Network Leadership Group

Dr Michael Brydon: Chief Executive

Dr Michael Brydon was permanently appointed to the role of Chief Executive of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in July 2016.

Prior to the network forming, Michael worked at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick for 27 years after completing his undergraduate Medical Degree at UNSW and his Fellowship of Paediatrics in the Randwick program. His other post-graduate qualifications include a Masters of Paediatrics and a Masters of Health Administration from UNSW.

In the last two decades, Michael has held an increasingly more senior management portfolio across a local, state and national agenda. As a result of these roles, he has established a wide network of personal partnerships, predominantly in the child health environment and gained significant expertise in clinical management and medical administration.

Ever since entering paediatrics, Michael has advocated for children and their families, highlighting the differences in their needs and ensuring a fair allocation of resources to paediatrics.

Dr Glen Farrow: Director of Clinical Governance

Dr Glen Farrow was appointed as the Director of Clinical Governance and Medical Administration for Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in 2012.

He has previously held executive medical roles at Royal North Shore Hospital, Greater Southern AHS and St Vincent's Hospital. A fully trained general and paediatric surgeon, he has had extensive experience on deployments with the Australian Defense Force, with a special interest in trauma management.

His clinical experience as a surgeon and in different professional roles gives him a unique perspective and a pragmatic approach to the issues faced in improving patient care and safety. Understanding the importance of a systems approach, Glen's background as military officer and consultant surgeon brings a strong ethos of individual accountability and responsibility.

Dr Emma McCahon: Director of Clinical Operations

Emma was officially appointed to the role of Director of Clinical Operations (DCO) in August 2016.

Emma has been a practicing Paediatrician for almost 15 years at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN). She has a Grad. Cert. in Change Management and an Executive MBA.

Emma has worked at SCHN in both clinical and management roles; as a General Paediatrician at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW), with an interest in Vascular Malformations. Emma was also the medical lead of the Patient Flow Unit at CHW as well as the Clinical Director - Critical Care Services for the Network.  

In addition Emma held a role with the NSW Health Education and Training Institute as the clinical lead for LEAD and LEAP - leadership development programs for doctors.

Debra Cutler, Director of Nursing: Midwifery and Education  

Debra was appointed as the Director of Nursing, Midwifery & Education for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in January 2016.  She is a registered nurse who specialised in intensive care nursing, working in Cairns, Darwin, the Bahamas, London and Southampton in the UK.   

Debra has had a wide-ranging and successful career as Executive Director of Nursing & Midwifery in a range of large, complex and diverse public hospitals.  She is passionate about integrating research into clinical practice to improve patient outcomes and, whilst at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, was made an adjunct professor of the Australian Catholic University for her work in this area.

Debra has extensive experience of contributing to strategic direction and management, ensuring effective clinical and operational governance, improving the safety and quality of clinical services, and providing professional nursing leadership.

Professor Chris Cowell: Director of Research

Professor Chris Cowell was appointed as the Director of Research for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in 2011.

He is a Conjoint Professor of the University of Sydney and staff specialist in paediatric endocrinology. As Director of Research, Chris’s major focus is in developing research strategies that improve the health and wellbeing of young people.

Facilitating research through effective collaborations is a key platform and he is co-leading the development of Paediatrio, a joint research initiative between the Network, Children’s Cancer Institute, Children’s Medical Research Institute, University of Sydney and UNSW. He has also co-led the development of the Paediatric Trials Network Australia (PTNA).

His own research interests are in prevention of metabolic effects of obesity and optimising bone health, with over 180 peer reviewed publications.

Gilly Paxton: Director of Community Relations and Marketing

Gilly Paxton was appointed as the Director Community Relations and Marketing for Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in 2010.

Gilly’s previous roles include Public Relations Manager, Fundraising Manager and Deputy Director Community Relations at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Other senior appointments include engagements with the NSW Rural Fire Service and managerial appointments within the Hospitality sector in the United Kingdom.

Gilly has a Bachelor of Arts (Economics and Industrial Relations), and her portfolio consists of communications, brand management, media and marketing, fundraising and ministerial liaison. 

Cheryl McCullagh: Director of Clinical Integration

Cheryl McCullagh was appointed as the Director of Clinical Integration for Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in 2011.

She has worked in Health for over 25 years, including roles in nursing, research, education and senior management in adult and paediatric specialist referral hospitals in Sydney and Adelaide. She has a Diploma in Applied Science, a Bachelor of Nursing, and qualifications in paediatric palliative care, a Masters of Health Service Management and is a Student of Lean (Green Belt).

Cheryl moved from Adelaide in 2001 to take up senior management roles at The Children's Hospital at Westmead.

She is committed to developing people and their processes to evolve models supporting safe service delivery, fair resource allocation and  efficiency while enabling innovation in healthcare.

Brian Jackson: Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Brian Jackson was appointed as the Director of Finance and Corporate Services for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in 2015. 

Prior to his appointment, Brian held a number of senior executive positions including Director Business Services at the ABC, and Group General Manager Finance at Qantas. He also held accounting and finance roles with Optus, Telstra and IBM. He holds a MBA from the AGSM, a Bachelor of Commerce from UNSW and is a CPA.

Ruth Baker: Director of Allied Health

Ruth was appointed to the Director of Allied Health position in June 2016.

Ruth moved to Sydney to take up a position as Head of the Orthotics Department at Randwick in 2011, which is a service shared with the Prince of Wales Hospital, SESLHD. Prior to this Ruth was managing the orthotic service to The Monash Children’s Hospital and a paediatric advisor to the State wide Equipment Programme in Victoria.

Ruth graduated in the UK in 1996 and is passionate about Allied Health, bringing with her a wealth of very different experiences from several locations across the globe, in clinical, mentorship and management roles. 

Ian Fuller: Director of Workforce

Ian Fuller was appointed as the Director of Workforce for Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in 2012.

Ian brings a wealth of experience to this role, having previously held a number of key positions in human resources in the UK and Australia, including Human Resources and Corporate Services Director in the National Health Services in London.

Ian has a Masters degree in HR Management and a Tertiary Teaching Qualification with experience in teaching human resources and management in the UK.

Dr Mary McCaskill: Executive Medical Director

Dr Mary McCaskill was appointed as the Executive Medical Director for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in 2015.

She previously held roles as the Chair of the Medical Staff Council and Director of the Emergency Department at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.  She has been part of the changing landscape of hospital paediatrics in NSW as she trained at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Camperdown, then across NSW and in the US.  She joined the senior staff at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in 1996. 

Mary has a keen interest in the engagement and education of clinical staff across the state - in particular, for the treatment of severe infection or injury.  She is also involved in the development of state-wide systems to respond to paediatric disaster situations.