Hepatitis ACT is Canberra’s community hepatitis organisation. We are funded by ACT Health to deliver a comprehensive range of hepatitis related information, education, training, advocacy, policy, preventative and referral services. We aim to reduce transmission, and the associated morbidity and mortality, and to minimise the personal and social impacts.
Overview of services
Hepatitis ACT delivers a comprehensive range of services including hepatitis-related information and education, training and workforce development, health promotion, prevention (needle and syringe program), resource distribution, support, advocacy and referral.
Before the creation of an ACT hepatitis organisation, members of our community requiring information about viral hepatitis needed to contact the then newly established “NSW Hepatitis C Council”. In the early days of the community response to hepatitis C, Councils such as NSW’s were formed by affected communities and others. They included a federally funded Australian Hepatitis Council – now operating as Hepatitis Australia – serving as the peak community organisation to progress national action on issues of importance to people affected by hepatitis C. Today, Australia is well served by Hepatitis Australia and a national network of state/territory hepatitis organisations.
Hepatitis ACT until late 2013 was known as the ACT Hepatitis Resource Centre,and before that the ACT Hepatitis C Council. Over the years we have been situated in a range of locations – and currently we enjoy a leafy inner-north outlook at 36 David St, Turner (opposite the O’Connor Shops).
Hepatitis ACT is an incorporated association operating under the Associations Incorporation Act 1991. We are a not-for-profit, membership-based, non-government organisation responsible to our members through an elected Board of Directors. Our staffing profile is:
- Executive Officer – responsible for day-to-day operations and service delivery
- Business Manager – ensuring the quality and efficiency of administration functions
- Education Coordinator –responsible for the planning, implementation and evaluation of our community education and health promotion activities
- Corrections Education and Workforce Development Coordinator – responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of corrections-based education programs and workforce development programs in the community.
- Hep B (CALD) Community Education Project Officer
- Hep B (Indigenous) Community Education Project Officer
Board of Directors
Melanie Walker Melanie is the President of Hepatitis ACT, Vice President of Hepatitis Australia and is currently working as a consultant in the alcohol and other drugs sector in the ACT. She is also a member of the National Complex Needs Alliance Management Committee.
Prior to commencing in her current role, Melanie was the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Public Health Association of Australia. Melanie has also held a range of senior positions in the Commonwealth Public Service across various portfolios including the Service Delivery Analysis Branch of the Department of Human Services, the Substance Use Section of the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and the Drug Strategy Branch of the Department of Health and Ageing. Melanie was also previously a Senior Policy Officer with the Corrections Health and Alcohol and other Drugs Programs in the ACT Health Directorate.
Prior to joining the public service, Melanie worked as a consultant to the Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform, a coordinator of a community-based alcohol and other drug service, an advisor to the ACT Chief Minister and a Queensland Senator, a project officer with the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia and as a broadcast journalist.
Heather McGowan is a passionate advocate for increasing connections between primary and tertiary health care, improving health equity within Australian and international contexts, and promoting the value of consumer engagement throughout the health system. While employed at the Health Care Consumers’ Association, Heather actively participated in consumer advocacy projects around health infrastructure and primary health care. In her current professional role, Heather focuses on building effective public policy through genuine stakeholder engagement. Heather holds an honours degree in politics from the Australian National University, and is completing a Master of International Public Health at the University of Sydney.
Gaylene Coulton began her healthcare career as a Registered Nurse, later specialising in domiciliary palliative care and post graduate clinical education. Gaylene then moved into business development and executive management, including 3 years leading care services across a statewide health, welfare and aged care organisation.
Building on her passion to establish an integrated primary health care sector, in 2008, Gaylene became the CEO of a Division of General Practice. In November 2011, Gaylene established her own executive management consulting firm undertaking a contract to establish South Weston Melbourne Medicare Local (SWMML) as a new not-for-profit company which officially opened in July 1, 2012. She then spent six months as the Transitional Chief Executive Officer before being appointed inaugural Chief Executive Officer in December 2013.
Gaylene has held national and state board positions and is an experienced Company Secretary. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. The skills and experience Gaylene brings to Hepatitis ACT include governance, leadership and executive management (including financial and business development), knowledge of the health system, policy planning, strategic planning, and stakeholder engagement.
Simon Tatz is Director of Public Health at the Australian Medical Association (AMA). He was previously health policy adviser to Greens senator Richard Di Natale. Simon has worked for a number of Labor Ministers and Shadow Ministers; he was Chief of Staff to the Minister for Higher Education and senior adviser to the Shadow Minister for Disability, Aged Care and carers; Consumer Health and Sport. Simon was Director of Communications at the Mental Health Council of Australia and Manager of Media and Marketing for ACT Health. Prior to graduating as mature aged student, Simon spent a decade working in the music industry.
Fred Leftwich Is a proud aboriginal man whose heritage derives from the Bdtjala and Kuuku-yani peoples from Queensland. He served as a Lieutenant in the Australian Army Reserve at the 51st Battalion, The Far North Queensland Regiment. The majority of his working life has been in the Australian public sector developing, implementing, managing and evaluating many different aboriginal policies, programs and initiatives. He has also worked for a Minister for Aboriginal Affairs at the Australian Parliament House and once ran as a candidate for the Australian Labor Party in a State election which gave him a valuable insight into the Australian political system. He has extensive experience in the politics and administration of government service delivery to aboriginal peoples and lobby Australian governments to advance the cause of aboriginal peoples throughout Australia. He helps aboriginal people strategically negotiate with the community, public, private and government sectors; and also help these sectors negotiate with Australia’s aboriginal peoples. He also provides a tailored one – on – one service to individual Australians to develop their understanding and knowledge of aboriginal affairs and empower them to engage in the reconciliation process.
Sharon Tuffin is the Chief Executive Officer for Karralika Programs, having previously held the role of Services Director for 4 years. Sharon has almost 25 years’ experience in the health and social policy fields across government, private sector and community sector organisations. Sharon is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a commitment to good governance, holding several Board Director positions with not for profit organisations in the ACT in the alcohol and other drug, homelessness and community services sectors. Sharon has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a Postgrad Diploma in Public Health.
Kirsty McIntyre-Smith is a Registered Nurse currently working in the community with clients in their homes and in an Alcohol and Other Drug detox facility. Kirsty has many years’ experience working in the ACT Community Sector with people experiencing homelessness, domestic and family violence, alcohol and other drug issues and incarceration. She has established and co-ordinated a number of programs in that time. As an adult student Kirsty has completed a degree with Honours in Sociology and a Masters in Alcohol and Drug Studies. Her work life passion is working towards righting social injustice. More important than any of this Kirsty is a proud mother of three daughters who have grown up in the ACT and lives in the deep south with her husband and various combinations of children and pets.
Continuing reduction in the prevalence of viral hepatitis, with people affected by hepatitis in our community:
- making respected and meaningful contributions to decision making that affects their lives
- having full access to relevant information, care, treatment and support, and
- enjoying a full range of rights in keeping with Human Rights legislation and the Ottawa Charter, irrespective of culture, age, religion, sexuality, social or economic status and race.
- We act with respect and integrity.
- We enable self-determination.
- We provide inclusive and confidential services.
- We work together to be leaders in our field.
- We value accountability and evidence based practice.
Strategic Plan 2013 – 2016
Hepatitis ACT is funded by ACT Health. We gratefully acknowledge the ACT Government’s ongoing support.
The Hepatitis B Community Education projects are supported by a community grant under the Hepatitis B Community Education Project administered by Hepatitis Australia and funded from the Australian Government, Department of Health, under the Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Prevention Programe.