Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation established the Veteran Impact Group with the aim to bridge the gap between scientific research and real-world impact. This will be achieved by incorporating the perspectives, experiences, and opinions of veterans and family members in the development of research projects, tools, programs, and services to support the physical and mental health of the military community.
Ten Australian Defence Force ex-serving individuals and family members with diverse backgrounds in terms of age, gender, military, and transition experiences were selected through an Expression of Interest process.
Veteran Impact Group Members
Anita joined the Australian Regular Army in July 1988 and served in the Australian Army Psychology Corps as a Psychological Examiner and a General Service Officer in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps for 29 years. Anita has been heavily involved in the veteran community in Townsville as a volunteer. She was a founding Director, Company Secretary, and Wellbeing Officer of The Oasis Townsville Limited and a Director and Company Secretary of Defence Holidays North Queensland. Anita was appointed to the Capability Framework Management Group for the Advocacy Training Development Program and is a member of the Queensland Government’s North and North West Queensland Regional Community Forum. She is currently the Chair of the Townsville Community Information Centre. Anita is enthusiastic about looking at how the great work that GMRF does can make life better for veterans and their families.
Angela Crichton CSM
Angela is a wife to an amazing husband and a mother to two beautiful, active and energetic boys.
She proudly served in the Royal Australian Air Force as a Signals Operator (Technical) – Electronic Intelligence Analyst. Beyond her service, Angela played a pivotal role in shaping the future of Defence’s Electronic Warfare education and training and now uses her lived experience to support students of Defence members and their families in her role as a Defence School Mentor.
Angela’s career highlights include an operational tour to the Middle East and earning several commendations, including the Conspicuous Service Medal.
She is passionate about honouring the physical, mental, and emotional toll that service can take on our veterans. She joined the group to actively address these challenges and seek to improve the lives of veterans in meaningful ways.
With over 20 years of service in the Infantry, John Hardgrave has seen operational service in the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Afghanistan, as well as deployment in domestic operations such as Queensland Flood Assist.
After leaving the Regular Army, John went on to gain formal qualifications and experience in the private sector and continues to serve on Local Boards, Consultative Forums and Steering Committees for State and Federal departments. John also continues to serve as an Officer in the Army Reserve and is currently employed as the Head of League Development for RSL Queensland.
John understands the experiences of our service men and women, together with their families, are incredibly varied. Each share unique and powerful insights into the rewards and sacrifices that come with service. John is honoured to be part of the Veterans Impact Group and he looks forward to continually being able to represent his fellow veterans throughout the process.
Jordan spent 19 years within the Australian Army, 12 of those within Special Operations Command serving in both the 2nd Commando Regt (2Cdo) and the Special Air Service Regt (SASR). During this time deploying multiple times to Afghanistan, Iraq and East Timor.
Jordan has a keen interest in the Health and Wellbeing space for veterans and believes in a holistic approach to reduce unhealthy behaviours and to improve the quality of life for veterans. Yoga, chi gong and meditation have played a significant role in Jordan’s rehabilitation during and after his ADF service.
Jordan hopes to have a positive and constructive role on the VIG by contributing to projects that enhance the veteran experience and provide much needed results for the individual and wider community.
Julia Michel is the founder of The Home Post and Defence and Veteran Carer Support Network, dedicated resource platforms for Defence and Veteran partners, families, and carers, providing invaluable support, information and advocacy.
Julia’s journey through life has been marked by transformation and unwavering commitment to making a difference. Starting as a law school student, she then became a Defence partner and spouse, only to find herself in the vital role of a caregiver for a Veteran. Julia’s personal journey has also been marked by significant challenges, including becoming a young carer, enduring her own chronic injuries and mental health issues, such as depression and suicidal ideation. However, her resilience and determination have led her on a journey back from the pits of despair and burnout, making her passionate about capacity and education.
Today, she stands as a prominent Veteran spouse, campaigner, advocate, encourager, and capacity advocate. Her advocacy work and motivational speaking spans the areas of Veteran and caregiver support, with a focus on burnout, capacity, caregiver and caregiving perspectives, military and Veteran partner culture and education, and transformation.
Travis is a passionate and dedicated Exercise Physiologist with a strong commitment to promoting health and wellness through physical activity and exercise. With a background in exercise science, personal training, group fitness training, military combat fitness, and strength and conditioning, Travis is well-equipped to design and implement customised exercise programs that cater to the unique needs and goals of his clients.
Travis has worked with clients through the DVA, Medicare, NDIS, Workcover, Comcare and private sectors to deliver individual and group sessions. These sessions involved hydrotherapy, gym, telehealth and home-based interventions
Travis is married with two active young children and loves everything outdoors: camping, water sports, triathlon, golf, snowboarding and AFL.
Rach Ranton is an Australian Army veteran (East Timor and Afghanistan). As an Electronic Warfare operator, she was embedded in frontline patrols to provide battlefield warning and advice.
Post-service, Rach carved out a corporate career leading large teams in the finance world, before moving into people and culture projects. These included the design and delivery of world-leading Neurodiversity and Veterans Hiring programs, and bank-wide cultural change and leadership programs.
Rach is a keen veterans advocate, with broad and varied connections across the veteran community. She has volunteered on advisory committees to ADF and DVA, and on the board of a veteran mental health and social connectedness organisation.
Rach hopes to bring a lens from both her military and cultural change experiences to the Veterans Impact Group. She hopes to support research and implementation projects at Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation which have deep and enduring impacts on veteran transition and wellbeing.
Daniel is a Social Worker with Queensland Health working on the Fraser Coast, Hervey Bay and Maryborough Hospital’s. He is employed as the Renal and Kidney Supportive Care Social Worker and substantively within the Emergency Department at Hervey Bay Hospital.
After deployment to Afghanistan and discharge from the Army, Daniel noticed the ever-increasing number of younger veterans and their families returning to the Fraser Coast region and the limited availability of appropriate support services. He started an informal support group for younger veterans and in 2014 he formalised and inaugurated the Veterans of Australia Association Inc (VOA). Daniel was mentored and trained as a Level 3 Compensation Advocate. Daniel continues to represent veterans in a limited volunteer capacity. He completed a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) at Griffith University and was awarded the Lesley Chenoweth Award for Social Justice and Equity for his work within the veteran community. Daniel has a passion working within specialist demographics impacted by the burden of chronic disease and/or illness, identifying and working through barriers related to biopsychosocial needs to maximise quality of life and wellbeing.
Kirsten is a proud indigenous Palawa woman from Tasmania. A mother to two teenagers, Rori and Brody, and a proud wife to Heather. Kirsten is Senior Research Manager (RSL Queensland) with a diverse background—from serving as an Australian Army Medic to specialising in forensic and indigenous health and Research. Her leadership and management capabilities, interdisciplinary skills, and commitment to improving health and wellbeing make her a valuable asset to the GMRF team.
Ken’s working life has centred on the Maritime Safety Industry Sector. At 15 ½ years of age he joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as a Junior Recruit. During his 10 years’ service in the RAN, he acquired a Shipwright Trade Certificate and achieved the rank of Leading Seaman. He was posted to HMAS Nirimba and HMAS Moreton with his sea service spent on HMAS Vampire, HMAS Brisbane and a short stint on HMAS Perth prior to voluntary discharge.
Ken spent a significant portion of his working life at Maritime Safety Queensland specialising in policy implementation, risk and safety management, and safety culture development within Queensland’s commercial marine industry sector. During this time, he managed the Policy Implementation and Support Business Unit, leading a team of Naval Architects, Master Mariners and Project Officers. Ken also spent 18 months as Director of the Executive Services and Compliance Branch.
Prior to retirement, Ken was contracted to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to develop and deliver training programs to support the introduction of new National maritime safety legislation. A 5-year period that culminated in the delivery of these programs to Australia’s State and Territory Maritime Safety Regulators and commercial vessel owners and operators within these jurisdictions.
Ken is very happily married to his lovely wife Carmel, both proud to be classed as “Grey Nomads.” They have raised three beautiful human beings and are blessed with three precious Granddaughters.