Palliative Care Australia

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Our board

Elissa Campbell

Elissa Campbell

Elissa Campbell is a medical doctor who graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2004 and trained as a geriatrician and palliative care physician. Since 2016 she has worked as a geriatrician at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. In 2015 she undertook a research Fellowship in Advance Care Planning at Fiona Stanley Hospital, via the WA Health Cancer and Palliative Care Network.

She is president of Palliative Care WA and is Chair of the ANZ Society of Palliative Medicine’s Special Interest Group in Palliative Care for Older People. She was trainee representative on the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Palliative Medicine Education Committee from 2011-2016. She co-founded Palliverse, an online community of practice for palliative care clinicians, researchers and community members.




Shannon Calvert
Vice President

Shannon Calvert

Shannon Calvert is a consumer leader in recovery after having a severe and enduring eating disorder for more than 30 years. In 2014–2015 she cared for her mother who was receiving palliative care until her end of life. Shannon’s personal experience inspired her advocacy in eating disorders, mental health and palliative care to support the respect, rights and appropriate choice of treatment for those affected. She has collaborated with clinicians, researchers and services, providing lived experience insight and perspective.  

In 2017 as a peer intern at the WA Eating Disorder Outreach Consultation Service (WAEDOCS), she co-created the first peer support workshop on eating disorders in WA. She is a lived experience speaker and trainer with the WA Association of Mental Health and a consumer consultant for North Metropolitan Mental Health Service. Shannon has presented at many state and national conferences and recently won the award for Best Presentation at the 7th Service User Academia Symposium in New Zealand. She is a member of the Consumer Carer Committee and Membership Committee of ANZAED, a member of the Patient Carer Committee and Membership Committee of AED and Vice President of Palliative Care WA.   

As founder of ‘Healing Conversations’ Shannon offers advisory consultancy, mentoring and lived experience educating to promote hope in recovery in individuals receiving treatment including their families and services involved. 



Hiren Mehta


Hiren Mehta

Hiren is a dedicated and experienced finance professional who is passionate about developing the not for profit sector. Hiren joined PCWA Board as a Treasurer in December 2017.  He is an accomplished chartered accountant and holds a Master of Business Administration from   University, Western Australia.  He brings to the Board a wide variety of skills and experience in financial and commercial leadership, corporate governance and strategic thinking.

He has worked in various industries that include audit and consultancy, manufacturing and not for profit during his 22 years’ career.  His current position is General Manager Group Finance with Silver Chain Group, a ’for purpose’ organisation with the vision to provide the world’s best heath and aged care in the home so Australians can confidently live their lives as they choose. At Silver Chain, Hiren has been involved in the growth and expansion of palliative care services in Western Australia and across Australia including setting up the world-first successful social impact investment bond.

Hiren has strong experience in leading teams through substantial change as the industry goes through evolution and continues into growth and development in a dynamic and patient-driven era.

He is passionate about giving back to the community, and palliative care is very close to his heart, as one of his family member received this service.  That experience has made him realise how important palliative care is to patients, families and their carers.  He strongly believes in the Vision and Mission of Palliative Care WA.



Samar Aoun

Samar Aoun

Samar Aoun is Professor of Palliative Care, Palliative Care Unit, School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University. She has previously held the positions of Professor of Palliative Care, Director of the WA Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care and Associate Dean of Research at Curtin University.

Samar is a palliative care researcher with a public health approach and a focus on under-served population groups such as people with Motor Neurone Disease, dementia, terminally ill people who live alone and family carers before and after bereavement. Samar advocates for a person-centred health and social care. Her research programs on supporting family caregivers at end of life and the public health approach to bereavement care have informed policy and practice at the national and international levels. Her more recent work has provided empirical evidence to strengthen the Compassionate Communities movement in bereavement support.

Samar has established and chaired the West Australian Country Health Services Ethics Committee for 23 years. She has served on two principal National Health and Medical Research Council committees: the Australian Health Ethics Committee, and the Prevention and Community Health Committee. She is currently a member of the NHMRC National Statement Review working group, and the NHMRC Indigenous Research Ethics Guidelines Review working committee. She has chaired NHMRC grant review panels for the past four years. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of Palliative Medicine journal, and a member of an expert advisory group for the development of best practice guidelines in bereavement care in Europe.


Desmond Williams 

Desmond Williams

Desmond Williams is an orthopaedic surgeon, practicing for more than 40 years including service to Royal Perth Hospital trauma service and specialised arthritis surgery.

He is the foundation President of Australia China Business Council WA, member The Western Australian Farmers Federation, and was a member of the foundation Board for Solaris Cancer Care.

Desmond is a champion for advancing the access to, and delivery of, quality palliative care in regional and rural Western Australia.





Carmel Markham            

Carmel Markham

Carmel Markham is a funeral director who manages the Subiaco branches of Purslowe and Chipper Funerals and Mareena Purslowe Funerals. She was the West Australian president of the Australian Funerals Directors Association from 2015 until 2017.

The funeral industry has always held an attraction for Carmel. After a positive experience organising her mum’s funeral she looked for a way to work in the industry, primarily to help and care for people who are usually experiencing one of the worst times of their lives. It is now 12 years since she started in the funeral industry and she still loves going to work every day.

In 2017 Carmel also became an authorised marriage celebrant. Being the celebrant at weddings brings her a lot of joy.

Carmel was invited to join PCWA through a colleague in 2018. She has an interest in community, compassionate care and end-of-life issues.

Carmel enjoys time spent with family, especially her granddaughter. She also studies the Indonesian language which makes for better cultural fun when relaxing and holidaying in Bali.



Professor Yasmin Naglazas

Yasmin Naglazas

Yasmin Naglazas is chief executive officer of Bethesda Health care and executive director of the Bethesda Board.

Yasmin has a background in nursing, but for the past 25 years has held senior positions in the health and aged care environments. Her most recent three positions at an executive level have seen her leading teams that achieved sustainable business growth for their organisations – Brightwater, Bethanie and most recently Bethesda Health Care. Yasmin has extensive experience in business restructuring and large-scale organisational reform with a focus on business growth and diversification, and ongoing viability and sustainability.

Yasmin has a long history of management and planning for services in the palliative care area, dating back to the establishment of a step-down unit at Brightwater in the mid-1990s, working closely with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Hollywood Hospital and the Cottage Hospice. She was an associate investigator working with consortium lead Professor Linda Kristjanson, developing the guidelines for palliative care in residential care facilities. In her role as chief operating officer at Bethanie, she established a comprehensive palliative care program to assist with end-of-life care. Bethanie was seen as a leading organisation in this endeavour.

In her current role as chief executive officer at Bethesda Health Care, which she has held since 2007, Yasmin has led the organisation’s transformation into a highly regarded small-to-medium sized business with a superior reputation. She has overseen the growth of Bethesda’s Palliative Care Program, currently consisting of 24 inpatient beds, a metropolitan-wide capacity building service that visits residential facilities (aged care, mental health, correctional, disability) and teaches staff to care for those who are in the last stages of life.


Zoe Mitchell

Zoe Mitchell

Zoe Mitchell graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2009. She has previously worked at Royal Perth Hospital as the palliative care social worker and is currently working as the Senior Social Worker in Palliative Care at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Zoe is very passionate about end-of-life care and advocating for her patients to ensure their voices and wishes are heard. Her commitment and passion are evident in the time and resources she devotes to furthering palliative care. This includes being an active member of the WA Palliative Care Social Work Practice Group, attending and presenting at conferences (both national and international) to raise awareness of the social work role and palliative approach to care, and providing supervision to social work students and continuing to advocate for palliative care within the social work student curriculum. She also provides ongoing training to a broad range of health care professionals as a qualified facilitator for the Cancer Council WA’s Cancer Clinician Communication Program, as well as leading quality improvement and research projects to improve the care and experience of people receiving palliative care.

Despite being early in her career, Zoe is an excellent example for her peers and a leader in the field. One of Zoe’s proudest moments was when she was awarded the inaugural Emerging Leader prize at the Palliative Care Australia Inaugural National Awards in 2015.  

In her spare time, Zoe enjoys getting outside with her beloved puppy dog, and spending quality time with the people she loves.


Magda Dudek

Magda Dudek


Magda Dudek graduated from Curtin University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy. She worked in country WA before moving back to Perth to work various occupational therapy roles in acute tertiary hospitals. She has been working as a Senior Occupational Therapist in Cancer Services at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital since 2014. It is in this role, working with inpatients and outpatients under the care of medical oncology and radiation oncology teams, that she developed a passion for palliative care.

Magda is continually inspired by the compassionate and holistic approach of her highly skilled palliative care colleagues in supporting patients and their families along the disease trajectory. In her current role she helps to optimise patients’ independence and participation in essential and valued activities, despite their symptoms. She enables patients to live and die with dignity in the place of their choosing by helping families adapt to changes in care needs. Magda is also passionate about developing the skills of occupational therapists working with people with palliative conditions in WA.


Alison Parr

Alison Parr

Alison Parr is director of medical services at St John of God Murdoch Hospital, a palliative medicine physician, and discipline leader for palliative medicine at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle.

Alison studied medicine in the UK and completed her training in palliative medicine in 2001. Having worked across all care sectors in her first consultant post, she became medical director of St Catherine’s Hospice (Lancashire, England) in 2009, overseeing inpatient, day therapy and community palliative care services and delivering a hospital consultancy service.

She moved to Perth in 2014 to take up the post of director of hospice and palliative care services at St John of God Murdoch Hospital.

Alison has strong interests in education, research and strategic service development. She chaired research networks in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Cumbria, set up an education department at St Catherine’s Hospice, and facilitated collaborative education between local adult and children’s palliative care services in Lancashire.

She has also taken an active role in undergraduate and postgraduate medical training, and nursing and allied health professional education, throughout her career, including supervising Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach placements and delivering GP workshops.

As a busy mum of three children, Alison enjoys nothing more than a walk by the river or ocean to relax. Having made the decision to move her family to Australia on the top deck of a cruise ship in the Caribbean, she has appreciated the sunshine and lifestyle in WA over the past four years, and says she is here to stay.


David Smeeton

David Smeeton

David Smeeton, a former BBC radio and television news correspondent, moved from England to Australia in 2000. 

David joined the PCWA Board following the death of his wife Diana from lung cancer in 2014. As Diana’s primary carer, David was grateful for the support they received from the then Peel Community Palliative Care Group. Twenty years earlier David supported Diana through mastectomy and chemotherapy in her recovery from an unrelated breast cancer diagnosis.

David is a Winston Churchill Fellow (1968). He spent 34 years as a BBC News reporter and correspondent covering education, health and community relations, and serving as a foreign correspondent based in Japan and later West Germany. He has reported from China, Korea, and the Pacific, and also from the Middle East. He concluded his career with the BBC in 1994 as West of England Correspondent covering all aspects of news and current affairs in the South West of England for television and radio. 

In 2014 David visited several compassionate communities projects in Somerset and London, where he met with Dr Julian Abel, the Vice President of Public Health Palliative Care International, and Director of Compassionate Communities UK. He presented a report of his findings to PCWA and the WA Palliative Care Network, Department of Health.

David lives Mandurah, in the Peel Region, where he is the area champion for PCWA and gives presentations to social groups on advance care planning and Compassionate Community developments.


Moira O’Connor

Moira O’Connor is a senior research fellow in the School of Psychology, Curtin University, working in the area of psychological aspects of cancer and palliative care. Moira’s projects include

  • psychological and psycho-social aspects of cancer and palliative care
  • the needs of family caregivers
  • the experiences and needs of children affected by cancer, including siblings
  • young carers
  • paediatric radiation therapy needs
  • supports and interventions for carers
  • bereavement supports and interventions
  • palliative care multidisciplinary teams and the role of the community pharmacist in palliative care teams
  • and, more recently whether raising awareness of advance care planning motivates people to talk and about death and dying.

Many of these collaborative projects have been in response to identified needs and gaps in the community. Moira has presented her work at many international conferences and forums and will present on recent findings on community attitudes to palliative care in Hong Kong, in June, 2018.

Moira has a sound knowledge of a range of research approaches and techniques and uses qualitative and quantitative methods. A particular interest of Moira’s is research supervision and she has supervised 22 PhDs to completion, mainly in the areas of cancer and palliative care. She has recently taken on the role of director of graduate research in the School of Psychology.

Moira joined the PCWA Board in 2012 and has had ongoing involvement in planning local conferences, and workshops on issues such as bereavement. She also recently joined the Board of Palliative Care Australia and so is contributing to the ongoing discussion of palliative care practice and delivery at the national level, as the landscape of palliative care changes. Moira is also on the Board of Huntington’s WA and is co-lead of the WA Palliative Care Research Collaborative, an initiative developed to help local collaboration between researchers and clinicians.


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