Our People

As a large centre we operate under a standard business structure with key medical and non-medical roles in place.


Our directors come from Bendigo’s health and business communities and
we are fortunate to have their guidance and expertise.


A talented leader, experienced and engaging communicator with considerable experience in developing innovative products and programs that deliver considerable value to customers, communities and businesses. Whilst Leigh is recognised as a business and community leader, many will also recognise him as an accomplished motorsport professional with a national title to his name. Leigh's involvement in motor sports also encompasses event organising, promotion, track and Television commentary.

Business Experience:

  • Woombye Community Bank Branch: 3 years, Director
  • Bendigo Primary Care Centre 7 years, Director and Chairman
  • Bendigo and Adelaide Bank: 15 years, Senior Manager Innovation and Implementation, Manager Community Enterprise Foundation.
  • Sustainable Regional Australia: 9 years, Director Chairman, Chairman of the Central Vic Solar City project.
  • Bendigo Community Health Services: 9 years, Director and Chairman, Life Member.
  • Essential Service Commission Victoria: 7 years, Customer Consultative Committee Member
  • Race Driving Instructor: Fastrack Racing 14 years
  • Business Owner: 20 years
  • Principle Technical Officer: Telstra 26 years

Board Member


  • Graduate Diploma in Business Management of MBA [Local Government] at RMIT
  • Associate Diploma in Welfare Studies at Phillip Institute of Technology

Gerard has undertaken courses in IAP2 ; Applying Futures Thinking at Mt Eliza Business School and is an Alumni of the Cranlana Program in Toorak. Gerard has significant experience in community engagement, change management, organisation development, policy facilitation and program evaluation. He has had an extensive career in Local Government, community and not-for-profit sectors and was privileged to join Bendigo Community Health Services as CEO in February 2019, and previously served as CEO with Mildura Rural City Council from 2014. Gerard is a people-oriented leader committed to ethical stewardship and social justice with outstanding contemporary team-based leadership, communication, analytical and creative problem-solving skills.

Prior to joining Mildura Rural City Council, Gerard was CEO of Greater Taree City Council on the mid-north coast of New South Wales for over seven years. Gerard’s career also includes time as Director of Health and Community Services at Ringwood and Heidelberg Councils, Director of Community Services and Acting CEO at the Shire of Campaspe and Director of Community Services at the City of Knox. Gerard has also worked for the Municipal Association of Victoria, Spastic Society of Victoria (now known as Scope); the Outer East Regional Housing Association, STAY Youth Refuge and the YMCA of Victoria.

Gerard is currently a Board Member of Haven Home Safe; and was previously a Board Member of Zoe Support Inc in Mildura; a Board Member of the Murray Regional Tourism Board and served as a Board member of Chances for Children in Mildura.

Board Member


  • Bachelor of Science
  • Masters of Business Administration
  • Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors

Regional Partnerships Manager, La Trobe University. Member Victoria Minister of Health's Poisons Advisory Committee, City of Greater Bendigo Advisory Committee for Waste Resources. Member for various other local management committees.

Board Member


  • MBA
  • CPA

Shaun commenced in the role of Executive Director Finance and Resources at Bendigo Health in September 2018.
Shaun grew up in Bendigo and worked at Bendigo Health early in his career. Shaun has a wealth of finance knowledge and experience in executive and leadership roles within public health, aged care, hospitality and banking industries spanning over 23 years.

Most recently Shaun was the CFO at Central Adelaide Local Health Network. Prior to this he was CFO at Townsville Hospital and Health Service and has held roles in the Victorian Public Health Sector at Goulburn Valley Health, Wimmera Health Care Group, Stawell Regional Health and Echuca Regional Health.

Shaun is a current Board Member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association of Australia.

Board Member

MBBS, FRACP, Master of Professional Health Education

Associate Professor Christian Holmes is Director of Monash Rural Health – Bendigo, and also Director of Nephrology at Bendigo Health.
He is a Bendigo resident, and holds a number of key education appointments with Monash University, the University of Melbourne and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He has extensive experience in teaching, curriculum development and clinical service expansion in both public and private medicine.


Our management team hold key medical and non-medical positions and are responsible for the daily operation of the centre.

Steve Cooper

General Manager

Steve has worked in health for over 30 years, holding clinical, education and senior management roles in several states and territories as well as overseas. He has completed a Master’s degree in Health Professional Education and Management, as well as completing a PhD and has a long history in indigenous health. Steve has a passion for primary health care, health literacy and health pathways to prevent chronic disease. 

Michelle Downing

Manager, Business Services

Michelle manages the operation of the financial management, financial compliance, reporting and budgeting systems. She implements system improvements that support service delivery to patients, compliance with regulatory bodies such as Medicare and reporting responsibilities to the General Manager and Board.
Michelle has 25 years experience as a Chartered Accountant.
Her passions includes health, wellness, fitness and nutrition.

Dr Dennis O’Connor

Director of Education and Research

Dr Dennis O’Connor is the current Year four academic lead and since 2010, the GP discipline lead for Monash Rural Health, Bendigo. He is a senior general practitioner and Director of Education and Research at Bendigo Primary Care Centre.

Dennis completed his undergraduate medical degree at the University of Melbourne in 1982 and subsequently returned to his home town to complete a Diploma of Obstetrics in 1985.

He has been in active general practice in the regional city of Bendigo for over 30 years and has a special interest in musculoskeletal medicine, stemming from his community involvement with local sporting clubs over the years. He completed a Diploma of Musculoskeletal Medicine at Flinders University in 2009.

Dennis’ other interest is in medical education. He has an active teaching role with both undergraduate and post graduate medical students, medical registrars and allied health students at Monash University, La Trobe University and as supervisor for students and GP registrars in clinical placements at Bendigo Primary Care Centre. He completed his Graduate Certificate in Health Professional Education in 2011.

Jane Green

Manager, Allied Health and Chronic Disease Management

Jane is passionate about supporting, educating and empowering people who find themselves having to access our health system.

Trained as a general nurse and a midwife, Jane worked extensively in public and private hospitals throughout metropolitan Melbourne and the UK before returning to central Victoria in 2000 to establish and manage nurse-led clinics focused on diabetes and chronic disease in the Macedon Ranges.

Jane returned to her home town of Bendigo in 2016, joining the nursing team at Bendigo Primary Care Centre. In 2017 Jane was employed by Bendigo Primary Care Centre to establish and manage the centre’s chronic disease management team.

Joycelyne Merckel

Nurse Manager

After competing her undergraduate nursing studies at La Trobe University Bendigo in 2004, Kristen went on to gain a graduate diploma in emergency nursing at the University of Melbourne.

She worked in the emergency department at Epworth, Richmond and the intensive care unit at St John of God Bendigo before joining the Bendigo Primary Care Centre team in 2013.

As our Nurse Manager, much of Kristen’s time is focused on improving the services we provide to our patients.

Shannan Nally

Client Services Manager

Shannan oversees the large Bendigo Primary Care Centre reception team.
With many years experience managing all aspects of patient administration needs, she provides advice, guidance, support and training to team members and patients.

As a team leader Shannan makes a significant contribution to improvements in patient experience and best practice. Highly motived and ambitious, Shannan ensures our reception team achieves consistently high standards.