Lauren Anthes – CEO
Lauren is an experienced and passionate healthcare executive, having worked in the research and service development space for 15 years. Lauren’s aim is to be able to improve the health system, health outcomes and experiences for women. She has a particular interest in mental health, domestic violence and reproductive health issues including endometriosis and PCOS.
Lauren completed a Bachelor of Psychology through Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, NSW and started her career working at the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health in Orange, NSW. She had the opportunity to work on and lead a number of clinical research projects around early psychosis, severe mental illness, suicide risk and a longitudinal mental health and wellbeing study focusing on Australians living in regional and rural areas. She completed a Masters in Evaluation through the University of Melbourne, with a focus on real world formative and impact evaluation, which has contributed to her expertise in value based healthcare and health system planning.
With her health system knowledge and experience gained from working across not-for-profit, private, government and education sectors, Lauren hopes to be able to develop strong cross sector partnerships to better address women’s health issues in the ACT.
Lauren is excited to explore how the organisation can work differently and in innovative ways to raise the profile of women’s health in the ACT.
Karen Mowat – Executive Assistant
Karen is the Executive Assistant to the CEO.
She brings a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit sector and over 10 years’ experience working closely with CEOs, Board Chairs, Board Directors, executive leadership and managers to foster strategic direction and growth.
Karen is passionate about working in the not-for-profit sector and wanted to help make a difference in local women’s lives.
Karen joins us most recently from the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre, where she was Executive Assistant to the CEO and prior to that, the Australian Council for International Development, where she was Executive Coordinator/Assistant to CEO.
Dr Merrindahl Andrew – Health Promotion & Research Officer
Merrindahl has worked in social policy and advocacy for over fifteen years, across both the ACT and national levels, with a focus on gender equality and gender-based violence. Most recently, Merrindahl spent five years managing a national alliance of organisations working to end gender-based violence, before working locally to deliver violence prevention training to educators, businesses, and community members.
Through her PhD in political science at the Australian National University (ANU), Merrindahl studied feminists’ attempts to shape social policies affecting work and care.
She subsequently researched the development of women’s services and women’s policy agencies, including those focused on health. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters on gender equality, gender-based violence and human rights, including articles in Australian and international journals.
Merrindahl is happy to be part of a community-based organisation working for women’s health in the ACT, where she can contribute to violence prevention, sexual and reproductive health, better access to health information, and all the changes needed so that women can have full enjoyment of their lives.
Dr Romy Listo – Health Promotion & Research Officer
Romy joined Women’s Health Matters because of her passion for gender and health justice .
For the last seven years she has worked across women’s and gendered health issues in research, policy and advocacy and health promotion.
She has experience as a sexuality and relationships educator, in gender equality policy and advocacy and most recently, coordinating an aged care navigation program for multicultural communities.
Romy has a PhD in gender studies from the University of Queensland, where her research explored the role of energy in women’s organising and empowerment in urban and peri-urban South Africa. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Community Development.
Romy is interested in sexual and reproductive health rights and information and migrant and refugee women’s health. Through her PhD research she has also developed expertise and an interest in the gendered nature of infrastructure and the environment.
Julia Tran – Health Promotion & Research Officer
Julia joined the Women’s Centre for Health Matters as a Health Promotion Officer in 2017. With a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Neuroscience and a Master of International Public Health, Julia’s previous experience has had a mental health focus through researching dementia and music at the MARCS Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Development, interning in the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Unit at the Western Pacific Regional Office World Health Organization in the Philippines, interning in the psychological counselling and therapy at the Children’s Hospital #2 in Ho Chi Minh City, and research in road traffic accidents and trauma in Vietnam with the University of NSW.
Julia’s area of expertise lies in mental health and wellbeing and sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Her focus areas at Women’s Health Matters have been in SRH research and policy (aimed at young women and all women of the ACT) and mental health, with an interest in Borderline Personality Disorder, reduction in self harm, suicide prevention and youth mental health. As a keen bike rider, she is also interested in contributing to ACT’s active travel and women’s safety in public.
She implements her health promotion skills through social research, organising training workshops, and using technology to develop websites and film. Julia is Women’s Health Matters’ representative on the Reference Group for the ACT’s Public Health services for Eating Disorders Project, combining her interest and expertise in mental health and women’s wellbeing, ensuring that a women’s perspective is represented on the Reference Group.
Jodie Kirkness– Communications Manager
Jodie is an experienced communications and digital media professional with a background in journalism. Her passion for story telling resulted in her completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism with a major in Literary Studies.
She has a keen interest in women’s health and youth advocacy and has advocated for cancer prevention and research. Prior to joining Women’s Health Matters, Jodie has worked in government and across the health, and agriculture not-for-profit space.
She also has ample experience in the journalism industry having experience at 2CC Radio, ABC Canberra, and UC Curieux and plans on using her media contacts to promote Women’s Health Matters work.
Lavanya Nithiyananthan – Health Promotion Support Officer
Lavanya has completed her Master of Public Health from Victoria University and holds her Bachelors Degree in Bio-med from the University of Greenwich, London.
During her studies at Victoria University Lavanya worked on community service projects with Australian Multicultural Community Services that were centred on improving the health of culturally and linguistically diverse women.
Lavanya also helped to share information on COVID -19 vaccination in collaboration with the Department of Health, Victoria and Department of Family and Fairness.
Lavanya is bilingual and speaks Tamil and English.
She has a keen interest in refuge and migrant health and women’s health and is excited to work with Women’s Health Matters to help women in the ACT region.
Scarlett Owens – Health Promotion Support Officer
Scarlett’s passions lie with health promotion, gender-equality advocacy, and policy creation for women-centric issues. She joined Women’s Health Matters to pursue these passions and support women’s health and wellbeing in the ACT.
Scarlett has a Master of Public Heath from the ANU, where her thesis explored the enabling factors for contraceptive service provision for young people in low and middle-income countries. She also holds a Bachelor of Science (Science Communication) from the ANU.
Throughout her academic and professional careers, Scarlett has led and participated in various health promotion initiatives and research projects, including young women’s knowledge and experiences with contraception in Australia. Through her work with ACT Health during the COVID-19 pandemic, she understands Canberra’s health profile and the ACT’s policy environment.
Scarlett is particularly interested in young women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare and women’s safety. She is committed to making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged women and hopes to contribute to the creation of positive and healthy environments for women in the ACT.