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About us

Our staff

We have a small, dynamic team with diverse experience across consumer representation, consumer engagement, health promotion, population health, public affairs, communications, community mental health and community development.

Our staff

Melissa Fox

Chief Executive Officer

Melissa leads the organisation to support consumers and health providers to collaborate together to improve the safety and quality of health services. Melissa believes that consumers being involved in decision-making at all levels is essential to achieve consumer-centred care and to improve health services. She is a consumer representative on the Queensland Clinical Senate and the Nursing and Midwifery Executive Council and a board member of Consumers Health Forum (CHF).

Melissa has been a part of the journey of Health Consumers Queensland; she was an original member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee that later became the independent organisation that is now Health Consumers Queensland. Melissa is a mother of two gorgeous girls and has previously worked in documentary and reality television.

Why am I here?

Melissa first learnt the importance of individuals advocating for their health needs when she watched her grandparents confidently make choices around their own health needs after they each survived multiple heart attacks and strokes. After starting her own family, she devoted her time as a full time volunteer working on a systemic level to improve access to models providing continuity of midwifery care.

Melissa has seen first-hand from her own consumer representative roles, how valuable the partnerships between consumers and clinicians are in creating healthier people and communities. She is working towards consumers being recognised and valued as leaders in health decision-making for their own healthcare as well as at a policy and systems level.

Phone: 07 3012 9090
Email: melissa.fox@hcq.org.au


Our staff

Anne Curtis

Project Manager

Anne is the Project Manager and supervises the project team to manage the relationship with health service providers in Queensland and the Health Consumers Queensland network. Anne also leads the development of training and skills development programs for consumers and health service staff.

Anne has over 25 years’ experience working in hospitals and health services in Australia and New Zealand, in senior communication, engagement, fundraising and project management roles.   Anne has also managed a community engagement organisation focused on having the community’s voice heard in health planning and service delivery.

Anne also has her own patient journey experiences and that of family members which drives her passion for clinicians and health workers to the whole person, not just see their diagnosis or presenting illness.

Why am I here?

Anne understands the importance of consumers partnering and co-designing with health services to improve and create a better health system that meets community needs. Anne is also passionate about health literacy and its role in assisting health consumers, their families and carers in improving their health care journey.

Phone: 07 3012 9090
Email: anne.curtis@hcq.org.au


Our staff

Jo Smethurst

Project Officer

Jo is responsible for supporting consumers and consumer organisations so they can effectively partner with health providers and services. If you have an idea about how Health Consumers Queensland can support your work as a consumer representative give Jo a call.

Why am I here?

Jo loves the idea that health consumers can change the way in which we receive care by speaking up and becoming involved in decision-making about policies, services and health priorities. Being involved with a voluntary organisation that works towards improving maternity care for women across Australia helped Jo to see how consumers can be influential in re-designing and shaping our health care.

Phone: 07 3012 9090
Email: jo.smethurst@hcq.org.au


Our staff

Chelsea Gourgaud

Project Officer

Chelsea is responsible for supporting Health Consumers Queensland’s Network, as well as liaising and maintaining relationships with relevant stakeholders including, not- for profit organisations, Hospital and Health Services and Primary Health Networks.

If you would like more information about Health Consumers Queensland, networking opportunities or would like the opportunity to become a member, please contact Chelsea.

Why am I here?

Having engaged and worked with consumers and community members within a primary healthcare setting for a number of years, Chelsea understands the importance of involving consumers in shaping and improving the way health care is delivered. Chelsea believes partnering with health consumers, carers and family members is a top priority in the decision making and involvement of improving health care and health services.

Phone: 07 3012 9090
Email: chelsea.gourgaud@hcq.org.au


Our staff

Nicole O’Keane

Office Manager

Nicole is responsible for the day-to-day running of the office making sure our finances are impeccable and our consumer partners are reimbursed on time for their work with us.

Why am I here?

Nicole likes to use her administrative skills for organisations that make a social difference, particularly those who work towards equity for people who are sometimes overlooked or marginalised.

Phone: 07 3012 9090
Email: nicole.okeane@hcq.org.au


Our staff

Suzanne Wirges

Project Support Coordinator

Suzanne is responsible for supporting the project team through administrative support, website and database management, and liaising with stakeholders to develop network opportunities.

Why am I here?

Suzanne’s experience in health promotion showed her the difference true engagement can make to the lives of ordinary people, and the importance of equity of access to information. Growing up in a regional area, Suzanne is keenly aware of the potential the internet has for people outside of metropolitan areas to access information more easily, and enjoys using her web skills to make that happen.

Phone: 07 3012 9090
Email: suzanne.wirges@hcq.org.au


Our staff

Reema Naresh

Project Officer

Reema is responsible for liaising and maintaining relationships with the Hospital and Health Services staff working in consumer and community engagement to support their effective partnering with consumers and carers. Reema’s role incorporates providing strategic advice, training and specific project work.

Why am I here?

Reema has worked extensively in community development and health promotion. She believes that to be engaged and involved in our own health decision making is essential to a person’s wellbeing. To understand our own physical and mental needs and to be able to articulate it, empowers a person to take control of their health. Having lived and worked in various countries she truly appreciates the wonderful health care system Queensland has to offer. Reema is passionate about supporting and skilling consumers and health care providers to be able to better engage with each other so that health consumers and their family’s needs are met.