Wollondilly Diabetes Programme

This combined diabetes prevention, diabetes service and diabetes integrated care intervention is funded by South Western Sydney Local Health District through the Wollondilly Health Alliance. Now in its second year, the programme includes:

  • Mapping the built environment and identifying areas to promote physical activity
  • Mapping the local health promotion and community lifestyle activities
  • Linking health promotion and community lifestyle activities with primary care
  • Developing a peer support programme for preventing diabetes

Programme Team

Professor David Simmons

David is the Professor of Medicine at the Western Sydney University Macarthur Clinical School, Head of the Campbelltown Hospital Endocrinology Department, Chair of the Campbelltown Hospital Clinical Council, Director of the Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism Translation Unit (DOMTRU) and Co-Director of the Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism Clinical Academic Group of the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise.

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Dr Milan Piya

Dr Milan Piya is a Senior Lecturer in Diabetes at Western Sydney University. He is also part of the Macarthur Diabetes Service at Campbelltown and Camden Hospitals (including obesity services) and the Diabetes Obesity Metabolism Transitional Research Unit (DOMTRU). He is working on clinical research projects on inpatient diabetes care across South Western Sydney Local Health District, integrated diabetes care between primary and secondary care as part of the Wollondilly Diabetes Program, as well as projects in obesity and bariatric medicine.

His research interests include obesity and bariatric surgery, Type 2 diabetes and its long-term complications, as well as adipokines and adipose tissue markers of inflammation.

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Dr Freya MacMillan

Dr Freya MacMillan is a Senior Lecturer in Interprofessional Health Sciences, based in the School of Science and Health, a CI in the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Translational Research Unit (DOMTRU), an Executive member and lead of the prevention working group in the Sydney Partnership for Health, Enterprise, Research & Education (SPHERE) Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Clinical Academic Group and co-investigator of the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolic Health white paper group at Western.

Freya is a diabetes prevention expert. She uses her research skills to inform the development, evaluation and translation of lifestyle programs for people at risk and living with diabetes. She has expertise in lifestyle and health outcome measurements, including physical activity monitoring (such as use of accelerometers) and questionnaire administration to capture physiological, psychological and social outcomes. She also has skills in using theory to guide interventions (such as social cognitive theory, and the Readiness to Change Model) and has applied qualitative interviews and focus groups to guide intervention development and evaluation.

Freya has a particular focus on working with communities and partners to identify sustainable approaches. This involves close engagement with the end-users and deliverers of the interventions she develops throughout all phases of her research. Current industry partners include Local Health Districts, Primary Health Networks, Diabetes NSW & ACT, SPHERE and NSW Health. Her links within these networks and across DOMTRU, SPHERE and Western, provide multi-disciplinary collaborative opportunities to tackle diabetes.

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Ronda Thompson

Ronda is a Research Assistant working across various diabetes prevention projects with Professor David Simmons and his team. Her primary role is community engagement with those at highest risk of diabetes and those living with diabetes. She is the trainer and coordinator of the Peer Support program for Wollondilly Diabetes Program and works under the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism SPHERE CAG on other Integrated Care projects; where she oversees the roll-out of lifestyle and diabetes peer support in communities. Ronda was initially recruited at the University in 2017 for Le Taeao Afua Samoan diabetes program, where she undertook the role of a Community Coach Facilitator for a church based diabetes prevention program centred around peer support for Samoan communities in South Western Sydney.

Susan Brown

Susan is a Senior Administrator with over 30 years federal government administration & customer service experience. Susan joined NSW Health in 2016 and is currently the Administration support person for the Wollondilly Diabetes Programme and DOMTRU.

Brunelle Fernandes

Brunelle is a Registered Nurse and certified Diabetes Educator. She completed her Bachelor in Nursing in 2003 at the Australian Catholic University North Sydney, and was employed by Campbelltown Hospital working on the Surgical ward as RN from 2005-2008 before she transferred to Macarthur Diabetes Service in 2008 where she has continued to work as a Diabetes Educator at the Campbelltown Hospital.   Brunelle completed her Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Management and Education at UTS in 2010 before becoming a member of the ADEA, and a credentialed Diabetes Educator in 2012. In 2016, she was seconded by SSWLHD Macarthur Diabetes Service, Campbelltown Hospital to Western Sydney University and since worked on the Wollondilly Diabetes Program, from 2016 to the present.  She is also a Diabetes Clinical Trials Co-ordinator working with Professor Simmons.

Kimberley Mitlehner

Kimberley is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition) and a Masters of Dietetics with a specific interest in Diabetes. She works as part of the Wollondilly Diabetes Programme Team to assist individuals to eat a balanced diet and make healthy foods choices to improve their overall health and well-being. Kimberley is available for one on one consultations but also take part in group education sessions.

Kelvin Myint

Kelvin is a research assistant working with Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Translational Research Unit (DOMTRU) and has completed his MBBS training from University of Medicine-1, Myanmar in 2007. After practicing one year in Myanmar, he decided to pursue a postgraduate training (MSc Biomedical) from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore where he graduated with Distinction in 2009. Subsequently, Kelvin was trained as a Medical Officer in Blood Services Group-Singapore and practiced for nine years in public hospital where he was involved in various epidemiological and clinical trial research in Transfusion Medicine with two international conference presentations. In 2018, Kelvin joined the Department of Obesity & Metabolic Translation Research Unit (DOMTRU) of Western Sydney University in Australia and since then he has been involved in providing integrated care for people living with diabetes in Wollondilly Shire and South West Sydney LHD, as well as the team member of health promotion task force from Wollondilly Shire Council. Kelvin is an active key member in multiple clinical trial projects focusing on quality improvement of inpatients diabetes care and health outcomes in Campbelltown hospital and district-wide hospitals under SWSLHD initiatives.

Dr Uchechukwu Levi Osugawu

Levi is a Postdoctoral Research fellow, based in Macarthur Clinical School, of the School of Medicine. He comes from an Optometry Background with an MSc (Aston University, UK) and a Doctor of Optometry degree from Nigeria. He joined the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Translational Research Unit (DOMTRU) in early 2018 after successfully completing his PhD from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology in 2017.

Levi currently coordinates various research and community projects both locally and internationally and drafted the first South Western Sydney Diabetes Monograph. Working with Prof David Simmons, Levi coordinates the Tongan GDM Taskforce and recently the DCSS Auckland, New Zealand project.

Levi has had about 13 years of clinical practice experience with great skills in quantitative research and student supervision, publishing more than 36 peer-reviewed articles. He is an expert in eye care focussing on innovative ways of preventing and managing the ocular complications of systemic diseases such as diabetes.

In 2018, Levi was awarded the Ingham Institute Diabetes Grant for his initiative on using a mobile vehicle – the Dilly Wanderer to promote uptake of Diabetes self-care and has been a co-investigator in previous ARC and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care grants. He was also a recipient of the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) travel grant in 2016 and as a President of the QUT Optical Society Student Chapter, he led the association to be awarded the notable Centennial grant in 2016 and with that he organised several training workshops for postgraduate students and held community events to promote vision care in Brisbane, Australia.

Until 2017, Levi worked with IDEASVan, a Queensland Government initiative to close the gap on diabetes related blindness among Aboriginal Australians, where he assisted Ophthalmologists travelling across Queensland to provide treatment for Diabetes blinding diseases such as Cataracts and retinopathies. Levi is interested in application of evidenced based practice for prevention and treatment of diabetes care and in his leisure time, Levi plays soccer, loves reading and writing contributing to many Continuous Educations/newsletters in Australia, Canada and Nigeria and through his organisation, partners with Lions Club and Specsavers Australia to provide free eye care services to people in Africa to prevent avoidable/correctable vision loss.

Reetu Zarora

Reetu is a PhD student at Western Sydney University, working on the project title ‘Developing a population based, integrated care approach for preventing diabetes and its complication’. Her research interest aligns with the Wollondilly Diabetes Programme objectives. She currently assists with the health promotion/prevention aspect of the Wollondilly Diabetes Programme. Prior to commencement of her PhD, Reetu worked as a Research assistant with Prof Simmons where she was instrumental in continuing the Door to door program and other activities/events for promotion of diabetes prevention in Wollondilly as well as coordinating the Medical and Health promotion student community and research projects with DOMTRU.