Better Hearing Australia (National) Patron
Graeme Clark led the research that resulted in the first clinically approved multiple-channel cochlear implant, providing speech understanding in profoundly deaf people. His basic research was also crucial in establishing this could be achieved safely, including a minimal risk of meningitis. It thus became the first sensory-neural prosthesis to effectively bring electronic technology into functional relationship with the central nervous system and human consciousness. His research also established that the multiple-channel implant provided effective speech perception and language in profoundly deaf children, and it was thus the first major advance in helping these children communicate in the last 250 years.
For his research, Graeme Clark has received numerous national and international awards and honors, including the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Fellow of the Royal Society, London, an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine, and an Honorary Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons. In 2007, he was awarded the Zülch Prize from the Max Planck Society, Germany’s highest award in neuroscience, in 2010 he was awarded the Lister Medal, the most prestigious prize in the world for surgical science, and in 2011 the Zotterman medal from Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, and the CSL Howard Florey medal, Australia’s top award in medical science. In 2013 he was a co-recipient of the Lasker-De-Bakey Award for Clinical Medical Research (referred to as the American Nobel).
Michele has over 20 years experience in the assistive technology, aged and disability sectors.
Highly qualified in public health and Business Administration, Michele is determined to make a practical difference in health services, advocacy for change and driving equality of access.
Previous positions include senior roles at LifeTec Qld and Vision Australia. She has also independently held board positions including the Health Quality and Complaints Commission (Qld) and Board Director, Mental Health First Aid Australia.
Mirella Prasad joined the board in 2016 and has recently accepted the role of Vice President. Mirella has a 20+ year career in the corporate sector, across a range of industries and brings a superior track record leading cultural and operational change through strategy development, effective project management, risk management and relationship management. Mirella is committed to supporting the Not For Profit sector and also holds a position on the Better Hearing Australia Brisbane Board.
Andrew Bush, our National Secretary, has spent the majority of his working life working with Church and para-Church counselling, social service, and welfare agencies.
In 1978, he joined the staff of The Scots’ Church, Melbourne and served as its Missioner, and the Missioner of the Presbyterian and Scots’ Church Joint Mission, a Day Centre for Homeless People based in Drummond Street Carlton, where he served until 1985. Andrew was a Justice of The Peace in NSW for fifty years, and was a Justice of The Peace and a Bail Justice in Victoria for about eight years in the 1980s and 1990s.
Jeannette is treasurer at Better Hearing Australia and has more than 15 years’ experience in Finance and Administration Management.
Jeannette is passionate about supporting Better Hearing Australia with their strategic plans whilst monitoring and adhering to financial processes and reporting obligations.
Joan is a retired primary school teacher with over 30 years full time experience. She taught a range of class levels as well as spending time as an Integration teacher.
With deteriorating hearing, she was advised to attend lipreading sessions in Geelong. These were beneficial and subsequently she was asked to consider completing the Aural Rehabilitation Course to train as a BHA tutor. For the last 12 years she has been tutoring Hearing Loss Management Sessions in and around Geelong.
Joan has also been the president of BHA Geelong Branch for the last 8 years and is involved with all aspects of this branch.
She is now the BHA National Training Coordinator for trainees studying the Hearing Loss Management Course and is delighted to represent the trainees on the National Board.
Bob is a retired consulting engineer who occasionally returns to his previous profession for special projects.
He has been involved in a number of major engineering projects both in Australia and overseas.
Bob has been a committee member of the BHA Geelong branch since 2010 and has been actively involved in running the branch.
Bob has great interest in the financial viability of the local branches, and has a practical understanding of the problems they encounter. He has several years’ experience as the successful grant writer for the Geelong branch. Giving presentations to various groups and being a HAW (Hearing Awareness Week) committee member for several years are also part of his activities.
Bob believes that his previous work experience and local BHA Geelong Branch knowledge and activities can contribute to the National Board’s operation and is looking forward to the experience.
Thomas was born deaf and is a recipient of bilateral cochlear implants. Although he has a strong scientific background working previously on human infectious diseases in the USA, Australia and UK, he has worked for the last 21 years in organisations that provide a wide range of services to Deaf and hard of hearing people.
This has included roles at the Australian Communication Exchange (now the Conexu Foundation) Brisbane, the Victorian Deaf Society where he was a senior quality coordinator and as a business systems coordinator at Better Hearing Australia (Victoria).
Thomas is a former member of the Board of Queensland Deaf Society (now called Deaf Services Queensland) as Executive Director from 1998-2005. He is also a former BHA Victoria Chairman (2011-2012) and BHA National President (2010-2012).
Tony Whelan is the Business Manager of the Brisbane BHA Branch and became a member of the National Board in January 2017. Tony has a professional background in Psychology and brings over 20 years’ experience in human services both as a practitioner and in senior leadership roles. Working across such diverse areas as youth; justice; housing & homelessness; and refugee settlement, Tony has spent the past 12 years in the disability sector working in both the public and not-for-profit arenas.
With such a breadth of experience we are delighted to have Tony join the National Board. He is also a co-author of BHA’s submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Hearing Health and Wellbeing submitted in Jan 2017.