About the board

Benalla Health's Board is responsible to the Minister for Health for setting the strategic directions of the service within the framework of Government policy.

Members of the Board are accountable for ensuring that Benalla Health:

  • Is effectively and efficiently managed.
  • Provides high quality care and service delivery.
  • Meets the needs of the community; and
  • Meets financial and non-financial performance targets.

Board members have a range of relevant skills, knowledge, attributes, and expertise. This includes skills and expertise relating to the governance of health services, and an ability to represent the views of the community.

Current Board Directors

John Papatheohari (Chair)


John has 11 years’ experience as an IT and digital transformation executive across private and public health. John has assumed Chief Information Officer roles over the past six years, having previously let the Health Shared Services entity for the Victorian Department of Health. 

John made the transition to industry after 26 years as a Management Consultant. He has a diverse work experience background, having spent more than 10 years in various overseas postings. John is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Chisholm Institute Board Sub-Committee member. He is a sports enthusiast and active fun run participant.

John has a Bachelor of Business, is a qualified Chartered Accountant, and has CIO Certification from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

John is a representative on the Quality & Safety and Audit Committees. 

Dr Sarah Chaplin


Sarah is an animal welfare specialist with expertise in project management, analysis, communication, and stakeholder engagement.

She is currently on secondment as a Senior Policy Officer in Agriculture Victoria but in her substantive role, she is a Development Specialist, designing practice change programs for the dairy industry.

Sarah was born in England and came to Australia in 2000 to take up a lecturing position at the University of Melbourne. She was based at Dookie Campus for nearly 10 years and both her children were born at Benalla Hospital. Sarah is a Fairley Fellow (2017) and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Sarah runs a Murray Grey stud at Yabba North with her husband.

She is a member of Benalla Health's Community Advisory Committee.  

 Binda Gokhale


Binda joined the Benalla Health Board of Directors in July 2021 and has considerable experience in corporate finance, strategic planning, and governance.

She is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Wyndham City Council and has previously worked at Telstra.

Binda’s financial and operational experience is supported by directorships and committee roles held with a number of corporate, statutory, and not-for-profit entities. Currently these include Trust for Nature, Satellite Foundation and the Victorian Disability Worker Commission.

She is also currently the Chair of the Public Sector and Not for Profit Committee of CPA Australia and on the Executive Committee of the Victorian Local Government Finance Professionals (FinPro), engaging in policy and professional development.

Her attributes include strategic planning, analysis, performance management, corporate governance, compliance, and risk management.

Binda is keen to work with her fellow Board members and Benalla Health’s Executive on strengthening community engagement and service outcomes in the health sector.

She is a member of Benalla Health’s Quality and Safety Committee and Appointments Committee.

Dr Dennis O'Brien


After graduating with his PhD Dennis worked for five years in the Philippines and Indonesia. He has also worked in Canada, USA, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, and China.

He and Gail returned to Australia with their three children in 1985 to take up a position at the University of Wollongong. He moved to Southern Cross University in 1993, where he was Head of the School of Business.

In 2002 he was appointed Associate Professor and Head of the Dookie Campus of the University of Melbourne. He was the foundation Director of the Postgraduate Program at Marcus Oldham College from 2009 to 2010. 

In addition to his current role as a Board Director at Benalla Health, he is also Chair of the Winton Wetlands Committee of Management and Chair of the Benalla Art Gallery Special Committee. 

He has a long history of commitment to community development locally and in his home state of NSW. He and Gail operate a small Wagyu cattle farm at Stewarton.

He chairs Benalla Health's Medical Consultative and Medical Appointments committees and is on the Community Advisory Committee. He is also a former Chair of the Board of Directors at Benalla Health. 

  Leanne Turner

  BHealthSci PostGradDip (Health Administration) MBA GAICD

Leanne was appointed to the Benalla Health Board of Directors in July 2021. Leanne is currently the Executive Director Operations and Chief Nursing Officer at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

Prior to this, Leanne was the Chief Operating Officer at Yooralla and responsible for leading the delivery of all customer services.

Before joining Yooralla in 2017, Leanne was the Executive Director of the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne at Dental Health Services Victoria for three years where she developed new models of care and implemented a new clinical governance framework.

Prior to joining Dental Health Services Victoria, Leanne was the Director of Specialty Services at Austin Health for eight years. In this role, she was responsible for the strategic leadership and operational management of Cardiac Services, Vascular Surgery, Neurosciences, Neuropsychology and Respiratory Services.

Leanne's qualifications include a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Nursing), a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Administration (La Trobe University) and a Master of Business Administration (RMIT). She is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Leanne has extensive experience in clinical governance and risk management, service planning and financial management. She is passionate about improving patient outcomes. Leanne has previously held Board Director position with the Eastern Domestic Violence Service and in Community Health organisations.

Leanne holds the position of Treasurer and chairs the Finance and Audit Committee. She is also a member of the Quality and Safety Committee.