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About

Governance

The Board

The Board is responsible for overseeing the performance and overall direction of Austin Health. The State Government appoints board members, with most terms usually three years.

Ross Cooke

Ross Cooke - Board Chair

Board Chair

Ross Cooke was appointed Chair of the Austin Health in February 2021.

Ross brings over 35 years of experience in financial, commercial and management roles in business consulting, with specific focus in the health industry. He has a Bachelor of Commerce and is a Chartered Accountant. He also has experience serving on various boards (both not-for-profit and for-profit). He was on the board of Burnet Medical Research Institute for 20 years and was a past Board President of Wintringham (aged, homeless and not-for-profit entity).

Ross has previously held positions as an independent board member of AIA Health Fund and a past member of the Advisory Board of Healthscope Hospital Group (which operates 42 private hospitals in Australia).

Ross currently consults in the health & aged-care sector via his firm Stratford Partners Pty Ltd. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the 2019 Australia Day Awards for his services to the community.

Chris Altis

Director

Chris Altis was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2015. 

Chris holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Arts (Public Policy) degrees from the University of Melbourne and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Chris has thirty years’ experience in the health sector, working in a policy and advisory capacity at a Victorian and national level.

As Chair of the North Richmond Community Health Service he oversaw the establishment of Melbourne’s first medically supervised injecting facility.  He was also the founding Executive Mexeanager of The New Daily national online news service. He currently holds other Non-Executive director roles including Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network.  

Chris consults in health policy and management.

Chris is Chair of the Austin Health People and Culture Committee and a member of the Community Advisory Committee.

Dr Christine Bessell

Director

Christine Bessell was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2016.

Christine is an experienced obstetrician and medical executive who brings a passion for and experience in the provision of effective, safe and patient centred public hospital care. She has previously practised obstetrics in the private and public sectors in metropolitan Melbourne and has held medical executive roles at Southern Health (now Monash Health), Eastern Health and at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. She was Chief Medical Officer at the Royal Women's Hospital from 2004 until 2014.

Christine has provided consultancy advice in maternity services, clinical governance and patient safety to the Chief Executive of Djerriwarrh Health Service (Bacchus Marsh) and to other regional and rural health services across Victoria. She was a member of the Victorian Board of the Medical Board of Australia 2013 to 2020.

Christine is Chair of the Austin Health Primary Care & Population Health Advisory Committee and a member of the Clinical Safety & Quality Committee and Community Advisory Committee.

Julie Bignell

Director

Julie Bignell has a long history of leadership and governance in the public and not-for-profit sectors. In addition to Austin Health, she is a member of the board of CareSuper and chair of the Member and Employer Services Committee. Julie's previous board experience includes 10 years with North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation and its predecessors Ports Corporation Queensland and Mackay Port Corporation. She represented Queensland workers on the board of Workplace Health & Safety Qld and on the executive of the Queensland Council of Unions. She was secretary of the Central & Southern Queensland Branch of the Australian Services Union for 15 years and a member of the National Executive and National Vice President of the ASU. Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics & Japanese) and a Graduate Diploma of IR/HRM, RG146 Financial Advice qualification and is a graduate Trustee Director of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. Julie is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Julie is chair of the Austin Health Community Advisory Committee and a member of the Clinical Safety & Quality Committee.

Joel Chibert

Joel Chibert

Director

Joel Chibert was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2020.

Joel is an experienced financial and corporate services executive with extensive experience across a range of sectors including education, health, scientific research and development, and professional services.

He is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at the Melbourne Business School.
Previously Joel was the Chief Financial Officer at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and has held a range of senior finance roles with Monash University.

Joel has previously held a range of non-executive and board positions – including the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC), Common Equity Housing Limited, Monash Surgical Private Hospital, Bendigo Primary Care Centre and Monash Health Research Precinct.

Joel is passionate about transformational change, best practice service delivery, sound financial management and ensuring the Austin Health community continue to receive outstanding medical care and service.

Joel is Chair of the Austin Health Finance and Resources Committee and a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Dr. Bruce Cohen

Director

Bruce Cohen was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2020.

Bruce holds commerce and law degrees from the University of Melbourne, and a doctorate in public policy from the Australian National University. He is a former barrister and has also undertaken a number of policy and senior advisory roles in both the public and private sectors. He is currently the principal at BKE Consulting.

Bruce has substantial governance experience, having served on numerous public sector boards. He has been Chair of VicTrack and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, as well as a director of Snowy Hydro Limited, Melbourne Water and VENCorp, and a commissioner with the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission. He is currently a director at Greater Western Water.

Bruce is Chair of the Austin Health Audit and Risk Committee and a member of the Finance and Resources Committee and Clinical Safety and Quality Committee.

Mary Draper AM

A physiotherapy student working with a patient and clinical educator.

Director

Mary Draper was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2014. 

Mary brings a passion for participatory health care and patient and family-centred approaches, as well as skills in policy, strategy, stakeholder engagement, quality and safety, and consumer participation.  

Until recently, Mary was CEO of the Health Issues Centre, Victoria's health consumer organisation. She was on the Ministerial Advisory Committee for the Victorian Health Services Plan 2011-2022, the review panel for the Health Services Conciliation and Review Act and Chair of the Department of Health's Participation Advisory Committee.  

Mary's former roles include Director of Clinical Governance at the Royal Women’s Hospital and Manager in the Quality Branch of the Department of Human Services, responsible for consumer participation, clinical effectiveness and clinical risk management. She has represented consumers on key national committees including the Taskforce on Quality in Australian Healthcare and was a board member of ACOSS and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. She was also a board director of Latrobe Regional Health.  

Mary is Chair of the Austin Health Clinical Safety & Quality Committee and a member of the People and Culture Committee and Primary Care & Population Health Advisory Committee. 

Robyn McLeod

Robyn McLeod

Director

Robyn McLeod was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2022.

Robyn has held the positions of Independent Commissioner for Water Security in South Australia, National Director of Water at KPMG, and Executive Director of Major Projects, Water with the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria.

Robyn’s non-executive director career commenced when she was appointed to the Melbourne Water Board in 2015. Robyn currently chairs the Board Capital Approval Subcommittee, sits on the Customer Service and Delivery Committee, and has been a member of the People Safety and Culture Committee.

Robyn was also a Director on the Board of Monash Health for three years, from 2019 until 2022, where she served on the Finance Committee, Risk and Audit Committee, and the Consumer Advocacy Committee. In addition, Robyn is a mentor for Directors in the health and water space.

Robyn is currently a non-executive director on the Board of CleanTeq Water Limited (ASX:CNQ) and recently retired from her four-year term on the Board of VicWater.

In previous careers, Robyn was Chief of Staff to the Victorian Energy Resources and Ports Minister, and an Advisor to the Victorian Environment and Education Minister. Robyn has previously worked in higher education, industrial relations, and secondary teaching.

Robyn is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at The Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Previous Board positions include as an inaugural Director of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation.

Robyn is a member of the Austin Health Audit and Risk Committee, Clinical Safety and Quality Committee and Community Advisory Committee.

Fi Slaven

Fi Slaven

Director

Fi Slaven was appointed to the Austin Health Board in July 2018.

Fi is a Director at the Accounting firm William Buck Victoria and Chair of their Risk Committee. She also is a Non-Executive director for Crime Stoppers Victoria and Chair of the Spinal Research Institute.

Fi is a passionate advocate for diversity, equality and inclusion and has been particularly focused and influential in promoting women's participation in STEM careers. As such, Fi was recognised for her contributions to the industry by her peers and was named 2014 National and Victorian ICT Woman of the Year.

After advancing IT leadership roles within healthcare, Fi was appointed as the first Australian Chief Information Officer for a National Accounting firm and subsequently became the first female and Australian IT Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator and representative on the IT Advisory Committee.

Commencing her career at the Austin Hospital as a graduate nurse and then specialising in critical care, Fi progressed into senior nursing roles which led to a move into the technology industry and managing IT services within private healthcare groups.

Fi also holds an MBA, Graduate Diplomas in Health Administration and Critical Care, Diploma and Bachelor of Nursing, Critical Care Certificate and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Fi is a member of the Austin Health Finance & Resources Committee, Primary Care & Population Health Advisory Committee and the People and Culture Committee.