29 Jun, 2011 Last updated: 17 Nov, 2014

Health Minister David Davis has announced the appointment of eight new Victorian Health Promotion Foundation board members.

Update: Three Members of Parliament were appointed to the VicHealth board on June 29, 2011.

Health Minister David Davis has announced the appointment of eight new members to the board of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.

“The new board members are all leaders in their particular fields and bring with them specific expertise which will be used to guide VicHealth in the coming years,” Mr Davis said.

“The new board will continue to be lead by Jane Fenton, who has been Chair of the organisation since 2006 and a Board member since 1999. Two other existing Board members, Peter Gordon and Belinda Duarte have also had their terms extended.

“VicHealth enjoys unique tri-partisan political support, which sets it apart from other organisations and gives it the opportunity to work with a variety of partners to tackle the big issues in health.

“These appointments will allow VicHealth to continue to fulfill the requirements set out in its Strategy and Business Plan 2009-2013.

“The new Board members will allow VicHealth to strengthen its focus on significant health issues consistent with the broader policy commitments set by the Government,” Mr Davis said.

The appointment of former Victorian MP Mark Birrell as the new deputy chairperson is significant because of the role he played when the organisation was first formed 24 years ago.

Mark Birrell was the shadow Minister for Health when legislation creating VicHealth was passed in 1987.

Mr Davis said the appointment of three MPs to take statutory positions on the board will be announced soon.

VicHealth is also engaged in an extensive search for a new Chief Executive Officer to replace Todd Harper who earlier this year took up an appointment as the Director of Cancer Council Victoria.

The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) was established by the Victorian Parliament under the Tobacco Act 1987 with a mandate to promote good health for all Victorians.

VicHealth’s role includes:

• Funding activity related to the promotion of good health, safety or the prevention of disease;
• Increasing awareness of programs for promoting good health in the community through the sponsorship of sports, the arts and popular culture;
• Encourage healthy lifestyles in the community and support activities;
• Involving participation in healthy pursuits; and
• Funding research and development activities to support its activities.

New and reappointed VicHealth Board members:



Mr Mark Birrell

Mr Birrell is currently the national leader of the Infrastructure Group at Minter Ellison Lawyers. He was previously a Cabinet Minister and Government Leader in the Legislative Council and actively involved as Shadow Minister for Health in the passage of the Tobacco Act 1987 and the creation of VicHealth. Mr Birrell is appointed as Deputy Chairperson for a one year period.

Professor John Catford

Professor Catford is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic) and Professor of Health Development at Deakin University. Professor Catford has a strong history in health promotion and disease prevention. From 1998 to 2002 he was the Chief Health Officer and Executive Director of Public Health for the Victorian Government. During 1994 and 1995 he worked for the World Health Organization as Health Policy and Public Health Adviser to health ministers in Central and Eastern Europe. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Health Promotion International published by Oxford University Press, which he helped establish in 1986. He has published widely with more than 300 publications. , and was co-author of the WHO’s Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion in 1986, the Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World in 2005, and the recent Nairobi Call to Action for Closing the Implementation Gap in Health Promotion in 2009.

Ms Susan Crow

Ms Crow is currently employed as the General Manager Community, Melbourne Heart Football Club where she is responsible for the development and delivery of Melbourne Heart’s Social Responsibility program. She has twenty years experience in sports administration roles, as the Chief Executive Officer of Netball Victoria and Softball Australia and the Executive Director, Women’s Cricket Australia.

Ms Belinda Duarte - existing board member

Ms Duarte is the General Manager Indigenous and Multi Cultural Employments Programs with AFL Sportsready, a position she has held since 2009. She has been involved with the sporting industry for many years as an elite athlete competing at a national level. Ms Duarte is an ambassador for beyondblue and a Director for the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) which is committed to improving participation in sport. Ms Duarte has served on VicHealth’s Board since 2001 where she has played a leading role in progressing Indigenous health and discrimination in a sports setting.

Ms Jane Fenton AM - existing board member

Ms Fenton AM is the founder and chair of Fenton Strategic Communications, which she founded in 1987. She has held the position of Board Chairperson since 2006 and is being appointed as Chairperson for a final one year period, to provide continuity for the new Board. Ms Fenton has served on the VicHealth Board since 1999. She has more than 25 years experience providing strategic communications advice to clients across a range of sectors including professional services, health, government and not-for-profit.

Ms Margot Foster

Ms Foster is a former elite athlete representing Australia in rowing at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, winning medals at both events. She has over 25 years experience in law and is currently self-employed in her own law practice. Ms Foster is currently a Director of vicsport and Gymnastics Australia and a committee member of Australian University Sport. She has had significant roles on various not-for-profit boards and committees in sport, education, national parks and women's affairs.

Mr Peter Gordon - existing board member

Mr Gordon is a lawyer in private practice and a leader of smoking and health litigation in Australia. He was first appointed to the VicHealth Board in 2006 and during his time on the Board he has taken on the roles of Deputy Chair, Chair of Victoria Walks and Chair of the Australian Community Centre for Diabetes. Mr Gordon is also a former AFL Director (1990-93) and President of Footscray Football Club (1989-96).

Professor Margaret Hamilton AO

Professor Hamilton has over thirty five years experience in the field of alcohol and drugs, including clinical work, education and research. She has a background in social work and public health and was the founding Director of Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre in Victoria and chair of the Multiple and Complex Needs Panel, a statutory body in Victoria. Professor Hamilton is currently a Member of the Executive of the Australian National Council on Drugs and the Prime Ministers Council on Homelessness. She is Vice President of the Cancer Council and a Board Member of the Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium. Professor Hamilton is retired.

Ms Nicole Livingstone OAM

Ms Livingstone is currently a host and swimming broadcaster on Network Ten Australia and ONE HD. She is a former elite athlete who has a strong background in sport, community, communications and media. She chaired the Ministerial Community Advisory Committee on Body Image. Ms Livingstone has previously worked with VicHealth and VicHealth’s funded projects including QUIT and Victoria Walks where she has demonstrated a good knowledge of health promotion.

Professor Mike Morgan

Professor Morgan is the Colgate Chair of Population Oral Health, University of Melbourne and Executive Director, Oral Health Leadership, Dental Health Services Victoria. Professor Morgan is a member of the Australian Dental Council Executive and Chairs the Australian Dental Council Accreditation Committee. His principal teaching responsibility is in Community Dental Health, focusing on disease causation in relation to social factors, models of health behaviour and communication. He has a strong background and interest in the causes and prevention of oral disease.

Professor Ruth Rentschler

Professor Rentschler is foundation Professor in Arts and Entertainment Management at Deakin University and is the Director of Deakin University’s External Research Program. Professor Rentschler is the Deputy Chair of the board of Multicultural Arts Victoria and has published widely including: Cultural and Entertainment Industries Handbook, Shaping Culture (in English and translated into Chinese), Innovative Arts Marketing, The Entrepreneurial Arts Leader, Museum Marketing in a Global Marketplace and Reflections on ANZAC Day. One of her key research interests is arts governance.