Meet the team

Dr Alison Kennedy
BBSc (Honours), PostGradDipArts(Criminology), GCertHighEd, PhD

Alison is a Behavioural Scientist who has lived and worked in Victoria’s rural farming community for almost 2 decades. Her expertise in rural/farmer mental health and suicide prevention has drawn on a range of innovative techniques including digital interventions, digital storytelling, community education programs and peer support models. Alison has led numerous farmer mental health projects and continues to build the Centre’s capacity and reach by working collaboratively with researchers, farmers and industry stakeholders across Australia and internationally. Her expertise has been recognised through research awards, numerous advisory roles, peer review publications, international research consultation, invited presentations and expert witness testimony before the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. Alison is passionate about co-designing the Centre’s research, education and services in collaboration with the community and industry—to ensure the Centre’s work continues to be effective, relevant and tailored to the needs of rural farming communities.

Dr Susan Brumby
Professor/ Research Fellow
RN, RM, DipFarm M’Ment, GDipWomensSt, MHM, GCertHELT, PhD

Sue was the Founding Director of the National Centre for Farmer Health and brings a unique blend of practical and theoretical experience in both health care and agriculture.  She is passionate about regional communities and the ability to make a difference to farmers’ lives through innovative service delivery, research translation and education and training.  As the course leader for Australia’s only Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Health and Medicine, she has witnessed the progress that relevant and targeted education to improve farmer health, wellbeing and safety can make. A Chief Investigator on numerous research grants and a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership program, Sue has presented and published nationally and internationally. 

Dr Jacquie Cotton
BSc(AnimSc) (Hons), GCertHighEd, PhD

Jacquie is Lecturer and Researcher in Rural Health for Deakin University School of Medicine. She lectures and chairs the units HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine and HMF702 Healthy and Sustainable Agricultural Communities. She has completed a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education and is involved in the development of curriculum and assessment within the Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine. She has multidisciplinary scientific and industry expertise, in particular, translational research within human population health, occupational health and safety, agrichemical exposure and culture/behaviour change. She is a member to both the Victorian Farmsafe Australia committee and the recently formed Agriculture Safety Reference Group established by WorkSafe Victoria.

Cecilia Fitzgerald
Business Development & Industry Engagement Manager
Adv. Dip. Business

Cecilia has been part of the NCFH team since 2016 and has been responsible for implementing and managing service delivery offerings in line with the Centre’s values and strategic plan as Business Development &Industry Engagement Manager since 2019. 

Over the last 6 years she has experienced first-hand the importance of stakeholder partnership and engagement in building sustainable programs and she is committed to growing the Centre’s footprint by working in collaboration with farmers, industry partners, government organisations and the wider community.

In 2021-2022, she helped facilitate the delivery of the Gear Up for Ag Health & Safety program into Victorian secondary schools and thoroughly enjoyed working with the next generation of farmers to build their understanding and awareness of farm safety hazards.

Cecilia was Chair of the Combined Preschool of Southern Grampians Board of Management for 4 years and has also sat on the Hamilton (Gray Street) Primary School Council.  She enjoys cooking, keeping fit through Crossfit and spending quality time with her husband and two energetic children.

Dr Richard Lunz
BScHons, MBBCh, M PubHealth TropMed, PGCertPHC, DipOccupMed, ACCAM

Dr Richard Lunz is a South African trained doctor with experience in science/research/education and postgraduate degrees in Primary Care/Public Health/Occ Med/Aviation/Safety and risk joins NCFH for a return role after initial work with AgriSafe for a project support position.

Dr Joanna Macdonald
Research Assistant
BSc, BHealth&MedSc(Hons), PhD

Joanna grew up in Casterton, South West VIC. In 2013, Joanna completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Chemistry at Deakin University, Geelong. Subsequently, she then completed Honours in Health and Medical Science (2014) and a PhD (2017). Recently returning home to the country lifestyle, Joanna has now joined the NCFH as a Research Assistant and she is looking forward to applying her research skills and passion for rural communities to support the mental health and wellbeing of farmers.

Jessie Adams
Research Assistant and PhD Candidate
BPubHealth & HealthProm(Hons), BCom

Jessie completed a Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion (Hons) and a Bachelor of Commerce at Deakin University in 2017. Following this, Jessie made the move to Hamilton to work as a Research Assistant at the centre. In 2020, she commenced her PhD focusing on child safety on farms. Growing up on a beef farm in northeast Victoria Jessie is keen to help improve the health, wellbeing and safety of farming communities. 

Claire McKay
Research Assistant
BSci, BHealth&MedSci(Hons)

Claire completed a Bachelor of Science at Deakin University Waurn Ponds, before completing an Honours in Health and Medical Sciences (2020), both with Deakin and the NCFH. In 2021, Claire commenced her Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Health and Medicine to further her understanding of the health issues facing farming communities and families. Claire has joined the NCFH as a Research Assistant and looks forward to extending her previous work in agricultural research to improve and support the well-being of Australian farmers.

Dr Amity Latham
Research Assistant

Amity joined the NCFH to support two Rapid Review Projects. She brings with her a wide range of career experiences and farming networks.  
Amity received a scholarship from Regional Development Victoria to undertake a PhD to address rural population decline and dispersal. Her research led her to consider the theory of alienation in the context of farmers’ mental health.
Continuously cropping and stock-free at Telangatuk East, Amity and her husband have two school-aged children and a much-loved kelpie. 

Tracey Hatherell
Program and Data Coordinator
Dip Bus. Management, CA Project Management, Cert IV Rural Bus.

Tracey joined NCFH in 2009 and lives and works with her husband on their sheep and cropping farm in Western Victoria.
Tracey is passionate about the health and wellbeing of our farming communities nationwide and works with the NCFH team to coordinate all health, wellbeing and safety programs including their award-winning Sustainable Farm Families™ program. This drives Tracey to promote all farm families and rural and regional communities to focus on improving their health. Tracey is also responsible for coordinating data and specific NCFH projects to ensure successful delivery and reporting of service strategies and objectives are achieved.

Morna Semmens
AgriSafe™ Clinician RN
B.Nursing, B.Applied Science (Speech Pathology)

Morna is a Registered Nurse and works with her husband on their sheep and cattle grazing farm in Gazette, Western Victoria. She is also actively engaged in Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Landcare roles within her local farming community.
Morna works with the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) to deliver their Health and Lifestyle Assessments (HLA) nationally, as well as the AgriSafe™ program at Penshurst District Health.

Megan Little
AgriSafe™ Clinician RN
Master of Nursing Practice

Megan is a Registered Nurse and has a Master of Nursing that includes the specialties of Agricultural Health and Medicine, and Critical Care Nursing. She lives on a small farm just out of Harrow with her husband and beloved dogs Ted – a big Huntaway, and Fred – the friendly Maremma. They run sheep and poddy calves amongst the red gums and rolling hills, and she grew up on a sheep and cropping farm at Balmoral. Megan also works in Intensive Care at Horsham. For Megan, being an AgriSafe Clinician is the perfect intersection between farming and nursing.

Sally Cunningham
Research Assistant
B. Natural Resources, Cert IV Training and Assessment

Sally Cunningham is an environmental scientist with a strong interest in soils, waterway management and biodiversity on farms. She has worked for more than 20 years in community engagement around these issues and gained a broad experience on farms across South West Victoria. In partnership with farmers, Landcare and industry groups, Sally has delivered significant government-funded on-ground works programs as well as a wide range of skills and capacity-building events and courses for farmers She enjoys working with farmers to bring about positive change for their enterprises, communities and the environment. Sally has a Bachelor of Natural Resources (UNE) and Cert IV in Training and Assessment. She has also worked in community development in Africa for ten years.

Kelly Barnes
Research Assistant

Kelly grew up on a family farm in the south of England and worked on farms and for shearing teams in the UK, New Zealand and Australia before settling permanently in Dunkeld in 2011. She transitioned to work in agribusiness roles including rural merchandise and farm management software and developed a passion for health and wellbeing in farming communities. Kelly completed modules in Agricultural Health and Medicine and Healthy and Sustainable Agricultural Communities and was honoured to be named the 2020 Victorian Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award winner with her pilot working dog training school, which encourages social connection and the use of working dogs as a support tool to build mental resilience in farming communities.
Kelly has enjoyed participating in co-design workshops and as a member of the working group for Mental Health 4 Ag and has joined the team as a research assistant working with the Agriculture-dependant Community Resilience Project Teams Community of Practice.

Kylie Hardy
Executive & Administration Assistant

Kylie is local to the area having grown up on a fine wool producing farm in Western Victoria and continues today to be actively involved with the family farm.  Kylie joined the NCFH team in 2021 after 20-plus years of working in the financial planning industry.  The opportunity to blend her financial and administration skills together with a love of farming brought about a new direction and career change. 

Kylie’s primary responsibility is to support NCFH Director, Alison Kennedy with the day-to-day operations of the NCFH centre.  She enjoys the diversity of her role, connecting with valued clients and the day-to-day dynamics of working in a busy office.  

Kylie, together with her husband, their two teenage children and much-loved dog Lexie enjoy working in their garden, sport, and spending time with family and friends.    

Annabelle Macgugan
Marketing Communications Coordinator
B. Communications (Public Relations), Cert II Equine Industry

Annabelle completed her Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) in 2015, during which she started working in marketing. She is currently studying for her Masters of Marketing. Annabelle was born and raised in the Western District and, after studying and working in Melbourne for a number of years, has returned to her family farm just outside of Hamilton. She worked on the farm before starting at Farmer Health. She is excited to put her experience in digital marketing and passion for farmer health, wellbeing and safety into practice to grow the NCFH footprint.

For any media enquiries please email Annabelle via

Matilda Dohle
Administration Assistant
Currently studying BBus and B.Sc(Psych)

Matilda has joined the team as an Administrative Assistant, where she will use knowledge from her ongoing Bachelor of Psychology and Business alongside her farming background to help support farmers mental health and wellbeing. She has grown up working in Agriculture and is eager to be a part of the team!

Jordan Petrov
Website Support

Jordan is a qualified ICT professional with deep experience in Engineering, Project management and Agile. He has worked in technical and leadership roles for more than 10 years across Europe and is now settled in Melbourne, VIC. He joined the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) to help deliver the organisation’s new web platform and lead the digital transformation of new services. He has a sound track record of executing Agile transformations, mentoring highly efficient cross-functional teams and leading the execution of a variety of IT projects. Jordan is passionate about innovations and everything digital.