Community Advisory Committee

About the Committee

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a Committee of the Alfred Health Board. Established in 2000, the Committee meets at least six times a year with the aim of bringing the voices of the community and consumers into the decision-making processes of Alfred Health. This helps to develop services that are responsive to the needs of our diverse patient catchment population and supports the individual patient experience of care.

The Committee is comprised of up to 10 community members and 2 members of the Alfred Health Board and provides a link between Alfred Health and the community.


Current members

Stuart Martin
Mr Stuart Martin is employed as Student Welfare Officer at Victoria University, prior to working at Victoria University; Stuart was employed in policy roles with the Australian Public Service and has studied and worked in the disciplines of Nursing, Social Science and Counselling.He chairs the tertiary education sector Student Financial Advisors Network (SFAN), is a member of the Australian & New Zealand Student Services Association Advisory Committee and is the Victorian Convenor of the Defence Force Gay & Lesbian Information Service.Stuart represents SFAN on the Australian Government’s National Student Services Partnership Group, which encompasses the Depts. of Education, Social Services, Employment and Human Services (Centrelink), NGO’s and consumers of Australian Govt. student payments.

Barry Westhorpe
Performance-driven business manager, acknowledged for expertise in capability building in the areas of strategic implementation, business development, people and operational management, organisational change, program management and service delivery in the professional services, health, consumer goods, educational, local government  and manufacturing sectors.  Diverse experience as a senior executive has honed Barry’s strengths in defining stakeholder needs and tailoring solutions that meet the needs of individuals and the organisation. Action orientated and expert in winning consensus from internal and external stakeholders Barry has been recognized as a successful and trusted advisor and mentor. Bringing a great deal of hands on experience to organisations, Barry has held senior executive roles across a broad range of industries, including Corporate Services and Company Secretarial roles with Medicare Local, CEO of The CEO Institute, CEO of Patons Health, and General Management roles at Chiquita Brands South Pacific.  Barry holds qualifications in Economics, Management and an MBA in Marketing and Finance and is currently studying Applied Corporate and Non Profit Governance. He also holds several professional memberships and community engagement/advisory positions. Outside of work, Barry enjoys most sports, reading and spending time with his family.

John Hawker
Mr Hawker is currently the Owner and Director of his own management consultancy business . He has previously held senior executive roles in large national and international retail and wholesale organisations . Mr Hawker also currently sits on two company boards as a Non Executive Director . He also serves two charitable boards as Chair of one and Director of the second . Mr Hawker is also a volunteer and previous patient of The Alfred. 

Mary Close
Mrs Close comes from a diverse education background. After a career spanning 45 years in Government, Independent and Catholic Secondary Schools as both a teacher of Literature, English and Classics and an Executive Leader , Mrs Close is now semi- retired. She works part time as an Education Leadership Coach at Mater Christi College in Belgrave and commits significant  volunteer time to both The Alfred and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.Mrs Close is a Member of the Australian College of Education and The Australian College of Educational Leaders and is a Registered Teacher with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. Her particular interests are in adolescent mental health, aged care, leukaemia research and patient centred care. She has been a consumer member of The Alfred "Let Me Know " Committee for the past 15 months and  is involved in a range of other consumer activities.

Ms Chan Cheah
Ms Cheah is a consumer participant with the Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service, joining after being a carer for her father for many years. Originally from Malaysia and Singapore, Chan understands the needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, specifically the needs of the Chinese community and their cultural and spiritual preferences. In the past to present, she has been an active participant & networker in many CALD associations, local neighbourhood groups, Monash Council’s Multicultural Advisory Committee, Monash Link Community Health and several corporate social responsibility initiatives with schools and charity institutions. Chan works as a business, ICT and research consultant and understands how to use technology to improve the consumer experience and increase patient centricity in health care servicing. 

Ms Natalie Ross
Ms Ross has been a member of the Inner South East Partnership in Community Health’s (ISEPICH) Community Advisory Group for two years. She is also a member of ISEPICH’S Health Promotion Steering Committee and has a strong interest in health promotion and prevention. Ms Ross has experience as a carer and through this has gained a strong understanding of Alfred Health’s services. Her professional background is in adult and community education, working predominantly with people from diverse language and cultural backgrounds. 

Damien Kenny
Mr Kenny is a commercialisation specialist in IT and digital communications.  His experience includes launching and managing the Australian businesses of a number of UK and US software and internet-based companies addressing sectors as diverse as social housing, Allied Health Practice Management and industry-wide data collection and analysis in the performing arts.  He has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Business Systems from Monash University, where he participated in the Commerce Faculty Board as an undergraduate student representative.  Mr Kenny is Chair of the Community Advisory Committee and a Member of the Finance and Remuneration Committees. 

Estie Teller
Estie has had a lengthy and diverse career in a number of roles including education, research and executive administration roles in health and defence, both here and in the United States of America (USA). More recently Estie has participated as a volunteer at another large Melbourne health service, working closely with clinical and administration staff in support of patients undergoing day surgery as well as involvement in strategic service planning. Estie has a particular interest in chronic disease management, with an emphasis on diabetes care and self management.

Sara Duncan
Ms Duncan is a policy and strategy professional with a background in biomedical engineering.  She has extensive experience across the health, community and disability service sectors having held positions with the Victorian Healthcare Association, Australian Red Cross, Victorian Government  and the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide. Ms Duncan's achievements include successfully implementing organisational improvement, revitalisation and change management, as well as influencing government policy reform and development. She has a strong commitment to evidence informed policy as a driver to systematically improve service delivery, she is also a strong advocate for the role of consumers in shaping services. Ms Duncan is an independent consultant, Business Analyst with Better Hearing Australia, Community Member of the Mental Health Tribunal and a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee for Senior Victorians. She has a Bachelor of Engineer (Biomedical), Bachelor of Science, Graduate Certificate in Arts and is part way through a Masters of Business Administration. Ms Duncan is a Member of the Community Advisory Committee, the Finance Committee and the Remuneration Committee

Ms Melissa Lowrie
Melissa is currently employed by Deaf Victoria Inc, managing the provision of services to the deaf and hard of hearing communities throughout Victoria. Melissa’s broader interests include advocacy for all people with disabilities who need to access health services. She has had extensive experience working with peak body organisations, including the State Government in her role as coordinator of National Week of Deaf People. Melissa is hearing impaired and profoundly deaf, but is able to hear seventy per cent of speech when using her cochlear implant.  Melissa is a proficient lip reader.

Dr Lindsay McMillan OAM
Lindsay is currently the Managing Director of Converge International, an international professional services organisation supporting government, corporate and community organisations. His previous roles and experience include a three year Ministerial appointment to the National Disability Advisory Council, Chief Executive of Multiple Sclerosis Society of Victoria, Director of Multiple Sclerosis International Federation and a variety of other Board and professional appointments. He is currently the Director of Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local. Lindsay received the Order of Australia Medal OAM in recognition of his service to Australians with disabilities, and continues to advocate for people with disabilities accessing health and community services.


How to become a member of the Community Advisory Committee

The best way to become a member of the Committee is to join the Alfred Health consumer register as a volunteer. Approximately every three years we advertise for new committee members via the Alfred Health website, local media and The Age newspaper.  All members on the consumer register and volunteers will receive information about this recruitment process but anyone is welcome to apply.  You will be asked to attend an interview if your application is accepted.
For further information contact the Manager of Patient Experience and Community Participation Program on 03 9076 2409 or

The Community Advisory Committee at Alfred Health oversees the development and implementation of the Community Participation Plan. (2013 - 2015 Plan)

Our Community Participation Plan includes the five organisational priorities of our Patients Come First Strategy  and links directly to the Alfred Health Strategic plan – link to PCF one pager and Strategic priorities. The Patients Come First Strategy is our ‘road map’ for patient decision making in individual care and treatment as well as consumer and community participation in service improvements. If you would like to know more about the PCF Strategy and progress with our 2013-2015 objectives, please contact the Manager Patient Experience and Community Participation Program on 03 9076 2409 or