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
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.

Sahil Bareja
New South Wales Director

Sahil is an oral health therapist with advanced skills in adult restorative dentistry.

He graduated from University of Sydney and further completed his graduate certificate in oral health science from the University of Adelaide to expand his skills in adult restorative dentistry.

In 2014, Sahil completed his mini-residency in snoring, sleep apnoea and TMJ disorders and he further pursued his interest by enrolling in Masters of Sleep medicine.

Along with working in private practice, Sahil also teaches at the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Sydney as a clinical educator and guest lecturer.

Samantha Stuart
Western Australia Director

As a mature student, Samantha studied in Adelaide to become a dental hygienist, after working in the field of dentistry.

After enjoying her experience working and studying in Adelaide, Samantha returned to Melbourne and was employed at a high-end restorative practice.

In this time, she also worked as a contractor for the Defence sector, before then moving to a regional practice in Victoria.

For seven years she enjoyed lecturing at Latrobe Rural Health school before deciding on a sea change. In 2011-2013, she was a convener for two of the association’s conferences, in addition to being a speaker.

Her focus now is supporting clinicians along with training staff to maximise their skill-set. Sam has previously held the role of vice-president and president at state level.

Currently Vacant
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

Carol is an Oral Health Therapist with more than nine years of clinical experience that ranges from private practice, across Victoria and Queensland, to university teaching and managing a variety of research projects.

She has extensive experience in teaching within the professional environment, including; lecturing in caries management, periodontology, and general dentistry.

Prior to this she served as a coordinator for dental pre-clinic/simulation clinics for five years.

During her time as a lecturer at the University of Queensland, she was involved in the curriculum review as the chair of the Year 1 committee. She also was heavily involved in project management, policy development, and strategic integration across the BDSc and BOralH programs.

Her research focus is oriented around projects with a direct clinical relevance. This research encompasses periodontology, implant dentistry, microbiology and cariology. She submitted her PhD thesis in 2017.

Carol has served on DHAA boards and committees since 2010. First as a newsletter editor for the DHAA Vic, then as a CPD member for DHAAQ and as a research reviewer for DHAA national.

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.

April Lunnie
DHAA Northern Territory State Chair

April is the Northern Territory chair and the main contact point for Central Australia.

Located in Alice Springs, April is an oral health therapist who is employed as a Project Manager for the University of Adelaide.

April has a broad clinical and academic background. Her interest began at the age of sixteen in her home town of Melbourne when she completed her Cert III in Dental Assisting.

Several years later she relocated to the Gold Coast and whilst still working as a full time dental assistant, she achieved a Bachelor of Public Health with a double major in Health Promotion and Environmental Health and Sustainability.

Immediately following the completion of her first bachelor degree, April’s dental industry experience, and her drive to achieve, lead her to apply for several dentistry and oral health therapy courses in both Australia and New Zealand, to which she received several entrance offers. The offer she accepted was that of Central Queensland Universities’ Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy program; an exciting, newly-established program which included an extended scope of practice.

Following graduation in 2014 as CQU’s pioneering OHT cohort April has practiced in both rural and metro private practice settings prior to relocating to Alice Springs in February 2016.

With an interest in research, April made a huge leap of faith by moving to Alice Springs to work as a research officer, and subsequently the Project Manager, for the UoA’s “PerioCKD” project. April’s role on the PerioCKD project is a mixed academic and clinical appointment, investigating the correlation of periodontal disease and chronic renal disease amongst the indigenous population living in Alice Springs.

In the future April would like to complete research-based postgraduate training.

Carlene Franklin
DHAA Queensland State Chair

Lyn Carman
DHAA South Australia State Chair

Currently Vacant
DHAA Tasmania State Chair

Copy to come

Sarah Laing
DHAA Victoria State Chair

Sarah graduated from Melbourne University in 2001 (Dip.Oral Health/Dental Hygiene) and Curtin University in 2016 (Grad.Cert Healthcare Management).

During her career, she has not only practiced clinically. Currently she is at Collins Dental Image in Melbourne, specialising in advanced non-surgical periodontal management, but she also has extensive experience in both operations management and human resources experience. In doing so she has had the opportunity to mentor clinicians entering our profession and establishing efficient clinical programmes within practices, both corporate and privately.

Since 2016, she has returned to her roots, working as a clinical demonstrator at Melbourne University. Her special interest lies in negotiating the changing horizon of clinical dental hygiene practice and advancing the role of dental hygienists into the future.

Sarah is inspired by one of her mentors who told her the “best gift a dental hygienist can give is to stay in her profession and look at the bigger picture.” She hopes to finish her masters one day soon whilst continuing in the holistic practice of dental hygiene and inspiring the next generations of our profession.

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

Desiree Bolado
DHAA Employment Officer

Shida Taheri
DHAA Sponsorship Officer

Joanna Mohammadi
DHAA Bulletin Editor