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IWD 2021 – Celebrating the Women of Rural Health

In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2021, RWAV honours the extraordinary women of rural health who work tirelessly to keep their communities safe and healthy.

Thank you to all of the hard working women who have made a difference for countless people living in the country.

Below we acknowledge some of the many outstanding women supporting the health needs of rural Victorian communities.

Do you know an exceptional health professional who should be recognised for their work? Nominate them for the 2021 Victorian Rural Health Awards: https://www.rwav.com.au/vrha

Dr Suzanne Harrison, Echuca

Since 1984, Dr Suzanne Harrison has lived and worked in Echuca-Moama in general practice, Aboriginal Health and as a VMO providing anaesthetic and emergency services at Echuca Regional Health.

For the last 15 years she has had an interest in medical education and workforce, and has been at various times a Hub Educator for the University of Melbourne Extended Rural Cohort, Director of Intern Training at ERH and a supervisor of registrars at her practice. She currently has governance roles with ACRRM, MCCC and RDAV.

The highlight of Dr Harrison’s career is being able to work with great young doctors, many of whom she has had the pleasure of contributing to their training and rural experience, including her daughter.

Last year Dr Harrison was awarded the Length of Service Award for her longstanding commitment to rural health.

Vicki Broad, Midwife

Vicki Broad is a Midwife working at Robinvale District Health Services. Vicki was the award winner of the Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Nurse/Midwife category in last year’s Victorian Rural Health Awards.

As a solo midwife based in Robinvale for the last 13 years, she has dedicated her career to providing midwifery services and supporting countless women during their antenatal period. This has supported many women from overseas, on working visas or in the agribusiness hub who do not have access to Medicare, to be able to afford comprehensive and quality care before delivery at the closest birthing unit 90kms away.

Megan Green, Dietitian

Megan Green is a Dietitian working at Colac Area Health. Megan’s leadership and commitment to improving the treatment, screening and identification of malnutrition of in-patients at Colac Area Health, led her to win the Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Allied Health Professional award in last year’s Victorian Rural Health Awards.

Despite being junior in her dietetics role at the heath service, she has implemented an in-patient screening program, which has led to increased referrals for dietetic services. Additionally, Megan recognised the scarcity of research relating to malnutrition in rural populations, and successfully obtained a $40,000 grant to undertake a malnutrition study – one of the first to be completed in a rural health service in Victoria.

Dr Lesley Cadzow, Locum Doctor

Dr Lesley Cadzow has been a rural locum GP with RWAV for the last decade. When she isn’t providing care to Victoria’s rural communities, she can be found working as a ship’s doctor in Antarctica. 

Dr Cadzow provides musculoskeletal and acupuncture services which is often difficult to access in some of the communities she provides locum services to. She is regularly praised for not only treating the patient’s medical needs, but also acting as a general health coach.

In the 2020 Victorian Rural Health Awards, Dr Cadzow was recognised by her colleagues and patients for her unwavering commitment and enthusiasm, and for consistently filling the need for GP locum relief.

Dr Clare Roczniok, Locum Doctor

For the last seven years, Dr Clare Roczniok has provided locum support to rural towns in the north east of Victoria. 

She has come to know and love the communities that she regularly provides locum support to, and was recognised for a Victorian Rural Health Award in 2019 for this work. 

In the summer bushfires of 2019-2020, Dr Roczniok played an important role in offering GP support to Corryong, and relieving doctors who were on call 24 hours a day during this time.

Dr Roczniok is proud of her advocacy work, and utilises her communication skills to work towards a healthier and more equitable society. This has included work in advancing the case for banning cigarette advertising when she was a medical student, and advocacy work writing about child protection and medicine.

Msc (Fin), FCCA, FGIA, CA

Shay brings over 20 years of financial
management experience in commercial and not-for-profit organizations. He has a
rich and varied experience in multiple finance and leadership roles in the
United Kingdom and Australia, including CFO, GM Finance & IT, Commercial
Manager Operations, Finance Manager and Accountant.

His extensive leadership experience is
augmented by an FGIA, FCCA, CA, a Masters in Finance and an undergraduate degree in
accounting and finance.

RN, GradDip(Health Promotion), PRINCE2, Mini MBA

Kate is a Registered Nurse highly experienced in health promotion and project management. Her people and program management skills enable her to be agile and adaptable while maintaining an outcomes focus on improving quality access to primary healthcare.

Kate’s extensive experience working with all levels of government, the community and stakeholders across the sector have provided her with insights into the challenges rural communities and health professionals face. Kate has led the design and delivery of many innovative and strategic health promotion and grants programs, supporting better access to health services, health information and activities across communities. Whilst at RWAV, Kate has led the transformation of the RWAV grants program, enhanced the administration of a number of programs and developed the RWAV allied health portfolio. She has also led the development of the RWAV research program of activities.

Having worked at RWAV since 2020, Kate will continue positively influencing the rural healthcare workforce and access to services.

Social Work (BA Hons), DipSW

With a background in social work and a proven record in recruitment, project management, and business development, Jo brings strategic leadership and a wealth of experience in driving positive outcomes within the health, human services, and State Government sectors.

Jo specialises in managing health professional recruitment and outreach programs, including the More Doctors for Rural Australia and 3GA programs. Her focus is on implementing innovative workforce strategies and clinical governance to bolster RWAV’s mission of enhancing healthcare accessibility in rural and regional Victoria.

Having previously excelled at RWAV, Jo spearheaded successful internal change initiatives while fostering strong relationships with external stakeholders. Her efforts consistently align with RWAV’s strategic direction, ensuring a cohesive approach to driving impactful change.

Beyond her professional expertise, Jo’s passion lies in uniting communities and championing positive transformations in rural healthcare in Victoria.

Martin is a governance professional and lawyer with experience in private practice and in-house legal roles. He has been a company secretary for public and private sector organisations across a range of industries including VicTrack, Regis Healthcare Limited and Dairy Australia Limited. He holds Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of Melbourne, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia (GIA) and is a fellow of the GIA.

With a rich background of consulting and in-house people and culture roles with the corporate, government and community sectors, Andrea is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Andrea has significant experience in leading teams across culture, capability, diversity, equity, leadership, organisational development and learning programs as well as core human resources partnering.

With a strong focus on building and maintaining psychologically safe organisations, Andrea’s team is dedicated to ensuring that RWAV is a place where people can work well and be well at work.


Rosemary has had a varied career as an academic teaching economics, public policy and industrial relations, and as a consultant, advocate, health union official and as a director.

She brings strong governance and strategic skills to the Board, as well as knowledge and depth of experience in health policy, economics and investment.

Rosemary was a Director of Aware Super for nine years, and Chair of the Investment Committee for three years. She was also a member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, the Governance Committee and the REM and HR Committee. Rosemary is currently a member of the Investment Committee of Cbus.

She was the Secretary of the Victorian Psychologists Association Inc for 20 years and knows first-hand the difficulties in attracting and retaining health professionals in rural and regional Victoria.

Dr Louise Manning is a rural GP Obstetrics trainee practising in Central Victoria where she delivers general practice, obstetric and sexual health services. Growing up in a small town she has lived experience of the difficulties accessing healthcare in rural and regional areas, and is dedicated to advocating for equitable health outcomes regardless of geography.

Louise is also a Board Director of the Rural Doctors’ Association of Victoria.

BAppSci GradDipBus MBus GAICD FIML

John Biviano is an experienced senior executive who has held many senior roles in government (Health Dept) and also in professional associations related to healthcare. Until recently, John was the CEO of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, where he oversaw the digitisation of a range of Member offerings, including aspects of training. 

BA (Politics/Philosophy) BEc GDipBus MBA GAICD FGIA

Roger is an accomplished CEO, Non-Executive Director and Chair with experience in the health, human services, law enforcement, education, transport, and environmental industries – across private, public sector and not-for-profit organisations

.He brings strong governance experience, commercial acumen, risk management and strategy skills combined with a passion for innovation and business development having also been Chair of numerous Finance, Audit, Risk, Investment and Community Advisory Committees.


Assoc Prof Phelps has practiced as a Gastroenterologist and Acute Physician in regional Victoria for more than 20 years.

He trained in safety and quality at Dr Brent James’ Institute at Intermountain Healthcare in the US and has held management and leadership roles in Victoria and Tasmania. More recently he completed a two-year project as Director of Clinical Governance for Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

Grant currently works as an independent consultant providing advice to hospitals and organisations on clinical leadership and safety and quality

LLB BSc MMgt (Strategic Foresight) GAICD

As a lawyer and business consultant Jane has worked with company boards and senior management across a range of areas including IP commercialisation, internet-based businesses, healthcare products/services, privacy and data/IT security. Jane is currently general counsel for .id Consulting – population demographers, economists and forecasters.

Jane served as a director of BreastScreen Victoria for 10 years, is a current director of Ballarat Health Services and chairs RWAV’s Governance Committee.

BMed MMedSci FRACGP FARGP FACRRM DipPractDerm DipMedHyp DipFP DipBusAdmin GAICD

Assoc Prof Rawlin is an experienced General Practitioner and medical educator. He is currently in clinical general practice in suburban Melbourne and previously practiced in rural Victoria for 10 years.

Assoc Prof Rawlin is Chair of the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaborative and a past Chair of the Mental Health Professionals Association and is a board member of the Mental Health Professionals Network. He is also the Medical Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Victoria.
He is a member of the RACGP Victoria Council.

Albert Giorgini is the Senior Advisor to CEO at RWAV.

As an experienced finance executive, with an extensive career in public transport and in the automotive and industrial gas sectors, Albert has honed his skills in driving financial performance improvements with a commercial and business transformation focus.

Through his strategic financial skills, Albert has demonstrated an exceptional capacity to lead and develop large teams in complex and changing environments to achieve the financial and regulatory requirements of the business. His extensive experience has given him a deep understanding of the industry and its challenges, equipping him with the expertise to drive impactful change.

Albert has highly developed communication and stakeholder management skills to support his strong planning, analytical and financial performance improvement acumen, always striving to create innovative solutions that drive growth and success.


Lauren commenced in the role of Manager People and Culture in August 2018 and is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Lauren’s team is committed to implementing activities and initiatives to support the achievement of RWAV’s strategies and strengthen RWAV’s position as an ‘Employer of Choice’.

Lauren is an experienced Manager and HR professional, with a career spanning the professional services, automotive, defence, and not-for-profit sectors.

BHlthSci(Hons) MPH PostGradDipMgt GAICD AFCHSM

Lauren Cordwell commenced in the role of Chief Executive Officer in August 2023. She took on the role of Acting CEO in April 2023 and previously served as the General Manager since February 2020.
Lauren has leadership responsibilities for strategy, communications, data, stakeholder engagement and program delivery.

Lauren’s team is committed to supporting communities in rural and regional Victoria to have timely access to affordable and safe health care.

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