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Board of Directors

Professor Watson – Chairman
MBBS MD FAFPHM AM

Professor Charles Watson is a neurobiologist and public health physician. He has over 25 of experience teaching brain anatomy to medical and science students. He has held many senior public health and academic positions, including that of Chief Health Officer for WA. Professor Watson is the Executive Dean of Health Sciences at Curtin University of Technology.

John McLean – Treasurer

John McLean is a Chartered Accountant with nearly 40 years business experience. He qualified in London with accounting firm Deloitte and spent 16 years with them, including 5 years as a partner.  John was sponsored to Australia by Coopers and Lybrand (now PWC) where he spent six years before becoming General Manager and then CEO of law firm Jackson McDonald, a role he retired from in August 2013. John is a professional director and runs his own management consultancy firm. He is a graduate of the AICD Company Director’s Course (GAICD) and a member of the Securities Institute, FINSIA.

Professor Peter Silbert – Member

Clinical Professor Peter Silbert completed his undergraduate Medical degree through the University of Western Australia in 1984, graduating with honours. He undertook his residency and postgraduate medical training at Royal Perth Hospital, then his neurology training through the Western Australian state Neurology training programme. Post graduate fellowships were undertaken at the Mayo Clinic,in Rochester, Minnesota USA in the areas of Clinical Neurology and Neurophysiology.

Upon his return to Perth, he worked until 2012 concurrently in the Public and Private Health system in Clinical Neurology and in an administrative role as head of department of Neurology at Royal Perth Hospital, State Director of Neurology and finally Head of Adult Neurology Services before moving to full time private practice. He continues to have an active role in under graduate and post graduate teaching, Telehealthand Community Neurology.

Linda Friedland – Member

An international health professional,medical doctor and corporate advisor with more than 20 years experience in the field of clinical medicine and 15 years of consulting and advisory to  leading global companies, Dr Friedland is also a well-regarded international speaker and a best-selling author of five books. She is an authority on executive and corporate health, stress management and women’s health.

With a background of 20 years inclinical medicine combined with strategy expertise, Friedland consults internationally to healthcare, corporate and financial institutions. She has developed and implemented numerous health, lifestyle and illness prevention programs for corporations through Asia, USA, Australia, Africa and the UK. She is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

David Freedman – Member

David Freedman has been active in the neuroscience arena for many years. He is a founding member of the NCWA. David’s main focus is in providing support to the Neurofibromatosis community.

Dr Gilly Smith – Member

Dr Gilly Smith is the Post-Graduate Nursing Programs Coordinator at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Post-Graduate medicine at Edith Cowan University. She lectures primarily in post-graduate critical care and under-graduate ethics/law. With a military, intensive care nursing and clinical governance background, she has interests in critical care nursing, quality and safety, post-traumatic stress syndrome, bioethics and health law.

Erin Godecke – Member

Erin is a Speech Pathologist and Post Doctoral Researcher at Edith Cowan University (WA) and the Australian Clinical Centre of Excellence, Aphasia Rehabilitation. Her research interests include early aphasia (language difficulties following brain injury) intervention and improving outcomes following stroke.

Erin previously worked at Royal Perth Hospital in acute neurological and stroke management for 13 years.  She currently work at Mercy Rehabilitation Unit in aged-care and progressive neurological diseases.

Erin is  an invited area specialist with the National Stroke Foundation, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care: Stroke Care Expert Advisory Panel (2012), the Australian Stroke Research network (2012) and represented the Stroke Society of Australasia on the Australian Stroke Coalition.  On a local level,  she has contributed extensively to WA Health Department’s development of the ‘Stroke Model of Care Plan’ in 2005 and 2011 and the Motor Neurone Disease Model of Care in 2009.


Victoria Butler – Special Expertise, Director

Victoria Butler was appointed by the NCWA Board in February 2012 as a Special Expertise Director..

Victoria is a partner at Jackson McDonald, WA’s largest independent legal firm and is a member of several professional associations.