Executive Board Membership

The WAHTN Executive Board provides strategic direction and oversite of WAHTN.Total membership of the Executive Board is nine individuals: an independent Chair; four members representing all contributing partners; a consumer advocate representative; the WA Chief Scientist; and a representative from the WA Aboriginal Health Council.

Malcolm McCusker

Malcolm McCusker AC

Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC is a Western Australian Barrister and Philanthropist.  After completing an LLB degree at the University of Western Australia he practiced as a barrister for over 50 years, chaired the WA Legal Aid Commission for 27 of those years, and was the inaugural chairman of the Advisory Board of the WA Constitutional Centre.  In 1982 he was appointed Queens Counsel.  

From July 2011 – June 2014 he served as Governor of Western Australia.  He has always had a strong interest in medical research.  He was the inaugural Chairman and is now Patron of the McCusker Foundation for Alzheimer’s Research; chaired one of the fundraising committees that helped establish WAIMR (now Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research) and is co-patron of the Ear Science Institute of WA. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Western Australia, Murdoch University and John Curtin University.

Ms Pip Brennan

Pip Brennan is the Executive Director of the Health Consumers’ Council of WA. She began her paid career as a health consumer advocate ten years ago at the Health Consumers’ Council, and has worked at the Office of Health Review (now the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office), Community Midwifery WA and WACOSS. She returned to the Health Consumers’ Council in 2015 to take up the position of Executive Director and apply her knowledge of community service organisation management, outcomes based contracting, consumer representation and advocacy to continue the work of this unique and important organisation. This is her third career; Pip has also been a museum curator in Perth and London and an English Language teacher in Greece and London.  

JCProfessor Jonathan Carapetis 

Professor Jonathan Carapetis MBBS, FRACP, FAFPHM, PhD is the Director of the Telethon Kids Institute.  Professor Carapetis’ research interests include Rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, Other group A streptococcal diseases, Vaccine preventable disease, Indigenous child health, Child development and education, Youth health and education and Skin sores and scabies.  Professor Carapetis undertook his medical training at the Royal Melbourne and Royal Children’s Hospitals. Professor Carapetis holds a clinical position with the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and is a Professor at The University of Western Australia. 

Professor Dawn Freshwater

Professor Dawn Freshwater 

Professor Dawn Freshwater BA (Hons) Man, PhD Notts, FRCN, RN is the Vice Chancellor at UWA and Professor of mental Health at UoL.  Professor Freshwater previously served as PVC and Head of School of Health care, Faculty Medicine and Health at the UoL.  Dawn received her PhD at the University of Nottingham in 1998, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the distinguished nurse researcher award.  She was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing in 2001.

Professor Gary Geelhoed

Professor Gary Geelhoed

Professor Gary Geelhoed MBBS, FRACP, FACEM, MD is the Chief Medical Officer and Assistant Director General – Clinical Services and Research at the Western Australian Department of Health. Professor Geelhoed is a passionate advocate and practitioner in child health and emergency department management, having been the Director of the Emergency Department at Princess Margaret Hospital for over 20 years. He has a keen interest in health reform and finding innovative solutions to meeting the ever-increasing demands on our health system.

Professor Peter Klinken AC

Professor Klinken AC is a leading Western Australian medical research scientist, highly regarded for his work in advancing the understanding of genes involved in leukaemia, cancer and anaemia. His many research achievements include the discovery of a gene that supresses the growth of tumours.

After obtaining his PhD from The University of Western Australia, he undertook research at the US National Institutes of Health in Washington and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne.

His previous roles have included Professor in Clinical Biochemistry at The University of Western Australia; Director of Research at the Royal Perth Hospital; and the Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (previously the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research).

Under his stewardship, the Perkins Institute attracted world-class national and international researchers to the State and made numerous acclaimed medical discoveries. He also spear-headed the development of two new state-of-the-art medical research facilities, Perkins North in Nedlands (QEII Medical Centre) and Perkins South in Murdoch (Fiona Stanley Hospital).

Professor Klinken brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role of Chief Scientist. His input will support the Government in growing the State’s science industries to achieve future prosperity for Western Australians. 

Dr Robyn Lawrence

Dr Robyn Lawrence

Dr Robyn Lawrence MBBS, MBA FRACMA, GAICD was appointed Executive Director of Fiona Stanley Hospital in June 2014.  Robyn has extensive clinical and medical administrative and health service leadership experience.  She has coordinated major system reform initiatives in WA including within elective surgery, acute demand (Four Hour Rule Program) and ambulatory care.  Since beginning her career at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital as an Intern in 1994, Robyn has held a range of senior positions in WA Health.  


Professor John Challis jc

Professor John Challis PhD CBiol DSc FRSB FRCOG FCAHS FRSC is the Executive Director of WAHTN and ex officio on the WAHTN Executive Board. He has held the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor for Health and Medical Research, UWA, since February 2014. John completed his training at the Universities of Cambridge, University of California, San Diego and Harvard Medical School and held a junior research fellowship at Wolfson College, University of Oxford and McGill University, Montreal, Canada. More recently he served as Chair of the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto, and as Vice President Research and Associate Provost of that University. He was the inaugural Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health and served as President and CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research in Vancouver BC. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Institute of Biology, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada. John also holds the title of University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto and Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Curtin University. He is Principal of LHC, Life Health Consulting, based in Vancouver BC.