Our Team

Meet the Research Team

Jaya Dantas

Dr Jaya A. R. Dantas is Professor of International Health, in the School of Public Health and coordinates the Postgraduate Research Program (MPhil & PhD) in International Health. She was appointed Dean International in the Faculty of Health Sciences from February 2018. Between 2011 and 2017, she was Director of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Health Sciences and chaired the Faculty Research Training Committee.

Jaya has undertaken refugee and migrant research since 2000 and has undertaken studies in Rwanda, Uganda, Timor Leste, Sri Lanka and Australia. Her central research interests focus on the consequences of post-conflict adversity on women and youth; the social determinants of health, and resilience and empowerment processes among refugee and migrant populations. Jaya’s research uses rights based participatory approaches to understand health and social inequalities. She is experienced in international field mixed methods research comprising community household surveys, vulnerability assessments, participatory and ethnographic research.

Shelley Gower

Shelley Gower is a PhD candidate in International Health, Lecturer and Research Officer at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine at Curtin University, Perth. She has previously been involved in research projects focusing on women’s experiences of maternity care, development of cultural competence in Australian nursing students and exploring the settlement experiences of refugee women through photovoice.

Shelley has Post Graduate qualifications in Health Policy, and has been active on a number of boards, committees and advisory groups, both within the Health Department and in non-government organisations. Shelley also has Post Graduate qualifications in Education and has 7 years’ experience teaching in Perth high schools and internationally.

David Forbes

David Forbes is an internationally experienced Business Manager/CEO, Skilled Communications Advocate; Professional Risk Analyst/Consultant. Established the first multi-cultural global security/risk management team within the international express logistics industry, leading a team covering 140 countries. Subsequently, he was CEO/President of security risk management and systems design businesses in the UK and USA and a past Research Analyst/Acting Chief of Staff, Electorate Office for a West Australian Federal Senator, West Perth and Parliament House, Canberra; specialising in Education, Healthcare, and Employment. His qualifications include a Graduate Diploma and Master’s Degree in Security Management (Loughborough University UK); Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialization; Doctor of Philosophy, Information Systems technology (in cross-cultural healthcare) from Curtin University. David has been a coach and mentor for English as an Additional Language (EAL) supporting migrant refugee university undergraduate students at Curtin University since 2018.

Alison Reid

Alison Reid is an Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health. She has a BSc (Hons) in Anthropology from University College, London, a MSc in Medical Demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Western Australia. Her research interests include the occupational health and safety of migrant workers. Specifically, her migration-related work examines exposure to workplace carcinogens, psychosocial hazards (bullying,racism, precarious work, overskilling etc) and work-related injuries and fatalities among migrant workers and compares their prevalence of exposure to that of Australian-born workers.

Zakia Jeemi

Zakia Jeemi is a Research Assistant in International Health, School of Public Health at Curtin University. Zakia has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Western Australia and her Master’s project was a sub-study that explored solar UV exposure and physical activity in children at childcare centres in Perth.

Zakia has skills in mixed methods research and her interests include social determinants of health and participatory research among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations. She is currently assisting in research on EMPOWER, a physical activity intervention for South Asian mothers and their children, and interpreter service use in CALD populations in a secondary hospital in Perth.

Jonathan Hallett

Jonathan is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health at Curtin University in the discipline of health promotion and teaches political theory and policy advocacy to public health students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Jonathan’s research is based at the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health (CERIPH) (formerly WA Centre for Health Promotion Research), a multi-disciplinary applied research group focused on translational research and community partnerships. He is also a member of the management team for the Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Applied Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN) and a member of the National Drug Research Institute.

Paul Kebble

Paul Kebble has been an English language teacher, teacher trainer and academic for over thirty-five years and in eight different countries: U.K., Barbados, Portugal, Brunei Darussalam, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. Paul presently holds an academic position at Curtin University as Coordinator of English Language Development within the Faculty of Health Sciences. Among other positions, Paul has worked with UNHCR in Malaysia supporting teachers providing primary and secondary learning for refugees, predominantly from Burma. He has also worked for AMES teaching English to adult migrant professionals and literacy/numeracy to high school migrant students in Perth.

If you are a Mentee, please contact Dr Kebble for any questions about the upcoming, English Language Workshop.

Email: paul.kebble@curtin.edu.au

Rehab Ahmed

Rehab Ahmed, came to Perth from Cairo, Egypt in October 2001 after she had successfully completed a Bachelor Degree in Archaeology and had a successful career in administration. She speaks Arabic, English and French. In 2014 Rehab successfully completed a Diploma in Community Services of Work because she realised she wanted a career in which she could make a difference in women’s lives by providing hope, encouragement and the knowledge that they have choices. Rehab successfully has completed Diploma of Interpreting (LOTE) in 2018. Rehab is working at Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Services since 2014. She is currently the Carer Support Services Manager.

Meet our Mentors

Rashmi Watel

I am a mum of two children aged 5 and 2.
I run my own business helping people save money / make money on the bills we all pay every month.
I am involved in the community with teaching adults and children cooking
I have run several cooking classes for adults and children (during the Sept- Oct) school holidays.
I have two other projects that I am involved in my local community –
1. A green suburb project (just started)
2. A school pick drop service- which is work in progress.
I am a co-founder of an online platform / page on Facebook aimed at spreading positivity. I do book reviews and live posts on the page. It’s called your positive vibes.
I help small businesses/ start-ups write business plans and do business feasibility by using cash flow management tools (currently helping two upcoming entrepreneurial women in realising their dreams.
I consult for small to medium business helping them write policies and create procedures to help sustain their growth in an orderly manner.
I was a member of Toastmasters’ International where I have developed my leadership and public speaking skills.
I am an electronics and telecommunications engineer with certification in Project Management and an MBA from the prestigious Curtin graduate school of business.
I have worked in projects and process space with the not for profit, government, telecom/IT and energy sector!

Chloe Leow

Hi, my name is Chloe, I was born and raised in Singapore. I have been living in Australia for 11 years now. I packed my bags at age 17 and moved to Australia by myself, to further my studies. I studied a double major and graduated with a Bachelors of legal studies and criminology. I now work within the Finance industry and am working towards my Masters in financial planning (that is my end goal at this stage). I now live, work and recently bought my first home in Perth.
During my spare time, I love to give back to the community. I enjoy organising events and connecting people. Most of all I love that I am able to use my skill set to help anyone in need.

Noha Amin

Hi, my name is Noha. I was born in Egypt and lived there until the age of 21, then got married and went on to discover the world through my husband’s work. I have been lucky to live in different countries and enjoy and learn about so many different cultures, starting with moving to Nigeria for 2 and half years, then Jakarta Indonesia for nearly 2 years where I had my firstborn son. After that was lovely Vietnam where I have been working as a kindergarten teacher for a couple of years. I then had my second baby daughter in Cairo Egypt during a visit back home. After 3 months I arrived in Australia in 2002 to join my husband. I had my own family day care for over 3 years then baby daughter arrived. After a while, I started working with age care where I stated as a support worker and progressed to team leader managing 5 case managers and over 600 clients. I’m now privileged to work with Ability centre as a Community Inclusion and Self-directed Services Coordinator where we enable people with disabilities to access the community and participate in activities through NDIS funding.
I speak fluent Arabic and English, I can also speak German.

Rukmini Aryal

Rukmini Aryal came to Perth from Nepal in 2008 on an international student visa. While she lived in Nepal she studied at Tribhuwan University where she received a Bachelor of Arts (English literature and sociology). She speaks Nepali, English, Urdu, and Hindi.
Rukmini has worked at Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre since May 2010 where she is currently the Information Officer.
Rukmini enjoys writing poems in Nepali, listening to music, spending time with her family and traveling.

Shalini Noronha

Ms Shalini Noronha joined the Ishar team in February 2018 as the Yoga teacher. Following this, she volunteered with Ishar as a Social Worker and then formally acquired the role in September 2018. Shalini holds a Masters of Social Work and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce which she completed in India. She also has completed the Yoga Teacher’s Training Course from India. Shalini has over 10 years of experience working in the development sector, with a major focus on women and children.
Shalini speaks English, Hindi, Urdu, and Marathi and in her spare time enjoys spending time with her young family, reading, cooking, traveling, and of course, yoga.

Linda Zammar

I came to Australia 17 years ago and currently, I am working as a bilingual support worker with Ishar and Red Cross. And I also did volunteer work with mercy car in migrants English conversation program.
With regard to my qualifications and experience, I have a Bachelor Degree in English Literature from the Lebanese University. Most recently I completed two courses of introduction to interpreting and currently I’m on my last term of studying Diploma of Interpreting. During my studies, I participated in several workshops where I was required to provide translation to Arabic guests. Moreover, I have also been successful in providing interpreting to family and friends.
I am proficient in both Arabic and English and I possess high level of speaking and writing skills. I maintain a great understanding of cultural aspect which enables me to provide a high quality service in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner.
I have a strong desire to make a positive difference in people’s lives and I believe I would be an assist to your Organization if given the opportunity.

Mamta Kochhar

I migrated to Australia 17 years ago along with my husband and two boys mainly to seek a better future for my sons. After working for more than 7 years in Senior Secondary as a Physics teacher, I decided to change gears and serendipitously found a job in the Adult Migrant English Program which became my calling.

Sincerity and integrity are the two values that I believe one must abide by to contribute to others in any real way. My work with migrants led me to seek better ways to serve them as it involves much more than teaching English. I trained as a life coach with Anthony Robbins in 2014 as I felt a need to learn how to help them with mindset and goal setting.

Today I am an Advanced Skills Lecturer in South Metropolitan TAFE. I am also the founding President of United in Diversity, a not-for-profit that works to help migrants and refugees into the community so that we can have an even more cohesive community in the future. I have undertaken a wide range of volunteer roles with organisations such as Youth Focus and Chinmaya Mission.

I passionately believe that the world of the future will be a world where people will be able to embrace differences and work collaboratively regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality or culture.

Cherylann MaGee

Cherylann is a Dentist by profession (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) with over 21 years’ experience in private dental practice in her home country, India. On migrating to Australia, she commenced working at Ishar in 2011, initially as a volunteer and then as a Project officer- Outreach Services and as the Health Support Officer. After a short break from the organisation, Cherylann resumed work at Ishar in 2016 as the Project Officer- Client Services (Carer Support Services).
Prior to this, Cherylann worked at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection as a Case Officer and also as an Assistant Property Manager at a Real Estate Firm.
Cherylann is passionate about giving back to the community and has volunteered at St Vincent De Paul (Vinnies) and at Salvation Army (Salvos) store in the past. Her hobbies include card making, bike riding and other outdoor activities. She also enjoys dancing and listening to music. Cherylann speaks English, Hindi, Urdu & Marathi.

Mary Gurgone

Executive Business Consultant
Responsible for project direction and management on larger projects, specialist advice and quality assurance.
40 years of experience in education, training, stakeholder and community engagement.
Mary is a leader in building individual and organisational capability to capitalise on language, culture and diversity of workforce, clients and community. An important part of her work has been devoted to Aboriginal well-being. Her public sector experience spans education, training, audit, evaluation, policy and planning roles. Since joining Fortis Consulting in 2009, she managed the rapid growth, business diversification, partnership development and organisational change that led Fortis Consulting to be identified as one of the top 30 consulting businesses in WA and winning the WA Multicultural Private Sector Award in 2016 https://www.omi.wa.gov.au/EventsInitiatives/Pages/MMRAHonourRoll.aspx
Mary volunteers with the Zonta House Women’s Refuge where as Chair of the Board she led the development and establishment of the award-winning Positive Pathways program that continues to help women to stay safe and lead fulfilling lives after leaving the refuge. As President of the Zonta Club of Perth, Mary led the Kimberley-based Aboriginal project which has achieved improved safety and employment outcomes for young people.
Master in Bus. Admin.
BA English and Italian
Teacher’s Higher Cert.
Interpreter and Translator (NAATI)
Graduate AICD
Cert. IV in Training & Assessment