Our Board

  • Phil Robinson PSM

    South Australian Director and Chair, Emerging Minds Board of Directors
    Phil is the inaugural Chair of the Board of Directors of Emerging Minds (previously the Australian Infant Child and Adolescent Mental Health Association - AICAFMHA) which was formed as a company in June 2000. Phil led the process for the formation of AICAFMHA from the original conference held in Adelaide in February 1995. Phil is actively involved in the Emerging Minds' National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health together with ongoing advocacy for child and adolescent mental health with a stronger emphasis on the importance of interventions commencing in the early years of life. A clinical psychologist by training, Phil also has extensive management experience in both community and hospital settings. For many years, he held the position of Chief of Mental Health at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide and currently holds an Executive position within the Women's and Children's Health Network. In 2004, Phil was awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) for his services to child and adolescent mental health.  
  • Dr Nick Kowalenko

    New South Wales Director and founding Deputy Chair, Emerging Minds Board of Directors
    Nick Kowalenko is the immediate past Chair, Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. He chairs the Tresilian Family Care Centres Council in New South Wales and is Senior Clinical Lecturer, University of Sydney and Head of Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Studies at the NSW Institute of Psychiatry. He is the Oceania Regional Coordinator, IACAPAP and he co-edited the Medical Journal of Australia's (MJA's) supplement 'Children of Parents with a Mental Illness' and champions mental health early intervention and illness prevention in young people.
  • Associate Professor Richard O’Kearney

    Australian Capital Territory Director, Emerging Minds Board of Directors
    Associate Professor Richard O'Kearney worked as a clinical psychologist at Westmead Hospital and Royal Price Alfred Hospital in Sydney before completing his PhD in adolescent mental health. He is currently a senior research fellow and Associate Director (Research) in the Research School of Psychology at the Australian National University in Canberra. Richard's clinical and research interests include paediatric Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), disruptive behaviour problems in children and the relationship between children's language development and the development of emotion and behavioural difficulties. He has links with the Australian Capital Territory CAMHS services, evaluating the effectiveness of early intervention for conduct problems in the first years of school. He is also involved with the ACT Directorate of Education and Training. He continues to work clinically, mainly treating children, adolescents and adults with OCD and related disorders.  
  • Kerry Hawkins

    Western Australian Director, Emerging Minds Board of Directors
    Ms Hawkins is the partner of a parent who experienced many years of extreme and enduring psychosis. They have three children together. Prior to giving up work in 2010 to focus on her husband's and family's recovery she was a project management consultant in the private sector and a strategic advisor for a federal government agency. She is a Graduate of Boston University's Global Leadership Institute's Recovery Class of 2013. Currently, she is a Director of the Western Australian Association for Mental Health, Vice-President of HelpingMinds (formerly Arafmi WA), and a board member of Recovery Rocks, a community of peers in recovery. Other working group involvements include a Recovery College, national practice guide for carers of people with a mental illness, and COPMI initiatives. Her interest in trauma-informed, family-inclusive understandings of mental health drives a passion for implementing system reform through genuine co-production between lived experience expertise and service delivery expertise. She works for the National Disability Insurance Scheme as a project director on mental health/psychosocial disability projects.
  • Dr Mary Jessop

    Queensland Director, Emerging Minds Board of Directors
    Dr Mary Jessop is a child and adolescent psychiatrist working in the private and public sector. She has been involved in a number of initiatives to improve access to services for children of parents with a mental illness and their families. This has included developing a service framework, providing training in family-focused interventions, and resource development. Dr Jessop is a therapist in the online training course 'Family Focus' developed by the COPMI national initiative. She is also a certified trainer in 'Let'sTalk About Children', a brief family-focused intervention developed by Professor Tytti Solantaus.
  • Rose Cuff

    Victorian Director, Emerging Minds Board of Directors
    Ms Cuff is an Occupational Therapist who has worked within child, adolescent and adult mental health services and in family oriented services since 1986. Since 1995, she has focussed specifically on the area of supporting families where a parent has a mental illness through direct clinical practice, creating and implementing peer support and group programs, developing resources and conducting training and research. Since 2007 she has been the Statewide FaPMI (Families where a Parent has a Mental Illness) co-ordinator in Victoria, based at the Bouverie Centre in Melbourne. The FaPMI Program is a Victorian government funded initiative aimed at building capacity in services to promote better outcomes for these families. Ms Cuff is also the co-founder and Executive Director of the Satellite Foundation. Satellite was established in 2008 to fill a gap in services for these children and their families. Ms Cuff hopes that the Foundation will provide opportunities for them to receive the information and support they want and a means to be connected to others who may have similar experiences, as this has been the driving principle behind her work. Ms Cuff remains a passionate advocate for this population and has published and spoken out extensively about the need for reform and about the work undertaken by her and others, including people with lived experience.

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