Our Team

We are a group of positive, proactive people who want to make a difference!

Professor Samar Aoun (Chairperson)

Professor Samar Aoun is Professor of Palliative Care Research, Perron Institute and La Trobe University. Samar adopts a public health approach to models of care and advocates for a person-centred health and social care. Her research programs on supporting family caregivers at end-of-life and the public health approach to bereavement care have informed policy and practice at the national and international levels.

Samar’s recent work on social models in bereavement support has provided empirical evidence to strengthen the Compassionate Communities movement in bereavement support. She co-founded the South West Compassionate Communities Network in 2018, and is leading the Compassionate Connector Project in partnership with the WA Country Health Service, which was acknowledged as a finalist in the WA Palliative Care Awards 2021. Samar recently undertook a statewide palliative care review from the consumer perspective and findings are underpinning the work of WA Health.
She was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003 from the Prime Minister of Australia; and received in 2018 the Medal for Excellence from the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare. Samar currently chairs the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association in Western Australia, is a director on the board of MND Australia and a board member of Palliative Care Western Australia.

Tresslyn Smith (Deputy Chairperson)

Cr Smith is the current Deputy Mayor of the Bunbury City Council. As a Councillor she has been on several council committees including heritage, seniors and is the Chair of the Bunbury Harvey Regional Council.

Tresslyn was born in Bunbury and has lived in the City since 1971. 

She was a former South West Senior Regional Officer and industrial relations and consumer affairs investigator for the Consumer Affairs Division of the Department of Commerce, assisting and advising businesses and consumers over a 30 year career.

Tresslyn retired in 2012.

Heather Wade (Secretary)

As a volunteer, Heather was a Breastfeeding Counsellor with Nursing Mothers (now the Australian Breastfeeding Association) for 10 years.

Heather is one of the pioneer Connectors of the Compassionate Connectors initiative in the South West, aiming at building compassionate communities.

As part of Dying to Know Day in 2021, she co-ordinated the field trips. 

Heather is also interested in local history.

Steve de Meillon

Steve is the Team Leader of the Community Partnerships and Events Team at the City of Bunbury. 
He is interested in the Compassionate Communities Network and how it looks to support isolated people in the community to create improved social connections. 

Steve has worked in local government, consulting and the non-government sectors. Working across a variety of roles including town planning, placemaking and community development, he has a passion for working with communities to strengthen neighbourhood connection.   
Having just moved to the region and with a love for travel and culture, he looks forward to exploring the amazing places in the southwest.

Dr Stephen Hinton

Dr Stephen Hinton has been a resident of Bunbury for 20 years. He grew up in South Africa and migrated to Bunbury in 2001. 

Stephen has been a practicing Consultant Physician in Bunbury Hospital and St John of God Bunbury since his arrival in Bunbury. He has served on the Bunbury Hospital Medical Advisory Committee since 2002 and chaired the Committee since 2013. For four years he has been a Senior Lecturer for the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia.

Stephen has been a member of the Rotary Club of South Bunbury since 2008 and was Club President in 2012 and 2013.

Stephen sees the Compassionate Communities enriching health care systems with person-centred service and facilitating community re-engagement with their ill neighbours.

Frieda Evans

Frieda Evans was born in South Africa and also lived in New Zealand for seven years. She has been living in the Bunbury area for the past 23 years. 

Her background is in library science and she worked in that field in South Africa and New Zealand. In Australia she worked as a practice manager for 14 years.

Frieda has always had an interest in people, with a particular compassion for people who are in need. The Compassionate Community Connector Program has been an ideal vehicle for her to pursue these goals and has served to empower her personal abilities to help people in need. 

Frieda’s personal interests embrace family, music, art, literature, travel, cooking and our pets and wildlife. ​

Chantelle Mader

Chantelle Mader is no stranger to growth management and innovation in the business world with many years’ experience as a business advisor working on a variety of businesses with a national focus.

Her latest and most passionate venture is being a Director and the CEO of the charity, Legacy Conservation Forest, responsible for managing WA’s only memorial forest, Wellington Dam Legacy Forest that was established by Living Legacy Forest in 2018. 

With one foot firmly in the funeral industry and the other planted in environmental conservation, Chantelle and her team lovingly look after the fast growing community of families who have now chosen to leave a Legacy in trees for themselves or a loved one.

Marina Johns

Marina Johns has raised a family, lived and worked in the South West for 26 years (residing in Bridgetown). She started working life as a Registered Nurse (RN) and after 20+ years moved on to qualify in Health Promotion.  Her last roles were as a RN which included Palliative Care and Diabetes Education.  

After making that transition in 2004, she has worked in a number of roles across the South West including:

  • coordination of Needle Syringe Programs (NSP);
  • Resilience Building and Suicide Prevention;
  • Partnership Broking for youth education, training and employment opportunities;
  • Education, Training and Industry Liaison Officer for Senior High Schools.

She then managed teams at the WA AIDS Council for the LGBTIQ+ Youth drop-in service, NSP Exchange, Inclusive Education (Safer Schools), Methamphetamine Peer Education and Health Education.

For the past two years, she has been in the role of South West Regional Manager for WA Primary Health Alliance. 

Tiffanie Rushton

Tiffanie has been a Registered Nurse for 16 years, working primarily in residential and community care throughout the Southwest and Midwest of WA. She is currently working as the Acting Regional Manager of Aged and Palliative Care for WA Country Health Service (WACHS). Through her roles in residential care and now WACHS, she has built strong professional relationships with a range of health and community services in the region. 

Tiffanie is a Bunbury local, with two adult children and one at Bunbury Senior High School. Outside of work, she is completing a Master’s degree and is the Board Chairperson for Grow Cook Eat Create, Inc., a community group providing life skills and social valorisation roles primarily to people living with disabilities in the Greater Bunbury Region. 

In her clinical career as a nurse and health service manager she has been a passionate supporter of quality palliative and bereavement care for residents and their families. She feels that the South West Compassionate Communities Network (SWCCN) is an organisation that fits her values personally and professionally.

Tiffanie states that WACHS is proud of being involved with SWCCN and she is pleased to represent WACHS as a committee member, and as an individual who supports the aims of the SWCCN, an organisation providing valuable service to individuals and families in our local community and to see the programme grow.

Dr Sarah Moore

Dr Sarah Moore works as a rural GP obstetrician and is also a senior lecturer for the Rural Clinical School of WA, based in Busselton. She has a passion for providing Whole Person Care and is currently developing a Whole Person Care curriculum for the Rural Clinical School.

Sarah has been leading community workshops around Advance Care Planning for the past five years to raise awareness about the value of collaborative end-of-life care.

Sarah is currently completing her Masters of Philosophy by Research at UWA.  Her research is in the field of medical education, examining the impacts of an online mindfulness program on the wellbeing of medical students. Sarah was inspired to choose this area of research after undertaking mindfulness training for her own personal and professional development and experiencing significant benefits that she believes could be shared with her medical students and colleagues.

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