2024 AIMA Board

Dr Kate Armstrong


Kate began her medical training at the Auckland Medical School where she won the Douglas Pharmaceutical Prize in Clinical Communication Skills and the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners Prize for General Practice. She then completed her Diploma’s in Paediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynaecology, preparing herself for isolated rural General Practice via locums throughout Northland, Coromandel and Great Barrier Island in search of a model of care that suited her aspirations.

Aotea Health on Great Barrier Island inspired her, and four years later, she began a remote rural General Practice in Colville, Coromandel based on the Great Barrier Island Community Trust model. In November 2003 The Colville Community Health Centre (a remote rural Integrated General Practice) opened at the Northern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula. It provides for 700 permanent patients, many transient visitors and in the summer up to 10,000 holiday makers. The success of this small local service is the provision of Infrastructure via community fund raising by The Colville Community Health Trust. Without community support this service would not exist.

She became a member of Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) in 2006.  In 2007 a local St John First Response Unit was started in Colville and Dr Kate became a St John Doctor. She completed her ACNEM fellowship in 2010. The Colville First Response Unit in November 2017 celebrated 10 years of 24/7 emergency service to the Northern Coromandel area.   She is also a rural GP representative for the St John Clinical Governance Committee and is actively involved in training Waikato based medical students as an honorary lecturer for the University of Auckland Medical School.

Since then The Colville Project has evolved through collaboration between The Colville Community Health Trust and The Colville Social Service Collective Charitable Trust. They plan to meet the needs of their community into the future by building an Inspirational Wellbeing and Education Village.

Dr Kate has a special interest in motivation and behavioural change, lifestyle medicine and maximizing your genetic potential through food.

Dr Leila Masson

Vice President

Leila is an integrative paediatrician who combines allopathic medicine with a nutritional and environmental approach to children’s health issues. She ran a busy clinic in Auckland, New Zealand, before moving to Sydney. She received her medical doctorate from the Free University of Berlin and did her paediatric specialist training at the University of California in San Francisco. She received her Master in Public Health from Harvard University and her Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Leila has worked in the US, Europe, New Zealand, and volunteered for 2 years setting up a rural clinic in Pakistan.
Dr Masson lectures internationally on the subject of children’s nutrition and an integrative medicine approach to paediatric issues, including autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, allergies, recurrent infections, and autoimmune diseases. She speaks English, German, French and Spanish.

She is the author of “Children’s Health A-Z” a parent’s guide to natural therapies for common childhood ailments.

Dr Susan Arentz


Dr Susan Arentz PhD is an Adjunct Research Fellow at NICM HRI, Western Sydney University, and a Naturopath with over 25 years of clinical practice experience, including more than 10 years at an academic gynecology and obstetrics practice.

Dr Arentz’s research initially focussed on practice-based holistic management of women with chronic health conditions including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), chronic pelvic pain, pre-conception health promotion and infertility and comparing the effectiveness of complex interventions using mixed research methods, including randomised control trials. More recently Dr Arentz has collaborated with Australian and international experts to synthesise the evidence for traditional, complementary and integrative medicine and the prevention and treatment of Covid-19, including long covid, and embed clinical practice recommendations in evidence-based clinical practice guidelines including guidelines for people with diabetes at the end of life.

As the ex-Head of the Bachelor of Naturopathy at Endeavour College, Dr Arentz has in-depth experience in undergraduate curriculum design, development, and governance and continues to provide subject matter expertise for educational programs in traditional, complementary and integrative medicine.

Barb Cook
M.Aut.(Edu), Dip.HSc.(Nut)


Barb is a registered Developmental Educator, past Deputy Chair of the Developmental Educators Australia Incorporated (DEAI), and an Integrative Nutritionist who takes a holistic approach in improving the health and wellbeing of neurodivergent people. Barb predominantly works with adults and has an intense interest in improving mental and physical health of autistic women, menopause, ageing and nutrition, nutrigenetics/nutrigenomics, autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s Disease and neurodegenerative diseases. Barb is currently engaged in a variety academic research projects in the USA investigating health priorities for autistic people, with her recent project investigating menopause and ageing in autistic people.

Barb is the founder of Neurotrition Australia and the Neurodiversity Hub that provides professional allied health and holistic health and wellbeing services for neurodivergent people.

Barb holds a Master of Autism degree from the University of Wollongong where she was also a researcher and co-project lead on self-determination and self-advocacy for autistic adults. Barb also holds a Diploma in Health Science (Nutrition) and is currently completing her Master of Human Nutrition through Deakin University. Barb holds a cert 111 in Business Medical Administration and is also qualified in horticulture and permaculture, having a strong interest in sustainable lifestyles.

Barb is the founder of Spectrum Women Magazine and is internationally recognised for her best-selling book on autism in women, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism with Dr Michelle Garnett, filling the gap in literature between lived experience of autistic women and clinical knowledge. Barb’s second best-selling book is, The Autism and Neurodiversity Self-Advocacy Handbook: Developing Skills to Determine Your Own Future, and her recently released third book, Planning Your Career Through Intense Interests: A Guide for Autistic People. Barb is currently writing her fourth book on autism and menopause.

Barb is a highly sought after international speaker and presents on a variety of topics related to autism, ADHD, neurodiversity, health, and nutrition. Barb spoke at the World Autism Organisation Congress 2018 in Houston Texas and 2019, keynoted for a special event “A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs” for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) in Washington DC, USA.

Barb was awarded the “A Different Brilliant” award at the Aspect National Recognition Awards in Sydney and the Leadership Support Award from the Neurodiversity Academy in 2021. In 2017 she received a Special Commendation from Queensland’s Governor, his Excellency, Paul De Jersey for the Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards.

Barb identifies as neurodivergent, being formally diagnosed mid-life with ADHD, autism, and dyslexia in 2009, and promotes a strength-based and person-centred approach in her life and work.

As a passionate motorcyclist, Barb enjoys riding the love of her life, Ron Strom Burgundy, a Suzuki VStrom DL1000, who assists her with good self-care and effective anxiety-reducing and depression busting practice. More recently Barb has taken up roller skating after a 33-year break and enjoying skating outdoors by the beach. Barb’s rescue dog Willow, a red Australian Cattle Dog, keeps her on her toes with her intelligence and cheeky attitude and provides a whole lot of furry love!

Published Research

Benevides, T. W., Shore, S. M., Andresen, M.-L., Caplan, R., Cook, B., Gassner, D. L., Erves, J. M., Hazlewood, T. M., King, M. C., Morgan, L., Murphy, L. E., Purkis, Y., Rankowski, B., Rutledge, S. M., Welch, S. P., & Wittig, K. (2020). Interventions to address health outcomes among autistic adults: A systematic review. Autism, 24(6), 1345–1359. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361320913664

Benevides, T. W., Shore, S. M., Palmer, K., Duncan, P., Plank, A., Andresen, M.-L., Caplan, R., Cook, B., Gassner, D., Hector, B. L., Morgan, L., Nebeker, L., Purkis, Y., Rankowski, B., Wittig, K., & Coughlin, S. S. (2020). Listening to the autistic voice: Mental health priorities to guide research and practice in autism from a stakeholder-driven project. Autism, 24(4), 822–833. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361320908410

Ellen Baron

Board Member

Ellen is the Founding Director of Ruby Cha Cha a boutique market research agency that specialises in brand strategy and consumer research across industries. She has worked with pharma companies, biotechs and medical foundations such as the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, helping them to create a vision, purpose and brand strategy.

Ellen is a strong advocate for improving the connection between consumer needs and business aspirations, specifically in healthcare research where she has worked across a broad range of therapy areas creating consumer, patient and practitioner segmentations, pathways and strategies for growth.

Ellen holds a first class honours in Psychology, studied a PhD on the nexus of alcohol and gambling behaviour, where she developed a scale of gambling control.  She has also completed a postgraduate diploma in Strategic Marketing through MGSM.  She  is currently on the board of The Research Society in Australia, where she is the Treasurer, and has just completed a revitalisation of the TRS Fellows program.  She has completed AICD training and refresher programs, is a member of Women on Boards and the Consumer Health Forum.

Ellen is also a highly valued mentor in the  Research Society Mentoring Program and supports a number of charities supporting women and homelessness.  She is a firm advocate for wellbeing and spends her spare time enjoying Japanese yoga, pilates, hiking and cooking.

Dr Paulette Maroun

Board Member

Paulette is a Gynaecologist in private practice since 2005. She did her fellowship in Laparoscopy and Endometriosis. She is the founder of Paradigm & Co, established in 2017 aimed at including different paradigms: Nutrition, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Psychology and Physiotherapy to improve the outcome for women with certain conditions that may benefit from a multi-disciplinary and integrative approach. This allows for women to be involved in their own care. She is a board member of Worrier Women, a mentoring foundation for young women. She is currently involved in research for the possible impact of improving immunity with carotinoids in persistent positive HPV in early cervical dysplasia.