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RCH Board

  • Chairman: Hon Rob Knowles AO

    Hon Rob Knowles AO was Victorian Minister for Health from 1996 until 1999 and MLC for Ballarat from 1976-1999. He has also served as Chairman of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand; as a member of the National Health & Hospital Reform Commission; is a former Aged Care Complaints Commissioner and former Commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission. In addition to serving on the Boards of the RCH Foundation and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Rob is currently a Director of the following: BeyondBlue Ltd; Drinkwise Australia Ltd; Global Health Ltd; Great Ocean Road Health, IPG Ltd and the Silverchain Group of Companies.

    Hon Rob Knowles AO

    Elleni Bereded – Samuel AM

    Elleni is African Australian from an Ethiopian background who has focused her life’s work on strengthening education, training and employment for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia. She worked for 17 years in the higher education sector. In 2014 Elleni joined Australian Unity as Engagement and Partnerships Manager for Independent and Assisted Living. Elleni is now the Executive Manager, Diversity and Capability Development, at Australian Unity. Elleni's dynamic leadership has resulted in new solutions for the community to access and participate in society. She is particularly passionate about improving the lives of older Australians through responsive aged care. Elleni has held health service Board Director positions at Royal Women’s Hospital. Breast Screen Victoria and Western Health for more than 16 years. Additionally, Elleni has experience as a Director of SBS for five years, Australian Social Inclusion Board for three years, and VMC Commissioner for six years. In 2014, Elleni was named by Westpac AFR as one of Australia’s ‘100 Women of Influence. Elleni was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2019 Australia Day Honors.

    Elleni Bereded Samuel AM

    Rowena Coutts

    Rowena currently consults to higher education organisations providing governance, legal, audit and policy advice and she is a partner in the family primary production business.

    She is the immediate past Chair and Director of Ballarat Health Services and former Chair of the Grampians Regional Board Network.   

    As former Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Ballarat/Federation University Australia she had responsibility for Corporate Services including Finance, Legal, Governance, HR, Technology Park, Commercial, International Education and PR. She is also a former Chair and member of Board of Directors, Ballarat Clarendon College. Rowena commenced her career as a lawyer, and holds an LLB and BJuris from Monash University and a Doctor FedUni (Hon).

    Rowena Coutts

    Dr Christine Cunningham

    Dr Christine Cunningham is an experienced consultant who provides a wide range of research and evaluation services. For more than twenty years, she has been conducting research, providing insights and strategy advice and undertaking comprehensive evaluations of services, programs and projects within the health, government and private sectors. She commenced her career as a clinician, moving into policy and program development and redesign roles within the Department of Health and regional hospitals. Chris has also enjoyed sessional lecturing in statistics and is a member of the Swinburne University Postgraduate Applied Statistics Advisory Committee. She is an experienced Non-Executive Director and Chairman with more than 15 years service on health and education boards, including nine years on the Board of Northeast Health Wangaratta, five of which, as Chairman. Christine is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors with a PhD from the University of Melbourne and a Master’s Degree in Science (Applied Statistics).

    Dr Christine Cunningham

    Professor Richard Doherty

    Richard Doherty trained in paediatrics and in paediatric infectious diseases in Brisbane and Boston and is a consultant physician in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at Monash Children’s Hospital and Professor in the Monash Department of Paediatrics. He is also a former member of the staff of the RCH. He has held previous appointments as Dean of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Associate Dean for Teaching Hospitals at Monash, Medical Director of the Southern Health Children’s Program, Deputy Director of the Macfarlane Burnet Centre for Medical Research and consultant physician at the Royal Children’s Hospital. He has served as a Director of the Australian Medical Council and on national committees including NHMRC panels, the 2016 Intern Review, the National Medical Training Advisory Network and several Victorian Department of Health advisory committees. In 2018 he was appointed to the Medical Board of Australia.

    Professor Richard Doherty

    Petrina Dorrington

    Petrina Dorrington is an experienced executive in the not-for-profit sector. She was the Executive Director of Kids Under Cover from 1997 to 2007 and a Director from 2007 to 2013. Petrina is a Director of the Consumer Policy Research Centre and has previously served on other boards including the Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre and Homes for Homes. She was awarded a study scholarship to Stanford University's Executive Program for Non Profit Leaders in 2006 and graduated as a fellow of the Williamson Community Leadership Program in 2007. Petrina currently provides project services to not-for-profits and private companies. She also volunteers for the Anglicare Friends Program.

    Petrina Dorrington

    Ms Pallavi Khanna

    Pallavi Khanna is an experienced risk management and governance advisor. She has worked both in South Africa and Australia across the corporate and not-for-profit sectors and has over the past 10 years specialised in the higher education sector, whilst working at ShineWing Australia. For more than 20 years she has worked with organisations to develop strategies to address strategic risks, undertaken independent evaluation of governance frameworks and managed projects to deliver strategic objectives. She has also undertaken assessments pertaining to privacy (Australia and International), IT controls, procurement (probity) and customer experience. Pallavi is an independent member of the Finance and Risk Committee at Common Equity Housing Ltd, a Director on the board of Public Galleries Association of Victoria and the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Ballarat Health Services. She is a Chartered Accountant (Australia and South Africa), Prince 2 certified and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

    Pallavi Khanna

    Sammy Kumar

    Mr Kumar is the Managing Partner for Firm Strategy at PwC. He also leads the firm's ASENZ (Australia, South East Asia, New Zealand) consulting business. He has over 26 years' experience across strategy, digital, financial effectiveness and operations. Mr Kumar served on the Board of the RCH from July 2012 to July 2015. He has been a Director of the RCH Foundation since 19 October 2015 and Chair of the RCH Foundation's Audit Committee since 15 June 2016.

    Sammy Kumar

    Dr Linden Smibert

    MBBS FRACGP FAICD

    Dr Linden Smibert is a general practitioner with many years of both clinical and governance experience having chaired Networking Health Victoria and the Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local. For many years she owned and operated her own general practice. In these diverse but complementary roles she was instrumental in developing Primary Healthcare Networks with the Federal Department of Health from existing Medicare Locals. She has wide experience in clinical governance and risk management in the health sector. She is well aware of the broad policy and funding context of public healthcare and the need to address community needs. Amongst other Boards, she has also served on the Board of Vincentcare Victoria which has recently built and now opened the new Ozanam House for homeless people.

    Dr Linden Smibert