All of our practitioners are listed on this page.  

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Our Practioners

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Dr Jon Ford

Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, Clinical and Managing Director, Associate Professor of Physiotherapy

PhD, MPhysio, BAppSc(Physio), CredMDT

Clinics: Boronia, Dandenong

In the early 90s whilst lecturing at The University of Melbourne Jon began developing evidence-based treatment models for people with back pain.  He subsequently established Spinal Management Clinics (part of the LifeCare group) which became one of the leading providers of physiotherapy and multi-disciplinary pain management programs in Australia.  In 2014 to enable a greater focus on improving clinical quality and research, Jon with the practitioners below, purchased and rebranded the clinics as Advance Healthcare.  Jon continues his academic work as the Discipline Lead of Physiotherapy at La Trobe University, as well as leading the Low Back Pain Research Team.  

Jon's clinical and research interest is the diagnosis and treatment of difficult and/or persistent low back pain.  He is also the Team Leader of the Boronia multi-disciplinary Pain Management program.  

Jon speaks fluent German.

Charles Ruddock

Principal Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Director

BA, GradDipPsych, MAPsych, MAPS

Clinics: Bundoora, Dandenong

Charles has spent 18 years working as a psychologist in hospital and private practice settings.  This has included assessing and treating patients, managing and supervising multi-disciplinary teams, developing and delivering training and providing consultancy services.  Charles has strong clinical skills in a range of mental health areas with a particular interest in: chronic pain conditions, stress conditions, workplace injuries (physical and stress related), returning to work after a workplace injury (physical or stress related).

Dr Malcolm C-Ong

Emergency & Trauma Medicine Consultant
Occupational & Environmental Medicine Consultant Pain Management Multidisciplinary Program Senior Medical Practitioner


Clinics: St Albans, Hoppers Crossing, Geelong 

Malcolm joined the team in 2012 and brings high level knowledge, experience and skills in the management of acute, sub-acute and chronic conditions including injuries and traumas as well as complex persistent pain.  He trained at Monash University in 1989 and graduated with honours before doing further postgraduate training in various disciplines, both locally and abroad. He provides medical services as an Occupational and Environmental Medicine Consultant and specialises in WorkSafe / TAC / RTW. He has a special interest in medico-legal practitioner cases and workplace injuries in his role as an Acute Injury Management Specialist (AIMS).  He also consults as one of the Pain Management and Rehabilitation Multidisciplinary Program team’s senior clinicians for Advance Healthcare.

Malcolm also does extensive work in various tertiary, base and peripheral hospital Emergency Departments as an Accident and Emergency & Trauma Medicine VMO, with his experience in over 40 hospitals around Australia, and performs Emergency Retrieval Services for several institutions.  His past and present appointments include Expert Witness code for Victorian and South Australian Law courts,  teaching and lecturing at University of Singapore and SGH / Raffles Hospital in his capacity as Associate Professor and Research Fellow. He has added interest in Preventative Medicine and Health Promotion and is  assisting the development and implementation of such colleges in South East Asia, for the betterment of future medicine in third world and developing countries. 

Outside medicine, Malcolm has a keen interest and participation in co-curricular activities including Life Surfing Torquay, Canadian Swim Team, Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia, cultures & arts, political history, interior design architecture, travel and epicure.  Malcolm describes himself as competent, diligent, caring and approachable, and down to earth and believes a good sense of humour is the best medicine of all.

Malcolm speaks fluent Cantonese.

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Dr Aston Wan

Specialist Pain Physician


Clinic: Dandenong


Dr Safa Hamza

Specialist Pain and Rehabilitation Physician


Clinic: Bundoora 

Dr Hamza is a Specialist Pain Physician who has an interest in multi-disciplinary medicine and an integrative approach to the management of pain conditions. He has previously worked at the pain clinic at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and continues to consult at the Barbara Walker Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.

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Dr Prem Chopra

Consultant Psychiatrist


Clinic: Bundoora, Boronia

Dr Prem Chopra graduated from The University of Melbourne in 1993 and completed postgraduate training at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne. His subspecialty interests include: Chronic pain management, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Transcultural mental health, Refugee mental health, and Integrative medicine. He has been actively involved in teaching, research and has numerous scientific publications. He also consults at the Barbara Walker Centre for Pain Management at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and at Foundation House. 

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Dr Ekeuda Uchenna Ben Nwankwo

Medical Officer

MBBS, MRO, PGradCertDerm, PGradCertEM, PGradDipEmergMed, PGradDipChHlth, PGradDipPainMgt, MPHlth, MOcc&EnvHlth, FACRRM

Clinic: Bundoora

Dr Uchenna is a Specialist General Practitioner with Post Graduate Studies in Pain Medicine; Occupational Medicine; Public Health; Rural & Remote Health; Emergency Medicine & Trauma.

He trained with both rural, metropolitan hospitals and health centres as well as big co-operate bodies in mining, ambulance services, oil and gas. He has wealth of experience in acute and chronic injury management, wellness program, return to work fitness assessment.

He has special interest in multi-disciplinary medicine and integrated approach to pain management for Occupational injuries in Workcover and T.A.C.

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Dr Olivia Ong

Specialist Pain and Rehabilitation Physician


Clinic: Dandeong

Olivia is a dual trained Rehabilitation and Pain Specialist who has extensive training and experience in Pain Medicine, both during her rehabilitation registrar and pain fellow training and as a specialist. Olivia graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2004 and completed her Rehabilitation Specialist training in 2016.

Olivia undertook her pain fellowship at Austin Health, the Barbara Walker Centre for Pain Management, Alfred Health as well as Precision Health and Melbourne Pain Group from 2016 to 2018. She completed her Faculty of Pain Medicine training in 2018.

Along with consulting at Advance Health Care, Olivia is also consulting as a Rehabilitation and Pain Specialist at the Epworth Camberwell and the Melbourne Pain Group. Her main interest is in neuropathic pain in neurological disorders, in particular central pain disorders.

Olivia is also fluent in Mandarin and Indonesian and along with her excellent communication skills, she values greatly an emphatic approach to the sociopsychobiomedical management of her patients.

Dr Navid Hamedani

Pain Medicine Fellow


Clinics: Boronia, Dandenong

Dr Hamedani has a keen interest in the management of patients with persistent pain conditions and is familiar with the impact of pain on patients, their family and ability to work. This has been a key motivation for his training in the subspecialty of pain medicine, with the ultimate goal of providing a better quality of life for his patients. 

Dr Hamedani has previously worked at MetroSouth Persistent Pain Management Service in Brisbane and as a senior lecturer at the University of Queensland Medical School. He has completed training in pain medicine in public and private pain centres, working with pain rehabilitation and intervention teams to ensure that his patients receive high quality holistic care for acute and/or chronic pain problems.

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Aidan Rich

APA Sports Physiotherapist

BPhysio, MSportsPhysio

Clinic: Boronia

Aidan's post-graduate qualifications in Sports Medicine enable him to educate the patient regarding the nature of their diagnosis, as well as empower them with the best methods to return to their normal level of function as soon as possible. This is achieved with a Sports Medicine model, a rehabilitation focus and adjunctive methods such as joint mobilisation, massage and shockwave therapy for specific situations.

Aidan has a particular interest in hip, groin and tendon pain. Additionally, he enjoys treating injuries in runners and triathletes as this is where his own sporting interests lie.

Working across two multi-disciplinary clinics, Aidan has experience working with a wide variety of medical professionals, such as sports physicians, podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons. This enables him to stay up to date with the latest treatment modalities and innovations to enable patients to recover as quickly as possible and prevent further injuries.

Luke Surkitt

APA Pain Physiotherapist

BPhysio, CredMDT, APAM, PhD candidate

Clinic: Boronia, Dandenong

Luke commenced working as a physiotherapist for our group in 1997. Since then, he has developed experience in treating a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions with a particular interest in acute and persistent spinal pain.  Luke is currently completing a PhD on the treatment of low back pain using the McKenzie approach. He is also the author or co-author of several research articles on low back pain published in physiotherapy and medical journals.

Luke is a member of the multi-disciplinary Network Pain Management team at Advance Healthcare Boronia and Dandenong. He also works part-time at La Trobe University tutoring students in research skills in the Masters of Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapy programs.

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David Young

Clinical Psychologist

BAppSci(Psych)/BTeach(Sec), MCouns, PostGradDip(Psych), MPsych(Couns), DPsych(Clinical)

Clinics: Bundoora, Dandenong

David is a Clinical Psychologist who has been practicing since 2007. He has wide experience working in many different psychological settings including hospitals, community settings, corporate psychological organisations and general as well as clinical private practices. David has experience setting up and managing mental health and health related programs in Melbourne and Sydney and consequently is experienced working with individuals with a wide range of psychological presentations. He uses evidence based approaches to psychological treatment and is trained in CBT, ACT, Schema and DBT related therapies.

David has completed numerous university degrees including a Bachelor of Teaching, a Masters in Psychology (Counselling) and a Doctorate in Psychology (Clinical). David has completed 3 post graduate theses investigating different topics including personality traits and drug/alcohol motivation. David’s doctoral thesis focused on the complex relationships between various psychosocial variables and their association with chronic pain.

Daniel Di Mauro


BPhysio, CredMDT

Clinics: St Albans

Daniel has been working with our group for over 5 years and during that time has rapidly learnt high level skills in areas such as functional restoration, pain management, clinical pilates, musculoskeletal dry needling and the McKenzie method. He currently acts as a primary physiotherapy contact for Coburg Districts Football Club.

Daniel speaks fluent Italian.

Matthew Richards

APA Pain Physiotherapist

BPhysio, PhD Candidate

Clinics: Bundoora

Matthew has been working with our group for 17 years and is now the Team Leader of our Pain Management program at Bundoora.  He is currently close to completing his PhD on treatment for back pain patients with complex psychosocial and neurophysiological barriers to recovery.

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Shay McLeod


BPhysio, GradCertSportsPhysio 

Clinic: Hoppers Crossing 

Shay McLeod graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from The University of Otago in 1999. Since this time he has worked extensively in private practice originally in New Zealand, followed by a three year period in the United Kingdom and now at Advance Healthcare and Symmetry Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine.

His special areas of interest include sports and spinal rehabilitation, and he is part of the Advance Healthcare Pain Management Team. He has completed post-graduate studies in Sports Physiotherapy at La Trobe University in 2006 and has worked as team physiotherapist for the Pirates Rugby Union Club in New Zealand and has spent time based at Crystal Palace Sports Injury Centre; the headquarters of London athletics. He has also been a guest writer for 'The Ski Mag', an Australian Ski Magazine, providing performance exercise programs.

Shay has kept busy through his involvement in clinical research. He has been a treating therapist as part of a very successful series of La Trobe University studies on the treatment of low back pain, and is now a treating therapist in a Melbourne University trial on hip pain. 

Outside of work Shay still finds time for his family and participating in his own sport. He enjoys the challenge of endurance sport, previously racing the Multisport World Championships across the southern alps of New Zealand and was recently rapt to break the 10 hour mark in Ironman Melbourne.

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Shane Pritchard


BPhysio, APAM

Clinic: Dandenong

Shane commenced with Advance Healthcare Dandenong in 2019, and is a member of the Network Pain Management team at Dandenong.

Shane graduated from Monash University in 2013, and has worked in metropolitan, regional and remote areas in Victoria and the Northern Territory. He has post-graduate training and experience in persistent and complex pain, exercise rehabilitation, shoulder and spinal physiotherapy.

Shane also works part time at Monash University as Teaching Associate of Physiotherapy, involved in clinical and simulation-based education. He is also a member of the Vic branch of the Australian Physiotherapy Association Educators committee.

Scott Cameron


BAppSci(Pod), MAPodA, FAAPSM

Clinic: Boronia 

Scott is a Clinical Podiatrist who has had a keen interest in musculoskeletal medicine for over 20 years.  Scott enjoys working with people of all ages with foot or leg pain, and since graduating from Lincoln Institute of Health Science, has worked mainly in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, in private practice.  Scott's interest in gait analysis for all ages, encouraged his involvement that uses gait analysis assessment as part of it's footwear assessment process.                                                              

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Nathan Labinski


BPhysio, APAM

Clinics: St Albans, Bundoora

Nathan graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2010 and commenced working in private practices in the Northern and Western suburbs of Melbourne, treating a range of acute and persistent injuries across all demographics. Following this Nathan moved into Occupational Rehabilitation where he helped injured workers to achieve their optimal functional and work capacity.

Nathan joined the multidisciplinary team in July 2018 and practices at the Bundoora and St Albans locations. Nathan has a passion for persistent pain rehabilitation and holistic patient care, and is a keen reader of up-to-date current evidence-based practice and research. Nathan believes in Physiotherapy being education-based first and foremost.

Nathan is also a keen sports lover, runner and member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

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Joanna Paterson

Clinical Psychologist

BA(Hons), MPsych(Clin)

Clinics: Boronia, Dandenong

Joanna is a registered clinical psychologist and has experience working in hospital settings as well as in private practice.  Joanna has an interest in persistent pain and adjustment issues, and uses a variety of evidence based therapies to help her clients achieve their therapy goals. Therapy modalities may include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Schema Therapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

Joanna has sound clinical skills in the assessment and treatment of a variety of concerns, including mood and anxiety disorders, adjustment disorder, pain, trauma, grief, and personality disorder.

Joanna has a warm and empathetic style and strives to provide clients with a safe and non-judgemental space in which to explore their thoughts and concerns.

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Seán O’Donoghue

Clinical Psychologist

BA(Psych), PhD(Neuropsych), DPsychSc(Clinical)

Clinic: Bundoora

Seán is a registered clinical psychologist and has a special interest in psychological aspects of health. He completed a PhD in the neuropsychology of multiple sclerosis and then completed a doctorate in clinical psychology, both at University College Dublin. Seán also works as a clinical psychologist at the Barbara Walker Centre for Pain Management, at St Vincent’s Hospital, and also as lecturer and researcher at the Australian Catholic University. Seán adopts a person-centred approach with his clients, and predominantly uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

Garth Bennett


BPsySc(Hons), MPsych(Counselling), MAPS

Clinic: Hoppers Crossing, St Albans

Garth is a Registered Psychologist. He holds a Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours and a Masters of Counselling Psychology. Having worked in universities, pain rehabilitation, and crisis support, Garth is experienced in providing psychological treatment and counselling support to a diverse range of clients for persistent pain conditions, depression, anxiety disorders, adjustment to life changes, and returning to work/study. Garth enjoys working collaboratively with clients to reduce distress, increase resilience, work toward valued goals and improve overall life satisfaction.


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James Cunningham



Clinics: Bundoora, Hoppers Crossing

James Cunningham is a New Zealand trained physiotherapist from Auckland University Of Technology. He started his physiotherapy career after spending most of his life working in gyms, sports teams and health care clinics around the world. 

Since then James has had experience in sports clinics, strength and conditioning, occupational health and multi-disciplinary medical clinics throughout New Zealand and Australia. He has since followed an active and holistic approach to assessment and treatment throughout his career.  During the past 3 years James has started to have a strong interest in persistent pain and management and so has started to build his career around it as he finds it rewarding to help those most affected. 

His interests outside of physiotherapy are cycling, stand up paddle boarding, camping, bike polo, ultimate Frisbee and disc golf. As James has treated a number of triathletes in the past, he himself is looking at getting into the sport to understand it better. 

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Joon Choi

Clinical Psychologist

BSc(Hons), MSc, PgDipClPs

Clinics: St Albans, Boronia, Dandenong

Joon completed his Clinical Psychology training in New Zealand and has wide-ranging experience working in Health, Forensic, and Community settings across a number of different population groups.  This has involved clinical roles in assessment and therapy, both as a lead clinician and as part of a wider multi-disciplinary team.  Joon has a strong adherence to evidence-based practice in psychological assessment and treatment, based on a firm grounding in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).  Joon prioritises client engagement with strong interpersonal skills, guided by an underlying commitment to responsive and empathic practice.

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Melinda Rak

Clinical Psychologist

BBNSc, GDipPsych, MPsych(Clin), MAPS

Clinic: Boronia, St Albans

Melinda has always been intrigued by the mind-body connection. This curiosity led her to complete a Bachelor of Behavioural Neuroscience and a Master of Clinical Psychology. Melinda is a registered Clinical psychologist and has experience in hospital, EAP, corporate and private practice settings.

Melinda’s clinical approach is one of collaboration and compassion; she enjoys working with clients to achieve their goals so they can go on to lead rich and fulfilling lives. She draws on cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and humour in her practice. Melinda has a keen interest in pain management, sleep and anxiety concerns.

Melinda is a member of the Australian Psychological Society, the APS College of Clinical Psychologists, and the Australian Clinical Psychology Association. When she’s not working, Melinda is out playing netball or exploring Melbourne’s restaurant scene

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Susanna Blagin


BS, GradDip(Psych)

Clinic: Dandenong

Susanna is a registered psychologist with experience in public and private settings. She has many years of experience in assessment, diagnosis and the provision of evidence-based psychological treatments including cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy. She has worked with a variety of mental health difficulties and across the lifespan (children, adolescents, adults and older adults). She takes a humanistic approach and places a great deal of value in the therapeutic relationship.

She is currently completing her Masters of Clinical Psychology.

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Erica Schippers


BEMS, MExScRehab, DPhty, APAM

Clinic: Geelong

Erica graduated from Bond University with a Doctorate of Physiotherapy and has worked in private practices in Geelong. Prior to completing her Physiotherapy degree, Erica completed a Masters in Exercise Physiology and Bachelor of Exercise Sport Science and Human Movement from Victoria University. Erica worked as an Exercise Physiologist in a private practice in East Melbourne, focusing on musculoskeletal injuries.

With her background in Exercise Physiology, she believes individualised tailored programs are the foundation for long term patient improvement, optimising function, and achieving the patient’s goals.

Outside the clinical setting, Erica enjoys playing netball, watching a range of sports- in particular Australian Rules Football (AFL), travelling and catching up with friends and family.


David Goulding


BPhysio, MPhysio(Musc), GradCertPainMgt

Clinic: Geelong

David graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2000. He has worked primarily in the field of chronic pain ever since. His passion for delivering quality evidence based physiotherapy led him to completing a Masters in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy in 2013. In addition, David is due to finish a Post Graduate Certificate in Pain Management from the University of Sydney in 2016.

David has lived in Geelong and worked with the Corio Bay Health Group for the past 10 years.

In addition to his Clinical role, David also works as a physiotherapy consultant to the TAC one day a week.


Charlotte Huerta


BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy

Clinic: Boronia

Charlotte qualified as a physiotherapist in 2001 at the University of Southampton in the UK.  Since completing her training Charlotte has gained experience working in large hospitals in the South of England where she developed her skills in treating a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions.  Over time she developed an interest in persistent pain and started to specialise in treating persistent pain conditions as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Since moving to Australia four years ago Charlotte has been working in private practice and is now working as part of the multi-disciplinary Network Pain Management team at Advance Healthcare at Boronia

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Scott Bednarz



Clinic: Boronia, Dandenong

Scott graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2013 and has been treating patients in a private practice setting since. Over this time he has developed a keen interest in pain science and the treatment of persistent low back pain, which is why he is very excited to be part of the team at Advance Healthcare.

Scott enjoys working with his patients to help them set and achieve challenging and rewarding goals. He also enjoys teaching and mentoring and is keen to develop this to one day work at a University level.

Outside of the clinic Scott enjoys playing guitar and piano, as well as teaching his dog, Ollie, new tricks. Scott is also a keen traveller and is slowly ticking places off his list.


Mathew Foreman


BPhysio, GradCertMuscPhysio

Clinics: Hoppers Crossing, St Albans

Mathew became a qualified physiotherapist after completing his undergraduate studies in 2011 and has worked in private practice in Melbourne treating a variety of musculoskeletal and sports injury conditions since then.

Mathew Completed post graduate studies in musculoskeletal physiotherapy in 2016 and has developed a keen interest in the evidence based treatment of low back pain, neck pain and headaches. Mathew began working with Advance Healthcare in March 2017 and is part of Advance Health Care’s multi-disciplinary pain management teams in Hoppers Crossing and St Albans. Mathew’s interests outside of Physiotherapy include Aussie rules football and cricket.


Hema Navaratnam


BPsych, MPsych(Couns), MAPS

Clinics: Hoppers Crossing, Geelong

Hema is a Registered Psychologist and has worked in various health care settings including hospital, research and private practice. Having worked in a variety of areas including cardiac, respiratory, oncology and neurology, she has now developed an interest in persistent pain. Hema has clinical skills in assessing, managing and treating a wide range of mental health problems combined with a strong patient centred approach. 

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Kirsten Stower


BPhysio, APAM

Clinics: Dandenong, Boronia

Kirsten graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from the University of Queensland. Since then she has worked in private practice in both Australia and England, where she has treated a variety of patients, including those with acute sporting injuries and persistent pain.

Kirsten believes in a holistic approach to patient care, placing great importance on active rehabilitation and education towards long-term self-management. Kirsten enjoys working within a multi-disciplinary team to assist patients with persistent pain in developing the necessary skills to empower them to achieve optimal health and happiness. In order to ensure her patients receive the best evidence-based treatment, Kirsten commenced her Master of Science in Medicine (Pain Management) at the University of Sydney in 2017.

Alongside persistent pain, Kirsten has an interest in treating patients with shoulder, knee or running injuries.

When Kirsten isn’t at the clinic she enjoys hiking in the Dandenong ranges, wakeboarding, running and practising yoga.