Meet the Board of Directors
The strength of the board lies in the complementary skills of its directors and their extensive experience in multicultural health and wellness, specifically in the areas of clinical service delivery, policy, program and service development, research and evaluation¸ management and teaching. Their work is characterised by innovation and strong community engagement, particularly with marginalised groups and communities.
The current board comprises Marina Chand, Hamza Vayani, Nera Komaric and Rita Prasad-Ildes (Managing Directors), Dr Megan Evans, Roger Collins-Woolcock, Dragos Ileana and Dr Dinesh Palipana (Associate Directors).
B. App Sc (Hlth Ed) Adv Dip Htlh Sc (Hom)
Marina has worked in the community and health sectors for 30 years. With tertiary qualifications in health promotion, she has worked for torture and trauma recovery, refugee health, women’s health and advocacy services, disability support, and she also worked in human rights organisations. She has worked in various government policy positions. She has freelanced as a consultant for government and non government agencies in the development of training programs, evaluations and resource development. As a registered and qualified homoeopath and meditation teacher, Marina brings a traditional medicine lens to World Wellness Group. She treated refugees for nine years with a focus on recovery from PTSD and also lectured in homoeopathy.
Marina’s interest and expertise is in culturally inclusive service design, data collection, research, health promotion & engagement.
B.E (Civil – Hons 1), FIEAust, MBA, GAICD
Roger is currently Director of his own consultancy firm (Collins & Woolcock) that works with the leaders of mid-tier (40 to 800 staff) professional services firms across Australia and New Zealand providing strategic direction, business development, merger and acquisition, implementation, training and technology commercialisation advice. Roger holds qualifications in civil engineering and business administration.
Over the past 30 years Roger has held a number of senior management positions. Most recently Roger held the role of General Manager – Cardno from 1991 – 2015, a multi-national engineering, environmental and professional services firm, and was responsible for developing and implementing strategy for the businesses within Cardno. Roger’s other key skills and experience include financial analysis and audit, risk management planning and procurement.
For the past 3 years Roger has had an ongoing role as a Board advisor to the Land Surveys Group (350 person national geospatial firm). Between 2016 and 2018 he was a board member of St Mary’s in Exile (SMX) working on the future of SMX and its place/viability/focus in the broader community.
Roger is married to Mandy and has three wonderful children – Joe, Hannah and Ebony. He loves footy (the AFL type) and is a tragic Demons (Melbourne) fan which has tested his patience for his entire life. Roger still plays footy (for the Souths Sharks Masters team) and has promised Mandy this is his final year of playing (but he’s said that for the last 5 years).
Dr Megan Evan
MBBS (Hons), FRACGP
Megan Evans is a GP currently working at the Metro South Clinical Tuberculosis service and the Southern Queensland Indigenous Centre of Excellence. She has developed clinical expertise and a personal passion for refugee health since first working as a volunteer doctor at the Queensland Integrated Refugee Health Clinic in 2007. She spent 4 years as the Clinical Director of Refugee Health Queensland and is an active member of the RACGP Refugee Health Specific Interest Group and the Refugee Health Network of Australia (RHeaNA). Megan enjoys the challenges and rewards of striving to meet the complex and varied health needs of our community members who have come from a refugee background. Her work within the private and public health sectors provides insight into the issues arising when navigating our health system, and highlights the need for flexibility and innovation when providing health care to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Dragos is a clinical psychologist with background in clinical psychology and psychotherapy. He has been working in this field for 10 years providing assistance to clients with a wide range of diagnoses. He was also involved in developing and delivering training for clinicians and psychology students in the mental health area, counselling and psychotherapy field. He migrated to Australia in 2007 and since 2009 he has been working for Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Services as a project officer and clinical specialist providing assistance to clients from various cultural backgrounds. His interests are in human potential and personal development using holistic approaches to enable clients to (re)discover their inner strength, to give meaning to their experiences and to catalyse transformation and spiritual growth.
Nera is an Adjunct Senior Fellow in the School of Clinical Medicine – Primary Care Clinical Unit, at The University of Queensland. Her former roles have included CALD Chronic Disease state wide program manager 2007 to 2011 and Croatian Government Focal Point in European Migration Network. Before that she was researching and consulting with international and national authorities in SEE on combating trafficking in human beings especially for sexual exploitation. She also spent many years working with newly arrived migrants and refugees.
Nera has a background in public health research. In her 20 year career she has been involved in the design and delivery of research and evaluation projects in areas covering CALD health, integrated CALD models of health care, chronic disease prevention and management, and health services research.
Nera’s main interests are in translating evidence into practice with a special focus on vulnerable populations.
Dr Dinesh Palipana
OAM, LLB, MD
Dinesh is a doctor at the Gold Coast University Hospital. He is a lecturer at Griffith University and adjunct research fellow at the Menzies Health Institute of Queensland. He has research interests in spinal cord injury, particularly with novel rehabilitation techniques. He is a founding member of Doctors with Disabilities Australia and is a doctor for the Gold Coast Titans physical disability rugby team. Dinesh was the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service’s Junior Doctor of the Year in 2018. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2019. He was the third Australian to be awarded a Henry Viscardi Achievement Award. Dinesh is also a law graduate and was the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland, and the second person to graduate medical school with quadriplegia in Australia. He has a strong interest in and passion for inclusion, equity and justice.
Rita is an advocate, influencer and thought leader on matters relating to health and mental health of migrants and refugees. With over 30 years experience in health and human services, in government and NGOs, in the areas of women’s, refugees and mental health, Rita is a sought after advisor and speaker. Rita led the Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre in Queensland Health for 19 years and where she currently holds a part time position managing strategy and research. Rita has been instrumental in the establishment of a number of key multicultural sector agencies and programs, state and national, and has held membership of numerous government committees and advisory boards, including ministerial appointments. Rita’s key areas of professional expertise are in health equity, social policy, transcultural mental health, social enterprise, and cross cultural leadership. Rita continues to passionately advocate for health equity in an era of growing devolution and mainstreaming which further entrenches health inequity for vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
MBA Business Administration (Health Specialisation)
Hamza Vayani has a professional background in community development, strategic stakeholder engagement and health service reform that spans over ten years in the not for profit and government sectors both in Australia and the UK. He moved to Australia in 2008 with his wife and two girls.
He is a Project Manager for Queensland Health and was the Executive Officer for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA). He is also a Council member for the Queensland Mental Health Commission, a member of the Health Consumers Queensland Collaborative and lay member of the Council of Imams Queensland.
Hamza’s areas of interest and passion are development of integrated, sustainable and culturally responsive healthcare services across the continuum of care. Hamza is committed to promoting the principle of universally available holistic healthcare free at the point of delivery that is person centred that supports patients as a whole and their nominated family or friends in their recovery.