Skip to Content

Veteran Mental Health Clinical Reference Group

As at September 2017


The Veteran Mental Health Clinical Reference Group provides expert advice to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and the Department of Defence (Defence) on mental health matters relating to veterans including current serving and reservists. It does this by:

  1. providing expert input to:
  • service delivery and clinical practice requirements for veteran mental health services;
  • improvements to mental health services for veterans in line with DVA and Defence reform agendas;
  • quality standards and service delivery guidelines;
  • leadership and facilitating dialogue with professional groups, colleges and consumer groups on veteran mental health issues;
  • emerging issues and new research associated with the delivery of high quality mental health services to veterans;
  • strategies and initiatives to improve integration and coordination of mental health services for veterans;
  1. taking into account relevant research and studies on the broad range of mental health issues, including those related to old age and dementia; and
  2. establishing linkages with the National Mental Health Forum, the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service and its National Advisory Committee, and younger/contemporary veteran groups.

The members have strong clinical service expertise, are recognised as experts in their field, and have experience in providing expert advice.  It is also a requirement that members of the group have a strong understanding of veteran mental health issues, including the contemporary cohort.  Members are appointed to the group as individuals rather than representatives of any organisation.

All appointments are made by the Secretary of DVA.

Term of Office

All members are appointed to the Veteran Mental Health Clinical Reference Group for a term of three years except for the Tertiary Health Representative who is appointed for 12 months.


  • Dr Ian Gardner – DVA Principal Medical Advisor (Chair)
  • Dr Samuel Hay – General Practitioner & reserve medical officer in the Australian Army, NSW
  • Professor Malcolm Hopwood – Professor of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne & Albert Road Clinic, VIC
  • Scientia Professor Richard Bryant – School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, NSW
  • Ms Jan Alexander – Mental Health Social Worker – Private practice, NSW
  • Associate Professor Jane Burns – CEO, InnoWell, VIC
  • Dr Malcolm Battersby – Director, Flinders Human Behaviour & Health Research, Flinders University, SA
  • Professor David Forbes – Director, Phoenix Australia, VIC
  • Professor Ian Hickie – Professor of Psychiatry,  Executive Director of Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, NSW
  • Professor Zachary Steel – Professor of Trauma and Mental Health, St John of God Hospital Richmond, NSW
  • Dr Andrew Khoo – Consultant Psychiatrist and Director Group Therapy Programs, Toowong Private Hospital, QLD
  • Mr David Morton – Director General, Mental Health Psychology & Rehabilitation, Joint Health Command, Department of Defence
  • Dr Stephanie Hodson CSC – National Manager, Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service
  • Ms Kym Connolly – a/g Assistant Secretary, Mental & Social Health Branch, DVA
  • Dr Loretta Poerio – DVA Mental Health Advisor
  • Professor Alexander McFarlane AO – DVA Psychiatric Advisor – Professor of Psychiatry – Head of University of Adelaide, Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, SA
Average: 1.7 (7 votes)