Our Executive Committee (2020)

Dr Magdalena Simonis


VMWS President

Magda is a GP, a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and an honorary research fellow with the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne, with expertise in implementation of evidence-based practices in health delivery. She was President of VMWS in 2012-2013m and after spending time overseas, returned to the role in 2017. She is passionate about women’s health, equality in the profession and medical mentoring. Bringing medical women together whilst supporting them on their journey is central to her mission.

Assoc Professor Deborah Colville

Immediate Past president

Deb is a Melbourne ophthalmologist who graduated from Monash in 1975 and is a Fellow of the College of Ophthalmologists and the College of Surgeons (1983). She has a small private practice in Ivanhoe, NSW. Deb was a Director of Ophthalmology at Austin Repatriation Medical Centre and recently retired from the College of Surgeons Council and as Chair of the RACS Women in Surgery Committee, a position she held for nine years. Since 2000, she has been Director of Curriculum Development at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. Deb’s Master of Public Health degree focused on educational program evaluation in health care and she now researches curriculum and public health themes, including ophthalmic public health, gender and curriculum, and women in leadership in vocational education and training. She is interested in ‘doing leadership differently’, developing ways of participation that ‘work for women’ in the profession. “ Arising from the MWIA meeting in Sydney 2001, Deb taught medical students in Sweden and participated in curriculum development for MWIA with its Executive, alongside gender experts from the WHO and UN, in Italy.

Dr Elysia Robb


Elysia is a mother, partner, family member, friend and doctor. Elysia is currently completing her GP training and hopes to one day focus on women’s health, public health, palliative care and advanced care planning in GP. She has been involved in the VMWS since 2011, just before her first child was born. Elysia has a background in molecular biology and Alzheimer’s Disease research. She completed a graduate-MBBS at the University of Melbourne, and had two babes during the latter part of her course. She, is one of very few to have, completed internship and residency part-time. She spent six months working full-time in obstetrics and gynaecology, completing a DRANZCOG. Elysia advocates for part-time work in junior medicine, and more equitable and fair working conditions for junior doctors to allow for better life balance and health. For Elysia, the VMWS has been an excellent source of inspiration, support, education and networking, and has made her medical training, with children, far more tolerable.

Dr Madhura Naidu


Madhura was first involved in VMWS as a medical student at Monash University. She has since spent several years exploring medicine and surgery before choosing to specialise in intensive care. She is passionate about gender equality, especially in the workplace, as well as quality education for all. She is proud to be involved in VMWS and believes in medical women empowering and supporting each other to create and consolidate change in our world. In her free time, she loves expanding her horizons by travelling and engaging in her longtime interests of salsa dancing, photography and writing.

Dr Rosalie Cooper


Rosalie has a  long association with VMWS and AFMW from graduation. In the 1990s, she was President and Secretary of VMWS and National Corresponding Secretary for AFMW. After retirement and moving from Emerald to Chelsea, closer to the city, she became VMWS Vice-President in 2015-16, then Treasurer in 2017-2019. She is currently reviewing the organisation’s financial situation with a view to completing the move to the final development of our membership database and automatic annual subscriptions. She also assists our Archivist. She is interested in developing our mentoring of medical students and graduates.

Dr Jane Jeong


Jane is an intern working at The Austin Hospital. She is a strong advocate for mental well-being and building a positive workplace culture for all. Through her past roles as Chair of the Surgical Student’s Society, Academic Officer and Blue Week Ambassador at The Austin Hospital, she worked to ensure both academic and emotional support for students. Through VMWS, she is excited to work towards building a platform where women in medicine can empower and support one another. She hopes one day to become a gynaecologist-obstetrician. In her downtime, she enjoys travelling, summiting mountaintops and spending time with her two dogs

Dr Kate van Berkel


Kate is an obstetrics and gynaecology resident at The Royal Women’s Hospital with a strong sense of social justice that has been nourished by involvement in various committees throughout medical school at Monash University and her years as a junior doctor. Kate’s passion is women’s health both locally and abroad, and this passion extends to her female colleagues. She thoroughly enjoys the art of medicine, and is working towards a Masters of Culture, Health, and Medicine, with particular interest in medical anthropology

Dr Claire Felmingham


Claire has been a VMWS member since she was a student at Monash University, and a part of the Newsletter team since she was an intern in 2016. She shares with VMWS a passion for social justice and equity, and enjoys spending time with the supportive and inspiring VMWS community. Claire has a love of writing and reading, and so especially enjoys editing the bi-monthly newsletter. Her other interests include research, medical education, and global health. Her recent exciting experiences have included tutoring anatomy at Monash University and working for six months in the Northern Territory.

Dr Rosalind Terry


Rosalind is a retired doctor, Board Member of AMA (Vic) and seniors representative of VMWS. She began her career as a biochemist and microbiologist in Australia and USA, continuing this while she studied medicine. Residency years included being the first female surgical registrar at St Vincents’ in Sydney and this lead to 10 years in PNG working in surgery, O and G and general medicine in often challenging conditions. Return to Australia was via two years on Norfolk Island after which she became involved in emergency medicine. She feels strongly about supporting female medical students and the equality of women in all fields of medicine.

Dr Anne Stanaway


Anne is a GP trainee and is studying her Masters Degree in Public Health (Tropical Medicine) at James Cook University. Anne is passionate about holistic approaches to health and wellbeing and also has an interest in expedition medicine. She spends much of her time in the wilderness and is always planning her next adventure. Being involved with VMWS continues to be an enriching experience for Anne. Through the VMWS she is always learning about new perspectives on issues that affect women, and about ways to create positive change in the community. She is proud to share the wisdom and solidarity of the VMWS community.

Student Committee

Lucia Alexander


Lucia is a medical student at the University of Melbourne. After completing her first year on campus, she will now be based at the Northern Hospital for the remainder of her study. Lucia comes from a small rural town and wishes to eventually work as a General Practitioner in a rural area. Lucia is really enjoying her degree and is very excited for what her future in medicine holds.

Meghan Ellis


Meg is a final year medical student at Deakin University. Before studying medicine, Meg completed a Master of Art Conservation and worked in the museum and cultural heritage sector in Melbourne before changing her focus to health. She retains her love of art through photography and by visiting galleries and museums, as well as seeking to incorporate a humanities perspective in her medical studies focused on rural health, mental health and women’s health.

Sarah Robinson


Sarah is currently studying medicine at the University of Melbourne. Following her completion of first year on campus in Parkville, she is now commencing clinical placement at St Vincent’s Hospital in Fitzroy. Sarah is interested in many different fields of medicine, with particular interest in women’s and children’s health, as well as neuroscience and general practice. At this point in time, she is undecided as to where her career in medicine will take her, but she is very much looking forward to the experience of learning within the hospital environment in the coming years.

Jess Motyer


Jess is a final year medical student at the University of Melbourne. She graduated from the University of Monash with a Bachelor of Biomedicine (honours in immunology). She has a passion for inclusivity and diversity in medicine. Within medicine her interests lie within Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Oncology. She has enjoyed peer mentoring throughout her third year of medical school and shaping the mind of future doctors. Jess describes herself as a fun-loving extrovert who is actively striving to improve the culture within medicine.

Shiva Sridhar


Shiva is a final year medical student at Monash University whose passion for leadership and advocacy has motivated her to be a part of VMWS for the last 2 years. She particularly enjoyed her women’s health rotation and, in the future, hopes to pursue a career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In her spare time, Shiva enjoys reading and spending time at the beach.

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