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Together. We

As a thriving and dynamic team, we consistently strive to to excel in all of our endeavours to achieve our mission with in a friendly, professional and fulfilling envrionment. 

Rita Prasad-Ildes

BSW, GradC Management (Health Services)

Rita is a fearless advocate for disadvantaged people from immigrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. Shaped by her own experience as an immigrant woman and a child from an interracial marriage, Rita has spent her entire career since graduating social work in 1989 working to advance the rights of immigrants, particularly in relation to equity in health and mental health.

As an influencer and thought leader on matters relating to multicultural health she is a sought-after speaker and expert consultant but her most notable work has been her voluntary contribution to the multicultural sector in Queensland. She has built networks and alliances to harness significant social capital to establish essential health and social services where there were none and has been a key architect of specialist multicultural services in the NFP and public sectors.

Known for her visionary and out of the box thinking, more recently Rita has taken on the role of social entrepreneur. Based on her extensive NFP and public sector experience, Rita concluded that the tackling of entrenched and systemic issues relating to health inequity required a different approach and pursued a social enterprise approach as co-founder of World Wellness Group. Her pioneering work in this area was recognised with a Telstra Business Award for World Wellness Group in 2016 and a bursary to the World Forum on Social Enterprise in 2017.

Marina Chand

BAppSc (Hlth Ed) AdvDipHlthSc (Hom)

Marina is one of the three co-founders of World Wellness Group. With tertiary qualifications in health promotion and homoeopathy she brings a unique combination of skills and expertise.

 

Marina’s career spans more than 25 years in the health sector; in government, not for profit organisations and private practice as a consultant to government, the tertiary education sector and NGOs.  Marina has advanced expertise in multicultural data collection, multicultural marketing and communications, culturally tailored health service design, and holistic health models. At WWG she manages a number of strategic projects including social impact measurement. She has a particular interest in the inequities in Australian data collection that render multicultural populations largely invisible and under-represented and consequently under-invested and poorly serviced.

 

Marina is also a community leader on the north-side of Brisbane where she and her family run a temple that is visited by thousands of members of the culturally and linguistically diverse community in Brisbane. She is frequently engaged by government as a community leader who has a personal grass-roots network that spans thousands of people from diverse backgrounds as well as a leader in the multicultural health sector. Her professional and personal life are immersed in multiculturalism, cultural diversity and supporting vulnerable community members who have been left behind. She is also a carer and has extensive lived experience with the NDIS and aged care service sector.

Nera Komarić

LLB MPH

Nera has worked in the community and health sectors nationally and internationally for 25 years. She was aware that the protection of basic human rights requires sustained and joint efforts involving institutions, civil society, media and academia and this inspired her to be one of the three co-founders of World Wellness Group.

 

 

Currently, Nera is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow in the School of Clinical Medicine – Primary Care Clinical Unit, at The University of Queensland. Her former roles have included Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CALD) Chronic Disease state-wide program manager during which she was instrumental in developing new and innovative strategies in chronic disease management for CALD populations and accredited multicultural health workers training. Recently she was a Croatian Government Focal Point in European Migration Network working on EU safe migration laws and policies. Before that she was researching and consulting with international and national authorities on combating trafficking in human beings especially for sexual exploitation for OECD and she cofounded a Women’s Room – the first Croatian Centre for Sexual Rights. Being a refugee from former Yugoslavia herself, she also spent many years working with migrants and refugees to support their safe settlement.

 

Nera has a background in migration and humanitarian law and public health. In her 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.

Megan Evans

MBBS (Hons), FRACGP

Megan is an experienced GP who has combined her extensive clinical skills with her personal passion to improve health outcomes for disadvantaged members of our community. After many years working in suburban General Practice, it was shortly after commencing a voluntary role at a Brisbane Refugee clinic in Brisbane that the “can of worms” was opened – revealing that in our own communities we have a great divide between those who successfully access quality health care, and those who fall through the cracks. Many of these people are from a migrant background, and have lived in our community for years. The gap is not due to lack of medical knowledge, but to effective communication of this knowledge and cultural awareness in our health system. She has since focussed on working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities where she has gained experience and expertise in ways that effectively address this divide. 

 

Her career roles have included being the inaugural Clinical Director of Refugee Health Qld, establishing a health assessment service for newly arrived refugees to Qld; working in an outreach clinic of the Southern Queensland Indigenous Centre of Excellence; and treating patients with tuberculosis, a stigmatised and misunderstood disease, at Metro South Clinical TB Service. She is a sought-after speaker at education events including conferences, forums and workshops, particularly concerning effective cross – cultural communication in medicine. Megan has participated in the education of junior doctors in tertiary hospitals and has regularly mentored medical students and GP Registrars. Her active membership of the Refugee Health Specific Interest Group of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Refugee Health Network of Australia allows for national collaboration around advocacy, research and education.
As a Board Member at WWG, Megan brings her expertise in refugee health, mental health, public health and social justice as the Board seeks to develop models of holistic, culturally-appropriate health care and influence future directions in this most important avenue of service to the community. The outcomes will influence much needed systemic change, and result in a healthier society for all.

Hamza Vayani

MBA Business (Health Services Management)

Hamza is not afraid of asking the difficult questions when it comes to marginalisation, discrimination and institutional racism impacting on health, wellbeing and social mobility outcomes for people of migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. He has successfully held several appointments in a range of senior management roles, advisory committees at state and national level including completing board appointment with Brisbane South Primary Health Network.

 

He is known for bold and big picture thinking that results in a reputation that precedes him for challenging established norms and being ahead of his time. He believes public policy should be informed by the lived experience of the communities we serve in a way that is inclusive, evidence based and without fear or favour. 

 

Examples of key pieces of work Hamza has led and facilitated in Australia and the UK include establishing a national network of consumers and carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, publication of a spotlight report at the request of the Australian government National Mental Health Commission that unequivocally exposed the lack of data collection and analysis about access, experience and outcomes to mental health and suicide prevention programmes effectively engaging people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. In the UK he was appointed on the Commission for Integration & Cohesion as one of twelve resulting in a report called Our Shared Futures with recommendations that the then government acted upon to improve social cohesion. He was also selected to attend as a youth lead of behalf of the UK delegation to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance held in South Africa in 2001.

As a World Wellness Group board member Hamza brings new, innovative and agile ways of analysis and strategy that are part of a considered approach to advocacy and service delivery outcomes for some of the most disadvantaged populations in our community.

 

Roger Collins-Woolcock

BCE MBA

Roger is a civil engineer and also has an MBA from Deakin University. He worked as a consultant throughout his career with the largest stint with Cardno (1991-2015) where he was the General Manager of the Australia and New Zealand region. He now runs his own practice (Collins & Woolcock) providing strategy, business development, training and M&A advice to small to mid-tier (10-700 staff) professional services firms across Australia and New Zealand. Roger brings strong business and governance expertise to the board of World Wellness Group, along with unlimited positivity and a talent for long-term strategy.

 

Roger is married to Mandy and has three wonderful children. He is a mad AFL fan and a Demons tragic (literally). He continues to play Masters AFL for the mighty Souths Sharks however this year will be his 33rd and last season.

Dragos Ileana

BSc Psych, MPsych Clin, MAPS, MCCLP 

Dragos is a Romanian born migrant who despite migrating voluntarily as a skilled migrant and prepared for this life event, had first-hand experience of the cultural shock, underemployment, discrimination and other multiple challenges that the settlement process and acculturation bring. This experience, which was ultimately transformative, helped him to become aware of the significant impact that culture has on a person’s identity and the psychological struggle and change that the migration process involves. This further motivated him to dedicate his work to the transcultural mental health field.


Dragos is known for his innovative approach in undertaking non-standard routes in the field of clinical psychology, psychotherapy and transcultural mental health. His practice is underpinned by strong humanistic values and is driven by the desire to challenge the system’s status quo in order to create new pathways in mental health care that are culturally-responsive, trauma-informed and tailored to each individual. His fluid thinking style combines the acknowledgement of the traditions and wisdom of various cultures and of the unique potential for creativity and personal growth that everyone has.
Dragos is an Associate Board Director and the Clinical Lead of the Mental Health Program at World Wellness Group. He is an Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) clinically endorsed psychologist and supervisor and has been involved in delivering supervision and training in culturally sensitive practice to clinical psychology Master and PhD students. He is also a member of several clinical advisory committees.
Dragos is the State-wide Transcultural Mental Health Practice Leader at the Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre and a member of the Brisbane Metro South Trauma Leadership Group which aims to implement, educate and train mainstream mental health practitioners and services in culturally sensitive, trauma-informed and trauma-trained practice. 


He has been involved in conducting clinical research with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) consumers, exploring the importance of using each person’s cultural framework and explanatory model, considering cultural factors and acculturation challenges in conducting assessments and providing individually tailored and culturally-responsive treatments. 


Dragos uses his extensive acquired transcultural mental health expertise and clinical re-design approach to impact on mental health systems to achieve an integrative, innovative and collaborative approach and influence others’ practice in achieving the best therapeutic outcomes for the CALD population.

Our Team

Our vision is to build health equity in the Australian health system. This is a large and ambitious vision. We believe that the health and wellbeing of the whole community cannot be at an optimum if sections within our community continue to be marginalised and excluded in the health system. 

 

We work collaboratively with stakeholders at all levels in the health and social care sectors via direct health service delivery, research, data-informed training and policy advice, philanthropy and partnerships and by elevating the voices of diverse people with lived experience. We measure our success by our impact in creating a just and inclusive health and wellness system. 

 

Management Team

Rita Prasad-Ildes (Managing Director), Nera Komaric (Health Promotion & Knowledge Hub,) Marina Chand (Strategic Projects & Contribute), Annette Ruzicka (Multicultural Psychological Therapies), Jackie Bentley (Culture in Mind), Ellie Richards (Clinic)

Administration & Reception Team

Ellie Richards (Clinic Coordinator), Lama Alnawakil, Amy Nguyen, Keyla Nieves, Shirley Craig (Accountant), Vidya Charan (Finance & HR)

 

Nursing Team

Heidar Molavi (Practice Nurse & Nurse Advocate), Yvonne Iragahoraho, Jemma Baker, Shannah Martin (Primary health care nurses)

 

Medical Team

Dr Anna Hebden, Dr Azadeh Abtahi, Dr Crystal Pigeon, Dr Katrina Neal, Dr Sara Burton (Medical Team)

 

Allied Health & Traditional Medicine

Ace Li (Dietician), Heather Martin (Physiotherapist), Mark Vanniekerk (Acupuncture & TCM Practitioner), Saini Singh (Homeopath)

Mental Health Management Team

Rita Prasad-Ildes, Dragos Ileana, Jackie Bentley, Annette Ruzicka

Culture in Mind Team

Jackie Bentley (Manager) Noah Kim, Tania Schott, Amos Ruhindwa, Pauline-Lee Jones, Sofia Alisheikh, Aurore Pascaud 

Multicultural Connect Line

Sameera Suleman (Coordinator), Kaamna Deo, Viviana Jimenez, Mohammed Kamara, Yvonne Iragahoraho, Jemma Baker, Shannah Martin

Multicultural Psychological Therapies Team

Annette Ruzicka (Manager, mental health accredited social worker), Dragos Ileana (clinical psychologist). Dr Marta Garcia de Blakely (clinical psychologist), Gigi Cheung (psychologist), Alina Ileana (psychologist), Kaamna Deo (psychologist), Jackie Bentley (mental health accredited social worker), Jacki Ni (psychologist)

PM+ Brief Therapy Team

Mohammed Kamara, Najla Al-Chouni 

Health Justice

Stephanie Manager (Supervising Lawyer), Yasmin Ildes (Legal Advocate) 

Multicultural Peer Support Network

Multicultural Peer Support Workers (MPSW) are trained workers who work closely alongside clients and health practitioners. They draw on their own lived experience as migrants and refugees of cultural adaptation and acculturation to provide culturally tailored support to maximise engagement, trust and understanding.

World Wellness Group has developed this unique workforce and we employ approximately 50 Multicultural Peer Support Workers who collectively speak around 45 languages.  They work across health programs including mental health, counselling and therapy, health management and prevention programs and consumer focused research.  All our MPSWs have undergone generic and tailored training depending on the program they spend most of their time working in. 

Multicultural Peer Support Workers are not volunteers but are valued staff members who are required to comply with health program guidelines, privacy principles, code of conduct, confidentiality policies and the boundaries and limitations of their role.

Aurore Pascaud, Multicultural Peer Support Worker Coordinator
Sharon Were, Multicultural Peer Engagement Leader 

 

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