Pip Brennan – Executive Director
Pip Brennan has worked in the health sector for the last 15 years. Inspired by her own experiences of the opaque maternity care system, Pip started her consumer representative journey in the maternity sector, campaigning for clearer information for women to make informed choices in childbirth. She began her paid health career as an Advocate working at the Health Consumers’ Council from 2006. She moved to the Office of Health Review (now the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office) in 2007 and took up a position as a Conciliator of Health Complaints.From 2010 to 2013 Pip took on the role of managing Community Midwifery WA (now The Bump WA). She also undertook a considerable number of maternity consumer representation roles including Co-Chair of the King Edward Memorial Hospital Community Advisory Council and Consumer Representative on the Women’s and Newborn’s Health Service Executive Advisory Group. In 2012 CMWA moved to outcomes based contracting, which ultimately sparked an interest in Pip to be part of the bigger picture of supporting the introduction of outcomes based contracting in health. In November 2013 Pip took up a contractual position with the WA Council of Social Service to work on the Towards Better Health Outcomes Project to support contracting reform in the health sector. Prior to leaving CMWA the organisation was successfully re-named and re-branded The Bump WA and the opportunity to re-locate to Cockburn Integrated Health Centre was well in hand. The Bump WA re-located in February 2014 under the new Manager.
The Executive Director role at HCC offers a wonderful homecoming for Pip in the organisation that provided her first professional opportunity in the health sector and a chance to utilise community service organisation management, outcomes based contracting, advocacy and consumer representation skills to continue the work of this unique and important organisation.
Dr Martin Whitely – Advocacy, Policy & Research Manager
Martin joined HCC team in December 2013 as Senior Advocate. He is a former teacher, university lecturer, author and was a member of the Western Australian Parliament from 2001 to 2013. Ensuring children with emotional and behavioural difficulties receive support that matches their individual needs, and protecting the rights of involuntary mental health patients, were two of Martin’s priorities during his parliamentary career.
Martin has extensive experience advocating for both individual constituents and systemic change to improve health, mental health, housing and educational outcomes. He believes that health consumers have the fundamental right to make fully informed choices based on robust evidence and truly independent advice.
Martin keeps physically active by dabbling in a number of sports, and jogging, walking and bike riding (no Lycra).
Carly Parry – Senior Advocate
Carly joined HCC in December 2013 after moving to Perth from the UK. There she had worked within a busy advocacy support service for women and children affected by domestic and sexual violence. She has a broad knowledge of the dynamics of domestic violence and has vast experience in case management. Carly supported clients from the point of crisis, developing short and long term safety plans. She worked closely with the police and criminal courts in a bid to make perpetrators accountable for their actions and to reduce further victimisation for women and their children.
Carly’s qualifications include a BA in sociology.
She saw the role as Advocate at HCC as a fresh challenge to develop her knowledge in the area of health, whilst utilising her existing skills in advocacy. In 2017 Carly was promoted to Senior Advocate.
Carly feels strongly that consumers should have a voice on all matters relating to their health and is dedicated to assisting many in doing so. Whilst not at work Carly enjoys time with her beloved family, although a great deal of her family ‘catch ups’ are via Skype. She visits the beach at least three times a week which is in sharp contrast to her twice yearly visits in the UK.
Chrissy Ryan – Advocate
Chrissy is a naturopath and ran a successful natural therapies clinic called Head for Health Natural Therapies for 7 years. This involved working with people to develop healthy lifestyle changes to increase their wellbeing. She did her general nursing training and worked with intellectually disadvantaged people as a social trainer. From 2005-2011 Chrissy was advocating for and educating people with hepatitis C and/or drug problems. She is passionate about people being the master and driver of their own health. How we utilise the healthcare system will make our health journey simple or difficult. At the end of the day, it always come down to the individual and not the healthcare professional as to the quality of your health and life.
Chrissy tries to keep healthy, by eating simple unprocessed foods and keeping active. She often rides her bike to work. It helps her build stamina to keep up with her young granddaughters, whom she loves to spend time with.
Bronte Duncan – Advocate
Bronte started at HCC as a social work student intern in 2016. She enjoyed her time so much she volunteered as an advocate for a while, before becoming a permanent and valued member of the team.
Tania Harris – Aboriginal Advocate
Tania is an Aboriginal woman from Queensland originally and has recently joined our team. Prior to coming to the Health Consumer Council Tania worked on various Aboriginal programs from ear health to parenting support. She has a special interest in the areas of disability and young people and how their engagement and empowerment in the health system can be supported and encouraged from an early age. Tania is hoping to complete her degree in Sociology next year, and incorporate that learning into new ways to help individual consumers get great outcomes.
Louise Ford – Consumer & Community Engagement Manager
Louise’s professional background is varied and includes being an educator, providing support services to a range of marginalised people, teaching English to non-English speakers, working with torture/trauma survivors and assisting newly arrived refugees with their settlement needs. Her qualifications are a BA – Double Major (Aboriginal and Intercultural Studies and Social Sciences), a Grad Dip Ed (Secondary), Cert 1V and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
Her BA included Anthropology and Sociology which, combined with her employment history, have provided Louise with a broad perspective of the impact of socio-economic status, language and culture on people’s ability to access and utilise services in the health system. Based on community work she has done, Louise was honoured and delighted to be invited to present a paper at the African Woman Summit held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, in July 2014.
Louise’s current role includes community engagement and development, workshop development and facilitation and ensuring that health care is equitable for all members of the community via consumer engagement and comment.
Steph Newell – Consumer & Community Engagement Coordinator
Stephanie is passionate about working in partnership with health care consumers and providers to facilitate effective and sustainable partnerships, both at an individual and a systemic level, which translate into an experience of safe, effective service and care provision that meet the complete and individual health care needs of each person.
Stephanie’s experience as a consumer advocate, consumer representative and educator, has seen her partner with consumers, policy makers, health service providers and health care organisations across all levels of the health system to increase the understanding and implementation of partnership with consumers within healthcare systems governance, patient safety and health care quality.
Over the past 12 years, Stephanie has collaborated with Australian and international health care consumers, providers, organisations and government to embed consumer involvement throughout health care service delivery and to ensure that health care consumers are involved as partners in the governance, design, delivery, evaluation and monitoring of health services.
Stephanie has had a long association with Health Consumers Council. Starting in 2007 she organised the inaugural Patients for Patient Safety 3 day workshop held in July 2009 in Perth: a joint initiative between The World Health Organization, Health Consumers’ Council, The Western Australian Department of Health and Curtin University School of Nursing and Midwifery. The workshop brought together health professionals, policy makers and consumers who had experienced healthcare harm, to work in partnership for patient safety and patient experience improvement.
Lucy Palermo – Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Lucy has been with Health Consumers’ Council since 2013 and has a varied background including fashion, not-for-profit, education and media. Her qualifications are a Diploma of Textiles Clothing and Footwear from the West Australian Institute of Fashion and Textiles and a Bachelor of Marketing and Public Relations from The University of Notre Dame Fremantle. After working in a fashion environment for a while Lucy wanted a change. As a health consumer herself Lucy takes a keen interest in health matters, so the Health Consumers’ Council was a perfect fit. Good health is important, she likes to stay active with regular trips to the gym and have a balanced diet. Lucy is also studying a Master of Business Administration part-time at UWA.
Sheree Mears – Operations Manager
Proficient in establishing strategic planning, policy frameworks and the development and implementation of operational and project plans. Sheree’s professional experience involves a wide range of activities including small business management, finance and accounting, product marketing, project management, community development and hospitality.
Sheree has a passion for building and improving the quality of life and choices available to all within our communities and in her spare time she volunteers at community events and local sporting clubs to promote community capacity building. In particular, working with people with a disability was the catalyst that inspired Sheree to become a mature age student, with the intention of making a difference amongst disadvantaged groups in society. With her background in community and social services Sheree is eager to the apply skills and knowledge obtained throughout her degree (BA Sociology & Community Development, minor Criminology) to raise awareness for health consumers rights.
Caitlin Haeusler – Administration Trainee
Caitlin joined the team in April 2016 as a trainee assisting the Consumer & Community Engagement program. She is currently undertaking her Certificate III in Business Administration. Having grown up in rural Western Australia, Caitlin has a keen interest in seeing the equitable provision of healthcare and advocacy to those living in regional and remote areas. She also has a special interest in mental health and cultural diversity. When not at work, Caitlin enjoys meeting other people in the healthcare sector, watching documentaries and basketball.
People in Charge of the Website
Empower ICT – HCC website development and hosting provider Health Consumers’ Council – HCC web administrator