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Annual Report 2021

Our board

Jane Schwager AO


Jane has led both government departments and national not-for-profit organisations and is now working independently as a Board Director and Tribunal member.

Previously Jane worked in the Departments of Health, Community Services, Ageing and Disability and Treasury in the NSW Government. Her roles included Director General of the NSW Department of Ageing and Disability and the NSW Social Policy Directorate.

Jane's achievements have been acknowledged through a number of awards including an Order of Australia (AO) in 2009 for services to not-for profits and government, a recipient of a 2003 Centenary Medal for Services to Australian Society in Business Leadership and a recipient of the Harvard Club of Australia Non Profit Fellowship in 2001.

Dr David Briggs AM

Deputy Chairperson

David has a Bachelor of Health Administration, Master of Health Management(hons), PhD (UNE) and an honorary Doctorate in Public Health (Naresuan University, Thailand).

David is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management, a Foundation Fellow of the Hong Kong College of Health Service Executives, Adjunct Associate Professor, Rural Medical School and the School of Health, University of New England and Naresuan University College of Health Systems Management, Thailand, Editor, Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management.

David's has extensive senior management experience in the public health sector, which includes Chair, New England Medicare Local, CEO of a large Area Health Service, General Manager of a District Health Service, and CEO of a 300-bed acute regional referral hospital. He has had extensive experience in both rural and community health services and in the accreditation of health and aged care services. David is currently engaged in consultancy, research and publications in the health sector, most recently in primary health care, in the Asia Pacific as well as Australia. In 2020 David was recognised as a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to community health management and to education.

Dr Grahame Deane AM

Grahame is a Rural Procedural General Practitioner with over 30 years’ experience in rural general practice (MBBS, DACOG, FRACGP, FACRRM, DRANZCOG (Advanced)).

Grahame has vast experience as a Board Director including over 15 years as a Director on the Barwon Division of General Practice (10 years as Chair), 10 years as a Director on the NSW Rural Doctors Network (3 years as Chair), a past Director of the Australian Rural Workforce Agency Group and a past Director of Gunnedah Rural Health.

Grahame was the Inaugural recipient of the Dr Aloizos Medal for Outstanding Individual Contribution to the Divisions Network (National) and is a recipient of the RDAA Australian Rural Doctor of the Year (2011) and is a Member of the Order of Australia

Graham McGuinness OAM

Graham has a Bachelor of Health Administration degree, Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations and was a past President and current Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Executives.

Grahame has extensive Board Director and consultancy experience at the executive level with over 50 years’ experience in the healthcare industry, including the previous positions of CEO Central Coast Area Health Service, CEO Brisbane Waters Private Hospital and NSW Manager Nova Health.

Directorships include:

  • Board Director of the Central Coast Local Health District
  • Chair of the Central Coast Community Care Association (an aged care organisation).
  • Chair of Employment & Training Australia.
  • Board Director of the Central Coast Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation.
  • Board Director of Regional Development Australia
  • Board Director of PACE Limited
  • Board of Salvation Army Regional Advisory Board
  • Board Director Brisbane Waters (NSW) Legacy

Dr Trent Watson

Dr Trent Watson is CEO of Ethos Health, a multidisciplinary health and safety business based in Newcastle and Hunter region.

Trent combines this work with the HNECC Board appointments, along with a number of other appointments including Conjoint Senior Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences University of Newcastle, Chair of the NSW Mineral Council Obesity subcommittee and media spokesperson with the Dietitians Association of Australia.

Trent was a former Director (2012 – 2015) and Chairperson (2014 – 2015) of the Hunter Medicare Local.

Trent completed his undergraduate studies and PhD in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Newcastle, and has continued his research interests in workplace health, with a special interest in obesity, obesity-related lifestyle disease, and fatigue.

Elizabeth Ward

Elizabeth is a Physiotherapist and AHTA Accredited Hand Therapist. Elizabeth has completed Bachelor of Science (UNSW), Post Graduate Diploma of Physiotherapy (USyd), Master of Public Health (USyd) majoring in health care management and health promotion, Master of Health Science (Physiotherapy) (USyd), Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Currently, Elizabeth is the Chair of the Safety Quality and Performance Committee of the PHN, a member of the Central Coast PHN Clinical Council, and the Central Coast LHD Clinical Council.

Elizabeth is also:

  • President of the NSW Physiotherapy Council (HPCA) with current term 2021-2024
  • Council Member of the Australian Hand Therapy Association Credentialing Council
  • Life Member Australian Hand Therapy Association, Member Australian Physiotherapy Association
  • Practice Principal and Director of Coastal Physiotherapy Group Pty Ltd and Coastal Hand Clinic
  • Director of Core Health Pty Ltd

Michael DiRienzo

Michael is the Chief Executive of Hunter New England Health and is responsible for all services across the district from small rural community health centres to major tertiary referral hospitals.

With over 17,000 staff and an expenditure budget of $2.3 billion per annum, Hunter New England Health provides services to a community of approximately 1 million people across an area of 130,000 square kilometres.

Dr Anita Watts

Board representative

Anita is a proud Wiradjuri woman, currently working part time as a GP in a large mainstream urban general practice in Newcastle.

From 2005 to 2019 Anita was a Senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle, teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health with a special interest in the provision of health care to underserviced communities.

Anita previously worked in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Sector and continues to work in close partnership with community- controlled health organisations.

Anita is the current NSW and ACT representative of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and was a previous board member of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association.

Edwina Sharrock OAM

Edwina is the founder of Birth Beat, an online service specialising in childbirth education, first aid and antenatal classes, delivered both online and face-to-face. She is a registered nurse, and has been a registered midwife for 13 years.

Edwina was a founding member of the PHN’s Hunter New England Rural Clinical Council and has a distinguished list of achievements, including being named as one of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence, NSW Telstra Small Business Woman of the Year in 2019, and recently Australia's fellow of the Cartier Women's Initiative - an annual international entrepreneurship program.

Scott McLachlan

Scott is the Chief Executive of the Central Coast Local Health District and has held leadership roles in health, both private and public health systems, for over 20 years.

Having been raised in country NSW he understands the highly complex landscape of the health care environment and the unique challenges of health care delivery in Australia. He is passionately motivated every day to head up improving health outcomes for the community through authentic engagement, strong collaboration with clinicians, strategic partnerships and fostering and leading innovation.

Bradley Twynham

Brad is a Technology Entrepreneur and Innovator, Strategy Consultant and Investor/Board Director with over 25 years working and consulting in the areas of enterprise technology adoption and enterprise operating model transformation.

Brad has previously acted in roles ranging from CEO to Corporate Development to Technology Strategy Consulting and is currently an investor in a number of companies focused on preventative health care, he resides on a number of Boards and acts as a Board Advisor.

Brad is a Member of the Central Coast Medical Precinct Task Force which is a Federal Government Initiative focused on the Economic Development of the Central Coast Region. He is also a Board Member of the Central Coast Montessori Primary School, member of The Institute of Company Directors and Director Institute and also holds a number of International Memberships with Information Technology and Health Care Technology working groups and think tanks.

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