Meet Our Staff

Gail O’Donnell

Executive Officer

Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy); Master of Public Health

Career summary: I joined HealthWest Partnership as the Executive Officer in July 2011. Previous employment included five years at Quality Improvement & Community Services Accreditation (QICSA) as the Operations Manager and Deputy CEO. During this period I undertook over 60 accreditation reviews of health and community services. Prior to this I was an Executive Manager of Community Care in a large rural community health service, with organisational responsibility for quality.

Professional interests: My strongly held belief is that a shared commitment to quality systems can deliver positive outcomes for individuals and organisations.

Something you didn’t know: I continue to work as an auditor for Quality Improvement Performance (QIP) in my spare time.


Mindy Allott

Systems Integration Manager

Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours); Master of Public Health (Health Promotion); Graduate Certificate in Consumer and Community Engagement

Career summary:  My career in public health has included academic research, community-based health promotion and developing national health strategies while living and working in tropical Tonga. Throughout my career, I have worked to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone, no matter their background, income or individual characteristics. I want all people to be connected and active participants in their own health, helping to make decisions that affect the health of themselves, their family and their community.

Professional interests: Organisational change and change management; systems change; health literacy; consumer and community participation in the design and delivery of health projects and services.

Something you didn’t know: I worked as a molecular biologist in vaccine development and cancer genetics. Public health is definitely more fun!

Click here for Mindy’s LinkedIn profile.


Sonny Charles

Project Support Officer – Men of Brimbank

Bachelor of Science in Education (Economics); Master of Science in Economics and Master of Global Project Management and Public Health (Ongoing)

Career summary: In my previous professional career, I have worked in the community, education and banking sectors in various capacities. I am mostly interested in working in a multicultural community with the aim of empowering vulnerable people toward their goals and bring harmony in our community. I have been a participant for Working Together with Men project in the prevention of violence against women with the focus of engaging men to develop and implement primary prevention strategies in their local communities.

Professional interests: I enjoy being of service to other by empowering people to live a dignified, happy and healthy life.

Something you didn’t know: I am passionate in academic work and I am also an entrepreneur.

Click here for Sonny’s LinkedIn profile.


Estelle Donse

Health Literacy Project Manager
West and Inner North Metro Region

Bachelor of Human Nutrition; Master of International Health

Career Summary: I began my public health career with the Australian government working on health policy and projects. I later made the move to international health to work on community health projects in India, Haiti and Laos. In these roles I’ve worked on a range of issues and in a variety of positions. To date my most valued experience has been working with community health workers in rural Haiti, where I observed firsthand the positive impact that comes when communities are placed at the centre of the development and delivery of health projects.

Professional interests: My personal and professional interests have always centred around health and other cultures. My career choices have been influenced by my desire to be a part of movements that work to improve population health through community empowerment and which seek to address the social determinants of health.

Something you didn’t know: Over the years I’ve developed a fascination for food; how it’s grown, cooked and eaten, the factors that influence what we eat, and the effects of food on our bodies and minds. My favourites places to be are in a veggie patch or an international supermarket.


Shelley Hewson

Working with Men & Momentum Project Manager

Bachelor of Social Work; Master of International & Community Development (Ongoing)

Career Summary: I have worked in the community and human services sector for over 12 years, providing support to individuals and families living in some of most diverse and at-risk communities around Australia, including CALD and refugee, as well as remote Aboriginal communities in SA, WA and the NT.

Much of my work has been supporting projects and programs directly related to family violence and violence against women and children, including also working with men and young men who use violence. This has also included providing family violence and trauma counselling to men, women and children, as well as complex care coordination, creative art and play based therapy and community mobilisation initiatives.

Professional interests: I am passionate about supporting grassroots innovation to establish safe and creative spaces for communities and individuals to thrive and reach their full potential, regardless of their lived experience.

Something you didn’t know: Alongside of my role here at Health West, I am also an Academic Teaching Scholar and Lecturer in Social Work at Victoria University, in the college of Health and Biomedicine.

Martin Plowman

Workforce Mutuality Project Officer

Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts (Hons), PhD (Cultural Studies)

Career summary:  My professional career has always centred around social equity and access. After working in the disability sector for nearly 20 years in higher education and community development programs, I made the jump into health promotion in 2012, where my focus has been to improve health outcomes for people from CALD and Aboriginal communities. I’ve run organisation-wide cultural audits and led major collaborative projects.

Professional interests:  I come from a CALD background myself – my father is Anglo, my mother Italian. My mother and her family had a tough time coming out to Australia in the 1950s, and although we’ve come some way since then, my overarching goal is to help this country live up to its potential – to welcome any new migrants who want to live here, and to achieve reconciliation with the people who lived here before anyone else.

Something you didn’t know:  My PhD in Cultural Studies was a history of people’s beliefs in UFOs. I completely rewrote my thesis as a travel memoir called The UFO Diaries: Travels in the World of High Strangeness, which was published by Allen & Unwin in 2011. Since then I’ve been interviewed by Sam Newman and Jon Faine (though not at the same time), and have attempted to appear respectable at writers’ festivals.

Click here for Martin’s LinkedIn profile.


Sean Stephen Ryan

Project Officer – Momentum

Bachelor of Arts (Communications).

Career summary: Before joining HealthWest Partnership, I was part of the Gender Equity Advisory and Action Group at Victoria University. I have eight years working experience in public relations, advertising and marketing and have worked across multiple industries. I am a graduate of the 2018 AMES Australia Prevention of Violence Against Women Leadership Course.

Professional interests: I am very interested in cross-cultural communication, Aboriginal storytelling and community engagement.

Something you didn’t know: I love music, art and books. I would be happy with a good crime novel and a bottle of Pinot Noir facing the beach.

Click here for Sean’s LinkedIn profile.


Helen Scudamore

Community Strengthening Coordinator

Bachelor of Health Science (Public Health and Human Anatomy); Master of Public Health.

Career summary: Prior to joining HealthWest, I worked in community health on a cultural diversity and place-based community development project. I have also worked in local government and for various not for profit organisations, and I am passionate about social inclusion and improving the strength of community.

Professional interests: I am very interested in community participation, empowering individuals in the community to take part and have a say in new and creative ways.

Something you didn’t know: I used to train in martial arts and am a first degree black belt. I was an instructor and loved teaching the children and teenagers self-defence.

Click here for Helen’s LinkedIn profile.



Deb Tan

Communications Officer

Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours); Master of Arts (Intercultural Studies).

Career summary: Before joining HealthWest I worked at a not-for-profit organisation that supported minority language communities in language development and related matters. My various roles there included communications, event management and administration. I previously worked as a pharmacist at a public hospital in Adelaide, and particularly enjoyed connecting with and supporting patients and families on the ward.

Professional interests: I have an ongoing interest in the integral role language and cultural identity plays in a person and a community’s wellbeing.

Something you didn’t know: My ideal holiday is turning off my phone/email/Facebook/etc and finding a quiet nook to read. I really enjoy fantasy, particularly Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.


Anna Vu

Prevention Manager

Bachelor of Asian Studies (Vietnamese); Graduate Diploma of Asia and The Pacific Studies (Community Development Stream)

Career summary: I started my career in Vietnam, working for local and international NGOs on community development, reproductive health and HIV prevention. Since 2009 I have been in Melbourne working in the local prevention sector for community and women’s health, largely with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and respectful relationships. Along the way I’ve loved meeting and working with a huge variety of people. I’m always amazed at the skills people offer and enjoy the opportunity to learn something from everyone.

Professional interests: I have a keen interest in equity and human rights and how these relate to health outcomes. I’m excited to be part of the prevention sector as we continue to learn how we can make an impact at a systems level, and show the outcomes of what we do.

Something you didn’t know: I am very interested in data and statistics and how these can help to tell a story about equity, health and how the world works. I’m currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Statistics so that I can properly call myself a data nerd.