Executive Committee Member
Rodney Hodge was elected to Council in May 2018 and was elected President in August 2020. Rodney is an experienced optometrist who has worked in private practice, corporate practice and public health. He worked part time for over 20 years with North Metropolitan Health Services in Western Australia whilst running a private optometry practice. He has had a variety of experience in management and governance roles, including nine years on the WA division of the Council of Optometry. Rodney has an active interest in continuing education for optometrists. He has also served the community through local government (Councillor, City of Subiaco, 13 years) and a number of planning and land use committees in Perth. Rodney is now semi-retired, undertaking some locum optometry work mostly in rural and remote locations providing him with a greater understanding of the challenges of working in those regions.
Honorary Treasurer, Chair, Finance & Risk Committee, Executive Committee Member
Denise Gronow was appointed as Honorary Treasurer and as Chair of the College’s Finance & Risk Committee in February 2017. Denise has been an independent member of the ACO’s Finance & Risk Committee since March 2014. She previously acted as an alternate director on ACO Council between August 2015 and January 2016. Denise is a qualified chartered accountant with significant experience working at a senior level in both the professional practice and banking sectors.
Executive Committee Member, Chair, NVRI Board of Administration
Professor Linda Denehy is Head of the Melbourne School of Health Sciences and Professor of Physiotherapy at The University of Melbourne, Australia, as well as joint head of Allied Health Research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Linda has extensive teaching and learning experience at both under and post graduate level. Her research interests are in rehabilitation in critically ill patients, those with cancer, COPD and in perioperative medicine. Linda is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine where she is currently on a guidelines panel examining rehabilitation in ICU. She reviews for national and international competitive granting bodies and for several international scientific journals including, Lung Cancer, Intensive Care Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Thorax.
PhD, BOptom, FACO, FAAO, GCOT
Associate Professor Lauren Ayton is an optometrist and medical researcher at the University of Melbourne. She leads the Vision Optimisation Unit, leading both natural history and interventional trials (including gene therapy) for inherited retinal diseases. Her research interests include retinal disease, low vision and vision restoration. Lauren is passionate about research translation and improving patient care. She is also the Director of SPARK Melbourne (a research accelerator program that originated at Stanford University) and is involved in several industry clinical trials and start-up companies. She has previously worked in industry in the USA, as part of a Harvard-affiliated startup company, Bionic Eye Technologies. Lauren has held positions on a number of committees, including Optometry Australia, Vision 2020 and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
SC BJuris LlB
John Chaney is a former justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia having retired from the court in 2018. His judicial career spanned 14 years, during which time he sat as a judge of the District Court, Deputy President and then President of the State Administrative Tribunal of WA, and on the Supreme Court. Prior to his appointment as a judge, John practised as a barrister for 10 years during which time he was appointed Senior Counsel. Before going to the independent bar, he was for 14 years a partner in a major commercial law firm where he practised in the areas of commercial litigation, professional negligence and planning law. He served on the council of the Law Society of WA for 12 years and was president of that society in 1991. He has sat on several Law School advisory boards at universities in WA, and was an inaugural board member of the Australian Advocacy Institute for 15 years. He is a member of the recently established National Sports Tribunal. John is now engaged in practice as a private mediator and arbitrator.
BOptom (UniMelb), GradCertOcTher, LmusTCL
Sophie is an experienced optometrist who started her career in the Northern Territory. She has broad experience working in public health and corporate settings across metropolitan, rural and outback Australia. She has extensive experience working in ophthalmology teams and training nurses in East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Sophie studied her undergraduate degree at the University of Melbourne and was amongst the first cohort of graduates to achieve the ACO Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics. She is now the National Professional Services Advisor at Optometry Australia. She is passionate about public health and Indigenous eye health. She is devoted to empowering students and colleagues to improve their knowledge and skills so they can play a wider role in improving the health and wellbeing of our underprivileged communities locally and overseas.
BAppSc(Optom), PGCert OcTher
Tim Powell completed his undergraduate degree at QUT in Brisbane, and moved to
Tasmania on graduation. Tim has a strong history of working with local GP’s,
ophthalmologists, aged care providers and hospital based rehabilitation services. Tim has worked across independent, corporate and franchise optometry practices, being a partner in a large independent practice before becoming partner in a multi-site franchise optometry business which he sold in 2017. He is involved in optometry profession advocacy, and has extensive experience on state and national based boards. He has held positions on state and national Optometry Australia boards, was part of the inaugural allied health advisory committee to the Tasmanian Primary Health Network and the Optometry Australia Rural Optometry Group. Tim has a passion for rural and remote eye care, and is currently
undertaking a Graduate Certificate Course in Clinical Redesign through UTAS, which looks at how we can improve the patient experience and outcomes in our health system.
Dr Michelle Waugh completed undergraduate optometry and research degrees in glaucoma and Age related Macula Degeneration at the University of Melbourne. She has worked with remote communities in UK and Sri Lanka providing eye care as well as in Australian corporate and public health settings. She is passionate about continuing education and helped to build the ACO education portfolio during her time with the ACO as a manager and Head of Education. She has board experience at community NFP and was part of a Medicare advisory committee for Optometry Australia. She is currently completing an MBA and Graduate Diploma in Data Analytics Management with Melbourne Business School. She is currently a research fellow in the health services research unit at the Centre for Eye Research Australia.