Our Community Advisors
Sophy Athan | Chair
I have been a member of the Consumer Reference Group for twelve years and the Chair for the last ten. I am passionate about the human rights of people with mental illness, older patients, women, people with disabilities, CALD communities, GBLT and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people. Staying in touch with what is happening in these area and the health and community sector more generally is important to me.
My interest in health advocacy has arisen out of both professional and personal experience. Caring for my mother and husband, highlighted for me the challenges that navigating the health system can present. Supporting my family members from primary to second then into tertiary health care settings, I became aware of how complex the system can become and how this can result in safety and quality issues that can compromise care. I also witnessed a range of distressing situations that could have been managed better. With this in mind I have tried to share my experiences in a positive way hoping my learnings can inform improvements to the health system.
My vision is for health services to establish real partnerships with consumers their families and carers where the focus is on ensuring that quality of care and safety of the patient is always at the centre of everyone's thinking.
Pauline is a long-time member of the CRG and is a mother, grandmother, guide dog owner, and carer. She brings a wealth of experience from Australia and overseas, having been involved in community development work and health care for the ageing.
After graduating with a degree in social science, Pauline has worked as a social worker in the areas of disability, aged care and domestic violence. She has been a U3A leader in the past and still enjoys participating in the learning process.
Pauline is involved with the CRG and other committees where she can stay in touch with the current and future trends of the health and community sectors and enjoys the exchange of ideas that may ultimately change the way consumers experience their health care.
Angela has been a member of the CRG since 2006 and is committed to working with partner agencies to achieve greater consumer, care and community empowerment through participation and engagement and by promoting team work and partnerships to achieve identified outcomes. Angela has completed the Course in Consumer Leadership through Health Issues Centre (HIC) in 2011 and is a member of HIC Consumer Alumni Networking Group
Angela completed a Graduate Diploma [HR] from Deakin University in 2007 and has over 20 years’ experience in Human Resource management in public and private sectors in Melbourne, Sydney and London. Upon returning to Australia in 1998, Angela refocused on consumer advocacy in health, particularly for women with disability. She is a Board member of Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) and a committed advocate for people with disability accessing the health system. She spent 10 years on the board of a halfway house - a crisis and support service for women experiencing family violence, where she promoted the development of services for women and children with disability. She is interested in initiatives that reduce violence against women with disability.
Angela produces and presents a monthly radio segment on community radio (94.1 3WBC) discussing interests relevant to women with multiple sclerosis and disability in general such as the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Improving consumer education, engagement and participation in health for all consumers, health practitioners and OEHCSA partner agencies is important to Angela in achieving better health outcomes across the whole community.
Liz is a young adult who is passionate about the rights of people with disabilities accessing healthcare. After graduating with a Bachelor of Social Work, she has worked as a project officer for 3½ years and has held several voluntary roles on committees.
Liz brings a youthful perspective and strategic planning skills to the work of the CRG. As the most recent member of the CRG, Liz is hoping to learn more about the healthcare system, work towards improvements and developing connections.
On a more personal note, Liz loves going to the football, the tennis and stage shows, and socialising with family and friends.