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Health professionals in rural communities of Victoria receive state-wide recognition for their outstanding contributions to healthcare.

Melbourne, Victoria, 28 June 2023: Rural health professionals and their communities attended last night’s Victoria-wide Awards event to award winners in eleven categories of the 2023 Victorian Rural Health Awards. The event was hosted by the Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) with support from the Victorian Department of Health.

The 2023 Victorian Rural Health Awards winners were announced last night at the 18th Virtual Awards event.

Angie Hilton, an Australian actress and director known for her roles on the TV series Stingers, Blue Heelers, and travel shows like What’s Up Down Under and Coxy’s Big Break, hosted the Victorian Rural Health Awards night. Angie is also a resident of regional Victoria.

The Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) congratulates the Winners and Finalists of the 2023 Victorian Rural Health Awards.

The Victorian Rural Health Awards enables peers, teams, and patients to honour the whole spectrum of excellence in healthcare. This includes doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, Aboriginal health workers, and practice managers working across Victoria’s regional and rural communities. The awards also acknowledge General Practitioners who have contributed 35+ years of service.

Meet the 2023 Victorian Rural Health Award Winners:

  1. Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Medical Specialist Award
    A/Prof Rex Pais Prabhu, Swan Hill District Health, Swan Hill
  2. Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Award
    Dr Troy Walker, Nyini Health, A2B, ACC, Deakin & Monash University, Echuca
  3. Outstanding Contribution by a Rising Star Award
    Dr Tanya Johnston, Medical Intern, Grampians Health, Ballarat
  4. Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Health Team Award
    Kathryn Lynch and the Sunraysia Medical Centre team, Red Cliffs
  5. Outstanding Contribution to Rural Allied Health Award
    Kara Di Dio, Kara Di Dio Speech Pathology, Traralgon
  6. Outstanding Contribution to Rural Outreach Provision Award
    Dr Jennifer Coller, Consultant Cardiologist at Connected Cardiology, Shepparton
  7. Outstanding Contribution to Rural Practice Management Award
    Dianne Loubey, Practice Manager from Otway Medical Clinic, Colac
  8. Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Health Consumer Advocate Award
    Roslyn Stewart, Hume Mental Health Interim Regional Body, Broadford
  9. Outstanding Contribution to Rural Primary Care Nursing Award
    Claire Oettinger, Get Well Clinic, Healesville
  10. Outstanding Contribution by a Rural GP or Rural Generalist Award
    Dr Suresh Jain, Kilmore Medical Centre, Kilmore

Length of Service Award Recipients for 35+ years of Service:

  • Dr Anne Porter, Whittlesea Medical Clinic, Whittlesea
  • Dr Cheryl Stanbury, Swan Hill Medical Group, Swan Hill
  • Dr Christian Fowler, Maldon Medical Centre, Maldon
  • Dr Eliot Jarman, Goulburn River Group Practice, Seymour
  • Dr Elizabeth Boyd, Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-op, Bairnsdale
  • Dr Jill Ramsey, UFS Medical Centre, Bridge Mall in Ballarat
  • Dr John Dyson-Berry, Lime Medical Clinic, Mildura
  • Dr Myles Chapman, Macleod Street Medical Centre, Bairnsdale
  • Dr Phillip Steele, Federation Clinic, Wodonga
  • Dr Sally Carter, Romsey Medical Centre, Romsey
  • Dr Thomas Anderson, Ballarat Community Health, Smythesdale

The full video from the Victorian Rural Health Awards event is published on the RWAV website www.rwav.com.au/vrha-2023

Below is some information you can use to acknowledge all or your local Victorian Rural Health Awards 2023 Winner.

Media Enquiries


For more information please contact:
Evaan Rabel
RWAV Communications Team
P:    03 9349 7800
E:    communications@rwav.com.au
W:   www.rwav.com.au

Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) is a not-for-profit government-funded organisation mandated with improving quality and access to healthcare for rural, regional and Aboriginal communities in Victoria. RWAV provides specialist services, supported by a range of Grants, in the recruitment, support, development and retention of health professionals in regional Victoria. The agency places GPs, nurses and allied health professionals, arranges locum relief and provides access to government grants and outreach services. RWAV works to ensure sustainability in rural healthcare by advising practices on workforce planning and promoting rural healthcare careers to students. 
Website: www.rwav.com.au  | Phone: 03 9349 7800 |


“Recently, rural Victoria has been facing ongoing workforce shortages across all health professions. We celebrate the impact of our current rural health workforce and hope that more doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and other health professionals will make the decision to work in rural Victoria in the near future.” ~ Lauren Cordwell, Acting CEO of RWAV

“The Length of Service Award is presented to General Practitioners (GPs) who have devoted their careers of more than 35 years to rural communities. This year we have had 11 GPs receive this honour, a win for rural and regional Victoria. This is the first time so many GPs have become eligible for this prestigious accolade.” ~ Lauren Cordwell, Acting CEO of RWAV

“RWAV works together with allied health professionals in rural Victoria. We recognise the importance of allied health care and celebrate all Outstanding Contribution to Rural Allied Health Award nominees at 2023 Victorian Rural Health Awards.” ~ Lauren Cordwell, Acting CEO of RWAV

About the Award Categories

Length of Service Award (35+ years of service)

The Length of Service Award acknowledges the lifetime of dedication and commitment from rural doctors to the well-being of our Victorian rural communities.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award celebrates the future of rural healthcare. Each year we recognise a junior health professional who has shown a true passion for rural health and is intent on dedicating their career to rural communities.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Allied Health

This award recognises an allied health professional who has shown professional and personal commitment to regional and rural communities, and has gone above the expectations of their role to provide services to the community.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Practice Management

This award recognises a practice manager who has gone above the expectations of their role shown professional and personal commitment to regional and rural communities through their leadership, mentoring and innovation.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural GP or Rural Generalist

This award recognises a rural doctor who has shown ongoing commitment to providing exceptional care to meet the current and future healthcare needs of their community.

Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

This award recognises a health professional, team or organisation that has made significant contributions in providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and communities.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Health Team

This award recognises an exceptional team contribution to create a positive difference in the delivery of health care in rural Victoria. This award also recognises the importance of a team contribution in providing excellence in service delivery and improved client outcomes.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Outreach Provision

This award recognises a health professional, team or organisation that has made significant contributions in providing outreach services to rural and regional communities.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Health Consumer Advocate

This award recognises the contribution of a consumer, carer or community member from rural Victoria that has made a significant contribution to healthcare, by using their lived experience to engage with health professionals or health services to improve the quality, accessibility or safety of healthcare.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Primary Care Nursing

The Outstanding Contribution to Rural Primary Care Nursing award recognises an exceptional rural nurse or midwife who has delivered outstanding patient care, positive outcomes and who performs above the expectations of their role.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Medical Specialist

The Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Medical Specialist Award recognises a rural non-GP specialist who has shown an ongoing commitment to providing exceptional care to the community.


Snezana is a Human Resources leader with more than 15 years of experience in management, playing a pivotal role in driving team transformations across diverse industries, including FMCG, automotive, government, and non-profit sectors.

With a curiosity for business and its associated complexities, Snezana fosters collaborative partnerships to cultivate a highly motivated workforce that effectively executes strategic plans.

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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