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Board Members- North West Hospital and Health Service

Under the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011, the Hospital and Health Board must consist of five or more members appointed by the Governor in Council for terms of up to four years. Collectively, the Board serves to strengthen local decision-making and accountability by promoting local consumer, community and clinician engagement and setting the local health system planning and coordination agenda, including financial management and oversight. The North West Hospital and Health Board met on 12 occasions during the 2016-2017 financial year. Below are the Board's Terms of Reference (ToR) for each of their committees:

As at June 30 2019, membership comprised:

Paul Woodhouse


(Chair Engagement Committee)

(Chair Executive Committee)

Paul is a primary producer and resident of North West Queensland. Paul also currently serves as a member of the North West Minerals Province Stakeholder Advisory Committee NWMPSAC.

Former roles include Chair of the Queensland Hospital and Health Board Chairs, Member of CSIRO Land and Water, Chairman of Regional Development Australia for the Townsville and North West region, Mayor of McKinlay Shire, Chairman of Southern Gulf Catchments Ltd., joint Commonwealth / State Flinders and Gilbert Rivers Agricultural Resource Assessment (Governance) Committee, Health Minister’s Infrastructure Advisory Panel and the Northern Australia Health Roundtable. Originally appointed as inaugural Chair of the North West Hospital and Health Board on 18 May 2012, Paul was reappointed on 18 May 2019, until 17 May 2021.


Dr Don Bowley

Don is the Senior Medical Officer at the Mount Isa Base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section). He has 25 years of experience with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and has been based at Mount Isa for the past 22 years. Don has a passion for improving the quality of health care available for the people who live in remote Australia and has a special interest in addressing the inequity in remote and indigenous health outcomes.

He holds Fellowships from the Royal Australian College of General Practice and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. Don is an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Centre for Rural and Remote Health, James Cook University. He is the Chair of the Western Queensland Primary Health Network’s Northern Clinical Chapter and a member of the Clinical Council.

Don was a member of the Mount Isa District Health Community Council from 1999 to 2011.

Originally appointed on 29 June 2012, Don was reappointed on 18 May 2017, until 17 May 2019.


Dr Christopher Appleby

Board member

Chris has a 20-year career in the design of innovative models of rural Primary
Health Care. Chris has co-owned and operated general practice medical
centres in rural communities such as Richmond and Cloncurry, in north west
Queensland and Montville and Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Chris is currently the Practice Support Advisor for whole of program with
General Practice Registrar Training at James Cook University, where he is also a Senior Lecturer. Chris is a Director at the Western Queensland
Primary Health Network, where he Chairs the Finance and Risk Management
Chris has a Bachelor of Science (Honours), a Master of Business Administration and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Pharmacology and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 
Originally appointed on 9 November 2012, Chris was reappointed on 18 May 2019, until 17 May 2021.


Karen (Kari) Arbouin

Board member

Kari is an Associate Vice Chancellor for Central Queensland University (CQU) and based at CQU’s Townsville campus. Kari has 20 years’ experience in various senior roles in the tertiary education sector including acting in the role of Chief Executive Officer for James Cook University’s (JCU) Singapore campus. Kari was also involved in major business development projects for JCU, including planning of the successful funding bid for the Cairns Research Institute.

Kari also has over 10 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in health. She is a registered nurse and practising midwife. Whilst in the role of Director of Nursing at Julia Creek she led the hospital to becoming the first Australian Council on Healthcare Standards accredited hospital in north west Queensland. She has also held the position of Director of Nursing at The Wesley Hospital in Townsville. Kari was awarded Julia Creek Hospital, Australia Day and Queensland Health awards for her service to the hospital and community.

Kari was a founding Board member for the JCU’s health practice, and Board Chair of their child care facilities. She currently holds a Board position on the inaugural North Queensland Defence Advisory Board and Townsville City Council’s Smart Precinct Pty Ltd. She is a past committee member of the Regional Development Australia (RDA). She holds academic qualifications in health, business, law and public health. Kari is an international reviewer for universities in the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates. She is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Originally appointed on 18 May 2013, Kari was reappointed on 18 May 2017 and again on 18th May 2019 for a further two years. She is the current Chair of the Quality Safety and Risk Committee and previous Chair of the Hospital’s Workforce Leaders Group


Dr Kathryn Panaretto

Board Member

Kathryn, a general practitioner at QUT Medical Centre in Brisbane, has a background in primary health care, having worked as a general practitioner at Mount Isa’s Gidgee Healing and with the Remote Women’s Health clinics at Julia Creek and Cloncurry.

She has spent the last 20 years working in Aboriginal Health in Queensland. She also is a Public Health Physician proving locum cover with the Darling Downs Public Health Unit and West Moreton Public Health Unit. She is an Adjunct Professor at James Cook University and the University of Queensland, and committee member of the General Practice and Primary Care Clinical Committee (GPPCCC) of the MBS Review Taskforce (2017-2020).

Originally appointed on 18 May 2016, Kathryn was reappointed on 18 May 2017, until 17 May 2020.


Susan Sewter

Board Member

Born in Cloncurry, Susan has lived in North West Queensland for more than 40 years. Her father is Gangalidda, and her mother is Lardil with connections to Waanyi. Susan’s understanding of the primary health care system has largely been informed with more than 10 years’ experience as the Chairperson for the Mornington Island Health Council, in which position she has been an active participant in the redesign and reform of the way health services are being delivered across the Lower Gulf region.  The Lower Gulf Strategy, currently being rolled out by Gidgee Healing, North West Hospital and Health Service and the Western Queensland Primary Health Network, in a tripartite arrangement, represents the implementation phase for a new and improved model of care for the people of the Lower Gulf, for which Susan has been advocating across all levels of government for several years.

Given the significant health issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the North West and Lower Gulf regions, Susan has dedicated much of the last 15 years advocating for new ways of delivering health services, to Close the Gap in health outcomes.

In addition her involvement in community health advocacy and health system reform, her capacity as Mayor of the Mornington Shire Council from 2004-2008, along with her long history working within the health and education sectors (as a qualified teacher), she has a detailed understanding of the importance of forging strong working partnerships with other sectors within the region (education, employment, economic, social and community services) to achieve real changes in the health status of the Lower Gulf communities.
Furthermore, her experience working with Mirndiyan Cultural Centre has provided her with vast experience and expertise in ensuring that Aboriginal culture is genuinely embedded within the constructs from which we deliver our health services, to ensure local communities are provided with culturally-safe and appropriate health services that they feel comfortable to access.

Most recently, Susan led the development of the Mornington Island Health Strategy 2019-2024, the first local health plan to ever be developed across this region, and to be signed and endorsed by all levels of Government, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector, the community, and other health partners.


Catrina Felton-Busch

Board Member

Catrina is a Yangkaal and Gangalidda woman from Mornington Island who currently lives and works on Kalkadoon country in Mount Isa for James Cook University.  Having grown up in north west Queensland Catrina has strong familial and cultural ties to the communities across the lower gulf, particularly Mornington Island and her husband’s family in Normanton, with an extensive work history in or with these communities at both the grassroots and institutional levels.  Catrina holds a Bachelor of Arts (Monash University) and a Master of Public Health (James Cook University) and is currently undertaking doctoral studies with James Cook University. Catrina is also a fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

As the Associate Professor, Remote Indigenous Health and Workforce at James Cook University, Catrina has an extensive academic career in Indigenous Health of over 18 years.  Based in Mount Isa and working between the Centre for Rural & Remote Health and the College of Medicine and Dentistry, Catrina has oversight of workforce programs at the centre as head of education and is also the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lead for General Practice Training at James Cook University.


Karen Read

Board Member

Karen currently works as a Non-Executive Director and Consultant. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience in finance and commerce having previously worked for a chartered accounting firm in Mackay followed by a 29-year career in the mining and resources sector.  Karen worked for 12 years of her career in senior executive roles and has worked both in Australia and internationally including an expatriate role in South America within many operations of the now Glencore group of companies.  As part of her various executive roles, Karen was also the Executive Director and Chairman of Northern Stevedoring Services Pty Ltd and Executive Director of many of Glencore Xstrata’s Group companies.  She was also the company nominee as a director of Mount Isa Water Board.

Karen was awarded a High Achievement Award for Women in Mining by Queensland Resources Council in 2008 and in 2009 was state winner and national finalist in Telstra Business Woman’s Awards in the private and corporate sector.

From 2014 to 2017 Karen worked as the CFO for a boutique engineering consultancy in Townsville assisting with the restructure of their group and establishing a group services entity.  Karen is currently a Non-Executive Director of Queensland Country Credit Union and Queensland Country Health Fund and members of various board committees and has been on these boards since 2004.  She was the Deputy Chair of QCCU from April 2006 until March 2018 and is Deputy Chair of QCHF.  She is also currently the Independent member and Chair of the Mount Isa Water Board Finance and Audit Committee.

Karen was previously an independent member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee of NWHHS.  She has an Associate Diploma and Bachelor of Business and is a Fellow of the Australian Society of CPAs, a graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Member of the Australasian Mutual Institute. She chairs the NQ Branch of CPA Australia and is a member of the Regional Committee for the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Terry Mehan

Board Member

Terry has a career spanning 40 years, of which 30 years is as a senior manager, executive and strategic leader in healthcare in New South Wales and Queensland.  He has the unique distinction of having occupied positions of Northern Manager of North Queensland for 6 years before moving to Brisbane to take up the newly created role as Area General Manager Southern and then Area General Manager Central to have at one time or another operational responsibility for every part of Queensland.  Prior to this, Terry’s career progressed across New South Wales as CEO of Batlow, Batlow and Tumbarumba Hospitals, seven years with Catholic Care of the Aged in Newcastle, District Manager Hume based in Albury, administrator of Greater Murray back to Newcastle as General Manager Greater Newcastle Sector of Hunter Health before making the move to Queensland. Terry has leveraged his specialist expertise in health system management, delivery and planning, strategic planning, indigenous rural and remote health, to drive organisational and system wide change, service integration and promote population health.

Last updated: 20 March 2017