Executive Committee

Members of the Executive Committee at the 2013 Annual General Meeting.


Executive Committee 2013 -2014


L-R: Bev McConnell, Caroline Polak Scowcroft, Fran Parker, Sue Andrews, Adele Stevens, Bill Heins and Sharon Eacott.


Absent from the photo: David Lovegrove and Michelle Banfield.


Executive Committee Profile


 Sue Andrews


Sue joined the HCCA Executive Committee in April 2012 and was elected President at the 2012 AGM.Sue has worked in different roles in the health field over many years and is committed to consumer centred health care. She began her working life as a Medical Technologist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Sydney, then in Papua New Guinea and later in Canberra. After completing an honours degree in Science at the ANU in the 1980s, Sue joined ACT Health initially as a researcher for the Cervical Screening Pilot Program, then later in the 1990s as Women’s Health Advisor and also in other health and social policy areas. She has experience in the non-government sector, having worked for Family Planning Australia and ACT Shelter and has served on the boards of Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Women’s Centre for Health Matters of which she is a Life Member. Sue has a PhD in Women’s Studies from the ANU and maintains a strong interest in issues of gender and health.


Adele Stevens

Vice President

Adele joined the Executive Committee in 2007 and was President of HCCA from 2008 to 2012 and is currently the Vice President. Adele became committed to consumer participation and empowerment as a way of improving the safety and quality of health care following her experiences working for the Commonwealth Government on quality use of medicines and with the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care. 
Adele began her career in the health field; principally as midwife and community nurse over a period of about 20 years.  She started university studies as a mature aged student in the 1970s and, following a first class honours degree, moved into health research.  Her PhD was obtained in the fields of women’s health and epidemiology and population health – both areas of interest that she still maintains. She spent the latter part of her career in the Commonwealth Department of Health where she developed some expertise on medicines policy and initiatives to improve the safety and quality of care in the health system and services. 
Since the late 1970s, she has been active in a range of community organisations and at times has taken a leading role on committees, particularly in the alcohol and other drugs area.  In the 1990s, she was, at different times, both President and Secretary of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation of the ACT. She is currently a member of Family and Friends for Drug Law Reform. Likewise, Adele represents HCCA on the following committees:  ACT Tier One Safety and Quality Committee, Respecting Patient Choices Program Reference Group, Care of the Dying Pathway Steering Committee and Standard 9 committee - Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration in Acute Health Care. Adele is also passionate about improving safety and quality in health care, particularly end of life care.

Bev McConnell



Bev McConnell has been on the HCCA Executive Committee in the role of Treasurer since 2008. Bev has a degree in Economics and worked in the Australian Public Service for around 20 years, mainly in broadband/ communications and community broadcasting and later in the areas of health, climate change and environment. Her main areas of interest in consumer health are aged, dementia care, and ehealth.


Bill Heins



Bill joined HCCA in 2011 and he was elected to the Executive Committee at the AGM in November 2013. Since completing training as a Consumer Representative he has served on several committees including the University of Canberra Public Hospital Support Services User Group. He currently sits on the Community Health Centres Executive Reference Group. Bill spent 28 years in the Royal Australian Air Force starting as an apprentice on aircraft maintenance then working in technical administration and management. He spent the next 20 years self-employed in the ACT region followed by 10 years in semi-retirement with as active interest in ACT local government issues. Bill’s valuable contribution to the Executive Committee stems from his ethics and broad based work experience.


Caroline Polak Scowcroft



Caroline has been a member of the HCCA Executive Committee since 2010. She held the office of Vice President from 2010 to 2011. With a background in education, disability, feminism and caring, Caroline has come to HCCA with a strong commitment to improving health care through a consumer focus and patient-centred care. She has a keen interest in new developments in health care models and health care delivery that promote diverse and flexible arrangements for both consumers and health care professionals.
Caroline has a strong interest in raising awareness of lung diseases, in particular COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (emphysema and chronic bronchitis), which she has continued to pursue since the death of her husband, and also a patient advocate, in 2009. She remains actively involved with the Canberra Lung Life Support Group. She plays an integral role with Lung Foundation Australia’s COPD Patient Taskforce and a national writing group preparing a Guide on COPD for GPs, and has advocated as a HCCA Consumer Representative on the ACT Health Domiciliary Oxygen and Respiratory Support Scheme Advisory Group. Caroline is also on the committee of Canberra ASH (Action on Smoking and Helath) Caroline was an HCCA consumer representative for the Walk-in Centre Advisory Group and the Intensive Care Unit Clinical Information System Steering Committee. Caroline has also been active with IAPO (International Alliance of Patients Organisations) presenting two papers at their annual conference. Caroline also presented at a conference of the World Health Care Networks. Caroline is also a founding member of Pain Support ACT (APMA) and remains active on the ACT Steering Committee.


Michelle Banfield



Michelle has been a member of HCCA since 2011 and joined the Executive Committee at the AGM in November 2012. Michelle is a consumer researcher in mental health and primary health care at the Australian National University. Originally a biological anthropologist exploring the behaviour and social systems of primates, Michelle moved into mental health research after serious mental illness derailed her grand plans and gave her a new focus. She has a PhD in epidemiology and population health, using participatory research methods to explore mental health consumers’ priorities for research on depression and bipolar disorder in Australia. Her current work is focused on increasing the involvement of health consumers and carers in the research process and conducting research relevant to their needs.
As part of her commitment to breaking down the barriers between consumers and researchers, Michelle enjoys sharing her work and her experiences with the community and has spoken at numerous events for AFFIRM: The Australian Foundation for Mental Health Research and for Australian Rotary Health. In 2012 Michelle was appointed to the Consumer Reference Group for the National Mental Health Consumer Organisation Establishment Project, setting up a new peak body for mental health consumers around Australia.


David Lovegrove



David has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2007. David was the Chair of the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network and the Deputy Consumer Chair of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum. He is an active member of the Mental Health Community Coalition. He has been active in the Health Infrastructure Program (formerly the Capital Asset Development Program) in the ACT, with regard to the development of the new adult mental health facility.


Fran Parker



Fran joined HCCA in 2012 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2013.  Fran was originally a teacher of economics and has worked in the public, private and NGO sectors in a range of areas including health, education, insurance and politics (in the US).  She worked for Family Planning ACT, and ACT Health where she was active in the early women’s health movement, worked on the National Women’s  Health Policy and program consultations,  and was active in working with consumers on maternity services in the ACT (especially the development of the birth centre and public antenatal services). In  the Commonwealth she was the national director of the Breast Cancer Screening program during its first five years, and then worked on public health policy and with the Divisions of General practice (now Medicare Local). Her last 10 years before retiring from the public service in 2008 were spent in corporate areas primarily in finance, stakeholder engagement and reporting.