The DHAA Board

Caring for our industry. Caring for you.

The DHAA is run and managed by a team of eager and willing volunteers. These individuals happily give up their valuable spare time to ensure the smooth-running of the Association, the well-being of our members and the future of our profession.

Dr Melanie Hayes
Chief Executive Officer

Melanie was part of the first graduating cohort from the Bachelor of Oral Health Program at the University of Newcastle, where she was the Graduate Speaker and awarded the Golden Scaler for Clinical Excellence. Melanie then went on to complete an Honours Degree with First Class Honours, and then a PhD exploring “Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Australian Dental Hygiene Profession”. Since graduating she has worked in both general and periodontal practices, as well as educating oral health students in Lecturing positions at the University of Newcastle and the University of Melbourne.

Melanie has been involved with various DHAA committees since 2008. She was the Secretary for NSW Branch from 2009-2010, and then the State President from 2010-2012. Following this she was elected as the NSW National Councillor in 2014, and was then subsequently elected as National President in the same year. Melanie has represented the DHAA in various forums, including consultation on the National Oral Health Plan and the review of Attributes and Competencies of a Dental Hygienist with the Australian Dental Council.

In a rapidly changing profession, Melanie is keen to ensure that the DHAA provides all members with the support they need for professional growth and career development.

Kathryn Novak
Acting DHAA President & ACT Director

Kathryn has been in the dental industry since 1982 where she started as a part time assistant in Canberra. After working in orthodontic and periodontal practices, she studied in Adelaide to complete a Associate Diploma in Dental Hygiene. For the next 20 years she worked in numerous practices, rural and city, public and private, general and orthodontic, while having a family and relocating often due to her husbands work. Since returning to Canberra in 2005, she has held many roles in the DHAA branch. She has been President, National Councillor and CPD chair but the highlight was being the Chair of the National Symposium in 2014. She still really enjoys her clinical work in Ortho and General practices.

Cheryl Dey
DHAA Treasurer & South Australia Director

Cheryl graduated from the Advanced Diploma of Oral Health at Gilles Plains, TAFE SA, in 2006, receiving an award for excellence from the Australian Dental Association and delivering the graduate speech. Since graduating she has worked in general and specialist practices in Adelaide and Sydney.

Cheryl has been a member of the DHAA and involved in various committees since 2007. She became involved in the DHAA SA executive after graduating, taking the role of State Treasurer from 2007 to 2009. In 2012 she took on a mentee role under the National Treasurer, taking over the role formally in 2012. Cheryl has been heavily involved in the Restructure Task Force since its inception, taking on the role of Chair in 2014.

Cheryl is passionate about furthering the position of the DHAA as the peak professional body representing Dental Hygienists and Oral Health Therapists. She firmly believes that the members deserve a strong Association to provide leadership, advocacy, education and mentoring.

Cheryl currently works full time in a private orthodontic practice; primarily in Adelaide, and commutes to Melbourne twice a month.

Ian Epondulan
New South Wales Director

Ian graduated as an Oral Health Therapist from The University of Sydney in 2011 and took up a position at NSW Health gaining valuable clinical experience and an appreciation for Population Oral Health Promotion and Advocacy. Whilst currently undertaking a Master of Public Health at The University of Sydney he is an Educator for the SALSA (Students As LifeStyle Activists) Program which aims to empower high school students to live healthier lives through healthy eating and physical activity.

Ian became involved with the DHAA volunteering as a student member in the CPD Team. In 2013 he was elected as NSW Branch Vice-President, assisted as NSW Acting Secretary, NSW National Councillor in 2014 and since 2015 as NSW Board Director. He has been Chair of Membership Committee, engaging and managing communications to members via social media platforms and assisting in CPD event management. A highlight was the successful planning of the 13th DHAA National Symposium 2015 in Sydney.

Ian is part of the Supporting Oral Health in Later Life Group (SOHILL), a special interest group created to help improve dental services for older people and embraces all who want to be involved in improving their oral health. He has volunteered for the Tzu Chi Foundation which provides free dental care for the disadvantaged in Western Sydney. He hopes to continue to be a voice and advocate for future leaders of the profession.

Rhonda Kremmer
Western Australia Director

Rhonda trained in the first year of Dental Therapy in Victoria. They were pioneers working in new dental vans/clinics at primary schools where the caries rate was high. Fluoride was only introduced into the Melbourne water supply in 1977, the year they graduated. Children often required eight fillings or more and extractions of six year old molars. In 1999 a bridging course was offered at Melbourne University for the first time (pioneering again). A diploma offered Dental Therapists training as Oral Health Therapists (Hygiene) and Rhonda undertook the year intensive study. Rhonda became passionate about periodontal disease and addressed the need to educate and treat predominately adults with this condition. She has worked with periodontists and the experience has aided her clinical expertise. Currently Rhonda works part time in a private dental practice in Subiaco.

Rhonda has held executive positions on dental hygiene committees for over fourteen years including being a past president in Victoria and National Councillor in two states. She has a keen interest in our profession and have been actively involved in lobbying for hygienists’ to address aged care oral health and hopefully other disadvantaged communities. Rhonda enjoys participating in a team environment and appreciates the privilege of representing our members at national level where we can make a difference. She finds mentoring the newly graduated hygienists on our committee rewarding and benefits herself from their keen assistance.

With three adult children not living close by (and two delightful grandsons who live in South Africa) Rhonda has time to give back to the profession so long as she can fit a couple of games of golf in per week!

Andrea Shoobridge
Tasmania Director

Copy to come

Tabitha Acret
DHAA Northern Territory Director

Tabitha has worked with the Dental industry for more then 20 years with various roles starting as a dental nurse, a practice manager and graduating from Newcastle University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Oral Health.

She currently works part-time in private practice and one day a week as a clinical educator at Sydney University.

Tabitha is passionate about continuing education and enjoys her role as Chair with DHAA Ltd so that she can share that passion with members.

Carol Tran
Queensland Director

Copy to come

Ron Knevel
Victorian Director

Ron Knevel has been a lecturer in Dental Hygiene since 1986. He worked at Academic Centre of Dentistry in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, School for Oral Health Care professionals, as lecturer and pre-clinical and clinical coordinator, international coordinator and as a curriculum coordinator.

Next to his work as a lecturer and clinical demonstrator he has worked in general practice and at the department of periodontology of ACTA. He has been an invited speaker on several national and international conferences in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia (including Europerio and the International Symposium on Dental Hygiene). Since 2009 he has worked as a Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University, and is the 3rd year coordinator of the Bachelor of Oral Health Sciences.

He is the founder and chair of the Buddhi Bangara Foundation to promote and develop sustainable oral health promotion activities in Nepal, and is a cofounder of the Dental Hygienists Association Nepal. He established an Oral Health Promotion Training Centre in Dhangadi West-Nepal in October 2010 (3 year project).

State Chairs

Your friendly local contact.

The following volunteers are on-hand to represent our members in all corners of the country. As the state chair-person they are you local face of the DHAA association and work tirelessly, with their teams, to ensure that you have CPD events and state-specific support at your fingertips.

Madellyn Kennedy
DHAA ACT State Chair

Madellyn is a registered Dental Hygienist and Dental Therapist with extensive experience having worked in the dental profession for over 33 years. She has worked in a number of dental environments including rural and city, public and private, general and orthodontic, across NSW, QLD Northern Territory and ACT.  

Graduating from the Westmead College of Dental Therapy in 1983, she has since completed the Queensland Health Dental Hygiene Academic Upgrade program in 2005, and graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Public Health) from QUT in 2009. 

She has been an active member of the DHAA ACT branch since registering as a Dental Hygienist in 2006 – firstly as editor of the DHAA ACT Branch newsletter from 2007-2011 and more recently assisting with ACT Branch CPD events. 

Madellyn has spent 17 years in total working in the ACT dental industry with the last eleven years in a specialist orthodontic practice.

Leonie Brown
DHAA Northern Territory State Chair

Carlene Franklin
DHAA Queensland State Chair

Lyn Carman
DHAA South Australia State Chair

Rachelle Johnson
DHAA Tasmania State Chair

My dental career commenced in 2007 as a Trainee Dental Assistant with Oral Health Services Tasmania. One of my mentors shared stories of her time as a Dental Assistant in the Army, which motivated me to join the Royal Australian Navy Dental Branch in 2008. I enjoyed postings on ships and ashore in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

It was during the 2012 humanitarian mission Pacific Partnership which confirmed my passion to become a Dental Hygienist. This dream became reality after graduating from the Advanced Diploma of Oral Health at RMIT University in 2015.

Anne Di Paolo
DHAA Victoria State Chair

Anne is a registered practicing dental hygienist in a Melbourne general practice with over 30 years of experience in the industry.

Her professional career in dentistry has included expanded dental assistant roles, clinical dental hygiene, dental assistant and dental hygiene education and professional speaking. She has also been instrumental in the development of training manuals.

Following completion of her Advanced Diploma of Oral Health (Dental Hygiene) in Adelaide, Anne returned to Melbourne where she became involved with Dental Hygienists’ Association of Australia Victoria Branch. She has served as President several times of the years and has always remained an active member of the committee. An extensive list of additional committee appointments through the years reflects a close association with colleagues and peers and a genuine interest in oral health and representation of her profession. She still remains an active member of Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch Oral Health Committee where she has held that position for over 10 years.

Anne has worked in both specialist and general practices, is a clinical demonstrator for the University of Melbourne and is a keen photographer.

Aileen Lewis
DHAA Western Australia State Chair

Aileen trained initially as a Dental Therapist mainly employed in rural areas of the Wheatbelt of Western Australia when a new graduate in 1982.
Her specialty areas of prevention and oral health promotion are one of her main passions, empowering people to improve their oral health status, especially with the Aboriginal community.

In 1985 she undertook a conversion course to Hygiene with the Health Department and extended into private practice and the General Dental Government clinic in Rockingham until 2014.

She has also worked in orthodontics with Dr Siva Vasudavan and currently works at an implant and general dental clinics in O’Connor and Byford.
Aileen also had major input into Health Promotion in the Oral Health Promotion Unit (Formally Dental Health Education Unit) with Dental Health Services involved in 0-5 year old Family Fun Days, Health and Career Expos for high schools.

She is currently involved with the 0-4 year old Model of Care pilot program introducing children to the dental setting in a positive and non threatening environment.

Volunteering is another of her passions not only for DHAA Ltd but also in March 2016 she accompanied Rotary Victoria Dental team to Tan Châu in Vietnam. She promoted dental health to children in schools and assisted a team of dentists and dental students to restore teeth with ARTechnique and fissure seals. She will be joining C.H.A.T this July for one week in another rural and remote area of Vietnam to provide treatment to children and adults.
Aileen also volunteers at the Motor Neurone Disease Inc fundraising and driving the client bus.

She is a keen advocate for the environment and is a member of the ANZSPaediatric Society, Beeliar Wildlife Corridor, Frack Free Future, Conservation Council of Australia and her latest interest is 1940 and 50’s Perth Pin Up Community and Swing Dancing.

Married for 30 years this year to Steve, they have two daughters aged 20 and 25, two cats and two mini Schnauzer dogs.

Supporting Officers

Meet the engine room.

Outside of the main DHAA board and State representatives there are even more hard-working individuals that keep your Association running smoothly,

Josh Galpin
IT Officer

Patricia Chan
Administration & Events Officer

Amelia Munn
DHAA Memberships Officer

Shiralee Davis
DHAA Employment Officer

Shida Taheri
DHAA Sponsorship Officer

Danielle Gibbens
DHAA Bulletin Editor