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Co-Chair – Board of Trustees
I have been a midwife for over three decades, with a career that has involved a variety of roles including midwifery practice, management, policy, research and education. I grew up in a working-class family and took the long way round to achieving a professional education. Having left school at the age of fourteen and a half and getting a job in a delicatessen, I soon realised that I needed to return to secondary school and complete my qualifications if I wanted to get anywhere in the world. I believe that education is the key that opens doors and creates opportunities that we can’t possibly imagine when we set out on our learning pathway. For example, when I returned to my high school at age sixteen, I could never have imagined becoming a Professor of Midwifery or later becoming the national president of the Australian College of Midwives and receiving life membership of the College.
In my current role I am working as Midwifery Advisor with the World Health Organisation in Papua New Guinea and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing Midwifery and Health at the University of Technology, Sydney. I am part of a team assisting the PNG National Department of Health to strengthen midwifery education, regulation and practice and build an effective midwifery workforce and profession in PNG. In this capacity I have contributed support and advice to assist Dame Carol Kidu (Member of Parliament, PNG) in the establishment of the Papua New Guinea Safe Motherhood initiative. More recently, I was elected to the board of Safe Motherhood for All Australia (SMALL) – the Australian branch of the international White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood.
For many years I have been committed to implementing a strategy to provide financial assistance and support for Indigenous women who are undertaking midwifery education. As the national president of the Australian College of Midwives, and with the inspiration and guidance from Rhodanthe Lipsett, I successfully led the establishment of the initial Indigenous Midwifery Fund and, more recently, the process of it becoming a charitable fund. As the inaugural chair of the board I feel deeply privileged to be a part of this important initiative.
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