Cracking the Glass Ceiling This month we went out to seek women in leadership roles in the health sector and discovered far more than we could publish here. Here is a selection. THE CLINICIANS Dr Caroline Goossens Director of Clinical Services, CAMHS, CAHS How did you get here? In 2011, I was asked to become the Clinical Lead for CAMHS when the service was integrated into the CAHS. I held the position for a year, before being appointed Director. The biggest challenges? Maintaining my own energy and enthusiasm and bringing our committed workforce along Dr Caroline Goossens a very demanding journey. There have been huge shifts in both the health and mental health landscape, which has compelled CAMHS to undertake multiple change processes. I couldn’t survive without my executive team who have been extremely supportive. Dr Sarah Moore GP, Medical coordinator Rural Clinical School Busselton How did you get here? Passion! I realised early in my training that I wanted to be a country doctor who worked in general practice but could also deliver babies. I also learnt fairly early how much I enjoyed teaching and mentoring. I am fortunate to have a number of inspiring mentors who have given me the conﬁdence to put my hand up for roles Dr Sarah Moore and responsibilities I thought were beyond my capabilities. And without my supportive and loving partner and I don’t think I would be working in the dream job that I do today. The biggest challenges? Work-life balance – it has taken me a while to get this right but now I think I’m pretty much there. As a mum who wants to be there for her kids, a wife who wants to be there for her husband, a GP obstetrician who wants to be there for her patients, and a medical educator who wants to be there for her students, priorities are often competing. Making time for myself (meditating and practising yoga), has been one of the key ingredients to making sure I prioritise appropriately and stay true to myself and those I serve. Prof Shirley Bowen Dean of Medicine, University of Notre Dame How did you get here? Originally I trained as an Infectious Diseases Physician and then became CMO of the ACT. The latter was pivotal in developing an understanding of population health, leadership and management. Since then, I have had the opportunity to manage in Public Health and Hospital Management, both in the public and private sectors, while maintaining my clinical Prof Shirley Bowen skills. I have a passion for healing. I ensure the students see my personal passion for being a doctor. The biggest challenges? Like all busy people, executive, clinician or parent, the greatest challenge is to keep “all the balls” in the air! My biggest challenge is to ensure that while the Medical School continues to evolve, my family feels that I am present and centred to their needs as well. From a professional perspective, the School of Medicine Fremantle is soon to celebrate its 10th anniversary. As such, the focus of the School is now on sustainability and evolving to the next level.
Dr Helen Wilcox GP, Censor, RACGP; A/Prof General Practice, UWA
How did you get here? After completing Fellowship I became involved with both UWA and the RACGP. I took on larger roles coordinating education programs for new RACGP Fellows which led to becoming Censor. The biggest challenges? Imagining the future. Doctors live in a changing (professional) world. It is challenging to prepare today’s medical students for the GP workplace of ﬁve years’ time, let alone 10 or 15 years when they may enter general practice.
Dr Helen Wilcox
Prof Karen Simmer Medical Director, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, KEMH and PMH, Prof Newborn Medicine, UWA How did you get here? I trained in different states and countries; specialist training as paediatrician and neonatologist, Fellow of RACP and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (UK), PhD London, AMP Harvard University. Built a world-class team of academic clinicians in a large NICU to a prestigious NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in 2013.
Prof Karen Simmer
The biggest challenges? Advocacy for equitable resources to care for young infants in WA and breaking down established silos. Standing up for what is right even if at a personal cost. Dr Anne Karczub Director Obstetrics at KEMH How did you get here? I’m a WA medical graduate, specialised in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Worked in the country for 11 years (1992-2004, the Kimberley initially then 10 years in the Midwest). I was approached by WNHS executive in 2004 to consider position of Director of Obstetrics, which I accepted. Dr Anne Karczub
The biggest challenges? Funding, and consultant recruitment and retention! Chronic pressure on a health budget has many implications. Providing a quality service requires people who are committed to service delivery to patients, teaching and training at undergraduate and post graduate level and research. The ability to recruit and retain consultants depends on adequate funding and the ability to create job satisfaction. With a skilled and committed consultant group, all things become possible. Dr Amanda Frazer Senior Clinical Adviser, Health Reform, WA Health How did you get here? As a doctor providing clinical care for about 10 years, I became increasingly aware of the challenges faced by a sick patient to negotiate the complex hospital environment. I could see how communication, team work and the physical and technological environment shape the culture of a hospital and, in turn, impact on the patient. After completing post-graduate Law, I returned to health in a management and leadership role, which was an enormous professional challenge.
Dr Amanda Frazer
The biggest challenges? It’s so important to try to understand many differing points of view and make the best decision which balances the many elements.
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