The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Community Advisory Board

The Community Advisory Board is an important mechanism for engaging with communities impacted by our work.

Our Community Advisory Board functions as a representative voice for people who have been affected by or are at increased risk of infectious diseases, immune-related disorders or illness where immunotherapy plays a critical role, such as cancer, as well as a key link to the general public. Working together with the Community Advisory Board, the Institute will develop activities and strategies to enhance our goal of improving health outcomes.

Community Advisory Board

Dr Miranda Smith (co-chair)

 Miranda has a background in fundamental and clinical HIV research and manages the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE). She is passionate about community engagement and has diverse experience in this area, including in the recruitment of community representatives, communication with community audiences and engagement of community representatives in study discussions and deliberations. She is excited to engage with the CAB members and to build the Doherty Institute’s capacity for community engaged and community responsive research and communication. She hopes the CAB will help to build trust and understanding on both sides – enabling scientific and research education at the community level and ensuring that community priorities and preferences are embedded in Doherty Institute research. 

Cindy Ferguson (co-chair)

Cindy is an experienced consumer representative and breast cancer survivor. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Director’s Company Directors Course, as a recipient of a Women's Board Leadership Program Scholarship and has completed specialist consumer representative training with the NSW Cancer Council, the Consumer Health Forum, the Health Issues Centre and the BCNA Seat at the Table program. 

Cindy has a professional background in management consultancy, strategic change management and line management, and has led major national and international programs for private and public sector clients. Following a breast cancer diagnosis in 2007, she has actively engaged in a range of roles as a health consumer and community representative. Cindy is currently engaged in projects with the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, Monash University, the University of WA, the VCCC, the National Blood Authority, the TGA and NEMICS. As a former non-Executive Director of Dhelkaya Health (which provides hospital, aged care and community health services in regional Victoria), Cindy has a demonstrated commitment to improving the health outcomes at a local and regional level. Cindy is a Board representative on the Audit, Finance and Risk Management and the Health Equity & Community Wellbeing Committees. She has been unanimously appointed as the community co-Chair of the Doherty Institute CAB. 

Peter Button

Peter has an executive management background and extensive experience in community service and community engagement including with the Consumer Health Forum Australia, Health Consumers Queensland, QIMR Berghofer and Beyond Blue. Peter’s motivation comes from his experiences as a clinical trial participant and as carer and supporter for his wife who suffers from a range of chronic illnesses. 

Peter joined the Doherty Institute CAB because of the high degree of respect he has for the Doherty Institute. As an experienced community representative and advocate on a wide range of health-related Boards and project-based groups, he looks forward to sharing insights, learning more about the Institute’s work, and using his personal and professional skills to promote the Institute’s work in the community, and provide consumer and community insights into the Institute’s work. 

Joanne Khan

Joanne Khan is a highly experienced community advocate and Noongar woman from Western Australia. Joanne currently sits on the council/committee for the Western Australia Department of Health, Richmond Wellbeing Centre, WA Alliance to End Homelessness, Sir Charles Gardiner Osborne Park Health Care Group, the Western Australian Association for Mental Health and others. Her past and current work in community advocacy brings key experience in co-design, program evaluation and policy reform. 

Joanne is a passionate advocate for Indigenous representation especially within research. She brings her experience and unique voice to the CAB, providing valuable insights and guidance to ensure core concepts of community inclusion and respect especially within the Indigenous community remain a high priority for the Doherty Institute. 

Jane Little

Following a diagnosis of Viral Hepatitis in 2010, Jane began public speaking to raise awareness and advocacy for treatment within the consumer and medical community. Struck by the positive impacts of these engagements, in 2014 –2015, she took on a role with Hepatitis Victoria for 12 months as their Community Advocate Project Officer, working with Government and other not-for-profit agencies to put direct-acting-antivirals (DAAs) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This happened in December 2015. With the use of Harvoni, one of the miraculous DAAs, Jane was fortunate to clear the virus in 2016. That same year, Jane was awarded the Mark Farmer award from Hepatitis Victoria for her contributions. Her lived experience, and this work, have led Jane to being a passionate advocate for community engagement and she is honoured to bring her experience and passion to the Doherty Institute CAB. 

Mohamed Mohideen

Mohamed brings over 25 years of active involvement in multicultural and multifaith community settings to the Doherty Institute CAB. He is a current Victorian Multicultural Commissioner, Chair of the VMC Regional Advisory Committee for Gippsland and sits on the Victorian Department of Health CALD Advisory Group. He is currently the Senior Multifaith/Multicultural Advisor to the Coroners Court of Victoria and Co-Chair of their Multifaith Advisory Committee, among other roles. 

Mohamed is a microbiologist with over 30 years’ experience in the field. He is a Professional Member of the Australian Society for Microbiology and was an academic in Monash University’s Department of Microbiology for over 20 years. During the COVID response in Victoria, he was Head of Priority Communities and Engagement, COVID-19 Vaccination Response at the Victorian Department of Health. 

Mohamed is interested in multifaith and multicultural communities and working with community to address mental health, refugee rights and interaction between multicultural and Indigenous communities. He has a deep commitment to building trust and confidence within vulnerable priority communities. 

Monash City Council awarded Mohamed the 2015 Sir John Monash Multicultural Champion and the 2018 Sir John Monash Volunteer of the Year. He received the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Champion Award for Leadership. For his services and leadership and in 2013 was awarded an Order of Australia Medal. Mohamed is also a current Victorian Justice of the Peace. 

Ricki Spencer

Ricki is an older trans woman with disabilities from the stolen generation, who has 25 years’ experience working in social work and teaching. Ricki holds formal qualifications in Social Work, Education and Community Development. Ricki is also completing a Master of Public Health. As a patient living with long-covid and compromised immunity, immunotherapy treatment plays an important role in her daily living. She understands the challenges and concerns that come with managing the risk of infections while seeking lifesaving treatment. Ricki is passionate about contributing her insights and experiences to support the development of innovative strategies to address the needs of this population. 

Ricki currently holds a number of key roles within the health and wellbeing spaces in Victoria. She brings a strong commitment to community advocacy especially with individuals with disabilities and health related needs. She joins the Doherty Institute’s Community Advisory Board with the goal to develop and co-design innovative solutions to improve the wellbeing of people impacted or at risk of infectious diseases, immune related disorders, and immunotherapy.