Karen Howard, Chairperson of Hunter Medicare Local resigns Regional News by Dave Brazier - September 2, 2014September 8, 2014 Chair, Ms Karen Howard has today announced her resignation from the Board of the Hunter Medicare Local (HML), effective immediately. Ms Howard’s decision to resign from the Board was made due to her need to focus on other commitments and imminent new directions. “I am very honoured to have had this opportunity to serve the Hunter community as the HML Board Chair. The past five years have been a challenging and dynamic time in primary health care and it has been my privilege to have played a part in Australia’s healthcare reforms. It is also pleasing to leave behind an organisation that has been found, by a recent review by the Department of Health, to have exemplary practices in the areas of finance and governance,” Ms Howard said. “I am particularly grateful for having had the opportunity to work with a very dedicated and committed staff, who have the best interest of the health of the Hunter at heart and who work tirelessly to make improvements to the way services are delivered. Further, I am confident that the strength of both the Board and the Executive team will ensure the great work will continue,” Ms. Howard said. It has been announced today that the Deputy Chair, Dr Trent Watson, CEO Ethos Health will take on the responsibility of interim Chair until the board has appointed a new Chair. UPDATE: 5 sept 2014 Hunter Medicare Local is very pleased to announce that Dr Trent Watson is the organisation’s new Chair, with Dr Belinda Guest being appointed as Deputy Chair. Trent is recognised as one of the Hunter’s leading health advocates with a passion to bring primary health clinicians together to develop innovative solutions to better manage chronic disease. Trent is a practising dietitian and CEO of Ethos Health. Trent works in consultancy positions with a number of professional sports organisations and advises to Channel 10’s Biggest Loser program. Trent’s strong commitment to health promotion and desire to improve health prevention strategies has seen him appointed as a media spokesperson with the Dietitians Association of Australia. Belinda is a GP with a special interest in GP training and corporate governance development having previously been Chair of General Practice Registrars Australia Ltd and also currently serving as a Director of General Practice Training Valley to Coast. In announcing the new Board leadership team Hunter ML CEO John Baillie said “With the primary health care sector undergoing such significant change and the government signalling its desire to improve engagement with clinicians the appointment of Trent and Belinda is very timely. Trent’s significant expertise in health promotion and Belinda’s experience as a working GP places the organisation in a strong position as we move into the new Primary Health Network environment”. “As we welcome Trent and Belinda to their new positions we would also like to sincerely thank Karen Howard for her four years of service as Chair and five years as a board member. During Karen’s time as Chair the organisation saw exceptional growth, moving from a Division of General Practice, to an urban based Medicare Local and finally to an organisation that covered the Hunter and Manning regions that encompassed 12 Local Government Areas with a population of nearly 700 000 people. There is no doubt that the future will bring new challenges but we can thank Karen for laying a solid groundwork to tackle those challenges head on”.