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Staff

Heather Mugwagwa, Acting Chief Executive Officer

Heather has been associated with PWV as a member since 2008. She is currently the Acting Chief Executive Officer and is also a Peer Support Program Coordinator. Her role involves providing and facilitating tailored peer support for women living with HIV. She coordinates Volunteer Peer Support Training Programs, outreach group support and also facilitates Phoenix workshops for women in partnership with LPV. Part of Heather’s role involves engaging with marginalised communities including women from CALD backgrounds, rural and regional areas to inform various research programs for PWV. Heather holds undergraduate study qualification from overseas and Monash University and is also currently completing a post – graduate qualification at Melbourne University. Heather's normal hours are 9am - 5pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and she can be reached on executiveofficer@positivewomen.org.au or by calling 03 9863 8747.

Natalie Browne, Health Promotion and Communications Coordinator

Natalie joined PWV in 2017. She has a background in social work, specifically in counselling and advocacy for the LGBTQI community. Natalie has experience in Communications; in particular sexual health promotion and advocacy. Natalie has an undergraduate degree of Psychology and Social Science and a Diploma in Community Development. She is currently finishing her Masters in Counselling. Natalie also works in Crisis Housing and is completing an Internship as an LGBTQI Counsellor. Prior to commencing her work at PWV, Natalie worked with differently-abled adults in a variety of capacities. Natalie works from a feminist perspective with a strengths-based approach, she is passionate about the needs and well-being of women and of the LGBTQI community. Natalie's normal hours are 9am to 5pm Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Natalie uses she/her pronouns. She can be reached on healthpromotion@positivewomen.org.au or by calling 03 9863 8747

Melissa Iddles, Peer Support Worker

Melissa has been a member of Positive Women since 2005 and joined the team of staff in April 2017. Prior to this Melissa spent nine years supporting and advocating for people with disabilities, though quality assurance processes. Many of the same values apply to supporting diverse women with HIV: dignity, privacy and confidentiality, individual needs, fair access to services, self-determination, community engagement, human rights and freedom from abuse. Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts from Deakin University and a Certificate in Community Cultural Development from Swinburne. Melissa’s recent Certificate of Education Support and volunteer work in primary schools was focused on children with diverse needs and their families. Melissa’s normal hours are 9am to 5pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. She can be reached on peersupport2@positivewomen.org.au or by calling 03 9683 8747.

Nabreesa Shafeeu, Research Coordinator

Nabreesa joined the PWV team in 2017, first as a volunteer and then as the Research Coordinator conducting PWV’s first qualitative research project investigating barriers to HIV clinical and community support services access for some of our members. Nabreesa comes from a medical background and has experience working as a doctor in hospitals in the UK and volunteering in a hospital in rural Uganda. Through these experiences Nabreesa gained an understanding of the many barriers faced by people when accessing healthcare and how this can disproportionately affect women, particularly when it comes to sexual and reproductive health. This drove her to leave clinical medicine in order to gain skills that would allow her to work with a focus on gender, health and human rights. She moved to Australia in 2016 and completed a Master of Public Health at the University of Melbourne, specialising in sexual health. Nabreesa is committed to working with communities to empower women and find community-led solutions to improving women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Nabreesa can be reached on research@positivewomen.org.au