Our Team

Hollie Feller – Director & Board Member

Hollie is a co-founder and Director of UsherKids Australia. She is a fierce advocate for early diagnosis of Usher syndrome through genetic testing, the education of clinical professionals as well as support for families around the country to share research and information about the current generation of USH kids.

Hollie divides her time between work at the Genetic Support Network of Australia, volunteering for UsherKids Australia, Paediatric Vision Impairment Alliance and is also on the Board at Genetic Cures Australia (www.geneticcures.com.au), a charity she established with her husband to further accelerate Australian research and therapies for genetic conditions such as Usher syndrome.

Emily Shepard

Emily Shepard – Director & Board Member

Emily Shepard is a co-founder and Director of UsherKids Australia. Emily is passionate and committed to making the lives of children with Usher syndrome and their families better.  She has brought her perspective as a mother of a child with Usher syndrome, as well as skills from working in a commercial environment and combined them with her studies in Auslan and Public Health to successfully manage the not-for-profit organisation.

Emily divides her time between work, volunteering for various organisations including UsherKids Australia, Paediatric Vision Impairment Alliance, Deafblind International Usher Network and Deafblind Centre for Excellence, and is also currently undertaking a Master of Public Health online through Curtin University.

Tracey Johnston bio

Tracey Jonston

Case Coordinator

Tracey is a Senior Teacher and Consultant with NextSense (formerly RIDBC). Her knowledge and experience working with families of children with sensory impairments spans over two decades. Tracey will provide guidance to families particularly in the early years after diagnosis to reduce isolation, increase support and service provision to improve the longterm health and well-being of our families. Tracey will assist UsherKids Australia in the implementation of our National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grant by working directly with families and healthcare professionals to improve skills and capacity.

Lauren J bio

Lauren Johansen

Project Coordinator

Lauren is a PhD student and research assistant with a background in psychology. She has a wealth of experience working with children and youth, especially those with autism and anxiety. She is passionate about supporting and advocating for parents and caregivers within the healthcare system and we are really excited about what she can bring to our organisation. Lauren will assist UsherKids Australia in various projects that are aimed to support the health and well-being of parents, carers and families of children with Usher syndrome in Australia. These projects will address some of the key barriers families face with raising a child with this complex condition, including gaps in addressing the psychosocial impacts of the condition on all members of the family unit.

Lisa Kearns

Board Member

Lisa Kearns is a Senior Orthoptist with a Postgraduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling. Lisa co-ordinates the Ocular Diagnostic and Ocular Genetic Clinic at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and provides clinical eye and electrodiagnostic testing. As a research orthoptist at the Centre for Eye Research Australia, Lisa works with families on multiple research studies into inherited eye disease. Lisa has a particular interest in inherited retinal dystrophies, including Retinitis Pigmentosa and Usher syndrome. Through CERA, Lisa manages research projects aiming to use cutting edge stem cell technology to understand blinding eye disease and ultimately facilitate clinical trials and new treatments.

Lisa’s knowledge of Usher syndrome combined with her talent and passion for improving people’s lives make her an incredibly valuable addition to the UsherKids team. She brings new insights and helps guide the organisation to continue to improve and expand its services.

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