Network management

The Sydney Children's Hospital Network is managed by a Board and divided into eight directorates, each managed by a skilled professional with long track records.

The Board is made up of experts in the fields of paediatrics, management, finance and industry. The Board advises on planning, policy development and monitoring activities across the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network.

View the SCHN Board member profiles.

Read about the Network Leadership Group below.

Chief Executive: Dr Michael Brydon

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.

Director of Clinical Governance: Dr Glen Farrow

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 Defence 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.

Director of Clinical Operations: Dr Emma McCahon

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.

Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Education: Adjunct Professor Debra Cutler

Debra Cutler was appointed to the role of Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Education for Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network in January 2016.

She has worked in health services for over 30 years, the last 20 years of which as executive director of nursing and midwifery, director of operations and director of clinical redesign in large and complex public health organisations in Australia and the UK.  She qualified as a registered general nurse in Queensland and initially specialised in intensive care nursing.

Debra has extensive experience of strategic management, ensuring effective clinical and operational governance and providing professional nursing leadership.  She has a special interest in improving the safety and quality of health services and has been an accreditation surveyor for the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards since 2013.  She is also passionate about integrating research into clinical practice to improve patient outcomes.

Debra has an Honours degree in Nursing Studies and a Masters degree in Health Management.  She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney.  She has undertaken the Senior Executive Programme at the Melbourne University Business School and the Executive Director of Nursing Programme at King’s Fund College, London.

Director of Research: Professor Chris Cowell

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.

Director of Community Relations and Marketing: Gilly Paxton

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. 

Director of Clinical Integration: Adj A/Prof. Cheryl McCullagh

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

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

Cheryl is an Adj A/Prof. in the Sydney Medical School and Faculty of health sciences. She is committed to developing people and their processes to evolve models supporting safe service delivery, while enabling innovation in healthcare.

Director of Finance and Corporate Services: Brian Jackson

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.

Director of Allied Health: Ruth Baker

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. 

Director of Workforce: Ian Fuller

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.

Executive Medical Director: Dr Mary McCaskill

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.