Our Board

Johnny Mitchell



Njernda Aboriginal Corporation

John Mitchell, is a proud Wemba Wemba man and the Deputy CEO of Njernda, an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) in Echuca, Victoria.

John’s first appointment in Aboriginal Health was at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) in Fitzroy and attained a formal qualification as  Practice Manager with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).

John has 27 years of experience working in ACCHOs and is a nominated Victorian delegate on the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Board.

His portfolios includes, Deputy Chair of the Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee (Loddon Mallee) and Chair of the Local Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee; the Loddon Mallee Aboriginal Reference Group, Health Network Partnership (Campaspe Shire), Family Violence Steering Group (Campaspe Shire), a representative of the Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People’s Alliance (VACYP), Aboriginal Children’s Forum and Aboriginal Justice Forum. 


Karen Heap

Vice Chairperson


Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative

Karen Heap, a Yorta Yorta woman, has been the CEO of Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative for 11 years and brings with her a vast amount of knowledge and skillsets procured from extensive experience within the Aboriginal Service Sector.


John Gorton

Board Member


Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative

A Wotjobaluk man and delegate of Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative in Horsham, John  brings to the VACCHO Board, a fresh face with different views and over 8 years’ experience on an ACCHO Board.


Michael Graham

Board Member


Victorian Aboriginal Health Service

Michael is a Dja Dja Wrung/Wurundjeri man who has been a part of the Melbourne Aboriginal community for most of his life.  He is passionate about improving the outcomes of his people and for the last 20 years or more has been contributing to the wellbeing of the Community through his work at various Community organisations. Michael has worked at VACCA, VAEAI, VAHS, and VACSAL. He is a past Board member of the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative and past Chairman of the Board of Directors at VAHS and the Fitzroy Stars Aboriginal Community Youth Club/Gymnasuim.

Michael is currently the CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service.


Rod Jackson

Board Member


Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative Ltd

A Palawa man and delegate of Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative in Geelong, Rod brings a wealth of experience in Aboriginal and Government not-for-profit businesses and a passion to continue the great work and strategies fostered by VACCHO as a peak body of success.


Jason  Saunders

Board Member


Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation 

I’m A Gunditjmara man and the Health Services Practice Manager at Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation.

I have been in this role for 5 years and have a strong passion for my community and culture.

My other passion is health and wellbeing and I have been working in this space for over 10 years and have gained a wealth of experience.

I’ve spent time on the Winda-Mara board, completed my management training through VACCHO and I’m looking forward to being able to give back to VACCHO and its Members.


Suzie Squires

Board Member


Lake Tyers Health and Children’s Service

Suzie Squires is a Yuin Woman and the CEO of Lake Tyers Health & Children’s Service. Suzie commenced her journey on the VACCHO Board as an Observant and in 2014 was elected as a Board Member. Suzie has been working in Aboriginal Health for 8 years and is currently the Chairperson of the East Gippsland Aboriginal Consortium Djillay Ngalu.