The Consultants

Kate Barlow

Kate Barlow

Kate has an extensive career as a senior executive across the health and community sectors. She has deep expertise and leadership capability in transformation, organisational development and reform. Kate also has a keen interest in cross-sector integration and coordination to address complex social issues whilst utilising strategic planning, relationships and thinking to identify and drive organisational performance.

Kate’s most recent role as Deputy Chief Executive of Western Victoria PHN provides significant health sector knowledge, particularly in relation to population health planning, service planning, commissioning and regional integration and coordination.

With a strong commitment to the principles of social justice Kate believes that society has a responsibility to value diversity, ensure community inclusion and promote equality and equity for all member of our community.

Ruth Vine

Ruth Vine

Ruth has worked as a consultant psychiatrist in clinical and administrative roles since 1991. She worked in senior roles in Forensic Mental Health for almost a decade and was then employed in the Department of Health and Human Services for 13 years in roles including Deputy Chief Psychiatrist, Chief Psychiatrist and Director of Mental Health.

Ruth was the Executive Director of NorthWestern Mental Health, a division of Melbourne Health from 2013 – 2019. NorthWestern Mental Health is the largest mental health service in Victoria, covering a population of over 1.4 million people and providing 500 beds of which over 200 are acute. NWMH has a budget of over $200m and employs more than 1,800 staff. NWMH provides youth, adult and aged persons mental health services.

Under Ruth’s leadership a number of initiatives were implemented including reform of community mental health services, community based aged person’s mental health services, mental health short stay in the Emergency Department, better information sharing between mental health and police, and more assertive responses to homeless people with mental illness.

Ruth has also worked in the community sector as a consultant psychiatrist, and with the Department of Health and Aging on the 4th National Mental Health Plan. She has contributed to a number of policy and service developments initiatives across mental health, disability, and alcohol and drugs services.

Ruth is a member of the Board of Forensicare and the Medical Practitioners Board (Victoria).

Associate Professor Alex Cockram

Associate Professor Alex Cockram

Dr Alex Cockram led the consultation and engagement on behalf of EMPHN during phase one. Dr Cockram served as Chief Executive Officer of Western Health.  She is an experienced healthcare professional with a significant history in clinical practice in both public and private settings.  Dr Cockram has a commitment to service system redesign and improvement and a focus on strong clinical governance, workforce development and high-quality care.

Working with key stakeholders Dr Cockram will identify priority areas that will allow the health sector to work more cohesively and provide consumers more seamless ways to move between services.

As a psychiatrist by training, a clinician, and leader in mental and acute health, Dr Cockram is committed to supporting better patient and community outcomes and believes in the full continuum of health, welfare and education.