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Weenthunga’s governance

Weenthunga’s governance is a First Australian-led model which emphasises First Australian and Australian collaboration. The Committee of Management comprises a mix of health practitioners and a mix of First Australians and Australians. The position of President can only be held by a First Australian and there will always be a majority of First Australians on the Committee. 

The 2017 Committee of Management:

PRESIDENT: Brenda McDermott 

VICE PRESIDENT: Jacqueline Watkins

TREASURER:  Sue Tuitupou

Committee Members:  David Menzies; Carol Mioduchowski; Melissa Deacon-Crouch; Sam Paxton; Liz Cameron.

First Australians in a health role in Victoria are encouraged to become Full Members with voting rights. Australians in a health role in Victoria are encouraged to become Associate Members and participate actively in the organisation – but without voting rights.  Health students are welcome as student members.

The Weenthunga Health Network aims to harness the grass roots involvement of First Australians and Australians in Victoria, to collaborate and contribute to strategies developed together, to work towards health equality for First Australians and Australians.


Brenda McDermott

Brenda McDermott is a proud Palawa woman whose ancestors lived at Arthur River in North West Tasmania and Bruny Island in the South East of Tasmania. Brenda has lived in West Gippsland for the past twenty years and raised 5 children. Brenda has an education background that encompasses teaching, child psychology and management. She has worked with many Aboriginal communities across Australia in early childhood education, mining and mental health services, and currently works at VACCA in the Family Violence sector. Brenda’s interests include Indigenous health and wellbeing policy, Indigenous self-determination, leadership and research.  She has been a member of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) for 8 years, where this interest in Indigenous health led her back to Victoria, joining Weenthunga as Vice President in 2016 and following on as President in 2017 and now in 2018. When not working, Brenda enjoys spending time with her children and granddaughter and enjoys fishing, bushwalking, gardening and Landcare activities in her local Community. 


Jacqueline Watkins

Jacqui was born in Darwin and raised in Alice Springs and is a descendant of Jingili and Mudburra people, N.T. She is currently the Manager, Aboriginal Health Policy and Planning at Western Health, based at Sunshine Hospital. Jacqui has a vast range of experience having previously worked as the Aboriginal Community Development Worker at Dental Health Services, Victoria and Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit at The University of Melbourne. She has also worked in Legal, Education and Child Protection fields.  


Sue Tuitupou

Sue Tuitupou is a proud Barkindjii/Kurnu Woman. Sue's traditional land is along the Darling River North West of NSW, known now as Toorale National Park. Sue and five generations of her family live in Bendigo. Sue has three sons, three daughter-in-law's, eight grandchildren, 28 canaries and a little dog called Freddie.

Sue has worked in the health and human sector in various roles for the past 35 years and is part way through her Masters in Social Work at La Trobe University, slogging it out one subject a semester. Sue is currently employed at the Department of Justice in Bendigo.

Sue's interests include Aboriginal social determinants of health, Aboriginal self-determination, culture as a protective factor, grieving circles, and the impact of trauma. Sue loves sitting round the fire and yarning with family and friends, making Jonny cakes with Grandma and Mum and cooking outside with her little Grannies.


Sam Paxton

Sam Paxton is a proud Waywurru woman, whose ancestors lived in Wangaratta and surrounds in Victoria. Sam was born and raised in Naarm (Melbourne) and joined the Weenthunga committee in March 2017. Sam studied Psychology and Management at University before embarking on a career in the not-for-profit and community controlled space. Sam currently works part-time at VACCHO as a HR Project Officer and at headspace as a Digital Work and Study Specialist - Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Sam is passionate about cultural safety and equality in the workplace and in her spare time, supports mob to look and apply for work and understand their workplace rights. Sam enjoys spending time with community and family, including partner Lewis and son Kairra. 


Liz Cameron

Professor Liz Cameron is a member of the Dharug nation of NSW. Liz is Director of the Koorie Institute at Deakin University. Her background was initially in nursing and then in counselling. Liz holds a Ph.D. in Indigenous Health focussing on traditional healing practices in both visual and written literacies.


 Carol Mioduchoski

Carol has been involved in Weenthunga since 2011. In this time she has seen it evolve from a fledging organisation whose mission, principles and values have made it a passion for her to be involved in. The evolution of the two way talking model has been amazing and seeing it being picked up with other organisations has been a privilege. Learning this process has been a big learning for her and she has found it immensely rewarding to be involved in and see the great work that Weenthunga continues to do. Carol has been very humbled in working with such a group of people and be able to learn aspects of culture from her First Australian Colleagues.

Carol’s background is as a Podiatrist. She works at Barwon Health where she is manager of Podiatry Services working and also an Area Health Manger where she looks after the operations and service development in the Northern Suburbs of Geelong. Carol has an extensive history of working with association boards, being on the Australian Podiatry Association (Vic) for 15 years where she was president and on the Australasian Podiatry Council for 10 years where she was also president.  Carol also served on the board of Allied Health Professions Australia , where she was also chair for a number of years , during which her proudest achievement was the auspice of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (another Lin Oke idea) whilst it was beginning.

Carol currently assists on Weenthunga as assistant treasurer.


Melissa Deacon-Crouch

Melissa is a 2nd generation Australian. She is a senior lecturer and course coordinator of the Bachelor of Nursing and the double degree Bachelor Nursing and Bachelor Midwifery for the La Trobe Rural Health School, Department of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University. Melissa was initially a medical research scientist and went on to complete qualifications in teaching, nursing and midwifery. Melissa is completing a PhD exploring Aboriginal Health and with particular focus on the relationship between sleep duration, obesity and chronic illnesses. 


David Menzies

David has 30 years’ experience across exercise science, physical activity promotion, primary health and population health initiatives. This has included roles in the clinical rehabilitation and primary care settings, the Active Script and Lifescripts program at Kinect Australia, work at individual Divisions of General Practice and the peak body General Practice Victoria.  David also has a background in education and fitness and has had specific experience in chronic disease self-management, behaviour change theory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, quality improvement methodologies, programming for chronic disease and resistance training for people with chronic heart failure. David is currently the Manager of Chronic Disease Programs at South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network which includes Health Care Homes.