(03) 9349 7800

What We Offer

RWAV Conference 2024 Overview

RWAV Conference 2024 Overview

The RWAV Conference, ‘Pathways to Progress: Healthcare Access in Rural Victoria,’ was held on 15 – 16 February 2023. RWAV would like to thank all delegates who participated in the program and attended the event.

RWAV were delighted to meet with you to discuss the key sub-themes at our Conference which included: 

  • Future Workforce: Building the Pipeline,
  • Multidisciplinary Teams: Uniting for Better Care,
  • Sustainability: Building a Thriving Rural Health Future,
  • Data Capability: From Data to Action

Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speaker

  • Karen Heap OAM, CEO of Ballarat & District Aboriginal Co-operative (BADAC)
  • Lauren Cordwell, CEO of Rural Workforce Agency Victoria
  • Adj. Prof. Ruth Stewart, National Rural Health Commissioner¬†
  • A/Prof Rex Prabhu, Executive Director, Swan Hill District Health
  • Kate Temby, General Manager Strategy and Partnerships, RWAV &
    Chez Lim, Team Leader Analytics and Reporting, RWAV


Hosted by Prof Grant Phelps, RWAV Deputy Board Chair. Panel members include:

  • Dr Pat Giddings, CEO, Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS).
  • Bronwyn Morris-Donovan, CEO, Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA).
  • Dr Hung The Nguyen, Medical Educator MDRAP Support, RWAV.
  • Jemma Abraham, MD Student, Melbourne University, Ballarat.
  • Sally Kendall, Social Worker (Retired), Monash Rural Health Advisory Committee, President of Ensay Bush Nursing Centre Committee of Management

Panel 2 – Future Workforce: Building the Pipeline

Hosted by Ellen Jackson, MC. Panel members include:

  • Dale Fraser, CEO, Grampians Health
  • Tayla Cameron, RWAV student ambassador, Deakin University,
  • Durga (Bhakta Bahadur Bhattarai),¬†2024 Victorian Young Australian of the Year.
  • Carla Taylor, CEO, GP Supervision Australia.¬†
  • Prof Louisa Remedios, Professor, Federation University.
  • Dr Kathy Kirkpatrick, Medical Advisor, RWAV.¬†

Hosted by Ellen Jackson, MC. Panel members include:

  • Briana Baass, Chief Allied Health Officer, Safer Care Victoria.
  • Cath Maloney, CEO, Services for Australian Rural & Remote Allied Health (SARRAH).
  • Adj Assoc Prof Morton Rawlin AM, Board Chair, RWAV
  • Michelle Whitelaw, Care Coordinator, Nurse Practitioner Rural Outreach Model, Northern District Community Health.
  • Emma Gunn, Medical student, The University of Melbourne & Registered Nurse

Lightning Presentations

Lightning Sessions, Sustainability: Building a Thriving Rural Health Future

  • Dr Melanie Trivett, General Manager Primary Health Care, Royal Flying Doctors Service Victoria, & Mario Gupta, Primary Health Consultant at Larter Consulting,¬†Abstract title: Building a Sustainable Rural Healthcare Model: A Case Study from Robinvale, Victoria¬†View here
  • Stacy Doan, Allied Health Assistant, Plena Healthcare ‚Äď Zenitas,¬†Abstract title: Developing unconventional approaches for group-based physiotherapy exercise programs in rural residential aged care settings: An Occupational Therapy perspective¬†Authored by: Ms Stacy Doan, Ms Alix Reeves, Plena Healthcare, Zenitas, Geelong, Victoria, Australia¬†View here
  • Isobel Gribben, Manager, Goulburn Valley Regional Training Hub, The University of Melbourne¬†Abstract title: Supporting and Connecting Rural Doctors to Sustain the Rural Health Workforce¬†Authored by: Ms. Trikkelle Flynn¬†¬†View here

Lightning Sessions, Multidisciplinary Teams: Uniting for Better Care

  • ¬†Jane Dow, Clinical Director and Physiotherapist, Allied Therapy Services.¬†
    Abstract title: Can a podcast increase a clinicians understanding of the key components needed for working collaboratively in a mobile allied health workforce? Authored by: Jane Dow, Renee De Wit View here
  • John Chen, Senior Podiatrist, Latrobe Community Health Service & Latrobe Regional Health.¬†
    Abstract title: Collaborative Inpatient and Community Care: A Novel Approach to Diabetes-Related Foot Disease for Regional and Rural Victoria. Authored by: Mr. John Chen, Latrobe Community Health Service, Victoria, Australia, Ms. Alison Lang & Dr. Scott, Latrobe Regional Health, Victoria, Australia McNeil View here
  • Assoc Prof Hieu Pham, Psychiatrist & Deputy Director, North West Victoria Regional Training Hub.¬†Abstract title: Delivery of a Multidisciplinary Psychiatry Education Program for an MMM 5 Health Service¬†Authored by:¬†AP Hieu Pham, Monash Rural Health and Mildura Base Public Hospital, Erin Fisher, Mildura Base Public Hospital, & Cheree Schneider, West Wimmera Health Service¬†View here

Lightning Sessions, Future Workforce: Building the Pipeline

  • Assoc Prof Lara Fuller,¬†Director of Rural Medical Education (GP), Deakin University School of Medicine.¬†Abstract title: ‚ÄėGrowing our own‚Äô in southwestern Victoria: end-to-end rural pathways to health professional careers¬†View here
  • Amy Poynton, Manager, Gippsland Regional Training Hub from Monash Rural Health, Monash University.¬†Abstract title:¬† Doctor What? Doctor Where? A podcast to inspire the future rural workforce¬†Authored by: Ms. Amy Poynton, (submission has co-authors also)¬†View here
  • Dr Kyra Postlethwaite, Junior Doctor, Monash Rural Health & Grampians VRGP.¬†Abstract title: Rural Origin Definitions for Medical School Entry and Measuring Outcomes¬†View here
  • Susan Trevillian, Pharmacist, Deputy Director Pharmacy Northeast Health Wangaratta.¬†Abstract title: Reconnecting the Workforce Pipeline ‚Äď 8 Years of Growing Career Rural Hospital Pharmacists¬†View here

Lightning Sessions, Data Capability: From Data to Action

  • Sarah Crowe, Digital Health Manager, Western Victoria Primary Health Network.¬†Abstract title: Measuring Digital Maturity in General Practice¬†Authored by: Sarah Crowe Western Victoria Primary Health Network, Alyce Cuman – Semantic Consulting, Tim Blake – Semantic Consulting¬†
    View here
  • Jim O‚ÄôShea, COO & Company Secretary, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO).¬†Abstract title: Workforce, Population and client demand projections for Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations¬†Authored¬†by: Jim O‚ÄôShea, Hannah Gheller and Brooke Sando¬†View here
  • Assoc Prof Cath Lees, Director Integrated Projects and Partnerships, Murray PHN.¬†Abstract title: Identification of general practitioner workforce needs and place-based solutions ‚Ästthe value of data informed decision making.¬†Authored by:¬†Adj Prof Catherine Lees, Shane Boyer & Rakesh Rawat, Murray Primary Health Network¬†View here
  • Kerina Princi, Project Manager – Healthcare Reform, RWAV and Dr Catherine Keniry Director ‚Äď Research and Medical Evaluation, School of Rural Medicine Charles Sturt University¬†Abstract title: Enhancing rural registrar training for improved sustainability pilot project: ¬†A mixed methods study¬†Authored by:¬†Kerina Princi, Project Manager – Healthcare Reform, RWAV & Dr Catherine Keniry PhD, Director ‚Äď Research and Medical Evaluation, School of Rural Medicine Charles Sturt University¬†View here

Training – Neurodiversity Affirming Practice

Neurodiversity Affirming Practice
Presented by Sandhya Menon of Onwards & Upwards Psychology

RoundTable – Conference Learnings

Hosted by Prof Grant Phelps, RWAV Deputy Board Chair.

Reflecting on the discussions across both days of the RWAV Conference, delegates were prompted to explore and examine the barriers and enablers and the opportunities.

This session clarified attendees common understanding of the challenges and hope for the future of rural healthcare.

I am pessimistic because:

  • GP criticism ‚Äď unrealistic societal expectations
  • Aging workforce
  • Increase in competition for finite resources
  • No common understanding/priorities between healthcare organisations
  • Funding models
  • Lack of focus on prevention
  • Lack of strategic planning by government √† changing governments
  • Duplication of effort √† opportunity to partner better
  • Impact of government decisions (payroll tax)
  • Learned Helplessness
  • Siloed work
  • Housing and Social services

I am optimistic because:

  • Being able to challenge the norms and be proactive
  • Incremental change is a step in the right direction
  • Future generation able to create change in the system
  • We have the foundation to connect the dots
  • Willingness to share for a greater goal
  • Technology is improving the way services can be delivered
  • Future generations are empowered to take opportunities
  • Rural training for rural students
  • Unstoppable force when collaborating together¬†√†¬†beginning to occur
  • Resilience to continue to make progress
  • Increase in rural voices in decision making

Sponsors and Partners

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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôs team is committed to implementing activities and initiatives to support the achievement of RWAV‚Äôs strategies and strengthen RWAV‚Äôs position as an ‚ÄėEmployer of Choice‚Äô.

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.

Send this to a friend