39 Hospital Street Heathcote VIC 3523
03 5431 0900


The Board is responsible for implementing governance policy and developing and approving strategies to better manage the organisation. The Board is appointed by the Governor in Council at the request of the State Minister for Health. The Board is accountable to the community that it serves for ensuring the provision of agreed services within the resources with which they are provided. The Board must therefore be responsive to its staff and the community and have the capacity to address a wide range of policy and governance issues.

To fulfill its role, the Board has directors with a range of appropriate expertise and experience. The Board adheres to a code of conduct that outlines the role of governance and the conduct of its directors.

The functions of the Board as determined by the Health Services Act of 1988 are:

  • To oversee and manage the health service and
  • To ensure the services provided by the health service comply with the requirements of the Act and the aims of the organisation.


Current Heathcote Health Board Directors


Elissa Watson

Elissa is our Board Chair and Chair of the Community Advisory Committee.  Since her initial appointment in July 2019, Elissa has also been an active contributor to the Finance Audit and Risk Committee, and Board Appointments and Tender Evaluation Panels.

A keen advocate for place based healthcare, Elissa has developed strong relationships across the Loddon Mallee Health Network and government to ensure our service footprint is maintained, so that we can continue to meet the current and future primary health needs of Heathcote and our local community. 

As a strategic leader and highly skilled executive in a career spanning nearly 25 years, Elissa cultivates industry excellence through innovative policy design and best practice program implementation.  She has expertise in public administration, risk management and compliance, and is passionate about the role of governance in facilitating accountability and transparency in organisations.   Elissa builds high performing teams that are committed to quality service and improved consumer outcomes.

Elissa is the current Director, Integrity Assurance, Policy and Legal and works closely with the Racing Integrity Commissioner and Victorian racing industry.  Her extensive corporate background includes senior roles at Consumer Affairs Victoria, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and WorkSafe, and she has previously been a director of the Law Institute of Victoria and Justice Connect.


Norm Cockerell

Norm joined the Heathcote Health Board of Directors in July 2017. After an extensive career in the Banking, Insurance and Health with HSBC, Medibank and Allianz and WorkSafe Victoria, Norm now focuses his time on a number of community health and wellbeing activities all based in regional and rural areas.

He splits his time between Heathcote, Bendigo and travelling to Sydney to make his contribution to the primary care, community care and the NDIS needs of the communities that the various organisations support. Norm was closely involved in Heathcote Health’s initial involvement in the Dementia Village (Gilbruk) business case and continues to take an active interest in the local Heathcote community’s on-going development of the project.

As a regular visitor to the Heathcote region he has visited most of the local attractions and continues to work his way through the many offerings from local wineries. In his spare time, Norm is a keen golfer, cyclist and master of the veggie patch.

Norm is the current Deputy Board Chair and Deputy Chair of the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee. Norm has a Bachelor of Business, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), Fellow of Governance Institute of Australia (FGIA) and a member of the Risk Management Institute of Australasia (RMIA).

Ben Yuen

Ben has been a Heathcote Health Board Director since January 2020, the Chair of the Board Risk Working Group, Board Clinical Governance Committee and Board Community Advisory Committee member. He has lived in the region in Bendigo since 2016 (from Melbourne) and enjoys engaging with the local community through volunteering, his children’s school, and sport. He is on local boards – The National Chinese Museum of Australia (in Bendigo) and Amicus Community Services Limited (regional NDIS and disability support services). He was also part of The Bendigo and Adelaide Bank in Bendigo, providing risk and compliance oversight for key customer-facing and corporate functions.

He is a senior manager in Australia’s largest banks, working nationally and across Asia in audit, risk and compliance, business strategy, digital banking, human resources, and project management.

He is currently a PhD Candidate (Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning in Banking) via The Federal Government Science and Innovation Research Grant. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). He holds a Bachelor of Social Science from the University of Melbourne, and a Masters of Business in Human Resource Management/ Industrial Relations from RMIT University.



Andrew Roma

Andrew joined the Board in July 2022 and is a member of the Board Clinical Governance Committee. Andrew has over 20 years of experience working in the health sector, including time spent in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

He began his career as a Physiotherapist, before moving into management consulting in the health sector with KPMG. Andrew now works for Medibank, where he is responsible for developing and implementing strategic initiatives to improve the delivery of private health care across Australia.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy from the University of South Australia, and a Masters in Applied Commerce from the University of Melbourne.

Andrew is looking forward to working with Heathcote Health to continue to deliver high quality health services to the local community. Having always enjoyed visiting this part of Victoria from Melbourne, Andrew is relishing the opportunity to be more involved in the Heathcote region through his role on the Board.

In his spare time, Andrew is an avid follower of Test Cricket and Soccer, is attempting to learn the drums, and has two young children which keep him very busy at all other times!


Callum Wright

Callum joined the Board of Directors in August 2022, after serving on the Corporate Governance Board Sub-committee for 18 months. Callum has significant experience in Primary and Community Health Service management in the Greater Bendigo region and is currently General Manager / Executive Officer of Bendigo Primary Care Centre (the region’s local GP Superclinic). In his spare time, Callum pursues his community focused passion as a Board Director with Lifely (a local NDIS service provider) and chairs their Quality, Safety and Compliance Sub-committee. He is also actively involved in Golden Square Junior Football and Cricket clubs (as a coach and committee member).

He has previous experience in community engagement, philanthropy, banking, finance and strategic project roles in the corporate sector. Callum is passionate about building stronger communities, the power and role of locally governed organisations and ensuring that everyone can connect with their community in a meaningful way and live a fulfilling life.

In previous roles he has worked with the Heathcote & District Community Bank, supporting local grants programs and strategic local initiatives. Callum is a regular visitor to Heathcote and can often be overtaken as he rides rather slowly along the O’Keefe Rail Trail.

Callum holds a Masters in Business Administration from La Trobe University (Bendigo) and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Organisational Leadership from Oxford University. He is a, Associate Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM), Member of the Australian Association of Practice Management (MAAPM) and Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD). In line for his passion for actively participating in a stronger Central Victoria, Callum is also a graduate of the LEAD Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program (2021).


Jo Stanford

Jo Stanford joined the board in mid 2022. Jo moved to Heathcote from suburban Melbourne in 2021 and is enjoying regional life. She is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian with many years experience in community health and public health at Eastern Health, as a senior clinician and team leader. Jo has been a leader in the Health Promotion sector in the outer eastern suburbs, working closely with local councils and community groups to enhance wellness in the community, and is now working alongside the Heathcote community to support improvements in health and wellbeing.

Jo is currently working as a Dietitian in private practice, with people across the age range, and has a special interest in assisting children with eating problems. Jo had a focus on improving access to healthcare in the local community and enjoys connecting with other healthcare providers. She is an active member of the Central Victorian Chronic Disease Management Community of Practice.

In her spare time, Jo will happily spend hours in her garden and around her small property. She loves growing and cooking fruits and vegetables, and nurturing her new garden. 


Vimi Desai

Vimi joined the Heathcote Health Board in July 2022. She has spent the last 25 + years across three different continents, growing up in South Africa, studying in Canada and working in Australia which is now home.

Vimi is enjoying serving on the Heathcote Health Services Board, understanding the challenges and opportunities for the Heathcote community, and contributing toward effective governance and strategy. She has an elderly mom and has become intimately aware of the challenges and opportunities in caring for her mom. She is looking forward to using her experiences to contribute in creating better services for the Heathcote community. Vimi’s day job involves working for the CSIRO, Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Previous to CSIRO, Vimi worked at DEECA, the Victorian Government’s Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action. Working within the public sector has allowed Vimi to get a better understanding of how Government can maximise the connections between the environment, community, industry and economy. She has a passion for listening to her stakeholders to understand where value can best be added, setting up engaged teams, and delivering on strategic initiatives. Her industry experience includes the Victorian State Government, Technology, Research, Pharmaceuticals and Professional services.

Vimi is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and obtained an Honours degree in Business Administration from the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.


Bec Broadbent

Rebecca joined the Board of Directors in August 2023 and brings over 15 years of experience working in the Public Health Sector as a Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife.

In her role as Director of Nursing Rebecca aspires to ensure that all patients have access to the highest quality of evidence based care available, with a particular passion for First Nations Peoples health outcomes and experience of hospital-based care as an Allie. Rebecca holds a Masters of Clinical Nursing from UTAS.

Rebecca and her family have lived in rural NSW and Victoria since 2009, having grown up in Melbourne. She enjoys engaging with the local community through her children’s school as the President of the Parents & Friends Group and cheering loudly on the sidelines for the Golden City Football Club, Bendigo.