National Allergy Council Staff

Sandra Vale

Sandra Vale

National Allergy Council Manager

PhD Candidate – University of Western Australia
BSc (Nutrition & Food Science) – Curtin University; Certificate IV (training and assessment)

Sandra has a background in public health nutrition, with experience in project implementation, resource development and training. Prior to becoming the National Allergy Strategy Manager, Sandra was the ASCIA Education Officer and in that role was the project officer involved in developing and implementing the National Allergy Strategy. Sandra is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Western Australia and her topic is ‘A public health approach to infant feeding for allergy prevention’.

Rikki Dunstall

Rikki Dunstall

Finance Officer

Certificate IV in Bookkeeping – FNS40210 

Rikki has a background in providing bookkeeping services to clients across many sectors (not for profit, retail, professional services), has experience working with numerous accounting software programs (XERO, MYOB, QuickBooks) and is a registered BAS agent.

Rikki is the Financial and Operations Officer for both the National Allergy Strategy and the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA).

Heather Roberts

Heather Roberts

Principal Project Officer

BHSc (Hons Public Health) – University of Western Australia

Bachelor of Health Science (Hons Public Health) – University of Western Australia

Heather has a background in public health and has experience working across a wide range of healthcare improvement projects for the public sector.

Heather initially commenced working with the National Allergy Strategy as a consultant project officer working on the Shared Care Model project.

Nyssa Booth

Lexy Akillas

Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Bachelor of Arts in Communications & Journalism – University of Technology, Sydney

Lexy is a communications professional with a passion and enthusiasm for storytelling and brand building. She joined the team in 2022 and is also the Social Media and Communications Coordinator at Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA).

Lexy was previously working for a not-for-profit in the disability sector, where she was responsible for implementing social and digital marketing strategies to help the organisation connect with their internal and external audiences.

Ingrid Roche

Ingrid Roche

Senior Project Officer

Ingrid Roche is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who graduated from Curtin University in 1995. She worked clinically with children and families with food allergy in her role as Senior Paediatric Dietitian in the Immunology Department at Perth Children’s Hospital in Western Australia for 13 years and still works part time in her private practice. Ingrid has been an active ASCIA member, serving as the Chair of the Dietitian Committee and leading the development of online training for dietitians, as well as an advanced face to face food allergy training course for dietitians which is a partnership between ASCIA and the Dietitians Association of Australia. Ingrid has a strong interest in food allergen management in food service. She was heavily involved in the development of the new menu and food service system at the new Perth Children’s Hospital

Dr Merryn Netting

Dr Merryn Netting

Senior Project Officer

Dr Merryn Netting is a paediatric dietitian and NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow based at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and Adelaide’s Women and Children’s Hospital. Her PhD was awarded in 2015 by the University of Adelaide for her thesis “Nutritional Strategies for Allergy Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment, with a Specific Focus on Egg Allergy”. Merryn is an active member of ASCIA and was inaugural chair of the ASCIA Dietitian’s subcommittee. Merryn enjoys translating the science of nutrition into the practical aspects of the food that we eat, including the dietary management of children with food allergy. Her research focuses on the influence of early life nutrition on long term health, including infant feeding advice for prevention of food allergy.

Samantha Stiles

Samantha Stiles

Project Officer (commencing 2023)

PhD Candidate – University of Western Australia; Masters of Public Health – University of Western Australia; Masters of Infectious Disease – University of Western Australia; BSc (Biomedical Science) – Murdoch University 

Samantha has a background in public health research and project management and is a Research Associate at the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Western Australia. She has worked across a range of research projects involving epidemiological and passive surveillance studies and has expertise in the use of linked health data. Samantha is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Western Australia in the area of anaphylaxis epidemiology, which aims to provide an evidence base, to improve reporting and management of anaphylaxis across the health system.

 The National Allergy Council
 remains a partnership
 between ASCIA and
 Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia
 and continues to implement
 the National Allergy Strategy.

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National Allergy Strategy Rationale

Allergic diseases have become an increasingly important chronic disease and public health issue in Australia and other developed countries over the last two decades, contributing to increased demand for medical services, significant economic cost of care and reduced quality of life of people with allergic diseases and their carers.

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Lead organisations

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Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) is the leading medical organisation for allergy in Australia. 

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Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) is the leading patient support organisation for allergy in Australia. 

The National Allergy Strategy has received funding from the Australian Government Department of Health for the following projects:
Food allergy prevention | 250K Youth Project | Food service | Drug allergy | Shared Care Model

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Acknowledgement of Country
The National Allergy Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land upon which we are located. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.