Get to know our new Co-CEO: Professor Sarah Wilson

Wednesday, 14 February 2024 at 12:02 am
Image of Professor Sarah Wilson alongside text 'Get to know our Co-CEO'

Our new Co-CEOs, Sarah Wilson and Carolyn Gillespie, have hit the ground running since starting in their roles just a few weeks ago. 

We asked Sarah what she’s enjoying most about the work so far, what challenges may lie ahead for the Collaborative Centre, and what she’s most looking forward to in the months ahead.

Q. Sarah, how have you found the role so far, and what have been your first priorities in getting established? 

A. "I’ve found it really inspiring to be working with a such a diverse range of committed people - those with lived and living experience, mental health and wellbeing practitioners, researchers, policy makers, the broader community, and of course, our Collaborative Centre team, the Lived Experiences Advisory Panel (LEAP) and the Board. I’ve been energised by the shared sense of vision and purpose to bring the system-wide mental health reforms to life, and the willingness of everyone to come together to solve the challenges involved in such ambitious work. 

My early priorities have been both outward and inward facing. I’ve been getting out and about with Carolyn, meeting our many collaborators and really enjoying getting to know everyone. We’ve also been working with our team to plan for the next stages of our journey as the Collaborative Centre to support successful implementation of the Royal Commission reforms."

Q. What do you see as being the biggest challenges you’re likely to face in bringing the aims of the Collaborative Centre to life? 

A. "One of my areas of focus is research translation - how we take what the research is telling us about what works and apply that in the settings where people are receiving care. At the moment there is a substantial gap between new research findings and their translation into practice. The Collaborative Centre will work to remove barriers to reduce this gap and enable more rapid translation. The ambition of the reforms must be seen and felt in our local communities – for people to experience the care they need, carers, family and supporters to feel heard and included, and practitioners to feel supported and empowered. We all need to work together to solve these big, system-wide issues."

Q. What are you most looking forward to in the coming months? 

A. "I’m really looking forward to working with our collaborators to begin to better connect people and services across our mental health system and reduce silos to achieve system-wide change.  We will be releasing our new Research Strategy, which aims to position Victoria as a leader in mental health research translation and grow a strong community of practice of people with lived and living experience, researchers, practitioners, policymakers and other experts so we can create better mental health and wellbeing outcomes for all Victorians."