Our Team

Clinical staff

Cardiology

Dr Rolf Gomes – Cardiologist
BE, MBBS, FRACP

Dr Gomes is a general Cardiologist with a special interest in heart failure, valvular heart disease and echocardiography. He graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from The University of Queensland after which he completed his Cardiology Specialty training at The Prince Charles Hospital and The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. He is a Fellow of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians and a member of the Australian Medical Association.

Dr Gomes also holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Melbourne. He is the Founding Father of Heart of Australia and operates Heart of Australia clinics in Winton, Charters Towers, Moranbah and Dalby.

Dr Karam Kostner – Cardiologist
MD, PhD, FRACP, FCSANZ
A/Prof Kostner is Director of Cardiology at the Mater Public and Private Hospital Brisbane, and Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Queensland. He is a general cardiologist and lipidologist with an interest in imaging and has extensive clinical and research experience in lipid management and primary prevention of CVD. He runs a large public and private Lipid and Primary Prevention Clinic at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane. He is a past President of the CSANZ Qld branch. He is CV section editor of the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, editorial member of Atherosclerosis, The Journal of Clinical and Preventive Cardiology, Lipidology and reviewer for many other journals. He has organized many national and international conferences and is the chair and founder of the World Congress of Clinical Lipidology.

Dr Kostner has more than 120 publications and is a grant reviewer for NHMRC and several European grant agencies. He operates Heart of Australia clinics in Emerald, Barcaldine and Longreach.

Dr Rob Perel – Cardiologist
MBBS, FRACP, FCSANZ, CEPS & CCDS (IBHRE), BVSc (Hons)

Dr Perel is a cardiologist with sub-specialty training in cardiac electrophysiology and specialises in heart rhythm disorders and cardiac electronic implanted devices. Dr Perel is also a general cardiologist, offering consultation and management for patients with coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, heart failure and valvular heart disease.

Dr Perel is a graduate of the University of Queensland with degrees in Medicine and Veterinary Science. He completed a two-year fellowship in Cardiac Electrophysiology with the University of Toronto at St Michaels’ Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Dr Perel is recognised as a Certified Electrophysiology Specialist and Cardiac Device Specialist by the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners (IBHRE), affiliated with the Heart Rhythm Society.

Dr Perel performs procedures at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital Brisbane and St Andrew’s Ipswich Private Hospital. He also provides inpatient consults at Greenslopes Private Hospital, Mater Mothers’ Private Hospital, Mater Adult Hospital and Sunnybank Private Hospital. He operates Heart of Australia’s clinics in Charleville and Roma.

Dr Alex Dashwood – Cardiologist
BM, BSc, FRACP, MRCP (UK)

Dr Dashwood is a general cardiologist with special interests in advanced heart failure, transplantation and coronary risk factor management. He is a Fellow at The Prince Charles Hospital in the Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Unit, the quaternary referral centre for Cardiology in Queensland. Dr Dashwood is a Lecturer at Griffith University and is currently completing a PhD researching novel medication targets for advanced heart failure at the University of Queensland.

Originally from England, Dr Dashwood graduated from Southampton University and subsequently obtained his Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (UK) in 2013 and Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Cardiology) in 2017. Dr Dashwood sees patients with all forms of clinical cardiology issues but has a special interest in heart failure, both the acute and long term management. Dr Dashwood is a keen advocate for education, taking an active involvement in the professional education of junior doctors. In parallel to his clinical responsibilities, Dr Dashwood is developing his portfolio of clinical trials for novel heart failure therapies and is involved in a number of international multi-site studies. He operates Heart of Australia clinics in Charters Towers, Moranbah & Blackall.

Dr Jeffrey Franco – Cardiologist
M.D, FRACP

Dr Franco is dual trained in both Interventional Cardiology and Cardiac Imaging at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

His most recent interest is in Cardiac Imaging, specifically Transthoracic Echocardiography, Stress Echocardiography, Transoesophageal Echocardiography, and CT Coronary Angiography.

Dr Franco has well rounded experience in Cardiology with his previous work experience including the Director of Cardiology at Toowoomba Base Hospital, Director of Cardiology at Logan Hospital, and Visiting Medical Officer at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for more than a decade.

He currently works in a specialist position at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, as well as practicing in various locations in both Brisbane and the Gold Coast. He operates Heart of Australia clinics in Winton & Longreach.

Dr Robert Gluer – Cardiologist
MBBS, FRACP, JP (Qual.)

Dr Gluer is a general Cardiologist with a sub-specialty interest in echocardiography. He completed his advanced training in cardiology at The Prince Charles Hospital in 2016 as the Senior Cardiology Registrar, being awarded his Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Physicians, prior to taking up a post at Toowoomba Base Hospital as a Consultant Cardiologist.

He has undergone further post-fellowship training in echocardiography through The Prince Charles Hospital in 2017, and performs and reports transthoracic echocardiography, transoesophageal echocardiography, and stress (exercise and dobutamine) echocardiography.

He has an interest in developing accessible, high quality, Cardiologist reported echocardiography services in the Darling Downs region. He operates Heart of Australia clinics in St George.

Prof Darren Walters – Cardiologist
MBBS MPhiL FRACP FCSANZ FSCAI
Prof Darren Walters is a structural interventional Cardiologist and has been one of the pioneers of structural interventions in Australia such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement and percutaneous mitral valve repair and replacement.

Dr Walters is Director of Cardiology at The Prince Charles Hospital and Visiting Medical Officer at St Vincent’s Brisbane (St Vincent’s Northside Hospital).

His interests include innovative technologies, clinical and translational research. He has been involved in International prospective randomised clinical trials and investigator driven translational research and is the author of more than 200 peer reviewed papers, abstracts, international guidelines and book chapters. As an invited expert, he has been a guest speaker in more than half a dozen countries overseas including the USA, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and China.

Professor Walters also visits Mater Hospital at Rockhampton each month.

Gastroenterology

Dr Thomas Dover – Endocrinologist, Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist
MBBS, Hons1, FRACP, BHSc Hons, BScApp
Dr Dover completed his medical degree in 2006. Prior to medicine he completed degrees in dietetics and exercise science, working in the health and fitness industry for years as a dietitian and exercise physiologist. He went back to study medicine in 2003 with a view to become an Endocrinologist, with a special interest in diabetes as well as general endocrinology.

He is also an enthusiastic marathon runner, having completed over 20 marathons including New York, Boston and venturing to North Korea to run the Pyongyang marathon. He currently works predominately at Ipswich and Mater Hospitals with some indigenous outreach work in Ipswich and Bundaberg. He operates Heart of Australia’s clinics in St George & Stanthorpe.

Adjunct Professor Dr Tony Rahman – Gastroenterologist
MA, PhD DIC, FRCP, FFICM, FRACP (Oxon.)
Dr Rahman is the Director of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane. He is Adjunct Professor with QUT and James Cook University. Previously Dr Rahman was a Consultant Specialist and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Intensive Care Medicine at St. George’s Hospital, London for 10 years. Dr Rahman graduated in Medicine and Physiological Sciences from Oxford University, UK. In 2003, Dr Rahman was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Medicine at Imperial College, London. He was accredited as a Consultant Specialist in Adult Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Internal and Critical Care Medicine by the Royal College of Physicians (London) and Royal College of Anaesthetists (UK) in 2004. He was awarded Fellowship of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine in London in 2010 and the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians (Australia) in 2012.

Dr Rahman’s further specialist training included Institute of Liver Studies and Transplantation, King’s College, St. Thomas’, Guy’s, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Imperial College and St. George’s, London. He has been involved in new and innovative treatments of liver diseases (Fibroscan), GI cancers, polyps, complex reflux disease, functional bowel disease and nutrition. He is a founding partner of Brisbane Gastro, practising at St. Andrews War Memorial, Brisbane Private & North West Hospitals. He operates Heart of Australia’s clinics in Charleville & Roma.

Dr Gautam Ramnath – Gastroenterologist
MBBS, FRACP
Dr Ramnath is a Gastroenterologist specialising in Gastroenterology and Hepatology and has been practicing in Brisbane since 2007. Dr Ramnath also has a special interest in management of acute bleeding and anaemia, complex presentations, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, endoscopy and colonoscopy.

Dr Ramnath completed his Undergraduate training at the University of Queensland followed by a year in Darwin. He then spent ten years of postgraduate training in Gastroenterology and with the Liver Transplant team in Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians and the Gastroenterology Society of Australia.

Dr Ramnath’s training also included time spent in clinical pharmacology plus several years in geriatrics and acute internal medical. He operates Heart of Australia clinics in Moranbah & Blackall.

Endocrinology

Dr Andrea Fernandes – Endocrinologist
MBBS, FRACP, BSc, LLB (Hons)
Dr Fernandes is an Endocrinologist with an interest in bone disease, diabetes and general endocrinology. She graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from the University of Queensland, and completed with her physician’s training at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Townsville Base Hospital, Mater Health Services and Greenslopes Private Hospital.

Dr Fernandes is a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians and member of the Endocrine Society of Australia.

Dr Fernandes also has a law degree from the University of Queensland. As well as clinical work she is currently doing research into bone and chronic kidney disease. She operates Heart of Australia clinics in Dalby.

Dr Kelly Carruthers – Endocrinologist
BA Hons (Psych), MBBS, FRACP
Dr Carruthers completed her training at the University of Queensland, graduating in 2008.

Her strong interest in Endocrinology started during her junior doctor training at The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and The Prince Charles Hospital. She completed her specialist training in the field of endocrinology at the RBWH and Nambour General Hospital.

Dr Carruthers particularly enjoys teaching medical students and junior doctors and is an associate clinical lecturer with University of Queensland.

Dr Carruthers looks after patients with a range of endocrine conditions and is committed to providing up-to-date care. She has particular interest in the management of Type 1 Diabetes, including insulin pump therapy and is passionate about improving the Health of young Queenslanders.

When not travelling with Heart of Australia, Dr Carruthers has a busy private practice at North Lakes and North West Hospital. She is employed at Redcliffe Hospital providing endocrine care to pregnant women as a member of the antenatal clinic and locums as a consultant Endocrinologist at RWBH. Dr Carruthers is also completing a Master of Philosophy degree based at the Translational Research Institute. She operates Heart of Australia clinics in Quilpie.

Gynaecology

Dr K Sivanesan – Gynaecologist
MBBS (Hons), DFFP (UK), MRCOG (UK), FRANZCOG
Dr Siva completed his medical degree in Colombo Medical Faculty, Sri Lanka in 2001. He moved to the UK in 2002 to continue his training in Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

Initially he worked in Glasgow as a Senior House Officer and Registrar in Obstetrics & Gynaecology. He commenced his Obstetrics and Gynaecology specialist training rotation in 2006 in the Manchester region. During this time, he developed a passion in Urogynaecology. He also completed RCOG advanced training modules (ATM) in Urogynaecology & Pelvic Floor Surgery. Siva was awarded with Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG) in the UK in 2008. He completed his Specialist training in 2011. Following specialisation, he did a clinical fellowship in IVF (Assisted Reproduction) at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.

Dr Siva has been working in Australia as a Consultant since 2013. He was awarded the fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) in 2014. In addition to private practice at St. Andrew’s Ipswich Private Hospital, Dr Siva also works as a Staff Specialist in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the Ipswich General Hospital. He operates Heart of Australia’s clinics in Stanthorpe & Dalby.

Dr David Chettle – Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
BAppSci, MBBS, FRANZCOG
Dr Chettle is a specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist trained in Queensland. He has extensive experience managing both normal and high-risk pregnancies and remains vigilant in staying up to date with the latest research.

Dr Chettle utilises the latest evidence to support treatment decisions – be they conservative, medical or surgical. He employs a multi-disciplinary approach in treating many conditions. Dr Chettle’s special interest areas are, Normal and high-risk pregnancies, Cervical disease, Menstrual dysfunction, PCOS, Pelvic Pain, Menopause, Vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC).

Dr Chettle looks forward to delivering exceptional care to the rural communities and working alongside like-minded medical specialists with Heart of Australia. Dr Chettle operates Heart of Australia’s clinics in Roma.

Dr Bill Boyd – Gynaecologist
M.B.Ch.B, FRCOG, FRANZCOG, GAICD
In 1983 Dr William (Bill) Boyd was Medical Superintendent with the right of private practice in Weipa.

Since 1996 he has been practicing in Mackay. In 1993 he went into full-time private practice, ceased Obstetrics in 2004 and continued as a Specialist Gynaecologist in Mackay.

For many years he has offered Outreach Clinics to Regional towns around Mackay including Proserpine, Sarina, Glenden, Moranbah, Clermont, Dysart, Middlemount and travelling as far as Emerald. He operates Heart of Australia’s clinics in Winton & Longreach.

Psychology

Dr Gavan Palk – Psychologist
PhD, FAPS, FCFP
Dr Gavan Palk is a fully registered psychologist and endorsed forensic psychologist of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and Fellow of the College of Forensic Psychologists. Dr Palk has a Masters’ Degree in Applied Psychology (specialist area psychophysiology) and a Doctorate in Forensic Psychology. In addition he is also a qualified Barrister and Legal Practitioner.

Dr Palk provides treatment for trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, suicidal behaviour, developmental disorders and challenging behaviours (violence, problem sexual behaviour) from childhood to senior years. He specialises in neurological disorders and behavioural problems.

Dr Palk provides diagnostic cognitive and psychometric assessments for learning, mental/personality disorders, capacity and fitness for legal matters (IQ, learning, memory, attention), particularly in the field of forensic neuroscience. Dr Palk has extensive experience in treating clients with forensic mental health concerns, he has over 70 publications in peer reviewed journals and conferences in the field of forensic mental health and was in 2019 granted an award of Distinction of the Australian Psychological Society for contribution on a national and international level to the field of forensic psychology.

Geriatric Physician

Dr Reena Tewari – General Physician
MBBS, MD, FRACP
Dr Tewari is a Geriatrician working with the Heart of Australia team. She is a Geriatrics Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), and a member of Australia and New Zealand College of Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM).

Dr Tewari obtained a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, India which is affiliated to prestigious Lucknow University. She also obtained a post graduate qualification in General Medicine (MD) from the same institute.

In India, Dr Tewari worked in various areas of General Medicine as Senior Registrar and then as Consultant with special interest in Geriatrics and Endocrinology. Dr Tewari moved to Australia and completed her Specialist training in Geriatric Medicine in South Australia, rotating through Flinders Medical Centre, Repatriation General Hospital and Noarlunga Hospital, finishing in December 2014.

Following this Dr Tewari worked as Staff Specialist in Geriatric Medicine at Royal Adelaide Hospital from January 2015 to 2017. Currently, Dr Tewari is continuing with her private practice along with locum public hospital work, based in Adelaide. She operates Heart of Australia’s clinics in St George, Stanthorpe & Dalby.

Neurology

Dr Paul Sandstrom – Neurologist
MB, BS, PhD DTM&H, FRACP, FACTM
Dr Sandstrom completed clinical training in Neurology in 1984. Thereafter he worked at the National Hospital for Nerve Diseases in London over an interval of twelve months and in particular, acquired in neurophysiology and general clinical neurology.

Subsequently, Dr Sandstrom acquired a Doctorate of Philosophy and specifically, the thesis related to an evaluation of the neurophysiologic effects of marine toxins upon peripheral nerves, in rats. Further, he has completed a Diploma in Tropical Medical and Hygiene (DTM&H) at the James Cook University, Townsville.

Although a general neurologist, Dr Sandstrom maintains active research interest in multiple sclerosis and demyelinating diseases and he is currently engaged in studies which will be presented as a Doctorate of Medicine theses (MD), in relationship to the development of a rodent model of demyelination.

At a clinical level, he maintains major clinical interest in neuroimmunology, multiple sclerosis and additionally, an interest in tropical neurology. He operates Heart of Australia clinics in Emerald.

Urology

Dr Nigel Dunglison – Urologist
MBBS, FRACS (Urol)
Dr Dunglison completed his medical degree at the University of Queensland in 1989 and received his fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2002. He underwent two years of sub-specialist training in ‘Reconstructive and Prosthetic’ Urological surgery at the Institute of Urology at University College London Hospitals, under the mentorship of the internationally renowned reconstructive urologist Professor A R Mundy.

In 2002, Dr Dunglison returned to Brisbane, having been appointed the Director of Urology at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. He has developed the Urology department to incorporate robotic, laparoscopic, laser, prosthetic, reconstructive and flexible endoscopic surgeries along with prostate MRI and brachytherapy. Currently, he continues to develop his own private surgery and is a regular visiting medical officer at the Wesley Hospital and Chermside Day Hospital. He operates Heart of Australia clinics in Cloncurry.

Management

Dr Rolf Gomes – Founder, Director & Cardiologist
Heart of Australia is the brainchild of Brisbane cardiologist Dr Rolf Gomes, a father of three and the principal of Medihearts – his established private cardiology practice in Brisbane. Rolf has committed his Medihearts practice to support the realization of his vision for Heart of Australia – to revolutionise the delivery of first-class specialty services to rural and remote communities.

Kylie Gomes – Director

Veronica Jakobsen – Executive Manager & HR
Veronica was born and raised in Norway and is a very proud Viking. Having grown up in Europe and travelled, lived and worked extensively around the world throughout her life Veronica brings her vast international experience and knowledge to her role.

Veronica has lived and worked in Australia for over 13 years and has an extensive HR & Management background, she has worked in the medical field in Senior Management positions for a number of years and has also completed several Business Certificates as well as a Double Diploma in Leadership Management and HR Management. Veronica joined the Heart of Australia team in 2018.

Prior to that Veronica spent quite a few years living and working in rural QLD, working in a Senior Management role for an Indigenous Medical Service as well as owning and running her own property & farm which produced wine grapes, ran cattle and produced Lucerne hay. Veronica brings her first hand experiences of outback living to the Heart of Australia team.

Juanita Wheeler – Strategic Projects & Partnerships
Juanita is an organisational strategist who specialises in for-purpose projects and organisations. Juanita works with organisations to maximise their impact by being bold, strategic and effective. She passionately believes that doing good is good for business.

Juanita left her role as a Director of Global Marketing and Market Development with an international biotech firm in 2014 to do more good in the world. She has spent the last five years consulting exclusively to non-profits, social enterprises and profit-with-purpose organisations. She commenced doing work for Heart of Australia in 2018.

Juanita has an Executive MBA, a BA and a Masters of Business majoring in Philanthropy and Non-profit Studies. Juanita is a Fellow in the prestigious global Atlantic Fellowship program. In her ‘spare time’ Juanita is the Executive Director of TEDxBrisbane.

Administration Team

Katlyn Nizio – Bookings Coordinator
Kat was born and raised in South East Queensland and has spent the last several years working in Medical Devices covering Orthopaedic Implants, loan and consignment usage and billing. Kat’s role as a Booking Coordinator with Heart of Australia sees her being responsible for Dalby, St George, Quilpie, Hughenden and Cloncurry. She is also responsible for and coordinates Sleep Apnoea Studies and CPAP Trials for Heart of Australia Patients and is responsible for making sure all of the Testing that is done on board our Trucks is reported on and distributed.

Jasmin Webb – Bookings Coordinator
Jasmin was born in South Korea and moved to Brisbane at 7 months old to live with her adoptive family. Jasmin is a recent graduate of Bachelor of Health Sciences, majoring in Health Promotion, and has worked as a Support Coordinator for the NDIS previously. Jasmin’s future goal is to further her studies in the health field and finds working with Heart of Australia very beneficial towards that goal. Joining the team recently as a Bookings Coordinator, Jasmin is responsible for several of our towns such as; Stanthorpe, Roma, Emerald, Winton and Charters Towers, as well as the primary contact for our popular and successful GP Education Events held regularly in all our Towns.

Adeleen Crisp – Bookings Coordinator
Adeleen was born in Townsville and moved to Brisbane with her family at the age of 2 years old. Adeleen graduated as an Enrolled Nurse and is continuing her studies in Bachelor of Nursing. Adeleen aspires to become a cardiac nurse and working with Heart of Australia greatly assists in achieving this goal. Adeleen recently joined the Heart of Australia team as a bookings coordinator and is responsible for towns such as: Barcaldine, Blackall, Charleville, Goondiwindi, Longreach and Moranbah. As well as a part of the on-boarding Team for new Doctors to Heart of Australia which involves welcoming them to our team, setting up access to software and distributing promotional and tailored information to each local GP’s outlining the services our new Specialist will be providing.

Tara Smith – Bookings Coordinator/Receptionist

Ally Maurer – Office Administration Assistant
Ally joined the HOA team in October 2019 as our Office Administration Assistant, based at our headquarters in Chelmer, Brisbane. Ally was born in Brisbane and is a proud Brisbanite.

Ally brings a great sense of enthusiasm to the team, along with her experience as a Medical Receptionist and the business fundamentals she gained while completing her Certificate III in Business.

First and foremost Ally provides vital administrative support to key personnel. Like any good office administrative assistant, she knows enough about what is going on across all departments to be a valuable support person and assist with the running of our very busy office.

Rhys Fiveash – Social Media and Engagement Officer
Rhys was born in Canberra, growing up he spent a lot of time on his family’s property in Bega NSW.

After living in Canberra for the majority of his life, Rhys relocated to Port Macquarie NSW to begin a business degree majoring in marketing at Charles Sturt University. During his time at University, Rhys fell in love with marketing and decided to make it his mission to pursue a career in the field.

Moving to Brisbane for greater career opportunities, Rhys has since gained real-life experience in digital marketing, working with retail stores and real estate agents. However, when working as a sole trader, he longed for the comradery of a team.

Having lived in Port Macquarie, and growing up spending a lot of time on his family’s farm, Rhys understands the challenges faced by those Australians living rurally. As such, when the opportunity arose to work for Heart of Australia he jumped out of his chair. Rhys is responsible for our Social Media presence, his role helps to get our services seen by people in the communities that need us the most. He spreads our message, shares our stories, and helps us give outback Australian’s a voice.

Operations/Truck Team

Siana Lewis – Operational Support Officer
Siana was born in Rockhampton but raised in Blackwater, ‘The Coal Capital’ of Queensland. Siana relocated to Brisbane in 2009 to complete a degree in Communications, with a major in Journalism.

Although Siana relocated to the city, she is still a country girl at heart, and having lived in a small mining town she jumped at the opportunity to work for Heart of Australia. Siana is an Operational Support Officer, and is responsible for ensuring that our specialists, our team and our trucks are where they need to be at precisely the right time to see patients and save lives. With her keen head for logistics Siana is a vital part of the scheduling of our much needed specialist clinics.

Chris Wilson – Logistics, Maintenance and IT Officer
Chris Wilson was born in Brisbane but grew up in Papua New Guinea. He completed his education as a boarder at Toowoomba Grammar School and then went to Agricultural College in Orange New South Wales, graduating with a Bachelor of Management (Equine Business). Chris then undertook further study at The Queensland University of Technology and completed a post-graduate certificate in Information Technology. Chris commenced with Heart of Australia in mid-2014. Chris brings his technical and agricultural experience and dedication to Heart of Australia’s vision to deliver positive health outcomes for rural and remote communities across Queensland.

Maria Abrigo – Medical Aide & Cardiac Scientist
Maria joined Heart of Australia in 2015 – her first job in Australia. Maria did her postgraduate diploma in Biomedical Science at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville. She is also an intermediate member of Australian Institute of Medical Scientists.

Before she settled in Australia, Maria finished a bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry at the University of Santo Tomas Philippines.

Maria recently completed her accreditation with Australian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine competency for Cardiac Hemodynamic and Health information and Cardiac Sonography. She did her training at Mater Hospital Cardiac Department (Brisbane) and hopes to become a cardiac sonographer one day.

In Maria’s role as a Medical Aide and Cardiac Scientist on our Trucks she enjoys travelling to all the towns, meeting the people in the bush and hearing their stories about resilience. Maria is passionate in her work and cares about the people that she comes across. Maria is our unofficial tour guide for anyone that visits our trucks and is always very happy to help with anything she can.

Jim Richards – Medical Aide
Jim lives in a small town north of Toowoomba where he enjoys the tranquillity that comes with rural living. Jim joined Heart of Australia in Oct 2018 as a Medical Aide on the trucks. Prior to joining Heart of Australia Jim spent 30yrs in law enforcement with the Queensland Police Service (QAS) working at stations in the north and south of the State.

Jim’s role as Medical Aide on the trucks with Heart of Australia includes everything from reception to cleaning and fitting of Medical Monitors for Testing. Jim continues to help the community by being part of a team bringing specialists services to rural and remote areas thus providing better health outcomes for people in the bush.

Lucas Neilsen – Medical Aide
Lucas grew up on the family property in the rural town of Miles, with his family operating a trucking business. Lucas joined the Heart of Australia team in March 2019 as one of our Medical Aides. Lucas completed his undergraduate degree in biomedical science at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2017. That same year Lucas gained employment as a cardiac scientist at the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital, where he continues to work on his days off from rotation with Heart of Australia.

As Medical Aide for Heart of Australia, Lucas’s role includes assisting in testing by performing ECGs, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, 24hr holter monitoring etc. administration/reception duties and assist with the overall running of the truck.