Department of Health
  • The Chief Health Officer undertakes a variety of statutory functions under health and food-related legislation. She also provides expert clinical and scientific advice and leadership on issues impacting public health.


    The Chief Health Officer:

    • provides expert advice on matters relating to the health and wellbeing of the people of Victoria to:
      • the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
      • senior leaders in the Department of Health
      • Emergency Management Victoria
      • the broader Victorian health sector
    • issues health alerts and advisories to inform Victorians about health issues that may affect their health and safety
    • performs the functions or powers specified in the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 or any regulations made under that Act
    • is the spokesperson for the Victorian Government on matters related to health protection, including public health incidents and emergencies
    • engages with the community on public health matters
    • publishes a comprehensive report on public health and wellbeing in Victoria every two years.

    Find out more about our Chief Health Officers

  • Victoria's Chief Medical OfficerExternal Link is Associate Professor Andrew Wilson.

    Associate Professor Wilson ensures that Safer Care Victoria and Victorian hospitals have the right systems, governance, and processes in place to support our health clinicians to deliver high-quality, safe care.

    Andrew is supported by the Deputy Chief Medical OfficerExternal Link Prof. Ed Oakley.

  • Karrie Long is the Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer.

    She is part of the Clinical and Professional Leadership team at Safer Care Victoria.

    In her role, she provides professional leadership, advice and direction to the sector.

    For more information, see Karrrie Long's profileExternal Link on the Safe Care website

  • Dr Neil Coventry is the Chief Psychiatrist of Victoria.

    The Chief Psychiatrist is an independent statutory officer with powers and responsibilities prescribed by the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 to oversee quality and safety in Victoria’s clinical mental health and wellbeing services.

    Dr Coventry is a consultant psychiatrist with subspecialist qualifications in child and adolescent psychiatry. He has also completed training as a family therapist.

    He has worked in both public and private clinical settings for over 35 years. This includes working as the clinical director of child and adolescent mental health services at Austin Hospital for 22 years.

    Dr Coventry has special interests in trauma, family therapy, eating disorders and suicide prevention. He works closely with consumers and carers to improve the safety and quality of mental health services.

    He is assisting with implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System to introduce a new quality and safety architecture in Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing system.

    Find out more about the Chief Psychiatrist.

    Related resources

  • Victoria’s Chief Mental Health NurseExternal Link is Anna Love, Anna is part of the Clinical and Professional Leadership team at Safer Care Victoria.

    Anna provides leadership and promotes collaboration between the government and the mental health nursing profession.

    She represents the profession at all levels of government, and across all health service sectors, and promotes recognition of the mental health nursing profession.

  • The Chief Paramedic Officer is Dr Louise Reynolds. She comes to Safer Care Victoria with national and international experience as a Registered Paramedic, researcher, and academic educator.

    She is a keen advocate for increased visibility and acceptance of paramedics and paramedicine as a safe, viable and available workforce, seamlessly integrated into the wider healthcare system.

    For more information, see Dr Louise Reynolds's profileExternal Link on the Safer Care Victoria website.

  • Responsibilities of the Chief Advisor on Cancer

    The Chief Advisor on Cancer is Professor Robert Thomas. As Chief Advisor on Cancer, he provides a source of advice on cancer matters within the department and works with groups with an interest in Cancer.

    About the Chief Advisor on Cancer

    Professor Robert Thomas is a clinician who has worked as a surgeon in the field of cancer for several decades.

    Professor Thomas was instrumental in the development of the discipline of surgical oncology in Australasia and responsible for creating the Surgical Oncology Group within the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, having served as editor-in-chief of the ANZ Journal of Surgery and chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council panels

    He is currently chair of the international WISH (World Innovation Summit on Health) forum entitled ‘Delivering Affordable Cancer Care’ and Co -Chair of the National Cancer Expert Reference Group a COAG funded committee pursuing a national workplan for cancer.

    He has ongoing research interests in the molecular pathology of gastrointestinal tumours.

    In addition, Professor Thomas is actively involved in developing cancer reforms within Australia, serving as president of the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (COSA), Chair of the national committee creating the Colorectal cancer guidelines and a member of the Ministerial Taskforce on Cancer.

    Professor Thomas has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters. He has been honoured by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons with the Excellence in Surgery Award.

  • Responsibilities

    Neville Board is Victoria's Chief Digital Health Officer (CDHO).

    In this role, Neville works closely with Victoria's public health agencies to implement and assure a range of clinical information system projects.

    These include:

    • unique identification of Victorian patients
    • supporting the secure sharing of clinical information among hospitals
    • establishment and operation of a secure health information sharing platform.

    The Health Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Act 2023 enables the secure sharing of information between health services to improve patient outcomes and experience.

    The Chief Digital Health Officer is system manager for a number of digital health projects across Victorian health organisations. This portfolio includes cyber security, the operation of applications and services, connecting care and the extension of virtual care.

    Through his office the department convenes state-wide working and advisory groups. These support continual improvement in digital health capability.

    Through the Digital Health branch, the department coordinates government investment in the digitisation and connection of Victorian health services.

    About Neville Board

    Prior to being appointed to the CDHO role in 2018, Neville headed the eHealth and Medication Safety program at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

    Neville is a registered nurse and has worked in clinical, management, and informatics roles, including primary care programs in low-income nations.

    He implemented radiotherapy information systems and clinical cancer registries in NSW, and has published on:

    • hospital in the home
    • day-only and short stay surgery
    • cardiac and post-acute care.

    Neville is a Fellow at the Australian Institute of Digital Health, and Adjunct Fellow at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University.

    More information

    For more information, see Digital health.

  • The Chief Allied Health OfficerExternal Link is Briana Baass.

    Briana is part of the Clinical and Professional Leadership team at Safer Care Victoria.

    She provides leadership and strategic direction for Victoria’s allied health workforce.

  • Professor Ben Thomson is Victoria’s Chief Surgical Adviser.

    The Chief Surgical Adviser works with the Surgery Recovery Taskforce to provide the Victorian Government with clinical expertise and advice and support the delivery of the Planned Surgery Recovery and Reform program.

    Ben is a general surgeon that specialises in disorders of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile duct. He is the Director of Surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and works as a trauma and general surgeon and cancer surgeon at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. As part of his cancer work, he travels to see patients in rural Victoria (Wangaratta and Albury Wodonga).

    Ben trained in Victoria and in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has worked for more than 25 years in Victorian public hospitals. He is also a clinical professor at the University of Melbourne and a board member of the Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand Hepatic, Pancreatic and Biliary Association.

  • Responsibilities of the Chief GP Advisor

    The inaugural Chief GP Advisor is Professor Lena Sanci (PhD, FRACGP, MBBS).

    The Chief GP Advisor will strengthen the department’s engagement with general practice and improve connections between primary care and other health services. This includes:

    • providing leadership and advice on quality and system improvements in primary care, and ensuring that primary care needs and strengths inform Victorian policy and programs
    • working closely with diverse stakeholders to facilitate collaborative practice and system improvements in primary care and related government initiatives and programs
    • co-chairing the Victorian General Practice Advisory Group.

    About the Chief GP Advisor

    Professor Sanci is Head of the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne, the Director of Teaching and Learning, and co-lead of the Children and Young People’s Research Stream. Professor Sanci oversees the Melbourne University’s Primary Care Network of around 1000 practices, of which over 450 are actively teaching at any one time and over 200 are involved in research projects.

    Professor Sanci is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and a practicing GP with over 20 years of internationally recognised research in primary care, with an interest in the potential of primary care to improve the health of young people through clinician and practice system interventions. She co-chairs the Royal Australian College of General Practitioner’s (RACGP) children and young people’s committee.

    Professor Sanci’s work in child and youth health in primary care has informed policy and practice nationally and internationally. Professor Sanci is the Victorian Government’s medical advisor on their school-based health service program (2015-2024) and leads the clinical training for the general practitioners and practice nurses involved in the program.

Reviewed 05 September 2023


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