Healthy North Coast

NCAHA Directors

The North Coast Allied Health Association consists of a four-member board of directors.

Professor Susan Nancarrow
BAppSc (Pod)(QUT), MAppSc(QUT), PhD(ANU)

susanSusan Nancarrow is Professor of Health Sciences and Director of Research in the School of Health and Human Sciences at Southern Cross University. She originally trained as a podiatrist, but has been working across disciplines as a health services researcher for nearly 15 years. She has a particular interest in health workforce research and reform, service delivery and organisation. Prior to working at Southern Cross University, Susan worked in Sheffield in the UK for 10 years, examining workforce change in the NHS. Prior to moving to England in 2001, Susan worked in Australia in a range of clinical and management roles, including Aboriginal health, multidisciplinary team leader for a community health service and as part of a primary care team in northern India.

Susan is particularly committed to regional and rural health issues and capacity building. Susan has been involved in projects worth more than $40 million and led projects worth nearly $6 million. She has over 70 peer reviewed journal publications, reports and book chapters. Susan lives on the Far North Coast of New South Wales and is a keen surfer in her spare time.

Susan’s research is underpinned by the principles of capacity building and user focussed engagement to ensure that the findings are relevant and meaningful to the end users; and contribute to organisational capacity and skill development where it fits the objectives of the project.

Professor Nancarrow was elected the Association’s inaugural Chair.

Robert (Rob) Curry
BSc – Physiotherapy (Lincoln Institute, Vic, 1980), Grad Dip Aboriginal Studies (SACAE, 1990), MSc Primary Health Care (Flinders University, 2000)

robRob has been a health professional and programs manager in the context of remote Aboriginal health care in the north of Australia. His particular skills and experience lie in the areas of cross-cultural primary care planning, program management, and remote workforce planning. His work and thinking have been influenced by the international philosophy of Primary Health Care and the Australian model of Aboriginal community controlled health service delivery.

After graduating in physiotherapy in Melbourne in 1980, Rob settled in Darwin in the early 80s. He spent over a decade servicing Aboriginal communities around Darwin as the ‘remote physiotherapist’ where he focused on the treatment and support of people with disabilities, the elderly and their family carers. From 2001 he spent three years with the community controlled Tiwi Health Board developing and managing environmental and health promotion programs on the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin.

For the past several years Rob has worked for the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT (AMSANT) where program management in the areas of workforce support, quality and accreditation, chronic disease prevention and public health policy development have been major responsibilities. In these capacities he has played a prominent role at AMSANT in securing funding for expanded programs of support for the Aboriginal community controlled sector in the NT. He has been an active contributor in major reforms to Aboriginal primary health care since the Emergency Intervention in the Territory in 2007.

Rob recently undertook Australian Institute of Board Directors governance training, is a recent past member of the board of the National Rural Health Alliance, and is currently vice Chair of Services for Australian Rural & Remote Allied Health (SARRAH).   He moved with his wife to Ellenborough near Port Macquarie in July 2013, and is enjoying life as a part-time health services consultant and a pretend farmer.

Luisa Eckhardt
1997-2000: Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Occupational Therapy, University of Western Sydney
2008: Manager Development Program: Diploma in Business (Frontline Management), SWSAHS
2014: Certificate IV Training and Assessment

luisaLuisa is an Occupational Therapist, with her degree completed though the University of Western Sydney. Luisa’s area of greatest clinical experience – and her greatest passion – is Oncology, Lymphoedema and Palliative Care. The involvement within a cohesive, multidisciplinary team with a pure client focus is what drew Luisa to this clinical area. More recently, Luisa has worked with NSW Health in the capacity of Deputy Head of Department in OT (Liverpool Hospital). This involved managing a range of clinical specialties, advocating for Allied Health within the greater health organizational structure, and facilitating best practice and clinical excellence with clinicians.

Luisa moved to the Mid North Coast three years ago for a sea change. She is currently working clinically within aged care, and teaching Allied Health Assistants. Her motivation behind the NCAHA Board of Directors role is to facilitate Allied Health networks within MNC, to help establish supervision and mentoring relationships to promote best practice and clinical leadership for clients accessing Allied Health services in the MNC.

Nick Neville

Nick Neville is a NSW Registered Occupational Therapist working in private practice. Nick’s rooms are based at the Work Life Centre in Port Macquarie. Nick services the North, Mid North and Far North Coast of NSW.

Nick qualified in 1985 from Queen Margaret College in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the early years of his career he worked in multidisciplinary teams in the areas of inpatient and outpatient adult mental health, primary rehabilitation in hospital wards, adult physical and mental disability, and in patient and community aged care.

Nick immigrated to Australia in 1991, working in commercial occupational health and rehabilitation in South Australia. After moving to Newcastle in 1994, Nick again worked in occupational health and rehabilitation, and in an industrial setting at Tomago Aluminium Company.

Nick competed a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety in 1998 and a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy in 1999. He moved to the Mid North Coast in 2000 and commenced nickprivate practice in 2001, offering Occupational Therapy services such as:

  • Medico Legal Expert Witness Reports
  • On Road/Off Road Driver Assessment
  • Home Modification and ADL Equipment Assessments
  • Ergonomic and Workplace Assessments
  • Case management
  • Functional Capacity Assessments

In 2015, Nick qualified as a NSW Driving Instructor, a useful qualification in his work as an OT driver assessor.

Nick is keen to promote Occupational Therapy as a fulfilling career and is actively engaged with the profession at a local and national level. He is a member of the Australian and British Associations of Occupational Therapists and a member of the Safety Institute of Australia.

Nick is the Co-Convenor of the OT United Hastings Macleay Network Group and the Rural Liaison Person for the OT NSW Driving Interest Group. Nick is a member of the North Coast Occupational Therapy Driving Assessors Group.

Nick has always enjoyed working in multidisciplinary teams. The opportunity to contribute to the board of the NCAHA was a great chance to influence service provision at a planning level. Nick is concerned about the inadequacy of the current EPC scheme as it applies to the whole Allied Health group, considering it underfunded and unable to meet community expectations. Nick hopes to be able to improve access to Allied Health practitioners and for practitioners to be appropriately recompensed for their services.

Nick is married to Fiona, a local dentist. They have two children aged 20 and 17 years. He enjoys staying active and when he isn’t working he is playing squash, camping and walking in his favourite spots in New Zealand.

Lindy Susan SWAIN

PhD Candidate: Improving medication management for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by investigating the use of Home Medicines Review.

Bachelor of Pharmacy, University of Sydney

Governance Foundation for Non for Profit Directors certificate. Australian Institute of Company Directors 2015

lindyLindy is a registered pharmacist who works as an academic at the University Centre for Rural Health, based in Lismore. Until recently Lindy also worked as a clinical pharmacist at Bullinah Aboriginal health service in Ballina and as the Director of Rural Policy for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. In February 2016 Lindy gave up these part time roles to take on a full time position at the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH)as the Allied Health Academic Lead, now looking after all allied health disciplines, not just pharmacy.

The UCRH, in 2015, organised and supported clinical placements for over 600 allied health students from 22 different universities for over 2000 weeks per year. The UCRH this year will receive extra funding to double clinical placement capacity in the region. Lindy hopes that this funding will enable the establishment of more innovative clinical placements which may provide student led services in areas of the Northern Rivers where currently little or no services exist.

Lindy works with students to increase their understanding of rural health and social inequity, improve their communication and patient engagement skills and avail inter-professional learning opportunities. Lindy grew up and studied in Sydney, but in 2001 she and her family moved to the NSW Central west for a couple of years and then to the NSW North Coast. Since leaving Sydney, Lindy has become a tireless advocate for rural and Aboriginal Health.

Lindy‘s particular area of interest is working with Aboriginal people to assist with medication management, optimising treatment and outcomes. She is a PhD scholar researching “Strategies to Increase Home Medicines Review in Aboriginal communities.”

Lindy and Peter have 2 children aged 19 and 22 who have now flown the coup and are studying in Queensland. As empty nesters Lindy and Pete have relocated to the beach where they can be found most mornings enjoying the sunrise and walking the dog.

Here are a couple of Lindy’s favourite quotes:

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.”
Robert Wyland


  • 2014 – Pharmacist of the Year, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia