Board of Directors
I've worked with and for young people for over 20 years and been lucky enough to have done this in many different ways. I work as a medical doctor with young people in western Sydney who are homeless or otherwise marginalised, and as an academic at The University of Technology University doing research and teaching. I have done a lot of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching as well as training of general practitioners, nurses and other health professionals. My research is in the areas of access to health care and adolescent sexuality and sexual health, and I love having young people involved in guiding, advising and shaping our research projects. I've also written the Dolly Doctor column for over 20 years and it's been a real privilege to interact with young people in this way as well. I was a member of AAAH in its early days in the 1980s and 90s and was thrilled when it got rejuvenated in 2011. I see an association like this as a great way of bringing together young people and those who work with and for them to give a united, powerful voice to youth health.Read more …
Vice President (QLD)
Geraldine Dyer is a Registered Nurse and Midwife with postgraduate qualifications in Paediatric, Child and Youth Health Nursing. Geraldine is employed by the Queensland Department of Education and Training, State Schools Nursing Service, which provides education, training and support for students, families and school personnel to ensure the safe management of students with chronic illness or specialised health needs in Queensland State Schools. The ongoing support provided ensures students can participate fully in the educational program, with considerations and adjustments to ensure their safety and inclusion.
With 27 years of nursing experience within the Public Health sector, Geraldine has worked as a clinician, educator, and manager in a variety of settings. Residing in Mackay in Central Queensland, having lived and worked in urban, rural and remote communities, and currently working across all of these areas, Geraldine has a wealth of knowledge regarding the issues facing rural and remote areas. Geraldine’s passion for adolescent health has been ongoing throughout her career. Working in Midwifery and Child Health for many years, Geraldine was involved in the provision of direct care, support programs and education to both pregnant adolescents and adolescent parents.
As a mother of 2 adolescent children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, one of which also has a chronic illness, Geraldine has been driven to be a passionate advocate and voice for children, adolescents and families with special needs and disabilities.
Marc Zen is from Perth where he studied a degree in Health Sciences and works for a non-profit organisation called the Injury Control Council of WA. Marc has been an active volunteer on several youth programs with the WA Aids Council, Freedom Centre (a youth drop-in centre for LGBTIQ young people) and the Leap Youth Leadership program in Los Angeles. Marc was also one of two West Australians selected to represent Australia at the 2014 One Young World summit in Dublin, a competitive gathering of 1000 young leaders from around the world who are driving change in their local communities. He first got involved with the Australian Association for Adolescent Health in 2013 when he volunteered as a youth representative at that year's conference in Fremantle.Read more …
Rachel hails from Montreal and moved to Australia in 2011 to pursue a Master of Public Health at the University of Sydney. Having over a decade of international work experience in epidemiological research, health policy and programming, as well as professional practice in direct health service delivery and community engagement, Rachel hopes to bring fresh perspective and enthusiasm to the AAAH’s mission of improving youth health and wellbeing. In her present role as Youth Health Promotion Coordinator at Northern Sydney Local Health District, Rachel leads a team of Youth Consultants, aged 15 to 24 years, on the development and implementation of youth health promotion initiatives, in collaboration with key stakeholders, including local young people and organisations. Their aim is to broaden our understanding of current health issues facing youth and to empower this younger generation to advocate for a holistic approach to their health needs. When not working, Rachel enjoys practicing yoga, playing mum to her “dog-ter”, and continually escaping Canadian winters.Read more …
Elected Director (TAS)
David Perez is the CEO of The Link Youth Health Service which now incorporates headspace Hobart. He has over 25 years of experience in the community sector and local government with much of it centred on developing and managing youth services and community development and leading capacity building strategies. David has demonstrated a strong commitment to strategic change management and has played an influential role the community sector in Tasmania and is a passionate advocate for collaborative practice not just within the community sector but inclusive of government and the private sectors. The provision of quality of services and the continuous improvement of the sector are things that are very close to his heart with a focus on better consumer outcomes. David is very excited about the Association being rejuvenated and the potential impact it can have.Read more …
Elected Director (VIC)
Rohan is psychologist and NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow in the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne. He has a particular interest in self-harm and substance use among marginalised populations, including those with mental health problems and those exposed to the youth justice system. Rohan has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from James Cook University (QLD) and a PhD in psychiatry from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College in London, UK). He has experience working in the public and private sectors in direct service provision, secondary consultation, research, health promotion and community education. He has conducted research in Australia, Canada and the UK, and has presented his research findings at conferences in Brazil, Italy, South Africa, the USA, the UK and Australia. Rohan has co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and his articles have been published in top-tiered journals including the The Lancet, The British Medical Journal, The British Journal of Psychiatry, and The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. He has secured more than $3.1 million in competitive funding since 2013, including a 4-year Early Career Fellowship from the NHMRC to examine suicide and self-harm in young people in Australia. In 2015 Rohan was named the Early Career Researcher of the Year by Australia’s Society for Mental Health Research (SMHR).Read more …
Co-opted Director (NSW)
Jessica completed a Bachelor of Health in July 2014 and a Masters of Public Health in July 2015. Jessica’s undergraduate studies focus on population health; exploring the social, political, cultural, economic and environmental determinants of health. Her postgraduate studies focused on a more in-depth understanding of the burden of disease, health promotion and epidemiology.
Jessica began working in the youth health sector in early 2015, starting out in a role as Youth Health Sector Support Project Officer at Yfoundations. From here Jessica developed a keen interest in youth health research and took on a second role as Research Administration Officer at the Department of General Practice, University of Sydney Westmead assisting with a state-wide research project exploring how young people access and navigate the health system in New South Wales. This strong interest in youth health led Jessica into her current position at SESLHD, where she works to support the efficient and effective implementation of youth health policies, plans, services and projects in the district.Read more …
Co-opted Director (VIC)
Angela has been actively involved in adolescent health for the past 15 years across a range of organisations in the not -for- profit sector. She currently manages National Community Service delivery at Redkite. These essential services support families and young people with a cancer diagnosis with a focus on counselling, information, financial assistance and education and career support. Angela’s current focus is on expansion of the ECS program to ensure that young people who have experienced a cancer diagnosis stay engaged with their educational and career pathways and/or find new ones to ensure the best possible future educational and career outcomes.
Previously with Starlight Children's Foundation, with roles in research and evaluation and program management, Angela utilised her creative arts background to manage Starlight’s hospital programs at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne including the ‘Livewire’ program. Angela managed the national evaluation of this program and its delivery in mental health units across the country, with the aim to understand more about the use of arts based programs in mental health settings. Prior to this she was National Program Manager at Camp Quality.
Angela's focus has been on both State and National operations and improving current, and creating new programs to meet the needs of young people living with serious illness. Angela has worked across the not for profit sector to increase coordination and remove duplication and competition in the provision of services in the adolescent health centre.
Passionate about motivating and inspiring and empowering teams to achieve organisational success. Angela has a degree in English Literature/Drama was an invited presenter at UNIMA Conference 2008 (Union Internationale de la Marionnette) a member of SIMNA - Social Impact Measurement Network Australia and AAAH.
Co-opted Director (QLD)
Jonathan has had over 11 years experience working with young people, children and their families, starting off his career as a high school teacher before moving into the not-for-profit sector. Currently part of Starlight’s Program’s Leadership Team, Jonathan manages Starlight’s Innovation Hub, a team of seven that focuses on pioneering unique projects and experiences for Starlight families who are living with a chronic condition, illness or disability. The team have led the way in utilising virtual and augmented reality training programs and experiences for children and teens in hospital. Jonathan continues to experiment with developing technologies in collaboration with thought-leaders from around the world to positively impact the lives of seriously ill youth.
Jonathan brings positive leadership, innovation and creative thinking frameworks, a strong network within the health and tech space, and a wealth of knowledge about adolescents to all projects and organisations he works with. He is super passionate about bringing uniquely fun and positive moments to children and young people living with a serious illness, particularly because they miss out on so much.Read more …