Dr Kathleen Brasher: UHPCP Executive Officer, and Manager, Age-friendly North East Victoria initiative

Kathleen is a social gerontologist with a long involvement in the health and community sectors as clinician, academic, advocate and in policy and program development and evaluation.

Kathleen is concurrently UHPCP Executive Officer, and Manager of the Age-friendly North East Victoria initiative. Prior to this, she was Coordinator—Prevention, Age Friendly Communities, at the UHPCP and the Principal Strategic Advisor for the Age-Friendly Northeast Victoria Alliance, based at Central Hume Primary Care Partnership. Kathleen has been a part of the international Age Friendly movement since 2006 where she contributed original research to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global age-friendly cities: a guide.

She is a member of the WHO Strategy Advisory Group for the Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities, and has advised state and local governments, and older person’s advocacy organisations, across Australia and New Zealand.

Recently, Kathleen managed the Better Care Victoria Building an Age-Friendly Indigo Health System project on behalf of the Indigo Consortium.

A number of Age-friendly resources authored or co-authored by Kathleen—several on behalf of the Age-Friendly Northeast Victoria Alliance—are available to view on our Age-friendly North East Victoria page.

Alongside training as a nurse and midwife, Kathleen holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and PhD from Monash University, and Graduate Diploma Arts (Philosophy & Social Theory), The University of Melbourne. She has certificate–level training in counselling and mediation with a focus on elder mediation. She is a Nationally Accredited Mediator and a member of the Australian Association of Gerontology, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the International Federation on Ageing.

During 2020, Kathleen hosted A Conversation hour’, our free weekly online event that brought together people from across the Ovens Murray and beyond to explore ideas that matter.

Email: kathleen.brasher@upperhumepcp.com.au
Mobile: 0439 751 591​

Sophie Rhys: Engagement and Participation Coordinator

Sophie is the Engagement and Participation Coordinator, whose purpose is to build the capacity of community members and member agencies across the UHPCP catchment to understand and enable collaborative approaches to wellbeing. The purpose of this role is also to increase understanding and use of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) spectrum; develop policies, guidelines and tools to support effective, evidence-based consumer engagement and participation by member agencies, particularly with marginalised communities and individuals; and to engage in specific community engagement and participation initiatives that will inform an understanding of, and an approach to, co-design for system change.

Sophie moved to North East Victoria in the early 2000s after 30 years spent living in Asia, the UK, the Middle East and Central America. She has worked for federal, state and local government agencies, and in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors in Australia and overseas.

Sophie’s experiences abroad ignited her passion for diversity and inclusion and she has spent the last fifteen years dedicated to empowering and supporting those in our community at most risk of ill-health. Her roles have included establishing Wodonga Council’s Settlement Assistance Program for migrants and refugees; guiding Wodonga Council’s efforts to achieve its Disability Action Plan objectives and create a more inclusive city for people with disability; and supporting and advocating for LGBTIQ+A young people as Coordinator of Gateway Health’s Gender Service and WayOut Wodonga program.

Email: sophie.rhys@upperhumepcp.com.au
Mobile: 0428 387 768

James Dunne: Senior Officer, Age-friendly North East Victoria

James is currently the Senior Officer—Age-friendly North East Victoria and over the past decade has worked in a variety of health- and social welfare-focused roles. These roles have seen him work within state and local government and in non-government and academic roles across Australia and internationally.

James is passionate about addressing health inequities and improving health outcomes for everyone in the community. He has worked with communities as diverse as people with disability, people who inject drugs, people who live with blood-borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C, and people from refugee backgrounds.

James has a Masters of Human Rights, during which he completed a dissertation focusing on the discourse of Australian Hepatitis C policy and its relationship to human rights, as well as a Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Graduate Certificate of Social Policy. He has presented internationally at conferences such as the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users Conference 2018 and the Human Rights and Drug Policy in East and South East Asia Workshop 2017 at the University of Hong Kong.

Over his career, James has built a range of skills in partnership development, systems thinking and monitoring and evaluation, and is looking forward to applying these to support healthy ageing in the North East region.

Email: james.dunne@upperhumepcp.com.au
Mobile: 0427 659 721

Matthew Stewart: Senior Officer, Aboriginal Cardiac Rehabilitation

Email: Matthew.Stewart@upperhumepcp.com.au
Mobile: 0477 221 903

Matthew is the Senior Officer, Aboriginal Cardiac Rehabilitation, leading the collaboration between Albury Wodonga Health, Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service and UHPCP to codesign a culturally sensitive cardiac rehabilitation program.

Matthew is an Aboriginal man, with close connections to the Wamba Wamba and Yorta Yorta people of North West and Northern Victoria. He has extensive experience working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), in both service provision and executive management roles. In addition, Matthew has worked in a number of Victorian State Government roles, including project management and practitioner roles. Throughout his career Matthew has gained experience in community engagement, monitoring and evaluation and stakeholder management.

The experiences of working within State Government and ACCOs have provided Matthew with the opportunity to view and approach situations from a unique perspective, which in turn can translate to a more dynamic approach to community. Professionally, Matthew has maintained a focus on Aboriginal affairs. He continues to be a passionate advocate in relation to addressing the social inequities faced by Aboriginal people and to strive toward equality and social justice for Aboriginal people.

Naomi Peters: CoordinatorCommunications

Naomi has a diverse background in both communications and education. After leaving Wodonga to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism), her roles included editor of two national outdoor adventure magazines, and Project Officer for the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), an independent national agency set up to promote, audit, and report on quality assurance in Australian higher education. In this role Naomi was involved with the annual Australian Universities Quality Forum and the AUQA Good Practice Database.

A career change to education followed with qualifications including the Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary), Certificate II in IT (New Media), and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. In her decade-long teaching career, she worked as a teacher at a local senior secondary school and two local TAFE institutes with diverse cohorts of students including young adults with disabilities, migrant and refugee adults, vision-impaired adults, and education support students.

After returning to the field of communications, Naomi has enjoyed coordinating the social media, e-newsletters and websites for both UHPCP and the North East Local Learning and Employment Network. She also takes minutes for Boards of local not-for-profit organisations, which have included a disability service provider and various Aboriginal organisations.

Email: naomi.peters@upperhumepcp.com.au