks after First Nations patients and their families. She has a strong motivation to bring the attention of Barwon Health to any issues, and guide how the improvements and outcomes are conveyed to those family members.
Virginia Todd, Board Member
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.
Last Modified: Thursday, 08 February 2024
Consumer Engagement Manager
Ph (03) 4215 0477