The Stroke Foundation Consumer Council is a board subcommittee that represents the interests and viewpoints of stroke survivors and carers in Australia and increase the capacity of the Stroke Foundation to influence debate, policy and service delivery.
The current members are:
- Chair – Jennifer Muller
- Julie Collins
- Nadia Moffatt
- Tony Finneran
- Kevin English
- Tony Rolfe
- Saran Chamberlain
- Nic Stephen
Ms Jennifer Muller
PSM, MAICD, Dip Rad (Diag), Grad Dip Hlth Ed, MEnv&ComHealth
Non-executive Director representing interests of Consumers and Chair of Consumer Council
Ms Jennifer Muller has a lived experience of stroke and has been a consumer advocate for stroke survivors on various state and national committees over the last five years. She also brings to the Board her experience and knowledge of public health, health systems and strategic planning and held the position of Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology for six years.
Prior to her current role, Ms Muller was a Senior Executive in Queensland Health and led the development and implementation of the state-wide cancer screening services BreastScreen Queensland, the Cervical and Bowel Cancer Screening Programs including; establishing information systems, state level clinical quality registers and ensuring equitable access to services for people in rural and remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people from diverse cultures and disadvantaged groups.
Ms Muller holds a Master of Environmental and Community Health from Griffith University, a Graduate Diploma of Health Education from Queensland University of Technology and a Diploma of Radiography (Diagnostic) from NSW University of Technology and is the recipient of an Australian Public Service Medal Honours Award and an Australia Day Achievement Medallion.
Julie Collins became a full-time carer when her husband Ross had a stroke in October of 2012. Ross’ stroke has left him wheelchair bound and unable to move the right side of his body. He has difficulty communicating, eating, drinking and swallowing and depends on his wife’s care for most daily activities. Since her husband’s stroke their lives have changed dramatically. Whilst Julie was able to return to work as a school teacher two days a week in 2016 both Julie and Ross rely heavily on their daughter, other family members, friends, community services and programs for assistance for this to happen. There are many challenges which need to be navigated since Ross’ stroke and Julie now uses her experience to help others by advocating for stroke survivors and carers, informing the community about stroke and leading a carer support group. “Since my husband’s stroke, I’ve realised just how vital it is to be an advocate for a stroke survivor,” Julie says. “It is crucial to be able to speak up for Ross who is not always able to speak for himself due to his difficulties with communication and memory loss. “As a carer you become so focused on caring for others that it’s easy to neglect your own wellbeing. The carers group gives us all an opportunity to share our common difficulties and vent our frustrations in a situation where we can relate to each other’s struggles.”
Nadia is a highly experienced and qualified non-executive director, chair and committee member with over fifteen years’ experience in business, government and the not for profit sectors across Australia in corporate, telecommunications, health and community services. Nadia is a trusted board adviser in all areas contributing to an organisation's performance. Nadia’s tertiary background is in Economics and accounting, these studies have been enhanced by formal qualifications as a company director. Nadia’s scholarships include the Leaders for Tomorrow program and the Copland, Centre for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) leadership program. Nadia’s global insight into social innovation through research and policy was developed by attending an - European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation in Helsinki (Eu-SPRI). Current directorships include, election to the board of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), member of governance subcommittee and board member, Brain Injury SA, (previous chair of the member and External communications subcommittee, current member of governance subcommittee). Nadia is currently a member of the consumer council for the Stroke Foundation, a member of the consumer consultative forum of the Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA), a member of the Health Practitioners Tribunal and a member of the Medicare benefits schedule review committee and the consumer subcommittee. Nadia’s diverse background and experience enables Nadia to add value, offer a diverse perspective and offer creative solutions.
Aged 59 years young, married to the lovely Amanda and having two daughters and one granddaughter, Tony is a stroke survivor after a debilitating stroke on Easter Sunday 2013. It really wasn't in his plans! Three and a half weeks in ICU and then a further 3 weeks waiting for a Rehab vacancy in which time all his muscles had atrophied.
Transferred to Bankstown Hospital Stroke Ward and a six week program of total muscle and strength building after being fully paralysed in the first four weeks. Goal setting was a major factor in Tony's journey and since the stroke he has written four books about the Australian Bus and Coach Industry, which he has lived and breathed for 40 years or so.
In addition, Tony served over 37 years service with the Army Reserve and reached the senior soldier position of Warrant Officer Class One. He was a Driver Testing Officer continuously from 1986 until his discharge in 2015.
His life with the Bus and Coach Industry commenced with various bus and coach companies ranging from positions as a driver, Operations Manager, charter organiser to name a few. He also worked for four years with a respected freight Company (Simon Transport) where he learnt his skills as a salesman.
Tony moved onto various bus chassis manufacturers and a bus bodybuilder, where he has spent over half his working life as a chassis and body salesman and then a specialist bus and coach driver trainer. He is now self employed in developing bus and coach drivers and assessing their driving styles.
He is a member of the Bankstown Lidcombe Community Committee, the Secretary and acting Treasurer for the Bankstown Stroke Recovery Club as well as participating in various hospital Specialist training roles as a patient, as required. He also has a regular segment on 90.1FM Community Radio discussing stroke issues.
For sports, Tony plays lawn bowls as his weapon of choice and is a keen Canterbury Bankstown "Bulldogs" supporter.
The stroke has not disempowered him. In fact, the opposite is true ..it has empowered Tony and made him realise that this was his journey and thank fully for his Army Training, it has given him the ability to adjust and overcome with the assistance of very capable professionals at Bankstown Hospital.
Kevin English suffered a ruptured cerebral aneurism (Subarachnoid hemorrhage) in 2010 while living in Singapore and working throughout Asia as an electrical engineer specialising in telecommunications. This immediately lead to an operation to place a clip over the site of the bleed and a six-month hospital stay, one month in Singapore and a further five months of rehabilitation in Melbourne. Despite good progress over this period, including regaining his driver’s license with the assistance of a steering knob, Kevin was left with a left hemiparesis. This has caused some ongoing walking impediments and a lack of movement in his left arm and hand. He is now retired. He is married with three adult children and five young grandchildren who have provided invaluable support throughout his ordeal. Ongoing support from his wife in a carer role continues to be a crucial factor.
Kevin is an Ambassador in Melbourne for the Stroke Safe program run by the Stroke Foundation for education of community groups on stroke and stroke risk minimisation. He is a stroke sufferer representative on the Consumer Council of the Stroke Foundation. Kevin also attends a regular coffee group of stroke survivors nicknamed ‘Blokes with Strokes’. He continues to seek medical solutions that may help restore further functions. He is passionate that all stroke sufferers receive the best medical help as quickly as possible, to optimise their recovery following the devastating impacts of a stroke. Early and full participation in available Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy programs, and full support from family and friends, are crucial factors in their recovery.
Following a stroke in February 2017, Tony Rolfe subsequently joined the National Disability Insurance Agency in a stakeholder engagement role in the Queensland Central region. Tony is also the contact officer for all Federal Members and Senators with offices located in the NDIA Queensland Central Region.
Prior to his stroke, Tony was Policy Adviser to the Hon Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services and experienced the initial rollout of the NDIS from the perspective of the Minister’s Office.
Tony had worked for six other Federal Members and Senators in Adviser roles since 2003 interspersed with time as the inaugural CEO for an ethno-specific community organisation providing community care, residential aged care and retirement living options. During this time, Tony was a Board member for Aged Care Queensland (now Leading Aged Services Australia, Queensland) and a senior manager at other community care organisations during the transition to consumer directed care arrangements.
Tony also has thirty years’ experience in several government departments and agencies in Canberra - primarily in the Department of Health. Tony was a senior manager at the time of the HIV/AIDS crisis and worked on the Grim Reaper TV campaign; the development of Commonwealth legislation for the creation and use of Stem Cells and Human Cloning; and the ethics of human participation in research.
Tony has built extensive networks and contacts across a broad range of disability, health and aged care specific areas across Australia and brings this government and community expertise to his Stroke Foundation activities.
Saran is a 43 year South Australian stroke survivor, who had an ischaemic stroke at age 38. Saran is a specialising in implementing software and systems into businesses. Saran is an intercountry adoptee who has chaired a group of adult adoptees called East Meets West and represented South Australia on the Intercounty Adoptee Support Network. Saran is a member of Fightstroke and is an active member of our Facebook community. She has spoken alongside Clinical Council member Associate Professor Susan Hiller at forums and seminars focusing on professional education and stroke research.
“I had my stroke in 2013 when I was 38. While the treatment I received was excellent it was obviously targeted at a much older person. I am constantly amazed by the number of people (both health professionals and the public) who don’t realise that stroke can happen at almost any age. I want to try to raise awareness within the general community that stroke is an issue that effects all people regardless of age and try to ensure that services are available and modified to suit survivors of different ages. I would you like to see more access and awareness of therapies and trials, current and future. More funding for research for not only at the time of or prevention of stroke but also post-stroke. With the right support, stroke survivors can improve their health and mental state.”
Nic is a 42 year old Tasmanian stroke survivor, who had an ischaemic stroke at age 37. Nic is the director of a small business, Advance Workforce, that works with organisations to create health workplace cultures and develops their leadership teams. Nic is a StrokeSafe Ambassador who has undertaken media engagements for us. Nic played a central role in our Tasmanian state election advocacy. Nic writes:
“My experience as a younger stroke patient was not ideal. The support during and particularly after hospital was confusing and undirected. The combination of some cognitive delay and lack of support networks led to frustration on my wife’s behalf, and a complete lack of empowerment for us both. I want to raise the awareness of the risk factors and signs of stroke, particularly lifestyle factors that can easily be managed. I’m also passionate about the provision of information, support and guidance to survivors and their families – something I did not receive.”