Executive Team

Chief Executive
Rowena Clift

Rowena’s impressive career in healthcare leadership, including her recent role as the Chief Executive Officer of the Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN), highlights her exceptional leadership abilities and commitment to the health and wellbeing of regional communities.

Her unique skill set includes the ability to form strategic partnerships, a deep data-driven understanding of community needs, and a commitment to inclusive decision-making. Rowena’s collaborative leadership approach, along with her focus on co-design and community engagement, will ensure that the voice of the community remains at the forefront of healthcare decision-making.

Prior to her CEO role at WVPHN, Rowena served as the Director of Service and System Integration and gained valuable experience in service redesign and system transformation in acute roles at various other organisations. She also completed a secondment as Acting Chief Executive Officer at Ballan District Health and Care. Rowena’s qualifications in Nursing and Health Systems Management have further enriched her understanding of the healthcare industry.

Residing between Hamilton and Casterton, Ms Clift is deeply connected to the regional communities she serves and has a passion for the delivery of health services locally and the wellbeing of staff providing these services.

Director of Corporate Services
Nicholas Starkie

Nick commenced his career at Western District Health Service in the Finance Team at Coleraine in 1994 and held the position of Manager, Finance and Budget since from 2006 to 2016.

Nick has extensive experience in the healthcare sector and brings a broad range of commercial, people and financial management skills to the role.  Nick’s interests include improving procurement and supply chain management practices and supporting the delivery of a comprehensive range of high quality corporate and financial services across the organisation.

Director of Primary and Preventative Health
James ‘Mac’ McInnes

Mac commenced as PPH Director in 2017. He previously held a number of positions at South West Healthcare, working in Aboriginal Health, Social Work and Counselling and as the Manager of Community Adult Mental Health Services. Mac emigrated from Scotland in 2011, where he held a number of managerial positions across the full spectrum of the Social Work field. Mac is passionate about improving health outcomes for people in regional areas.

Director of Nursing
Lorraine Hedley
RN, Bachelor of Nursing

Lorraine commenced her career at Western District Health Service as a nursing student in 1986 and has worked in a variety of clinical and senior management roles across the organisation. During her career Lorraine has established strong clinical governance and leadership capabilities, as well as highly developed business acumen and analytical skills. Lorraine has completed further training in oncology and emergency nursing and completed a Bachelor of Nursing – Post Registration through Monash University. Prior to her appointment, Lorraine was the Assistant Director Nursing / Business Manager.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO)
Dr Dale Ford

Dr Ford has worked in Hamilton for over 30 years. He graduated from Melbourne University in 1978 and trained at St Vincents, PANCH and Hamilton Base Hospital. Dr Ford is a health policy advocate who is currently working with the Australian Health Policy Collaboration to improve health outcomes for all Australians. He is Principal Clinical Advisor for the Improvement Foundation Australia, which runs the largest Practice Improvement Program in Australia. He has many other roles in health quality improvement, has a number of peer reviewed journal articles published, and has presented on quality improvement in health throughout Australia and overseas.

Director, National Centre for Farmer Health
Dr Alison Kennedy
BBSc (Honours), PostGradDipArts(Criminology), Grad Cert HighEd, PhD

Alison is a Behavioural Scientist who has lived and worked in Victoria’s rural farming community for almost 2 decades. Her expertise in rural/farmer mental health and suicide prevention has drawn on a range of innovative techniques including digital interventions, digital storytelling, community education programs and peer support models. Alison has led numerous farmer mental health projects and continues to build the Centre’s capacity and reach by working collaboratively with researchers, farmers and industry stakeholders across Australia and internationally. Her expertise has been recognised through research awards, numerous advisory roles, peer review publications, international research consultation, invited presentations and expert witness testimony before the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. Alison is passionate about co-designing the Centre’s research, education and services in collaboration with the community and industry—to ensure the Centre’s work continues to be effective, relevant and tailored to the needs of rural farming communities.

Director of Nursing/Manager Coleraine & Director of Aged Care Services, Coleraine and Penshurst Division
Bronwyn Roberts 
RN, Crit Care Cert, Grad Cert Bus administration, MRCNA

Bronwyn has worked at Western District Health Service and Ballarat Base Hospital for over 30 years and has held senior management positions in Acute Care / ICU/ Emergency and led many successful projects over the last 20 years. Bronwyn was Deputy Director of Nursing (Hamilton Base Hospital) from 2004 to 2013 and Director of Nursing/Manager at Penshurst, before commencing her role at Coleraine in 2016.

Director of Aged and Home Care Services Hamilton Division
Katherine Armstrong
RN, BAppSci (Nursing), Grad Cert Bus Admin

Katherine has worked at WDHS for 27 years and in various roles in aged care since 1993. These include Nurse Unit Manager at the Grange, Aged Care Quality Coordinator, Assistant Director of Nursing, Aged Care (Hamilton) and Director of Nursing/Manager Penshurst. Katherine has a long standing commitment to improving the quality of aged care services for the local community.

Last updated: 01 February, 2024

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