The Victorian Stroke Clinical Network (VSCN) is a multidisciplinary collaborative comprising clinicians, health service managers, organisational and consumer representatives.

A leadership group, a sub-acute committee and time limited working groups oversee the activities of the VSCN.

VSCN Leadership Group

The leadership group actively engages primary, secondary and tertiary sectors across all regions. Its key priority is to improve coordination, communication and partnerships between health services, healthcare providers, consumers and the community.

The group meets monthly and membership has a term of two years.


  • Chair: A/Prof. Peter Hand, Deputy Director, Neurology and Co-Head, Stroke Care Melbourne Health
  • Ms Toni Aslett, Director National Programs, National Stroke Foundation
  • Dr Kenneth Bissland, Geriatrician, St Vincent’s Health
  • A/Prof. Bruce Campbell, Consultant Neurologist, Melbourne Health
  • Dr Ben Clissold, Head Inpatient Services Neurosciences, Barwon Health
  • Prof. Geoffrey Cloud, Director Stroke Medicine, Alfred Health
  • Ms Janelle Devereux, Director Integrated Care, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network
  • Ms Sharon Downie, Allied Health Manager, Occupational Therapy Services Alfred Health
  • Ms Carol Gore, Nurse Practitioner, Peninsula Health
  • Mr Grant Hocking, Clinical Manager, Grampians Region Ambulance Victoria
  • Ms Louise Lee, Stroke Liaison Nurse, Austin Health
  • Mr Peter Long, President Stroke Association, Victoria
  • Ms Liz Mackey, Stroke Nurse Practitioner, Western Health
  • A/Prof. Michael Murray, Medical Director, Continuing Care Clinical Services and Unit Head, Geriatric Medicine, Austin Health
  • Prof. Thanh Phan, Neurologist, Monash Health
  • Ms Penny Smith, Rehabilitation Consultant, North East Health, Wangaratta
  • Dr Gerhard Uys Director, ED, Echuca Regional Health

Department of Health and Human Services Representatives

  • Ms Robyn Hudson, Director, Clinical Engagement, Safer Care Victoria
  • Ms Sonia Denisenko, Manager, Victorian Stroke Clinical Network, DHHS
  • Mr Frits Kadijik, A/Manager, Rehabilitation and Hospital at Home Services, DHHS
  • Ms Paulette Kelly, Program Manager, Stroke Clinical Registry Initiative, DHHS

VSCN Subacute Committee

The VSCN Subacute Committee consists of a group of leading subacute and community clinicians in Stroke Care.  Their role is to develop, implement and progress the VSCN projects in the non-acute space and provide leadership and input on policy matters relating to stroke subacute care.


  • Ms Sharon Downie, Allied Health Manager, Occupational Therapy Services, Alfred Health
  • Dr Ken Bissland, Consultant Geriatrician, St Vincent’s Health
  • Ms Dimitra Chrisikakos, Speech Pathologist, Western Health
  • Ms Carol Gore, Nurse Practitioner, Peninsula Health
  • Ms Naomi Kubina Manager, Community Care, Inner East Community Health
  • Mr Barry Moore, Consumer Representative
  • Ms Tanya Poupard, Senior Social Worker, Community Therapy Services, Melbourne Health
  • Ms Kerryn Rim, Nurse Unit Manager, Austin Health
  • Ms Danielle Sansonetti, Occupational Therapist, Alfred Health
  • Ms Julie Smith Co-ordinator, Early Supported Discharge Program, Eastern Health
  • Dr Penny Smith,  Rehabilitation Physician, North East Health Services, Wangaratta
  • Ms Jenny Walsh, Speech Pathologist Monash Health

Department of Health and Human Services Representatives

  • Ms Sonia Denisenko Manager, Victorian Stroke Clinical Network, DHHS


VSCN member spotlight

Clinical Lead, VSCN – Associate Professor Peter J. Hand
Deputy Director Neurology & Co-Head of Stroke Care, Melbourne Health MBBS, FRACP, MD

Peter J  Hand

Peter Hand trained to become a specialist in neurology at the Alfred Hospital and the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, United Kingdom, and undertook research in acute stroke at the University of Edinburgh. He has been a stroke neurologist since 2002, and is Deputy Director of Neurology and Co-Head of the Stroke Care Unit at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Peter has held roles as Honorary Secretary of ANZAN (Australian & New Zealand Association of Neurologists), Chair of the Education and Training Committee of ANZAN, Chair of the Neurology Specialist Training Committee of the RACP (Royal Australasian College of Physicians), member of the RACP Overseas Trained Physicians Committee and member of the Neurology Expert Group for Therapeutic Guidelines.

He is a member of the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Committee. Peter commenced as Clinical Lead of the VSCN in August 2014.



Chair, VSCN Subacute Committee – Sharon Downie
Allied Health Manager, Occupational Therapy Services, Alfred Health
Bach. OT (Latrobe), MPH (Monash)

Sharon Downie

Sharon Downie is senior Allied Health Manager for Occupational Therapy Services at Alfred Health, Melbourne. Sharon was appointed to the VSCN Leadership Group in 2011, and subsequently assumed the role of chair of the VSCN’s subacute committee in 2015.

Sharon has significant operational management, quality improvement and project management experience. She has a strong clinical background in acute neurosciences, and previously held the role of Operations Manager, Subacute Occupational Therapy Services at Eastern Health, and OT Senior Clinician (Neurosciences) at Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne.

She is the recipient of several research scholarships pertaining to stroke and neuro-oncology, and has published several papers pertaining to upper limb assessment in the context of acute neurosciences. She is a current member of the Occupational Therapy Council (Australia & New Zealand) - National Assessor Panel for Occupational Therapy program accreditation.



Manager, VSCN – Sonia Denisenko
MPH B Physio

Sonia Denisenko

Sonia Denisenko has been the Manager of the Victorian Stroke Clinical Network for the last nine years. She has a clinical background in neurological physiotherapy and was the lecturer in this speciality at La Trobe University for five years.

Sonia has experience as the National Chair of the Australian Physiotherapy Association Neurology special interest group, has co-authored numerous publications and is an associate investigator on a range of successful research grants in stroke.

She has held posts as a project manager in stroke improvement projects in the UK, and at the Florey Institute of Neurosciences and Mental Health.

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