New Chair For Hunter New England Health District

Dr Martin Cohen. Photo: NSW Mental Health Commission.


NEVER before has NSW Health been under such pressure and while Sydney is where the majority of the impact of COVID has been, that doesn’t mean the Hunter New England Health District hasn’t had its challenges in recent times.

Hunter New England Local Health District has welcomed the appointment of Dr Martin Cohen as Chair of the District’s Board, by Minister for Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard.

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The Hunter New England Health District covers a vast geographic area and faces many challenges serving communities across such an area.

Our local communities are served by John Hunter Hospital, The Mater and the Tomaree Community Hospital.

Dr Cohen takes over from Associate Professor Lyn Fragar AO, who has served in the position since 2011.

“I am delighted that Dr Cohen has been appointed as Board Chair,” Michael DiRienzo, Chief Executive Hunter New England Local Health District said.

“A serving board member since 2016, Dr Cohen has more than 25 years’ clinical experience as a psychiatrist, with five years as an Executive Director for Hunter New England Local Health District.

“He is also a Conjoint Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle.

“Dr Cohen has the passion and experience to successfully lead the Board’s oversight of health services for our local communities,” Mr DiRienzo said.

“I have no doubt his skills and experience will add tremendous value to the Board.”

Dr Cohen said he is focused on ensuring the District develops sound partnerships between clinical leaders, managers and the community to meet the current and future health needs of the community.

“Having had the privilege to serve as the Chair of the Quality and Safety Committee of the Board for several years now, I feel honoured to have been appointed by the Minister for Health to the role of Chair,” Dr Cohen said.

“Our key strategy is to ensure excellent care for every person who touches our health services, often at times of great stress, distress and need, and for this to occur consistently without exception.

“I look forward to working with our Chief Executive, Michael DiRienzo, and the Executive Directors, to ensure the positive evolution of Health Services for the people of Hunter New England Local Health District,” he said.

Mr DiRienzo also paid tribute to outgoing Board Chair, Associate Professor Lyn Fragar.

“The District is grateful for her leadership over the past ten years.
“Associate Professor Fragar is a passionate advocate for health and has led positive changes within our District, including improved patient care, particularly in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic; workforce recruitment and retention and improved infrastructure and environmental sustainability,” MrDiRienzo said.

Dr Fragar said the Board has provided careful and stable governance in recent years.

“The collective wisdom of Board members is, I believe, unparalleled,” she said.

“The future of health services for the people of the Hunter New England Health District is in excellent hands.

“Ongoing Board members will be joined by new blood who will find new and better ways to provide good governance and support to our outstanding Chief Executive and his team,” said Dr Fragar.



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