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Our Team


Caroline NicholsonCaroline Nicholson

Qualifications: MBA, Grad.Dip.Phty.(UK), GAICD

Contact Details
Telephone: 07 3163 1970
Mobile:0411 089 143

Background: Caroline worked clinically as a physiotherapist in both the hospital and community settings in England, USA, NZ and Australia. She was the CEO of the West Australian Rural Divisions Co-ordinating Unit before managing numerous research and policy development projects at state and national level, including the National Demonstration Hospitals Program (3 and 4) and the National GP / Hospital Demonstration sites program.

In her current role as Director, Mater/UQ Centre for Integrated Care and Innovation, she is involved in developing new models of care that build quality at Mater’s interface with its community, including the MMH/GP Materntiy Shared Care Aligment Program. She has been involved in the organisation and evaluation of integration initiatives around primary healthcare since 1999.

Special interests: Improved health system integration and development of innovative models in primary healthcare - through the development of integrated governance frameworks; change management; and e-connectivity - areas in which she has published internationally. She is currently enrolled as a PhD student with the University of Queensland, exploring integrated health governance models involving primary/secondary care.


Donata Sackey

Donata SackeyDeputy Director
Qualifications: B.Soc.Wk (Hons) (University of Queensland)

Contact Details

Background: Donata migrated to Australia from Italy and has worked extensively over the past 23 years in the multicultural sector including working with international student services, refugee health services, primary health and mental health. Donata held counselling, management and community capacity building roles over 12 years while working at the Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma. She also worked as the operations manager of the South East Alliance of General Practice which has evolved into a Medicare Local. 

Donata joined the Centre in 2008 with an initial focus on developing a community engagement framework for Mater Health Services. Along with Paula Peterson she co-managed the Refugees and Primary Health project between 2009 and 2011. Donata has also been involved in the evaluation of a suicide prevention project across Metro South and North.

Special Interests: Donata has a strong interest in refugee health and especially improving access and integration of care to better meet the complex needs of newly arrived refugee communities. Donata also has a passion for developing partnerships and approaches that sustain and nurture effective partnerships across sectors and community.


Paula Peterson

Paula PetersonSenior Programme Manager
Qualifications: Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Arts (University of Queensland)

Contact Details
Telephone: 07 3163 1970

Background: Paula has worked for the past 30 years in the field multiculturalism and community development. Her work has spanned community development with new and emerging ethnic communities in the early days on the multicultural policy. She has worked to develop a broad range of service responses for new arrivals to Australia. She has worked in clinical roles, management, training and research. She was the Director of the Queensland Program and Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma for 12 years from its beginning in 1995 to 2007 before moving to the University of Queensland to focus on peace and conflict studies, particularly work in the Pacific. 

Paula has worked at the Centre on a part time basis since 2008 as Project Manager (with Donata Sackey) of the Refugees and Primary Health Project (RaPH), and most recently as the project manager of the Refugee Women as Health Leaders project.

Special Interests:Paula maintains a passion for increasing understanding about culture and the way in which culture informs health services at the macro and micro level. She is committed to promoting community dialogue about community ethics and values.


Ally Wakefield

Capacity Building and Resource Coordinator – Refugee Health

Ally has a passion for working with people from refugee backgrounds and supporting practitioners to assist in the settlement, understanding and celebration of multicultural communities. Ally has a background in psychology with a Masters in Social Welfare Administration (Community Development).

She has worked in the multicultural sector in Queensland for the past 18 years at Qld Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and trauma (QPASTT) and on projects with Catholic
Education, Education Queensland, MDA and the Peace and Conflict Studies Institute of Australia (PaCSIA).

In her current role at the Mater/UQ Centre for Integrated Care and Innovation she co-manages the ‘Brisbane Refugee Health Advisory Group’  who are 11Consultants regarded as peer leaders in their respective communities from South Sudan, Eritrea, Burundi, Rwanda, Liberia, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Myanmar.

The Mater also auspice the Refugee Health Network of Qld and she supports the Network by collating, developing and promoting refugee health resources for clinicians, support staff and patients from refugee backgrounds.