Meet Our Staff

Mindy Allott

Access & Inclusion Project 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.



Dimity Gannon

Prevention Manager

Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Health Promotion and Nutrition, Diploma of Education, Masters of Public Health (currently completing).

Career Summary: After a brief period working in community engagement in the corporate sector I decided to follow my passion for health promotion and moved into a role at SunSmart where I spent over 4 years working on skin cancer prevention initiatives in sport, community and online settings. In 2013 I spent a year at the YMCA Belize in Central America working with young people to improve their health and social outcomes through sport. Prior to joining HealthWest in August 2015, I was Campaigns Manger for children’s health advocacy group, The Parents’ Jury (based at Diabetes Victoria).

Professional interests: Reducing the avoidable burden of disease and injury through primary prevention.

Something you didn’t know about me: I rode my bike from Adelaide to Melbourne in April 2015 to raise money for the Lilyroo Fund, which helps to purchase lifesaving equipment for the Royal Women’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.



Mohammad Daud Karimi

Project Officer, Youth Refugee and Asylum Seeker Mental Health

Master of Health Administration at La Trobe University; Overseas Doctor of Medicine, Diploma in Business Administration and Public Health training by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Career summary:  I have been working in the health program management, development, evaluation, health research and administration and co-ordination of health systems in Australia and overseas for several years. I have also undertaken the role of establishing and maintaining communication and positive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and community.

Professional interests: I am passionate about contributing to the improved health and wellbeing of all Australians, with special focus on culturally and linguistically diverse communities, refugee and asylum seekers. Furthermore, I am interested in developing evidence based policies, strategies and guidelines and conducting training sessions.

Something you didn’t know: I enjoy watching soccer matches, and my favourite team is Chelsea FC from the English Premier League. I also enjoy walking, swimming, and tennis.



Cuong La

Working Together With Men Project Manager

Bachelor of Agricultural Economics; Master of Arts in Sociology and Sexuality Studies; PhD in Health Sciences

Career summary: Previously I worked in the multicultural sector with a focus on cultural competence assessment of health-based organisations in Australia. I also have over 10 years of experience working in Southeast Asia for UN agencies, international organisations and academic institutions focusing on sexual health, HIV/AIDS and community development.

Professional interests: Policy/advocacy, partnership building, strategic planning, evaluation, community participation, primary prevention.

Something you didn’t know: As a White Ribbon Ambassador, I am an active volunteer tackling domestic violence, particularly among ethnic communities in Victoria.

Click here for Cuong’s LinkedIn profile.



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.



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.



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.



Tanya Sofra

Systems Integration Manager

Bachelor of Health Science (Public Health) with Honours; Bachelor of Arts (Aboriginal Studies)

Career Summary: I have worked in a variety of roles across the spectrum of public health, from health promotion and community development through to system change and frontline service delivery. I have worked in metropolitan and rural areas across Victoria and NSW. Previously my work focused on complex case management, dementia, volunteering, organisational change, Aboriginal health, health eating and the early years. Recently I managed a number of projects with aged and disability service providers and in the are of health literacy. Currently I manage the Access & Equity team with a particular focus on Workforce Mutuality.

Professional interests: Equity, access, system change, workforce diversity, Aboriginal health.

Something you didn’t know: I have a Certificate IV in Permaculture and love growing vegies in my yard.

Click here for Tanya’s LinkedIn profile.