Congratulations Tracey Stephens

We are very proud to announce that Tracey Stephens has been nominated as a finalist in the national 2019 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards. Tracey plays a pivotal role at Monash Health as the Aboriginal Health Liaison Midwife and Aboriginal Graduate and Cadet Support Officer.

She is recognised for improving maternity and health care outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and babies for implementing culturally appropriate and safe maternity health care services.

An advocate for Aboriginal health, Tracey liaises with the community and acute hospital services to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their babies have access to appointments and adequate healthcare. To achieve this, Tracey has partnered with numerous external organisations and internal teams to ensure women are informed about the services they can access and all aspects of healthcare are addressed during their time at the hospital.

Tracey developed The Bubup Bag which is a new initiative to ensure Aboriginal expecting mothers and their families have the resources and information they need during and after pregnancy. All Aboriginal women who engage with Monash Women’s will be offered a Bubup Bag, as well as support from Tracey. The bag acts as a great conversation starter within our Women’s and Newborn service and aims to create a culturally aware and safe environment within our maternity departments.

As a result of Tracey’s hard work, the number of Aboriginal babies born at Monash Health has doubled, there has been a decrease in no shows for prenatal appointments, and she has built a strong partnership with the local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) who now offers increased health programs that complement their current maternity services.

As a long-term advocate for culturally safe maternity practices, Tracey regularly provides cultural awareness training and services within hospitals to ensure they’re culturally sensitive when delivering care. In 2017, Tracey was awarded the Sally Gould Award recognising her achievements as a midwife and for her substantial contributions to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Australians through her work.

Through her determination and hard work, Tracey has been fundamental in improving the maternity care provided by Monash health to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

1. What does it mean to you to be a finalist for the Midwife of the Year Award in the 2019 HESTA Australian Nursing & Midwifery Awards? 

It’s very humbling to be nominated, but I am very excited because the role that I have been in for the last 15 months, is the exact reason why I became a midwife. I have always wanted to be a midwife that supports Aboriginal families and communities.

The importance of having Aboriginal midwives working with Aboriginal women, babies, and families is so important, and it’s my passion. I am proud that our numbers have increased, our KPI’s have improved, and through this, we have implemented so many great improvements across our healthcare system.

2. What do you plan on doing with the prize money if you win?

Originally I had planned on getting some much need resources for our team, but I have always wanted to pursue further education for myself. Therefore I would use the prize money to further educate myself. I have a strong passion for cultural safety and everything about Aboriginal Health.

3. What do you find most rewarding about the work you do?

Absolutely everything, it’s my dream job. I come to work because I love my role, and it doesn’t feel like work. Every day, I get the opportunity to work with women to achieve the best outcomes in their birthing journey. After birth, I am able to follow these women into the community and watch health babies and competent mothers thrive.

4. What tips do you have for young people pursuing a career in midwifery? 

It is the most rewarding job; I wish we had more Aboriginal midwives and more Aboriginal Programs that are in the mainstream hospital to support the Koorie Maternity services and the people who don’t go through this program. Monash Health and Bunurong work extremely close and have a close relationship. Michelle, Kel and I collaborate and complement each other. I consider them a close knit part of the fantastic work we do at Monash Health, and how great we are working for our community.


The Dr Hope Foundation raises $40k for the Monash Health Clinical Cancer Trials

Congratulations to the Dr Hope Foundation for raising over $40,000 at the Dr Hope 2019 Masquerade Gala Ball on Friday 5 April to support Clinical Cancer Trials at Monash Health.

Over 200 people attended the glamorous event hosted by special guest Madeline Slattery from 9 News for a night of fine dining, music and entertainment.

The money raised will be used to employ an additional Doctor and increase participant numbers in Clinical Cancer Trials at Monash Health.

Thank you to everyone who attended and generously donated to raise awareness and funds to support our Clinical Cancer Trials.

A special thank you to Effie Atkins, Kerry Georgiou and the Dr Hope Team for all of your hard work and support to host this incredible event!

Meet Brianna

Meet Brianna Walpole, Cognition Clinical Lead at Monash Health.

What is your role at Monash Health and what does it entail?

I am the Monash Health Cognition Clinical Lead. My role involves helping to improve the care of patients with cognitive impairment across all our inpatient campuses. I do this via the Delirium and Dementia Initiative.

What is the Monash Health Delirium and Dementia Initiative?

The Initiative provides a framework for improved care of patients with dementia and delirium at Monash Health. It includes screening, diagnosis, management, follow-up and education for patients, families and staff.

If we recognise delirium early we can manage it better and ultimately improve the health outcomes of our patients as well as their experience. Screening for delirium uses the 4AT completed by nursing staff, diagnosis requires medical assessment to look for and treat underlying causes and management can be improved by using non-pharmacological strategies such as the Sunflower tool and TOP 5 to help communicate with the confused patient.

The Sunflower is used to collect information about the patient, including how they like to be addressed, what they enjoy doing, names of pets etc. Allied health are also engaged early on and may be involved in assessing cognition in more detail, mobilising the patient and so on. Caring for patients with delirium and dementia requires a whole team approach and very much involves the patient and their family!

I’m currently spending time on each ward implementing these new resources, as well as working with staff at the bedside to help with hands on education. I will be progressively working with ward champions who will become the local experts.

What has your journey been like at Monash Health?

I have been at Monash Health for nearly two years. Previously I worked as a clinical occupational therapist. I was particularly interested in the impact of impaired cognition and how that affects people and their families in their day to day activities and also when they become unwell and are admitted to hospital.

I was involved in developing some strategies in my previous position but remained frustrated that the care needs of confused patients were not a priority. My role here at Monash Health has provided me with a very exciting opportunity to make a difference. I’ve enjoyed getting to work on all campuses and am grateful for the enthusiasm that staff have shown, both in welcoming me and embracing the Delirium and Dementia Initiative.

What is one of the biggest challenges your team faces?

Continuing momentum and making the Delirium and Dementia Initiative sustainable. I am currently the only Cognition Clinical Lead and Monash Health is a very big organisation! It takes time and energy to create change and embed resources to change the way we have been caring for patients with cognitive impairment. I know we are definitely on the right track.

My hope now is to build on the current enthusiasm from everyone who can see the impact it has having. My hope in the future is that all our staff are skilled and resourced and no longer need me!

What is your biggest achievement at Monash Health?

Raising awareness through World Delirium Awareness Day- we have a 40% prevalence of delirium at Monash Health so it is everyone’s responsibility and I can see more and more people talking about it and getting involved.

Also presenting some of the great outcomes we have achieved at national and international conferences.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Seeing that what I’m doing makes a real difference. Getting positive feedback from staff, families and patients’ that things were that little bit easier.  For example, a patient was having difficulty walking. Staff found out his favourite music was Elvis from the Sunflower, so the Nurse and Physiotherapist played Elvis and his face lit up and he started to dance. He actually got home a lot sooner because he was got out of bed and mobilised because they found out something that was meaningful to him!

If you weren’t working in your current role what would you be doing?

I’d own a café with the best coffee and brunch in Melbourne. It would be dementia friendly so that everyone could enjoy it and I’d call it Therapy!

One thing about me that people probably don’t know is….

I have a twin brother! And it runs in my family so my Mum is a twin and has a twin brother and my Nan was a twin with a twin brother as well!


World-first stem cell therapy for acute stroke

We were delighted to welcome Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos MP to Monash Medical Centre this morning to meet a patient and researchers leading the world-first safety trial examining stem cells as therapy for acute stroke.

67 year old Kevin Baird arrived at Monash Medical Centre in February after suffering from a stroke. He experienced significant speech problems and arm weakness, and was unable to receive standard stroke treatments.

Kevin is the first patient to participate in the safety trial A/Prof Henry Ma, Director of Neurology and Prof Thanh Phan, Head of Stroke have been working on in collaboration with A/Prof Rebecca Lim from Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Professor Chris Sobey from La Trobe University to explore amniotic stem cells as a possible treatment for acute stroke patients.

Kevin has made a remarkable recovery since receiving the treatment and we are excited to see where this promising research leads in the future.

Meet Rob

Meet Rob Koch, Coordinator of Community Development and Volunteer Services at Monash Health.

What is your role at Monash Health and what does it entail?

I get to work with vulnerable yet resilient people who have fled their country due to persecution and war, and are trying to start a new life in our community. As ‘Refugee Health Community Development Coordinator’, I work internally and externally to address their ‘social determinants of health’.

If refugees and asylum seekers are socially isolated, or have no income or employment or have nowhere to live and little to eat it will affect their health and wellbeing. So it’s about developing and promoting initiatives that address those determinants so they can ‘move from surviving to thriving’ – the motto of our service.

What does an average day at work for the Community Development and Volunteer services team look like?

Lots of meetings, administrating, coordinating and emailing!  I represent Monash Health on the Executive of a regional taskforce attempting to reduce destitution of asylum seekers who have no income. Some of those are among our 70 talented, dedicated and inspirational people volunteering at Monash Health Community in Thomas Street Dandenong.

Most are from a refugee background, earnestly giving back to the community while developing workplace skills, experience and confidence. My day is complete when I have been able to getting alongside just one them to encourage, empower and equip them, but also to learn from them. They have enriched my life in so many ways!

What has your journey been like at Monash Health? 

I started just two days a week back in 2010 in the Child and Family team as the Men’s Health and Parenting Educator. I had been doing this role for the City of Casey and in my own men’s work consulting business, creating and conducting parenting courses for Dads, events for dads and kids together, and father-inclusive practice workshops. But I started getting referrals from colleagues concerned about fathers seeking asylum after reluctantly leaving their families behind to hopefully one day bring them to safety here. Their grief was heartbreaking so my focus shifted to them. Like many transitions in life and work, the change was unexpected but I viewed it as an opportunity to be embraced.

For these last six or so years I can honestly say I learn something new every day, but I have so much more to learn about other cultures. It’s so good to be in a team of dedicated and compassionate professionals who have also taught me so much.

What is one of the biggest challenges your team faces?

Our volunteer team: overcoming all the obstacles and barriers to getting established and employed.

Our Refugee Health team: In my opinion – working within our limitations to improve the mental health of people seeking asylum who live in limbo, hoping and waiting for permanent residency.

What are your team’s goals for 2019

Our Refugee Health team: Again, my opinion but I think we would all like to grow in our capacity to deliver health care to the increasing number of refugees and asylum seekers coming our way. Don’t be alarmed – it’s still just a comparative trickle in a stage of history the United Nations is calling “the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War 2”.

Our volunteer team: Creating more pathways to employment and finding actual paid jobs at the end of the pathway!

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Seeing our most dedicated and talented volunteers getting a job. So far we have seen 21 volunteers employed in Monash Health alone, with most of the 130 others who have graduated from the volunteer program move into employment or tertiary study.

All of them look back to this foundational time with appreciation and gratitude at the warm welcome and support they have received from management, staff and patients.  Some even have returned as volunteers to give back and to experience more of this amazing community and harmony.

Anything else you want to add?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it inspires you to keep an open heart toward to those who have come across the seas, and to make room at your table for one more.

Congratulations to our Department of Paediatrics

Last week the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) held its annual congress on the Gold Coast.

Ashwin Ramanathan, a B Med Sci (Hons) student in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health last year won two awards at the conference for his research on using “Digital stethoscope technology to study breath sounds at birth”.

He won the “New Investigator Award” for Best Poster in Student category and the “PSANZ President’s Award” for the best overall poster at the conference.

Dr Lindsay Zhou, a neonatal fellow in Monash Newborn, Monash Children’s Hospital also won a “New Investigator Award” for Best Poster in Neonatology at PSANZ 2019. Lindsay’s research focused on studying the characteristics of preterm and term breath sounds, again using digital stethoscope technology.

Dr Atul Malhotra, Consultant Neonatologist at Monash Children’s Hospital supervised both Ashwin and Lindsay and says that “Digital health technology and artificial intelligence are likely to play a major role in medicine in the future. It is fantastic to see various craft groups and organisations embrace this technology already.”

Dr Malhotra and his team are currently running the “Neo Auscultate” project using digital stethoscope technology in preterm infants with support from the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Monash University.

To read their review article on digital stethoscopes visit

Meet Julie

Meet Julie Papaxanthou, Operations Manager, Dental Clinic at Monash Health.

What is your role at Monash Health and what does it entail?

As an Operations Manager I ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the dental clinics whilse ensuring that we meet the expectations of our patients and staff. My role entails a lot of multitasking, planning, organising, staffing, directing and motivating others. I work closely with my team to ensure that we are proactive in meeting the demands of the service while ensuring that we are patient centred and provide our patients with an exceptional quality of care. One of my biggest roles is being a mentor to my team when they need guidance in managing their own teams and daily operations.

What has your journey been like at Monash Health?

I joined Monash Health in 2001 as a Dental Assistant and undertook various administrative tasks including rostering. I took a break to do one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs; motherhood. I returned to Monash Health in 2011, initially as Private Practice Manager of the Monash Private Dental Clinic. I was given the opportunity to complete a Diploma of Business and Certificate IV in Health Administration in 2015, and in 2016 I became the Operations Manager of the Dental Clinic.

I’ve had exposure to all aspects of dental operations and have been fortunate to participate in numerous learning opportunities that have led to managing various work projects. My journey has been a rollercoaster but I enjoy the challenges and am proud of what I have achieved alongside the amazing team that I work with.

What are your biggest achievements since working at Monash Health?

One of my biggest achievements was having a Zero Wait list. We were able to utilise additional funding to remove all patients from our wait list and have partnered with private providers in local areas to assist with treating our patients. Although short lived, it was very rewarding to see that all the effort I put into achieving this enabled our patients to receive the best care. Managing the wait lists is difficult, however I embrace any opportunities for additional funding.

I was instrumental in the implementation of World Oral Health Day when we commenced participating in this event in 2015. Developing the tools and implementation of this event although daunting at the time was a great achievement. This is the fifth year we are celebrating World Oral Health Day and it is great to see that an idea that was had in the office has become a permanent program in the dental department.

Being awarded Dental Clinic of the Year in 2017 was definitely a highlight. It further reinforced what an amazing team we are and motivates you to continue to innovatively direct our service to ensure that access is available to people in the community that really need it.

Implementing the Dental Laboratory at our Thomas Street site is something that I have been involved in from the planning stage all the way through integrating the laboratory into our dental service. The lab has allowed us to produce denture work in house instead of being sent to an external lab. This has been extremely valuable to our patients as they are receiving exceptional quality dentures.

What project or initiative is your team currently working on?

We are preparing to celebrate World Oral Health Day. It is celebrated every year on 20 March to promote worldwide awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of looking after oral hygiene to everyone old and young. We use this day to work closely with the community to increase their knowledge of their own dental health.

This year we will use this opportunity to test our new model of care in addressing denture demand. We will also hold screenings at Monash Health Pregnancy Clinics and will be attending English schools to educate and screen newly arrived migrant children. The dental waiting rooms will be a host to information booths to educate patients regarding their oral health.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Being part of this team is important to me. I enjoy coaching and developing my staff and feel rewarded when they achieve success. When we receive patient compliments it makes us feel valued.  When our service receives awards and international recognition, I feel proud to be part of the service. As an Operations Manager I have the opportunity to resolve a lot of issues for other people before the situation worsens. In my role I get to implement a lot of new ideas and make them a reality.  I use my position to advocate for our services internally at Monash Health and externally at different forums.

If you weren’t working in your current role what would you be doing?

A lawyer or maybe a psychologist. I would want to help families and others less fortunate. The secret to happiness is helping others.

What is something that your team doesn’t know about you?

I am an open book. So there isn’t anything that my team doesn’t know about me. I am not fond of dogs but have not shared this as I know there are a lot of dog lovers!

Congratulations Professor Beverley Vollenhoven

Congratulations to Professor Beverley Vollenhoven, Head of Gynaecology at Monash Health, Deputy Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University and clinician at Monash IVF for being inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.

The Victorian Honour Roll of Women acknowledges and celebrates the achievements of women in Victoria.

Beverley is recognised as a ‘trailblazer’ for excellence and inspirational leadership in medicine.

Beverley has been instrumental in ensuring access to critical reproductive and women’s health services in Victoria, and is an advocate for gender equality in science and medicine.

To learn more about Beverley’s outstanding contribution to medicine in Victoria visit

The Walk for Monash Children’s Hospital Raises $200,000!

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the 2019 Walk for Monash Children’s Hospital and generously donated to support sick kids at MCH.

Over 2,000 staff, patients, families, friends and members of the community came together to enjoy a wonderful day at Jells Park and raise money to support our patients.

With your incredible support we have raised nearly $200,000! These funds will help us purchase a cardiovascular ultrasound to improve care for infants who have foetal cord restriction and congenital diaphragmatic hernias.

Thank you to special guests Bethany Fisher, Ayden Calafiore and the team at Channel 9 including Livinia Nixon, Peter Hitchener, Clint Stanaway, Jo Hall, Madeline Slattery and Tony Jones for being there to show your support.

A special thank you to the Monash Health Foundation and our team of dedicated volunteers for all of their hard work to make the walk a great success!

Together we can make a real difference in the lives of some of the sickest children in Victoria.

To support our patients donate now at

Construction of the Victorian Heart Hospital begins



We are delighted to begin construction on the Victorian Heart Hospital, Australia’s first dedicated, state-of-the art cardiac facility, providing innovative, holistic and patient-centred care in heart disease, along with world-leading education and research led by our partners at Monash University.

The Hon Jill Hennessy MP, Minister for Health joined Dipak Sanghvi, Monash Health Board Chair, Andrew Stripp, Monash Health Chief Executive, Professor Steve Nicholls, Director of the Victorian Heart Hospital and Professor Margaret Gardiner AO, Monash University Vice Chancellor to turn the sod at the site of the Victorian Heart Hospital.

The new hospital will have the capacity to provide 195 beds, 1,500 cardiac surgeries and 13,500 cardiac laboratory procedures, catering for 28,000 cardiac emergency presentations and 108,000 consultations annually.

Cardiac patients in regional Victoria will also have direct access to the hospital through the latest telehealth technology, removing the need to travel for specialist appointments.

The project is expected to be completed in 2022.

To read more about the Victorian Heart Hospital click here.