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 is the past Chair of the Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists) and chairs the Faculty's International Relations Committee spearheading regional workforce capacity building initiatives in Asia/Pacific with local partners. He is the Vice President of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions and a member of the International Teaching Faculty of Zero To Three in the USA. Nick is the Board Chair of the Tresillian Family Care Centres and has served on a number of Boards of organisations promoting children’s and parents’ mental health. He works in a variety of rural and metropolitan settings. As a clinical academic he has published papers on children living in families affected by parental mental illness, and early intervention early in life. He is an Associate Investigator on the National Health and Medical Research Council’s 'Million Minds' funded Australian Clinical Trials Network for Child and Youth Mental Health.
  • Associate Professor Richard O’Kearney

    Australian Capital Territory Director, Emerging Minds Board of Directors
    Professor Richard O'Kearney has worked as a clinical psychologist at Westmead Hospital, Royal Price Alfred Hospital in Sydney and in private practice before taking up an academic and research position at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. He is currently an Emeritus Professor in the School of Medicine and Psychology at ANU. Richard's clinical and research interests include paediatric Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), disruptive behaviour problems in children and the relationship between the development of emotion and behavioural competencies and children's language development. He is also interested in how to best develop and deliver effective early interventions for various childhood mental health problems. 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. She is currently a Trustee with the Psychosis Australia Trust, Co-Chair of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum, President of the Western Australian Association For Mental Health, Vice-President of Mental Health Carers Australia, and a Board Director for Helping Minds, Community Mental Health Australia, and the Recovery College of WA. She is also a Commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission. 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.
  • Dr Mary Jessop

    Queensland Director, Emerging Minds Board of Directors
    Dr Mary Jessop is a child and adolescent psychiatrist working in the private 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's Talk About Children', a brief family-focused intervention developed by Professor Tytti Solantaus.
  • Rose Cuff

    Victorian Director, Emerging Minds Board of Directors
    Rose Cuff is an Occupational Therapist who has worked in child, adolescent, adult mental health and community-based services since 1987. Since 1995 she has focused entirely on working to support children and families where a parent or carer has mental health challenges through direct clinical practice, developing and implementing peer support programs, co-producing a wide range of resources, publishing widely, and conducting training and research. Rose was the Statewide Coordinator of the Victorian government funded FaPMI (Families where a Parent has a Mental Illness) program from its inception in 2007 until 2020, and currently is the CEO and co-founder of the Satellite Foundation. Rose is a passionate advocate for the voices of these children, young people and their families to be amplified and heard.

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