Western Sydney local rises to challenge of steering health district

WSLHD Board members (from left) Adjunct Professor Mick Reid, Professor Don Nutbeam, chief executive Graeme Loy, Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms, Loretta Di Mento, Narelle Bell, Dr Keith Hartman, Professor Diana O’Halloran AO, Andrew Bernard, Richard Alcock AO and Professor Michael Edye.

Growing up in Granville, Loretta Di Mento knew Westmead Hospital was admired by the local community.

Now she has the chance to steer the future of Westmead and Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) as the youngest member of the District’s board.

Ms Di Mento joined the WSLHD Board at the start of 2020 and assumed the role of deputy chair this year, taking over from the outgoing Professor Jeremy Chapman AC who served on the board with distinction for more than ten years.

Loretta Di Mento

Though she now lives in the inner west, Ms Di Mento’s ties to the area remain strong. She grew up in Granville and Greystanes and did work experience at a radiography clinic in Wentworthville – inspired by her mother, a nurse and midwife.

“When I was growing up, Westmead Hospital was always admired in our community, known as a leader in health and research. Joining the board last year has confirmed all that I remember about the precinct and the District,” Ms Di Mento said.

“It starts with the amazing staff – their dedication, professionalism and care. Last year more than any other has shown us the immense value of their expertise and resilience across so many places in the District.

“Even after everything that 2020 brought, their motivation and constant drive to plan for the future continues, focused on improving the experience and outcomes for patients, their families and the western Sydney community.”

Ms Di Mento has over 25 years’ corporate experience and more recently as a board and committee member across several health and education organisations, including the audit committee of Health Infrastructure NSW – the body responsible for delivering projects including the $1 billion Westmead Redevelopment.

After a year to better understand her role, Ms Di Mento said she has her sights set on specific goals to improve patient experience, diversity and inclusion across the District.

Board members Don Nutbeam and Andrew Bernard speak to psychiatrist Dr N. G. Pradeep Jarabandahalli and nurse unit manager Siddhi Patel on a recent tour of Cumberland Hospital.

“As a board member and moving into the role of Deputy Chair, I want to draw on all the skills and experience of my fellow board members, to continue to support the executive and teams throughout the district in delivering better health for Western Sydney,” she said.

“There is increasing complexity, some big demands and ongoing challenges for our system, but with the collaborative efforts of our great medical minds, leaders and partners, we will only get better. Most importantly, we will keep the staff, patients and community at the centre of our work.”

Board members are appointed by the NSW Minister for Health for a term of up to four years, and take on responsibilities including measuring the District’s performance and ensuring services are provided efficiently and responsibly.

Learn more about the WSLHD Board and its responsibilities here.