(Chair) – Ballina
Robyn lives in Ballina on the NSW north coast and is the Director of Multidisciplinary Health at the University Centre for Rural Health, University of Sydney. This role focusses on rural health workforce, aiming to increase the number of health professionals working in rural, remote and regional Australia, specifically AHPs. This work provides valuable knowledge of the health and social care sector, its potential and its challenges.
With a broad background in building design, urban and health planning, water engineering, sustainability and environmental and public health, Robyn understands and values the importance of social connections and of working together for better health and social outcomes. Her diverse experiences also include an intimate knowledge of the functioning and purpose of NCAHA, a passion for the North Coast and a vision of equitable healthcare for everyone. She is a cheerleader for Allied Health Professionals.
(Deputy Chair) – Ballina
BAppSc(USQ), GDipAppSc(USQ), PhD(Bond)
Jacqui Yoxall has practiced as a psychologist since 1995, and has managed her own private practice consulting to industry over the past 20 years. She has substantial clinical experience working within multidisciplinary teams in public health and the private sector. She has been an academic since 2006 and currently holds the role of Discipline Chair Allied Health and Midwifery for the Faculty of Health at Southern Cross University. Her research and teaching interests include psychological assessment, detection of deception, interpersonal violence, teamwork, inter-professional practice and rural and remote health service delivery.
Jacqui’s vision for the future of allied health on the North Coast includes greater promotion of allied health to the public and a stronger voice for allied health practitioners. She would like to see more education and training opportunities for allied health practitioners in the region and better support for interdisciplinary practice and development. As the need for AHPs grows, she wants to see increased numbers of competent and work-ready allied health graduates quickly able to secure employment in the region. At the same time, she is seeking closer collaboration between the university and allied health in the region, and removal of boundaries between teaching, research and practice.
(Company Secretary) – Lismore
Sarah has practiced as an occupational therapist since 2005 and lives and works at Lismore in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. As Team Leader for Clinical Education and a Clinical Educator of Occupational Therapy at University Centre for Rural Health at Lismore, Sarah provides clinical oversight to the allied health student program. She also supervises occupational therapy students in service learning placements across pre-schools/schools and aged care facilities.
Sarah’s vision is for residents of northern NSW to be able to access Allied Health services in a timely manner and to have awareness of how AHPs can help with preventative measures to address needs and improve health outcomes in the region. In particular, she wants to see the development of graduate pathways for Allied Health students that both meet workforce needs in the region, but also provide new graduates the supports they require as students and early career professionals.
Bachelor of Psychology (Honors) Master of Psychology (Clinical)
Alira trained as a clinical psychologist and lives in Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast where she has established a private practice over the past several years. Formerly she spent her early career managing a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. She has experience working with children, adolescents and families experiencing mental health issues, including: emotional and behavioral disorders, trauma work and working with young people in foster care or alternative care placements.
Alira believes Allied Health Professionals have a significant role to play in health and wellbeing across all levels of care for people living on the North Coast. As health professionals working in smaller groups than GPs or nurses, she sees AHPs being in a unique position to join together in advocacy for the provision of best practice services to their clients in the region. She maintains that Allied Health Professionals should be represented at all levels of the stepped health care system in Australia, across private and public health care settings providing expert services to those in most need. To this end Alira has represented on Healthy North Coast’s Clinical Councils over recent years.
Craig is a physiotherapist living at Byron Bay in the Northern Rivers where he is Director of a number of allied health businesses in the region: Cirrus Health; SOS MedicAlarms; and Back On Track Physiotherapy. He is a clinician and a business person with extensive experience in regional and rural Australia. He understands the difficulties of recruiting and retaining staff in the regions, but also the benefits to those staff of exposure to whole local communities and hence to experiences broader than the narrow band they would be exposed to in metropolitan practice.
Craig believes health care on the NSW North Coast, and not just allied health care, should be better integrated and truly interdisciplinary. He sees our health and care system at its best when all health professionals are working closely alongside each other – medical, allied health and nursing colleagues – so that we are all able to learn from and teach each other. He asserts that Allied health care shouldn’t be an ‘add-on’ to medical care, but should be fully integrated throughout the whole healthcare system.
Michael lives at Lismore on the North Coast where he has worked as an exercise physiologist in clinical practice for over 30 years, most of those at his clinic, the Lismore Health Hub. For 15 years he has been consulting in multidisciplinary physiotherapy clinics at Robina, and the Queensland Academy of Sport. He covers the spectrum of exercise physiology from chronic pain management to pre- and post-operative rehabilitation, and sports injury recovery.
With 35 years practice working with a range of the allied health professions, Michael has significant experience in collaborative health approaches across the multi-disciplinary team to produce positive outcomes for clients suffering a range of chronic conditions. He is committed to developing services that can address the basic health needs of the 20 percent of people in his community who have great difficulty in accessing the right services for them. He strives for a process that can adapt to the regular changes of the health and political landscape, whilst remaining true to the ideal of person-led care. As a consequence, he acknowledges the need to keep learning, to be part of the process that gives health control back to the individual and the community.
David resides at Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast where he works as a senior physiotherapist managing the physiotherapy department at a large multi-disciplinary allied health practice. In this role he provides clinical physio services to a broad range of patients, supervises junior staff, and provides an education program for all allied health clinicians utilizing both in-house and external resources.
As a physiotherapist of more than 25 years, David has a strong understanding of his profession and, importantly, the health system more widely. He sees the North Coast as a diverse and growing population, where local allied health professionals need to reflect the communities they provide for. He believes the diversity of skills the allied health professions possess can well serve regional populations like the Mid North Coast. As such regions continue to grow, so too should the AHP workforce, not just in number but also in skill development and provision of services
Beyond his day job, David is involved in many health promotive activities in his community, including: the Coffs Harbour Physiotherapy Collective; Sports Medicine Australia (Hunter Region) and the Masters Games, and; Parkrun Coffs Harbour. He has also been a member of the Coffs Region Clinical Council.