Emergency Information

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

Dr Sarah Chaplin (Chair)


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.

Sarah is the Chair of the Board and a member of Benalla Health's Community Advisory, Quality and Safety, appointments and Medical Consultative Committees. 


 Leanne Turner (Vice Chair)

  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 Vice Chair and is a member of the Finance and Audit Committee and Chairs the Quality and Safety Committee.

 Binda Gokhale (Treasurer)


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.

Binda is the Treasurer for the Board of Directors and is a member of Benalla Health’s Finance and Audit, Quality and Safety and Appointments Committees.

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.

Dennis is a member of Benalla Health's Medical Consultative, Community Advisory and Quality and Safety committees. He is also a former Chair of the Board of Directors at Benalla Health. 

Alok Mathur


Alok joined the Board in June 2022.  He has thiry years experience in the fields of internal and external auditing, finance and management accounting, risk management and corporate governance.  Alok is a Board director for Murry City Contry Coast GP Training Victoria.  Alok is a member of the Finance and Audit Committee.






Melinda Lawley

MPH, GCertScCommun, BEd(HSc)

Melinda joined the Board in July 2023 and is a member of the Quality and Safety Committee.

Dr Naveen Tenneti

FAFPHM, BEc-BDev (Hons), MPH  MBBS, BMedSc(Hons), 

Naveen was appointed to the Benalla Health Board of Directors in July 2023. Naveen is a Public Health Physician and is currently working as Medical Director at the Loddon Mallee Public Health Unit, Bendigo Health. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor with the La Trobe Rural Health School.

He has previously held senior executive roles across the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and Department of Health and as a Research Fellow at the Nossal Institute for Global Health. He has worked as a doctor at Monash Health and Researcher at the Grattan Institute. Naveen was a 2014 Monash Community Leadership Scholar and 2017 Westpac Future Leader Scholar. He has tertiary qualifications in Medicine & Surgery, Public Health and Economics and Development.

Naveen has extensive experience across the health sector in clinical, academic and public service roles. He is committed to building strong health systems underpinned by a social determinants approach.