Welcoming our new Lived Experiences Advisory Panel (LEAP) members

Brent Allan and Jess McKenzie have joined our Lived Experiences Advisory Panel (LEAP).

Thursday, 28 March 2024 at 2:30 am

At the Collaborative Centre, we are thrilled to have welcomed our two newest Lived Experiences Advisory Panel (LEAP) members, Brent Allan and Jess McKenzie! 

Over the coming year, Brent and Jess will work together with the LEAP to contribute their invaluable perspectives to lived experience leadership, participation, and strategic decision making.  

We recently asked Brent and Jess about what they’re looking forward to now that they’ve attended their first meeting.  

Get to know more about Brent and Jess below: 

Brent Allan (They/Them) 

Brent resides on Da Da Wjurng lands of the Kulin Nation just north of Naarm/Melbourne. They grew up in rural Canada and have been living in rural Victoria for the past 17 years with their partner in an off-grid mudbrick house. 

They have been working in the community response to HIV/AIDS for over 30 years across a number of countries. They have qualifications in health education, business, community services management, and public and social health experience with local, state and federal governments as well as global industries. 

Brent identifies as a non-binary person who has been living with HIV for over 25 years. They have been active in building the capacity of people living with HIV through advocacy, education and representation. They also regularly provide technical assistance to global networks, governments, civil society and industry on matters of best practice in community-based services, research and development.

Brent is a passionate advocate for civil society and consumer representation in health service policy, programming and evaluation. They have been a vocal advocate and champion for the rights sex of workers and people who use drugs, as well as vulnerable and marginalised people working with gender and sexually diverse communities.

Jess McKenzie (She/They/Him)

Jess is a non-binary Indigenous person with experiences of being refused access to Aboriginal liaison services and having their Indigenous identity challenged. Jess is passionate about ensuring that all Indigenous consumers, no matter the colour of their skin or level of cultural knowledge, have their identity recognised and accepted and appropriate services offered.

Jess brings lived experience as a service user who has experienced significant trauma as a result of treatment within the Victorian public mental health system, as well as experience with PND as a non-birth parent.

Jess has been a peer worker with Black Saturday survivors, disadvantaged youth and in a Mental Health and Wellbeing Local. Jess is a consumer academic at the University of Melbourne, working alongside nurse academics to bring the consumer perspective to course curricula, teaching, reflective practice, research papers and conference presentations.