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Introducing the Winners of the 2023 Victorian Rural Health Awards

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Medical Specialist Award

A/Prof Rex Pais Prabhu, Swan Hill District Health, Swan Hill

A/Prof Rex Prabhu has served as the Executive Director of Medical Services at Swan Hill (MM4) for over 5 years. Despite workforce and COVID-related challenges, he has successfully transformed rural general practice in Swan Hill. Since 2018, the practice has evolved from a 2-supervisor setup to a thriving 12-doctor practice in 2023. A/Prof Rex Prabhu’s innovative approach has yielded positive outcomes for the community, fostering a culture of excellence and implementing effective recruitment strategies. Initiatives include tripling the number of GP Supervisors and permanent medical staff in the hospital and health service over the past 3 years. Moreover, advanced training pathways in rural medicine, GP Obstetrics, GP Anaesthetics, and Geriatrics have been established. Swan Hill District Health has also implemented successful initiatives such as creating new prevocational posts and launching the first Victorian end-to-end GP Training program in collaboration with Charles Sturt University.

In 2023, Swan Hill District Health welcomed its largest group of final-year GP Registrars, and collaboration with RWAV and Charles Sturt University secured an ACRRM education-training grant. A/Prof Rex Prabhu has also strategically placed an experienced General Practitioner at the local Aboriginal service, enhancing accreditation for GP training and fostering a community-centred approach to care. Access to GP Care has significantly improved in Swan Hill, with reduced wait times from four weeks to next-day appointments. A/Prof Rex Prabhu also leads the Swan Hill District Health Chronic Heart Failure research program, which has facilitated early specialist Nurse Practitioner access and improved patient heart failure outcomes. As a result, clinical care has greatly advanced in Swan Hill.

Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Award

Dr Troy Walker, Nyini Health, A2B, ACC, Deakin & Monash University, Echuca

Dr Troy is a dedicated clinician providing care to numerous community members. He divides his time between working at his local Aboriginal Medical Service and supporting health and well-being through his family business, A2B. Dr Troy assists over 130 Indigenous employees in the social and emotional well-being field, employing in-person and Telehealth services to reach clients and patients across Victoria.

Actively engaging in public health research at Deakin University over the past year, allowing him to adopt a holistic health perspective, benefiting his local Aboriginal community and the wider population.

Dr Troy is a chief investigator on a Monash project focused on Indigenous muscle and bone health.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rising Star Award

Dr Tanya Johnston, Medical Intern, Grampians Health, Ballarat

Dr Tanya Johnston began her internship at Grampians Health Ballarat this year. She has shown immense support for her co-interns, advocating for patients. She is a valuable team member in both the Surgical and Emergency Departments. Dr Tanya is committed to becoming a rural specialist, with her sights set on becoming a rural Paediatrician through the program’s extended rural stream. She completed three years of her medical degree at the University of Melbourne Rural Clinical School in Ballarat. Outside of work, Dr Tanya also coaches an under-16s girls football team, where she has identified and addressed mental health issues among players, supporting, educating, and fostering a psychologically safe environment.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Health Team Award

Kathryn Lynch and the Sunraysia Medical Centre team, Red Cliffs

From October 2021 to February 2022, Active Outreach Vaccination & Testing Clinics were established in response to a local COVID-19 outbreak and low vaccination rates. The aim was to reach vulnerable populations facing barriers to accessing healthcare. These clinics, staffed by various organisations, provided vaccinations on Saturdays, led by doctors and nurses from Sunraysia Medical Centre. The team collaborated with community leaders and stakeholders, focusing on culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, single parents, young people in out-of-home care, and those experiencing homelessness. The clinics successfully increased vaccination rates, promoted community engagement, and addressed health inequities. The team at Sunraysia Medical Centre played a crucial role in organising and implementing these clinics, demonstrating their outstanding contribution as a rural health team.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Allied Health Award

Kara Di Dio, Kara Di Dio Speech Pathology, Traralgon

Kara Di Dio and her clinic have been providing innovative and high-quality speech pathology services to Gippsland families since 2016. What began as a single clinician business has now grown into a dedicated team of speech pathologists, allied health assistants, and administration staff.

In 2022 alone, Kara and her team delivered over 3,300 appointments to local families, offering their services at their clinic in Traralgon and through schools, kindergartens, and community visits.

Despite recruitment challenges, Kara actively collaborates with universities to provide student placements and hosts events to introduce students to their services. Kara’s clinic has introduced Allied Health Assistants to expand their reach and ensure more families can benefit from their services. They prioritise professional development and maintain strong partnerships within the community.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Outreach Provision Award

Dr Jennifer Coller, Consultant Cardiologist at Connected Cardiology

Dr Jennifer Coller has demonstrated dedication and initiative in establishing a sustainable cardiology service for the Goulburn Valley region. Initially providing outreach from Melbourne to Shepparton and Numurkah, she is now based in Shepparton, providing continued outreach to Numurkah and Cobram. She has introduced an echocardiography service to ensure comprehensive cardiology care can be delivered locally or regionally. Throughout the development and maintenance of these services, Dr Jennifer actively engaged local GPs in Numurkah and Cobram, gaining their strong support. She advocates for interdisciplinary and interagency collaboration, fostering the growth of cardiac nurse practitioners in Shepparton to provide specialised care within their scope of practice. Dr Jennifer has encouraged collaboration between Goulburn Valley Health and Kyabram District Health Service, actively participating in the Safer Care Victoria Heart Failure Collaborative and providing educational support to GP Visiting Medical Officers at Kyabram District Health Service.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Practice Management Award

Dianne Loubey, Practice Manager from Otway Medical Clinic, Colac

For nearly three decades, Dianne has proven to be an exceptional practice manager at Otway Medical Clinic. No task is too small or beyond her capabilities. Dianne exemplifies an excellent manager, ensuring that every job is executed to the highest standard. She successfully coordinates the Influenza vaccination clinic at the local footy ground and the subsequent COVID Vaccination clinic in-house. During the COVID pandemic, Dianne guided the clinic through the crisis without a single COVID outbreak among the staff or doctors during the first two waves. She adeptly arranged home visits for elderly patients while facilitating the transition to telehealth services. Recognising the demand for a Skin Cancer Clinic, she collaborated with Dr Mira Pojani to establish a well-run facility that had already been booked out for months due to high demand. Above all, Dianne believes medical practices have a larger social responsibility beyond profit, prioritising the highest standard of care for the community.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Health Consumer Advocate Award

Roslyn Stewart, Hume Mental Health Interim Regional Body, Broadford

For the past three years, Ms Roslyn Stewart has been an invaluable volunteer Consumer/Lived Experience representative on the Goulburn Mental Health and Wellbeing Advisory Committee. After working in Pharmaceuticals for many years, she relocated to the area with her family 15 years ago. Ros has completed international peer support training, secured employment with the Hume Mental Health Interim Regional Body, and become an integral member of VMIAC and the State Social Prescribing working group. She remains dedicated to supporting community wellbeing and providing Mental Health First Aid Training. In 2022, her story was featured in the Mitchell Suicide Prevention Network. Her words served as a reminder of the importance of incorporating lived experience into our efforts to transform systems for the betterment of our communities.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Primary Care Nursing Award

Claire Oettinger, Get Well Clinic, Healesville

Nurse Claire Oettinger has been an integral member of Get Well Clinic since 2017, providing support to GPs and patients as a Practice Nurse. With extensive experience in various GP clinics and the Emergency Department at Maroondah Hospital, Claire’s selflessness and community-mindedness drive her to engage in activities that enhance the health and well-being of the local population. She leads in Women’s Health, serving as a respected Nurse Educator in Cervical Screening and establishing a peer-support group for healthy weight management. She spearheads initiatives such as Healthy Heart Checks, Bone Density Scanning, and cancer screening improvement programs at the clinic. Additionally, she dedicates time to the Doctors in Secondary Schools program, providing essential care and support to students facing various challenges.

Claire’s compassionate nature extends to patients with special needs, including arranging special vaccination sessions and facilitating essential services for vulnerable individuals. In the words of the Get Well Clinic in Healesville, “Claire is simply a saint! We’re all so lucky to have her in our midst.”

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural GP or Rural Generalist Award

Dr Suresh Jain, Kilmore Medical Centre, Kilmore

Dr Suresh Jain is a medical school graduate from central India who migrated to Australia in 1970 and has been practising ever since. He started his rural career in Hopetoun and later moved to Kilmore, where he continues to practice. Throughout the years, Dr Suresh has provided emergency care, performed surgeries, and delivered babies. He managed the Kilmore District Hospital, serving as a key medical professional when no others were available. Dr Suresh is an active member of the local Rotary Club, served on the Board of Management of Kilmore Hospital, and continues caring for nursing home patients. He also served as a Medical Officer of Health, tending to Assumption College and Kilmore International School students.

Length of Service Awards


Dr Eliot Jarman, Goulburn River Group Practice

Dr Eliot Jarman, originally from Ringwood, Victoria, had a childhood with four brothers and attended both local and Melbourne schools. After training at Monash University, he graduated in 1981 and got married while still a student in 1980. His medical journey began as an Intern JRMO and SRMO at Prince Henry’s Hospital in Melbourne from 1982 to 1985. In 1986, Dr. Jarman joined the academy of general practice and worked as a senior registrar, specializing in obstetrics, anesthetics, and ICU at Goulburn Valley Base Hospital in Shepparton. Since then, he has been an integral part of the Goulburn River Group Practice in Seymour, Central Victoria. Initially starting as a partner, he later became the sole practice principal and recently stepped down in preparation for retirement. However, he continues to contribute as a VMO at Seymour Hospital, providing on-call services and managing inpatients. Throughout his career, Dr. Jarman has delivered over 1000 infants, performed minor surgical procedures, and assisted visiting surgeons as needed. He has also served as a board member at the Hospital and the Central Highlands Division of General Practice. From 1987 to 2022, he actively participated in Displan as a deputy coordinator for the Lower Hume region. Additionally, he has been involved with the Victorian Wines Show and enjoys playing pennant lawn bowls.

Dr. Jarman cherishes his personal life as well. He is a proud parent of two children, a grandparent to three grandchildren, and remains happily married to his wife, Catriona, who also serves as his practice manager.


Dr Elizabeth Boyd, Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-op

Dr Elizabeth Boyd graduated from Melbourne University in 1978. After completing rural FMP training and obtaining a diploma in obstetrics, she became a FRACGP in 1984. Dr. Boyd, alongside her partner Myles Chapman, spent two years in Kerema, PNG before returning to work in General Practice in Bairnsdale. Throughout her career, she has focused on women’s health, providing pregnancy and intrapartum care for over 30 years. She also taught Women’s Health for Monash Rural School.

In semi-retirement, Dr. Boyd and her partner have been doing locum work primarily in Omeo and Bairnsdale. They have also taken on some assignments in Gove. Dr. Boyd remains actively involved with REOT and RANZCOG diploma curriculum and exams. Additionally, she takes joy in spending time with her five grandchildren.


Dr Myles Chapman, Macleod Street Medical Centre

Dr. Myles Chapman is a highly qualified medical professional with an extensive career. After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1978, he completed his intern year at Austin Hospital and Queen Victoria Medical Centre. He then went on to participate in various hospital rotations through the Family Medicine Program, including obstetrics, and served as a GP registrar in Euroa. 

In 1983 and 1984, Dr. Chapman worked in the UK before returning to Melbourne, where he began working as a GP locum. In 1985, he and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Boyd, embarked on a medical journey to Gulf Province, PNG, where they spent over two years working through Australian Volunteers Abroad, gaining valuable experience in remote area medicine.

Upon their return in 1987, they joined the Bairnsdale practice, which is now known as Macleod St. Medical Centre. They also became procedural GP obstetricians at Bairnsdale Hospital, a role they fulfilled until 2017. Since then, Dr. Chapman has continued his medical career as a locum in various locations, including Bairnsdale, Nhulunbuy (East Arnhem Land), and Omeo in Victoria’s high country.

Throughout his career, Dr. Chapman has taken on roles such as GP registrar and intern supervisor. He has also worked with Medicare Local/PHN and currently serves as a Field Emergency Medical Officer. Additionally, he occasionally works as a locum in the Emergency Department in Bairnsdale. Dr. Myles Chapman’s extensive experience and dedication to healthcare have made him a respected and valued medical professional in the field.

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Dr Phillip Steele, Federation Clinic

Dr Phillip Steele, a Melbourne native, graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1977. Following an enlightening intern year in Albury, he developed a strong dedication to rural medicine. After traveling abroad, he gained further training in Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology in the UK. Returning to Australia in 1982, he settled in Wodonga and has been practicing there ever since.

Dr. Steele, together with his colleagues, established Federation Clinic in 1988. Initially a small practice, it has grown into a team of over 10 GPs, many of whom received their training at the clinic. They remain committed to training future GP registrars and medical students.

With a passion for GP training and education, Dr. Steele served on the board of Bogong GP Training, contributing to the development of high standards and retention rates in the regional program. While retiring from most of his general practice work last year, he continues to serve as the Director of the UNSW Border Regional Training Hub, promoting medical training opportunities in rural and regional Australia.

Dr. Steele expresses gratitude for the unwavering support of his wife and family. Now, with more leisure time, he enjoys cycling, bushwalking, kayaking, and cherishing his role as a grandparent.


Dr John Dyson-Berry, Lime Medical Clinic

Dr Dyson-Berry is a highly qualified medical professional who migrated from England to Australia in 1984 to pursue his career in Pediatrics. He initially worked in Melbourne before transitioning to Swan Hill as a General Practitioner in 1986. In 1987, he accepted a Locum position in Mildura, where he has been living and practicing ever since. With a Private Pilot’s License, he has a keen interest in flying and also enjoys travel and reading. Dr. Dyson-Berry has an impressive range of credentials, including roles as a Commonwealth Medical Officer, Aviation Medical Examiner, and former consulting Physician to the Aged Care Assessment Service in Mildura. He has also served as a lecturer for Monash University Regional Clinical School and holds post-graduate qualifications in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Child Health, Aviation Medicine, and Aged Care. Additionally, Dr. Dyson-Berry worked as a Surveyor for AGPAL and dedicated over 25 years as a Visiting GP for Coomealla Aboriginal Health Corporation.

Dr Sally Carter, Romsey Medical Centre

Dr. Sally Carter, a London graduate from 1968, emigrated to Australia with her family in 1977. After practicing as a GP in Melbourne for 11 years, she relocated to Romsey, Rural Victoria, in 1988, where she continued her career until her retirement in 2022.

Upon arriving in Romsey, Dr. Carter was one of only three doctors serving the entire area, including Romsey, Lancefield, and Riddells Creek. They faced unique challenges, often accompanying patients to Sunbury for MICA transport, utilizing air ambulances, responding to road accidents and night emergencies, delivering babies at the local hospital, and conducting numerous house visits.

Dr. Carter reflects on the significant changes that have occurred since her early days in rural practice. Despite these changes, she cherished every moment in Rural General Practice and chose to delay her retirement until the age of 75, driven by her deep love for the profession. The impact of Covid-19 may have influenced the timing of her retirement.


Dr Anne Porter, Whittlesea Medical Clinic


Dr Cheryl Stanbury, Swan Hill Medical Group


Dr Christian Fowler, Maldon Medical Centre


Dr Jill Ramsey, UFS Medical Centre, Bridge Mall


Dr Thomas Anderson, Ballarat Community Health, Smythesdale


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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