​Our People


Partnerships, Innovation and Research Unit




​Jane Gray, Executive Director Partnerships, Innovation and Research

Master in Business Administration (University of Newcastle), Bachelor of Communication (Charles Sturt University).

Jane joined Hunter New England Health as the Director of Innovation Support in November 2009. Before this, she led NSW Health's Patient and Carer Experience Program for the Health Services Performance Improvement Branch from 2006-2009. Previously, she was the Director of Communication for Hunter Health.

Tel: +61 2 492 36783        

Email: jane.gray@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au


Dr Nicole Gerrand, Manager, Research Ethics and Governance Office

PhD in Philosophy (Medical Ethics), Member of the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law.

Nicole joined the Hunter Area Health Service in 1998 as the Professional Officer (Research Ethics).  Since then the position has evolved into the Manager of the Research Support & Development Office because of changes and expansion of research governance requirements at both the State and Commonwealth level, notably the separation of Research Ethics and Research Governance and an accreditation system for Human Research Ethics Committees to undertake single ethical review of multi-centre research.  Nicole’s goal is to facilitate good ethical research within the Hunter New England Local Health District and she also has a growing interest in assisting building research capacity within the organisation.

Tel:  +61 2 4921 4950    

Email: Nicole.Gerrand @ hnehealth.nsw.gov.au






​Dr Cate McIntosh, Director, HNE Simulation Centre


As the Director of the Hunter New England Simulation Centre in Newcastle, Cate has been involved in the delivery of healthcare simulation since 2004.  She completed her medical training at the University of Sydney in 1995, and her anaesthesia training at Stanford University, California, in 2005. She is a practicing anaesthetist at John Hunter Hospital, and a Conjoint Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle.  Cate’s interests are in human factors and medical education, in particular the use of simulation-based research to deepen our understanding of human performance and help us re-engineer clinical processes.  She started a PhD in 2010 investigating aspects of ‘fidelity’ in simulation, aiming to help us better understand how and why simulation works.  As a Centre Director, she also has a keen interest in faculty development and the strategic sustainability of simulation.

Please contact me if you require information or assistance in the following areas:

  • Human Factors

  • Use of in situ simulation for clinical practice re-engineering

  • Research on simulation, e.g. evaluation of education

  • Research using simulation, e.g. using simulation to investigate human performance

  • Set up and design of simulation programs

  • Using simulation as teaching tool

  • Debriefing 

Tel: +61 2 498 55569   

Email: HNELHD-SC@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au


​Prof John Wiggers, Director Health Research and Translation

 BA (Hons) PhD (Behavioural Medicine)

John joined Hunter Area Health Service in 1995 as a joint appointment between the Health Service and the University of Newcastle. John was subsequently appointed as the Director of Population Health for the Health Service in 2005. Since that time John has implemented a successful integrated practice-research approach to the delivery of population health services, with a focus on enhancing service provider provision of evidence-based preventive care and services to the benefit of community members.

Email: John.Wiggers@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au

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Jaelea Skehan, Director, Hunter Institute of Mental Health

Jaelea Skehan is an internationally respected leader in the prevention of mental illness and the prevention of suicide. In 2014 Jaelea was announced as one of Australia's 100 Women of Influence, a national honour sponsored by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac highlighting the important contribution women make in creating bold and diverse future for Australia. Jaelea has worked across a range of settings and sectors and has been instrumental in the development of flagship programs for the Institute including national work with the media under Mindframe, workplace mental health programs, suicide prevention programs and many others.

Tel: +61 2 492 46925

Email: Jaelea.Skehan@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au

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​Megan Alston, Co- Manager, Health Pathways Team

B.App.Sc (Speech Pathology)

Megan commenced working as a Speech Pathologist in Hunter Area Health Service in 1987. She worked for many years across the acute, sub-acute and rehabilitation settings with adults with communication and swallowing disorders, as well as leading a number of multi-disciplinary rehabilitation teams. In recent years Megan has taken on a number of project roles in Allied Health and Community Health. Most recently she has been involved in the planning, commissioning and set-up of the Raymond Terrace GP Super Clinic/HealthOne.

Tel: +61 2 492 36861

Email: Megan.Alston@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au

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Louise Harrigan, Co Manager HNE HealthPathways

Masters of Business Administration (University of Newcastle); Graduate Certificate Emergency Nursing(University of Western Sydney); Bachelor Applied Science, Nursing(University of Newcastle)

Not long after graduating as a registered nurse, Louise embarked on an emergency nursing career that spanned over 13 years. During that time Louise was also given opportunities to work as a Nurse Manager in the after hours setting. After completing her masters in business administration focusing on organisational behaviour, human resource management and services marketing, she commenced working with the former HNE Health’s Maggie Program, and now with Research Innovation and Partnerships. Since then Louise has developed sound project management skills, and the ability to support staff through organisation change, as demonstrated in her involvement in six process redesign initiatives ranging from single clinical units to area wide projects spanning over 17 hospitals. Louise’s primary role now within Partnerships, Innovation and Research is a Co program Manager representing HNELHD.  Louise shares this role with her HNECC PHN equivalent.

Tel: +61 2 4923 6791    

Email:  louise.harrigan@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au


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​Karen Harrison, Manager, Integration and Partnerships

Bachelor of Social Work

Karen has been working in the area of health system improvement over the last decade.  The programs of work that Karen has recently been involved in include integrated care enablers, HealthPathways and the Hunter Alliance.  Karen is the Manager of the Integration and Partnerships Team who has very close relationships with other key health and social care providers such as Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Care Network.  Karen is currently leading the eReferral implementation and support outpatient redesign.  Karen has a clinical background in Social Work with experience in Mental Health, Acute and Community and has been working for the AHS for over 20 years.  

Tel: +61 2 492 36787       

Email:  karen.harrison@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au

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​Jenny Highlands, Program Support

BAppSc (Nutrition)/ BCom (Marketing)

Jenny has worked in a range of public and private health care settings in the New England and rural Queensland areas.  With a background in nutrition and marketing Jenny has work as a program manager in the areas of nutrition, tobacco and other drugs, Aboriginal Health, youth suicide and health promotion. Jenny has experience and skills in project management, practice development, community development, social marketing and training. Jenny has worked on state-based committees for the development, implementation and evaluation of state-wide programs and has supported the development and implementation of a variety of models of care such as HealthOnes and smoking cessation.

Tel: +61 2 67678235

Email: jenny.highlands@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au



Debbie Madden, Administrative Officer

​Debbie was employed by Hunter New England Health in 2006 in the Clinical Information Department. During this time Debbie worked as a Medical Records Clerk, Medical Records Retrieval Clerk and on occasions also assisted the Medico Legal Secretary. In 2010 Debbie joined the Research Ethics and Governance Office. Debbie provides a variety of administrative support to the Manager and Support Officer for Research Ethics and Governance in the Hunter New England Research Ethics and Governance Office.

Tel: +61 2 498 5929 

Email: Debbie.madden@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au

​Kristy Morris, Manager, Health Research and Translation Centre

Kristy was employed by Hunter New England Health in 2001. She held various administrative and finance roles providing thorough and skilful administration to major grant programs, high level research finance, HR management and daily innovative problem solving. Kristy has personal drive and integrity, whilst striving for excellence in all areas which is demonstrated by being awarded the 'Outstanding Contribution' award in the HNE Health Staff Achievement Awards in 2012. She provides high level administrative support to the Director, Health Research and Translation Centre in managing the operational duties and facilitating the delivery of new strategic directions. Kristy is also secretariat for the Research Innovation Advisory Council (RIAC) and has supported and contributed to the achievement of HNELHD being accredited (along with 7 other partner organisations) as NSW Regional Health Partners, NHMRC Centre for Innovation in Regional Health.

If you would like advice or information on the following, please contact Kristy:

  • NSW Regional Health Partners, Centre for Innovation in Regional Health

  • Translational Research Grant Scheme

  • Clinical Research Fellowship Scheme

  • Researching Important Clinical questions to improve Health Outcomes - RICH Outcomes Workshops

  • Honorary Partnership Innovation and Research Scholar

  • Rural Research Capacity Building Program

Tel: +61 2 498 55298

Email:  Kristy.Morris@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au



Ian O’Dea, Co-Manager HealthPathways Team

Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Administration.

Thirty years with Local Health District working as a RN, CNC, Service Manager and Age Care Leader with the Aged Care and Rehabilitation Network. Interested in almost everything but area of ‘long-term expertise’ is acute and post-acute care of older people. Primary role is within the HealthPathways team and additional role of providing support in the ‘older person’ domain.

Member of HealthPathways Strategic Group.

Tel: +61 400062183 

Email: iodea@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au


Pauline Pickin, Executive Assistant

Diploma in Business Administration

Pauline has extensive experience working as a personal assistant at a senior executive level, both in public and private sectors and also has qualifications in both Nursing and Human Resource Management.

Pauline provides administrative and secretarial support to the Director and Clinical Lead Innovation Support, with a strong team commitment, contributing to all team activities and co-ordinating the “day to day” management of the Research, Innovation & Partnership office.

Tel: +61 2 492 36783        

Email: pauline.pickin@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au

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​Lisa Shaw, Project Support

Lisa has worked in health for many years. She has clinical nursing experience in general, midwifery and intensive care areas. Lisa has also worked in after-hours management roles; university tutor and facilitation roles, practice development and project officer roles.

Lisa has worked in the area of healthcare improvement activities since 2002. She has been involved in projects that have focussed on acute and district hospitals; community health services; aged care services and end of life care.

As a Project Support Officer, Lisa’s role includes  working with internal and external partners to identify health care and system improvement and innovation opportunities and to support the change management/quality processes required to improve health outcomes for our patients.

Tel: +61 2 492 36865  

Email: LisaK.Shaw@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au


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Judith Swan, Knowledge Manager

Grad Dip Public Health, Bachelor of Science, Registered Nurse, Critical Care Certificate

Judith worked as an Intensive Care nurse in the United Kingdom and Newcastle in both the public and private sectors for more than 11 years. After completing degrees in science and public health focusing on research, psychology and management, she commenced working in a quality assurance role at the Sydney Adventist Hospital. Coming “home” to Newcastle in 1999, she has worked with HNE Health in a range of health care improvement positions. Judith now uses her knowledge of quality methodologies and 14 years of experience in data management, evaluation and report writing to assist staff with their healthcare improvement activities.

Tel: +61 2 492 36786        

Email: judith.swan@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au


​Lisa Woseen, Administration Support

 Lisa was employed by Hunter New England Health in 1992. She held various administrative and finance roles within HAPS, the Emergency Department, Admissions Office and Delivery Suite at the John Hunter Hospital, Population Health, Planning and Performance and since 2009, in the Research Ethics and Governance Office. Lisa provides high level administrative support to the Manager, Research Ethics and Governance (REGU), in managing the Ethical Review and Governance Processes relating to Human Research conducted within Hunter New England Local Health District.

Her role is to ensure the smooth and efficient day to day functioning of the Research Support & Development Office and the organisation of the business for the Hunter New England Human Research Ethics Committee and its advisory committee, the Clinical Trials Sub-Committee. 

Lisa is also responsible for the preparation and distribution of Agenda Papers for the Research Innovation Advisory Council (RIAC).

Tel: +61 2 492 14943

Email: lisa.woseen@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au