ACO Council

The ACO is governed by a Council, which acts as its Board of Management.  ACO Councillors are elected by ACO Members.
Please direct any enquiries to ACO Councillors via our Company Secretary companysecretary@aco.org.au



Rodney  Hodge


Executive Committee Member


Email: president@aco.org.au

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. As part of his transition to retirement Rodney undertook some locum optometry work mostly in rural and remote locations providing him with a greater understanding of the challenges of working in those regions. Rodney is now fully retired from Clinical Optometry.

Denise Gronow, CA

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.

Professor Linda Denehy

Executive Committee Member, Chair, NVRI Board of Administration

BAppSc(Physio), PhD

Linda Denehy is Professor of Physiotherapy and past Head of the Melbourne School of Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne and a registered Physiotherapist. She also has a joint appointment as Professor of Health Services Research: Allied Health at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Melbourne. Professor Denehy has extensive teaching and learning experience at both under and post graduate levels and introduced the new Doctor of Physiotherapy course at the University of Melbourne in 2011. Professor Denehy is a past President of the Council of Physiotherapy Deans of Australia and New Zealand and Deputy Chair of Victorian Health Deans. She has supervised over 40 graduate research students to completion and currently supervises four PhD and five Post-Doctoral students. Her research interests are in pre and rehabilitation in acute care including in intensive care, oncology and perioperative management where she is passionate about improving patient centred outcomes. Professor Denehy has been invited to deliver 50 presentations both nationally and internationally. She has over 200 publications, including 35 invited papers and has been successful in grant funding of AUD $16million including as a chief investigator on six National grants and a Wellcome Trust UK grant on rehabilitation topics.

Assoc Prof Lauren Ayton


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.

John Chaney

The Honourable John Chaney


John is a former justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, retiring 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. Prior to this, he was a partner in a 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 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. John is now engaged in practice as a private mediator and arbitrator. He holds the office of Acting Parliamentary Inspector of the Crime and Corruption Commission of WA, chairs the Forensic Biology Advisory Council and the Piddington Society and is a member of the National Sports Tribunal.

Sophie Koh

BOptom (UniMelb), GradCertOcTher, LmusTCL

Sophie started her optometry 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 Graduate Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics at ACO. She is currently the National Professional Services Advisor at Optometry Australia. She is passionate about empowering students and colleagues to improve their knowledge so they can play a wider role in improving the health and wellbeing of our underprivileged communities locally and overseas. Sophie has special interests in corporate governance, is a member of Governance Institute of Australia, and has completed her Certificate in Governance for Non-for-Profits.

Tim Powell

BAppSc(Optom), PGCert OcTher, GradCert Clinic Redesign (UTAS)

Tim 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 has recently completed 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

B.Optom, MSc, PhD

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.

NVRI Scientific Advisory Committee

  • Prof Sarah Dunlop (Chair)
  • Prof Paul Baird
  • Prof Erica Fletcher
  • Prof David Grayden
  • Pete Haydon
  • Prof Michael Ibbotson
  • Prof Marcelo Rosa


Finance and Risk Committee

  • Denise Gronow (Chair)
  • John Delinaoum
  • Pete Haydon
  • Rodney Hodge
  • Tim Powell
  • Ian Thompson
  • Renaldo Tomasiello


NVRI Board of Administration

  • Denise Gronow (Chair)
  • Sandra Calvert
  • Pete Haydon
  • Rodney Hodge
  • Prof Michael Ibbotson

Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)

    • The Human Research Ethics Committee wound up on 30 September 2020. The responsibility for monitoring of all active research projects and ethics approval of any new project is now undertaken by the University of Melbourne Psychology Health and Applied Sciences Human Ethics Sub-Committee (E00246)