Management Committee 2019 - 22

Parkinson's Management Committee


Prof. George Mellick

Is the current President of the Management Committee, elected to the current role in 2015. I have served PQI for many years and have been a member since 1999. Most recently I have led considerable organisational refreshment. Under my leadership, PQI has developed and implemented governance reforms and strategic planning (such as the “Strategic Plan 2016-2020”) that have provided the foundations for our small, grass-roots association to develop into a more effective and impactful For Purpose organisation. We have undertaken constitutional reform and structural change. However, there remains much to do. I seek endorsement to continue to complete the process we have started, and move PQI to the next level. I will continue to engage the membership and work with the Management Committee and Office Team to do this. I want to see a smooth transition to the new CEO and appropriate succession planning for the organisational leadership roles to ensure longevity and success of PQI and better recognition of Parkinson’s and real outcomes for People with Parkinson’s and all those living with Parkinson’s. I am Professor of Neuroscience and Head of the School of Environment and Science, at Griffith University in Queensland and an interdisciplinary scientist who is a Research Leader in the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD). I research all aspects of neurodegenerative disease with an emphasis on Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. As such, I have authored a vast number of research publications and is a regularly sought-after reviewer for International Granting Agencies, Advisory Groups and Research Journals. In addition, I have for many years, been an advocate for people affected by neurological disease and am currently the President of Parkinson’s Queensland and Vice-President of Parkinson’s Australia.


Ms. Paulette Montaigne

has been Coordinator of the Ipswich Support Group of Parkinson’s for the past three years. From June 2014 to May 2016, she was a member of the Ipswich Community Reference Group of the West Moreton Hospital and Health Care Services; a valuable forum for Parkinson’s. She is also on the Management Committee of U3A Ipswich & West Moreton Inc. Paulette brings to her role as Secretary her extensive experience of project management and public relations. Over a period of 15 years, Paulette worked as a locally-engaged staff member of the Canadian High Commission in Canberra as Academic & Public Affairs Officer and followed by 6 years as Official Travel Coordinator for the Canadian Embassy in Paris. Since moving to Ipswich 2014, Paulette has involved herself with community groups and has become a strong advocate for support groups.


Mr. Daniel Sullivan

Is an insurance lawyer at Mullins Lawyers in Brisbane. His work involves personal injury claims and requires him to liaise with doctors of various specialties including the neurological area. Earlier in his career Daniel had postings as a researcher/drafter for the Federal Court judges in Brisbane and the Lord Chancellor in the United Kingdom. His wife works for the Department of Disability Services and he is the father of two young children. Daniel looks forward to the opportunity to help people affected by Parkinson’s and believes he can make a contribution towards providing assistance to those who need it in a way that is effective and meaningful. In short, Daniel has prior experience as a Management Committee Member over the past three years including two years as Treasurer with a demonstrated commitment to Parkinson’s Queensland. He is passionate contributor to an organisation with the capability to help all those affected by Parkinson’s disease. Daniel was also a strong contributor to the Constitutional Review project.


Ms. Ruth Coleman

Became a Member of PQI in 2010, have served on the Management Committee since October 2012, been a Support Group Coordinator since 2013, and a person with Parkinson’s, so I feel I have many diverse ways in which I can contribute. I would like to step up for one more year to complete the tasks I have undertaken to guide Support Groups and their Coordinators to an improved pathway, as we continue to strive towards our Strategic Plan. My understanding of the governance function and experience at Management Committee level has been gained from being a Committee Member of PQI since 2012. My commitment to PQI stems from not only being a person living with Parkinson’s, but from connecting with like-minded people at our support groups. To be told you have Parkinson’s is life changing and finding a Support Group was my lifesaver. My mission now is to promote these groups and to reach out to support people living with Parkinson’s.

Dr John Edgar M.B.B.S, H.H.P, FRANZCP

Broadening our Impact. My current clinical work as a doctor is mostly based in rural and remote centres of Queensland. Throughout my working life in NT and Qld, I have been involved in providing services to under-serviced regions of Australia. I am interested in raising awareness of PD, and improving support services by using other health professionals already working in these areas. Integrated Services. The people living with PD are disadvantaged further by living outside of capital cities. By co-ordinating existing services, there are opportunities to provide greater support and disseminate information. This is the model used in providing mental health services to under-serviced areas, where general practitioners, nursing staff and other allied health professionals need to be multi-skilled. The impact of PD on those affected. Both the person living with PD and the carer often find it difficult to understand the non-motor symptoms of PD, especially anxiety, depression, and most importantly psychotic symptoms. I am most impressed by the general attitude of many people who live with PD who wish to take an active role in managing their illness. This perception was re-enforced when I attended the International Congress in Kyoto recently, and where I met many other people who showed great determination and hope. This contrasts some-what with my clinical contact with some people who are less motivated to make lifestyle changes that are known to be beneficial. There is still a long way to go in addressing the stigma attached to the diagnosis. I have read, and understand the Constitution, and am aware of the increasing importance to this organisation of demonstrating sound governance. I was the NT president of Child Accident Prevention Foundation Australia (now Kidsafe) when this organisation was established in the 1980’s I was a volunteer divisional surgeon for St John Ambulance Service in Darwin and Alice Springs from 1970’s to 1990’s. As a hospital administrator for over 20 years prior to my training as a psychiatrist, I have served on a number of management boards, both as chairperson, and as a member. My wife has been diagnosed with PD for several years and co-ordinates the support group in Rockhampton. I support her in this role. I do not consider myself as a carer because my wife is very well managed with medications at present. However, I see the importance of addressing concerns raised by the support person who is not in the role of carer, but is just as concerned at changes in the partner’s lifestyle. In more subtle ways, the condition can impact on sleep, functioning at work, and leisure activities, and can be a source for relationship difficulties when adjusting to these changes. As a clinician (psychiatrist) I am particularly interested in the non-motor symptoms of PD, and the delay in diagnosis which often results. I expect that this adverse experience is exacerbated by lack of services in rural and remote areas.

Mrs Judy Learmonth

 I see the role of Support Groups as important to PWP, Carers and Family members. My experience as a Support Group Coordinator strengthens this claim as many, given the devastating news, know little about Parkinson’s or what to do next. The decline in the number of Support Groups is a concern requiring action. I have followed many Support Group members as they endure the impact of Parkinson’s, not only on their life, but the lives of family members and friends. My husband had Parkinson’s and this has given me a greater understanding of their trials and tribulations. I work closely with PQI as a Support Group Coordinator. I support PQI’s Strategic Plan and identify strongly with the key characteristics enabling PQI to one day reach out to all Persons with Parkinson’s and offer the required support. It is important that PQI is a cohesive unit working towards common goals. I understand the need for necessary compliance by PQI with all rules and regulations imposed upon not for profit organisations and therefore compliance by Support Group Coordinators with PQI. My work experience is with private business enterprises and with Local Government. I hold a Bachelor of Business majoring in Management and Marketing. For over 7 years I have been Support Group Coordinator of the Elanora Support Group (Gold Coast). Since 2017 I have travelled regularly to Elanora from Bargara (Bundaberg) to chair their meetings. Why? Like many Groups members are not willing to commit to the role of coordinator. As a Foundation Member of the Group, the decision was evident. I thank members for their support. I am regularly in contact with the PQI office and staff as I travel south. As a wife and carer of many years (husband deceased 2015) I have travelled the Parkinson’s journey and can offer members the understanding, sympathy and hopefully guidance during difficult times.

Mrs Rachael White RN

Rachael White RN has worked in neurology for 15 years. Before moving to Australia in 2012. She worked a stroke specialist in a large UK stroke centre. She has now changed her focus to delivery of Parkinson’s nursing in a region with a vast geographic challenge. She has a keen interest in developing Telehealth for Parkinson’s in rural and remote Queensland.

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