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RCH Executive Office

RCH Board

  • Chair - Dr 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

    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

    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

    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

    Sammy Kumar is the Co-Founder of Sayers Group and CEO of Sayers Advisory & Investments. Sammy is a business leader with over 30 years’ experience in Management Consulting, Mergers and Acquisitions, Risk Management, Strategy, Technology and Ventures. Sammy’s work includes significant experience in many overseas markets including the US, Canada, South America and Asia Pacific. He has advised companies in a number of sectors including Financial Services, Telecommunications, Technology services, Private Equity and Venture Capital.  During his time at PwC he started, led and grew businesses both in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region managing revenues of over $1 billion. Sammy is a thought leader on a range of topics including revenue risk management, mega trends impacting economies and the impact of technology on business strategy. Sammy is a committed member of the broader community. In addition to serving on the Boards of the RCH & RCH Foundation he is also an Advisory Board member with the Salvation Army.

    Sammy Kumar

    Dr Linden Smibert


    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

    Dr Michael Wildenauer

    After many years technology leadership experience in Australia, the US, UK and Europe, Michael moved into academia at La Trobe University. At La Trobe Business School (LBS), he was a Professor of Practice in Management, teaching into MBA and master’s courses on the social and ethical issues around technology and business, and on corporate governance. More recently, Michael has been involved in subject development and teaching for LBS and for the Centre for AI & Digital Ethics (CAIDE) at the University of Melbourne.

    In addition to his role on the Royal Children's Hospital Board, Michael is Chair of the Ethics Committee of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and is a Member of its Profession Advisory Board, and an external member of the Audit & Risk Committee of Central Highlands Rural Health. He was previously a Director of Kyneton District Health where he was at various times a member of its Governance & Remuneration, Clinical Governance, and Audit & Risk Committees.

    Michael has been awarded a PhD in Corporate Governance for research on board effectiveness in startups, an MBA with a concentration in computing, a GradDip in Communications Law, and a BSc in Pure Mathematics & Computing. His research interests are at the intersection of ethics, technology, law and governance.

    Michael Wildenauer