The Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care was established by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) in 2019. The Centre is not separately incorporated and operates in accordance with the AHHA’s Corporate Governance Charter.

The strategic direction of the Centre is determined under the advisement of the Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care Advisory Group.

Deb Edited

Dr Deborah Cole – Advisory Group Chair

Chief Executive Officer, Dental Health Services Victoria

BDSc, GradDipHealthAdmin, MBA, GradCertLead&CathCulture, FAICD, FICD

Appointed in February 2011, Deborah has substantial experience in managing major public healthcare organisations. She has held CEO positions at Calvary Health Care and Yarra City Council as well as senior executive positions at Mercy Health and St Vincent’s Health. Deborah also holds the position of Chair of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association.


Cassandra Bennett

Cassandra has over 15 years’ experience in consulting and internal audit. She held a senior position at one of Australia’s Big 4 Accounting firms and has worked closely with boards and executive teams of large healthcare providers in both NSW and Victoria.

She is a qualified accountant and lawyer member of the ICAA. Recently, Cassandra has also become a member of the Cancer Council’s Cancer Council NSW Consumers in Research team.

rachel cropped

Dr Rachel David

Chief Executive, Private Healthcare Australia


Dr Rachel David is an expert on healthcare policy and financing, and is currently the chief executive of Private Healthcare Australia, the industry peak body representing health funds.
Previously a senior advisor to the Federal Health Minister between 1996 and 2000, her relationships in the government sector and Australian business community extend to the highest levels.

In her current role, Dr David undertakes policy and advocacy work, as well as thought leadership for Australia’s major health funds.

Adjunct Prof Paresh Dawda

General Practitioner and Director and Principal of Prestantia Health

Paresh is a practising GP with a portfolio of roles spanning clinical, leadership, academic and consultancy domains. He is Director and Principal of Prestantia Health, a unique organisation providing outreach primary care services and consultancy services. He is the Editor-in-Chief for BMJ’s Integrated Healthcare Journal. He has a strong focus on large scale change and transformation centred on primary care and is committed to integration as a vehicle to enable value based care. Above all he has a passion for clinical leadership, quality and patient safety improvement centred around a vision of patient centred medicine as the golden thread that unites all his diverse interests

james edited

James Downie

Chief Executive, Independent Hospital Pricing Authority

James Downie is the CEO of the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA).

Prior to this James was the Executive Director, Activity Based Funding, and led the teams that introduced the first National Efficient Price in Australia in 2012.

He previously held roles with the Victorian Department of Health, the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and various technical and operational roles in the resources industry.

Melissa Fox

Chief Executive Officer, Health Consumers Queensland Ltd.

Melissa Fox is a Brisbane health consumer and mother of 2 daughters, aged 11 and 14. Having worked in documentary and reality television, Melissa now works to improve the safety, quality and consumer-centredness of health services through her positions as Chief Executive Officer of Queensland’s peak health consumer organisation Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) and Vice President of the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC).


Meegan Fitzharris

Senior Fellow, Health Policy and Leadership, College of Health and Medicine, Australian National University

Meegan Fitzharris was a member of the ACT Legislative Assembly from 2015 – 2019. She was the Minister for Health and Wellbeing and Health and Medical Research, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education. As the Minister for Health, she chaired the COAG Health Council

Meegan is currently Senior Fellow in Health Policy and Leadership in the College of Health and Medicine at The Australian National University and working with a range of work with partners in and outside of ANU on health reform. Before commencing a political career, Meegan held a variety of senior public policy roles in State and Territory and Commonwealth departments. She was educated at the University of Otago and the University of Auckland.


Adjunct Associate Professor Walter Kmet

Chief Executive Officer, Macquarie University Hospital and Clinical Services

Walter Kmet has over 25 years’ experience in health care and human services in Australia, South East Asia and the United Kingdom. Walter’s experience spans a variety of organisational situations in the private, not for profit and public sectors. He is currently CEO of Macquarie University Hospital and Clinical Services having served seven years as CEO of WentWest, the Western Sydney Primary Health Network. During this time he established a leadership position in Australia and Internationally in Patient Centred Medical Home and Integrated Care developments. During his career Walter has advocated for and led service delivery reform, partnership development in the public and private sectors, and held formal advisory roles at the regional and national levels in a range of areas.


George Leipnik

Director, Strategy and System Priorities, NSW Ministry of Health

George Leipnik is Director of Strategy and System Priorities at the NSW Ministry of Health. His team is leading the development of the long-term strategy to shift the NSW health system towards value based healthcare and overseeing the implementation of key initiatives supporting this move, including the Leading Better Value Care program and Patient Reported Measures. George has worked for NSW Health for ten years in a range of roles including service and capital planning, health technology policy and economic analysis. He has been an advisor at the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and managed operations for a climate change NGO.

George has a Bachelor of Commerce (USYD) and Master of Policy Studies (UNSW).


Peter Maree

Manager Strategy and Planning, Health Planning Unit, Department of Health, Tasmania

Peter has over 20 years’ of experience across health, working in private practice, the corporate and public sectors in South Africa, Ireland and Australia. He is a keen advocate for improving health system design at all levels to better enable people to engage with care.

Peter is the Manager of Strategy and Planning in the Tasmanian Department of Health. His team is leading the implementation of Value-Based Health Care across the State and is focussing on building capability with stakeholders across the commissioning cycle. Peter is well into his PhD, investigating health care delivery and patient complexity.

circle texture

Professor Michael Pervan

Michael has over 25 years experience in the health and human services systems in Australia. He has held senior positions in the Western Australian and Tasmanian health systems. He was Secretary of the Tasmanian Department of Health for 6 years. He has been chair of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council and has chaired the Mental Health and Clinical Principal Committees of the Council. He has been a member of AHHA Council for over ten years.


Danielle Romanes

Director, Health Services Policy, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria

Danielle Romanes is the Director of Health Services Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria, where she is leading a range of system reforms to improve patient outcomes and efficiency.

Her background is in strategic policy and research, with prior roles at the Grattan Institute and Lowy Institute, and experience on rural health service boards and health consumer organisations.

She holds a Masters in Economics through the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the Australian National University.


Professor Christobel Saunders

Professor Christobel Saunders is internationally recognised as one of Australia’s most prominent research-orientated cancer surgeons. Christobel has substantially contributed to many aspects of breast cancer research including clinical trials of new treatments, psychosocial, translational and health services research and is active in several areas of surgical oncology cancer research, with a particular emphasis on breast cancer.

Christobel was awarded a $5m grant to undertake research into value-based healthcare in WA, has performed research for >25 years evaluating the efficacy and utility of therapy for early breast cancer, sits on boards of a number of cancer organisations and has been publicly acknowledged through numerous awards and honours.


Mr Nick Steele

Deputy Director-General, Healthcare Purchasing and System Performance, Queensland Health

Nick Steele has held executive positions in the NHS and Queensland for the past 15 years. As the current Deputy Director-General of Healthcare Purchasing and System Performance in Queensland, he is responsible for managing a budget of $15 billion for purchasing health and hospital services and is responsible for ensuring the delivery of improved health outcomes through clinician and consumer engagement and service agreements with hospital and health services, NGOs and the private sector.

Nick holds an Economics degree from The University of Leeds, is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has dual membership with CPA Australia and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy in the UK.


Dr Zoe Wainer


Head of Public Health & Medical Director

Dr Zoe Wainer is the Head of Public Health and Medical Director at Bupa Australia and New Zealand, Chair of the Board of Dental Health Services Victoria and a Director on the Board of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. Her passion and expertise in public health has driven formal and informal collaborations with the ICHOM and Harvard Business School in value based health care across multiple organisations and she has a continued advocacy focus on the importance of sex differences across health from basic research to health systems. Zoe holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from Flinders University, and has a clinical background in cardiothoracic surgery and thoracic surgical oncology. She has a PhD and a Masters of Public Health from The University of Melbourne and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.