Melbourne Medical School
Women Clinicians in Academic Leadership
The Women Clinicians in Academic Leadership group aims to highlight best practices, share ideas and provide personal development and networking opportunities to both current and aspiring women in academic leadership.
We encourage you to come and learn from our events and connect with inspiring women leaders and start to build a community practice for women clinicians in academia.
Our events are open to all who wish to foster and promote women clinicians in academic leadership.
The 2020 Women Clinicians in Academic Leadership Symposium working group is led by Associate Professor Margie Danchin and includes Associate Professor Jane Munro, Dr Anthea Rhodes, Associate Professor Jill Sewell, Dr Anita Goh, Associate Professor Marie Bismark, Professor Kate Drummond, Dr Samantha Loi, Professor Lena Sanci, Associate Professor Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis and Dr Ruth Mitchell.
If you have questions or comments, please contact the working group via email at
Women Clinicians in Academic Leadership Symposium
"The power of authentic leadership"
We wrapped up our first ever MMS Women Clinicians in Academic Leadership: The power of authentic leadership Symposium on Wednesday 4th November! We had 649 registered with over 439 managing to attend the event throughout the day!
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend, we hope that you were as inspired and humbled as we were after hearing the personal stories and pearls of wisdom from our speakers. For those who could not attend, or if you are wanting to re-watch your favourite session, the links to the recordings are below.
To review highlights from our attendees, please search for #WCAL2020 on Twitter, which was very lively throughout the event!
- "Sometimes leadership can feel quite a lonely place. This symposium was inspiring, encouraging and thought provoking. Hearing from other women in different roles, yet having similar concerns/reflections/experiences was so inclusive. The organisers managed to foster a sense of community incredibly well despite it all being online. Thank you so much."
- "It was excellent, well done and so much work went into it. Thanks for taking the leadership and getting this off the ground"
- "The organising team and the speakers were so talented to keep audience engaged regardless of being on zoom"
- "I enjoyed hearing from lots of different inspiring people that I either knew about and learnt something new, or didn't know about and now want to know more!"
- Associate Professor Margie Danchin – Founder WCAL/ Director Clinician Scientist Pathways MMS/ Uni Melb
Session One - Leadership in times of crisis: the impact of COVID-19
Plenary Talks - Facilitated by Helga Svendsen
- Associate Professor Claudia Di Bella - St Vincent’s Hospital / Uni Melb
- "Leadership at any stage of your career"
- Associate Professor Jane Munro – Royal Children’s Hospital / Uni Melb
- "Wellbeing & leadership in the time of COVID"
Session Two - Leadership: style, bias and intersectional challenges
Panel Discussion - Facilitated by Helga Svendsen
- Associate Professor Marie Bismark – The University of Melbourne
- Dr Nisha Khot – Djerriwarrh Health Service
- Aunty Dr Doseena Fergie OAM – Woor-Dungin
Session Three - Skills for effective leadership
TED-style talks - Facilitated by Helga Svendsen
- Prof Kate Drummond – Royal Melbourne Hospital / Uni Melb
- "Power of sponsorship to boost your career"
- Dr Ruth Mitchell – WEHI / Uni Melb
- "Advocacy for Amateurs: How to change the world"
- Dr Anthea Rhodes – Royal Children’s Hospital / Uni Melb
- "Science communication skills and the power of social media
Session Four - Systematic change for leadership: What are the current systems and how can we change them as leaders?
Panel Discussion - Facilitated by Dr Anita Goh – UniMelb/ National Ageing Research Institute
- Associate Professor Jill Sewell – UniMelb/ Royal Children’s Hospital
- Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver – The University of Sydney
- Dr Karen Price – The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Reflection and Closing Remarks
- Associate Professor Margie Danchin – Founder WCAL/ Director Clinician Scientist Pathways MMS/ Uni Melb
- Associate Professor Jane Munro – Royal Children’s Hospital / Uni Melb
You can also view the full program here, which includes the bios of our fabulous speakers.
If you were unable to attend the event and have viewed the recordings, we would still love to hear from you by filling our our post-event survey to provide us feedback on how to best deliver events going forward.
We are already thinking about our next event and can't wait to build a community of practice with you all to support women in academia thrive in leadership.
The Working Group
The MMS Women Clinicians in Academia Leadership Symposium working group, consists of 11 female clinicians in academia. The group members are passionate about ensuring visibility of female clinicians in academia and the facilitation of networking to promote collaboration.
The working group are excited to bring you this symposium in a virtual format, and have lots of ideas up their sleeve to make it engaging and inspiring.
Have a question or comment? We'd love to hear from you!
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Professor Margie Danchin
MBBS PhD FRACP
A/Prof Margie Danchin is a consultant paediatrician at Royal Childrens Hospital and researcher at the University of Melbourne and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. Her research and clinical interests span vaccine confidence and uptake, effective science communication and global maternal and child health. She is a mum to four children, including three daughters, and is passionate about instilling belief and ensuring women reach their leadership potential.
Through Margie’s role as Director of Clinician Scientist Pathways within the Melbourne Medical School (MMS) she has founded the MMS Women Clinicians in Academic Leadership group with this extraordinary group of women. We all share the vision of inspiring and supporting women clinicians in academia through developing a strong community of practice. Margie wants to bring women together at any stage of their clinician scientist journey to share their stories and different perspectives with authenticity, improve their visibility and conquer some of the systematic barriers to leadership to ensure future success as clinician scientists.
Associate Professor Jane Munro
MBBS FRACP MPH MHSM
A/Prof Jane Munro is the Head of the Rheumatology Unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital and lead of Rheumatology research at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, is a past Churchill Fellow and a Leadership Victoria Williamson Community Program Fellow. She enjoys juggling roles as doctor, researcher, private practice owner, director, advocate, writer and mum.
Jane is passionate about improving clinician wellbeing and strongly believes in the role of building community, storytelling, spreading kindness and need for health systems change. This year she co-founded Pandemic Kindness Movement during COVID. Jane loves planning events, trips with her three kids and husband, writing stories & playing trombone badly.
Dr Anthea Rhodes
MBBS Hons FRACP MHPE
Dr Anthea Rhodes is a consultant paediatrician at The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, and Founding Director of the RCH National Child Health Poll. She is a medical educator and lecturer in Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. Dr Rhodes is passionate about health literacy and the role of communication and the media in health promotion.
Anthea is excited to be part of the inaugural MMS Women in Clinical Academia Leadership symposium and the opportunity to bring women together to share and learn. Through this program she hopes to contribute to building a lasting network and community of practice that will foster and facilitate growth and greatness among women clinician scientists.
Associate Professor Jill Sewell
AM MBBS FRACP DMedSci (Hon) FAICD
A/Prof Jill Sewell is a consultant paediatrician at the Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, and Chair of the Victorian Clinical Council.
Jill considered herself to be an accidental leader until she understood that leadership throughout life is based on knowing yourself, standing up for your values, having a go, and hanging in to achieve change over time. She is a senior developmental behavioural paediatrician at the Royal Children's Hospital, and has held a number of formal leadership positions, and is still learning about leadership.
Jill wants to support women to understand and develop their leadership potential at any stage of life, and join with others in celebrating their journey.
Dr Anita Goh
BSC (Science Scholar)(Hons) DPSYCH (Clinical Neuro)
Dr Anita Goh is a clinical neuropsychologist, senior research fellow, and project manager at the National Ageing Research Institute and Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, The University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on cognitive health, mental health, and quality of life in ageing, with a specialisation in neurodegenerative disorders. Anita is the elected Program Chair of Alzheimer's Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment Health Policy Professional Interest Area. She serves on the executive committee of Australian Association of Gerontology Victorian Division, and Chairs a National Younger Onset Dementia Special Interest Group.
One of her top values is making a difference, and she is committed to equality and is proud to be part of the collective that is making improvements for women in STEMM. Anita joined the MMS Women Clinicians in Academia Leadership Symposium working group as she loves helping others to flourish and believes in the power of representation.
Associate Professor Marie Bismark
MBChB LLB MBHL MPH MPsych MD FAFPHM FAICD
A/Prof Marie Bismark is a public health physician, researcher, legal academic, company director, and mum. Marie was born in South Africa and raised in New Zealand. After completing a Harkness Fellowship at Harvard, Marie and her family moved to Melbourne for a three-year role (which has so far turned in ten!). Her roles include leading a public health research team at the University of Melbourne, teaching at Melbourne Law School, serving on the Board of The Royal Women’s Hospital, and training in psychiatry with North Western Mental Health.
Marie loves finding and connecting great people and great ideas. She believes in the power of conversations to shape lives and sees the MMS Women Clinicians in Academia Leadership Symposium as a great way to facilitate this.
Professor Kate Drummond
AM MD FRACS
Professor Kate Drummond is Director of Neurosurgery at Royal Melbourne Hospital and Head of CNS Tumours. Her research and clinical interests are in the biology and management of brain tumours. She is Neurosurgery Editor of the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience and Chief Examiner in Neurosurgery for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. She is Chair of Pangea Global Health Education, a not-for-profit organisation specialising in health education in low resource settings. In 2019 she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to medicine, particularly in neuro-oncology.
Kate is on the working group of the MMS Women Clinicians in Academia Leadership Symposium for the sheer joy of kicking ideas around with a bunch of smart and interesting women. Kate has been involved in various forums for “Women in Surgery” since she joined the Committee of the same name of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1994. Her understanding of women in medicine, surgery and academia has evolved so much since then, stating that "it has always been intersection with others that has led to those quantum leaps that change your worldview. To hear the stories, wisdom, successes, failures, jokes and advice of those both very alike and very different to you is a rare gift". Kate hopes this is what the Symposium will achieve for participants.
Dr Samantha Loi
PhD GradCertPOA MPsych FRANZCP MBBS BMedSc
Dr Samantha Loi is a neuropsychiatrist and Senior Research Fellow at RMH and Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre. She is one of a small number of academic-psychiatrists who has completed a higher degree and continues to pursue research, complementary to her clinical work, in younger-onset dementia. Previously she has been a panelist at the inaugural Women in Psychiatry special interest group launch in 2019 and at the RMH Women in Research fundraising lunch in 2017. Samantha is involved with the RANZCP Mentoring program and is keen to encourage and support other women that they can manage, be successful and achieve multiple roles of clinical work, research and leadership.
Samantha is proud to be involved in this working group as an early-career academic-clinician, to play her role in improving the visibility of academic-clinicians, but also to be inspired and learn more about the different elements of leadership in the modern world.
Professor Lena Sanci
PhD FRACGP MBBS Dip. RANZCOG
Prof Lena Sanci Is the Chair of General Practice and Head of Department of General Practice at The University of Melbourne. She Co-Chairs the Primary Care Committee of the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health and has expertise in the co-design of interventions, implementation, and evaluation in primary care and online settings particularly for children and young people’s health. She chairs the Victorian Research and Education Network (VicREN) of over 600 general practices with a commitment to advance the discipline of primary care through teaching the next generation of health professionals, and through research.
Lena is honoured to be part of this inaugural team of women clinician scientists sharing their stories and pathways to leadership. She believes in this program for its potential to likewise connect women and grow confidence in their ability to lead through peer mentorship at any stage of career, for any personality type, and within contexts that can be rapidly changing, uncertain, and complex.
Associate Professor Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis
BSc (Hons) MBBS (Hons) CHIA PhD FRACGP
A/Prof Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis is an academic general practitioner (GP) at the Department of General Practice, Melbourne Medical School. She co-leads the Department of General Practice Data for Decisions program, incorporating the Patron database and development of tools that integrate with the electronic medical record to assist in evidence-based clinical decision making. She is also the Chair, RACGP Expert Committee- Research and sits on a number of Committees including the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and Melbourne Medical School Research and Research Training Committee.
Jo-Anne believes that women clinicians make an amazing contribution to patients and their communities. However, they are under-represented in leadership positions. She doesn’t believe that people are born leaders – they develop over time, and to be most effective they benefit from sponsorship and skills development. It can also be a lonely road to travel at times. Jo-Anne is hoping that this event introduces fellow women clinicians to a supportive community, where barriers are honestly acknowledged, solutions are actively sought and inspiration to lift oneself and others results.
Dr Ruth Mitchell
BA BSc BMBS MAICD FRACS FFSTEd
Dr Ruth Mitchell is a neurosurgeon-scientist with a keen interest in paediatric neurosurgery and brain tumour biology. She is dedicated to carrying out research to better understand neurosurgical disease and harnessing the tools of structural biology to improve patient outcomes. This has seen Dr Mitchell being awarded numerous grants and scholarships, from foundations such as Cancer Australia and the Brain Foundation. Currently Dr Mitchell is completing her PhD at the University of Melbourne.
Dr Mitchell is currently a member of the AOA Cultural Inclusion Working Group and deputy chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Foundation for Surgery. Dr Mitchell spent many years advocating for medical trainees, taking on numerous roles within the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trainees’ Association. Dr Mitchell has also been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for the work of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Dr Mitchell is thrilled to learn from brilliant women at all stages of their journeys as leaders in the academic clinical world, and hopes to inject some of the lessons learned as an advocate and campaigner into the intersecting challenges faced women in academic medicine. Together, we can remove obstacles, create better systems and a more genuinely inclusive world.
Homeward Bound is a leadership program for women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine) to develop a global collaboration of 1000 women over 10 years.
The aim is to develop leaders who demonstrate skills in collaboration and inclusion, are legacy minded and trustworthy with people and financial assets, to help make decisions from the perspective of the global home, on behalf of future generations.
Mother nature needs her daughters!
Women in Leadership Program
This course is run through Monash and has been attended by some of our working groups members who highly recommend it.
"The purpose of this three-day program is to inspire, encourage and support women in healthcare and research to reach their full career potential. This program will explore equal opportunity, capacity, capability building and career strategic planning as well as providing supportive networks and partnerships.
Delivered by Ms Tracey Ezard, Professor Helena Teede and Associate Professor Jacqueline Boyle, with support from current leaders in healthcare and research."
- Harvard - Strategies and Skills Development for Career Advancement and Leadership
- US – Women in Medicine Summit
- Williamson Community Leadership Program Leadership Victoria Fellowship
- Your Colleges – check the different seminars
- Oxford Executive Leadership Program
- Centre for Creative Leadership
- University of Melbourne Health Law course – 5 days
- University of Melbourne Prof Rob Moodie Health Leadership 5 days
- Australian Institute Company of Directors (AICDs)
- AMA – Women in Medicine
- Victorian Medical Women Society
The Conversation - "Science prizes are still a boys’ club. Here’s how we can change that" (21.10.19)
This article touches on improving diversity, identifying the barriers and the selection process.
- Bismark, M., Morris, J., Thomas, L., Loh, E., Phelps, G., & Dickinson, H. (2015). Reasons and remedies for under-representation of women in medical leadership roles: a qualitative study from Australia.BMJ open,5(11), e009384. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009384
- Hempenstall, A., Tomlinson, J. and Bismark, M.M. (2019), Gender inequity in medicine and medical leadership. Med. J. Aust., 211: 475-475.e1. doi:10.5694/mja2.50388
- Women in medicine are not given the respect they deserve, from their male colleagues or patients Ranjana Srivistava
- Faminism is for everybody – Editorial Lancet Feb 2019
- Choo EK, Byington CL, Johnson NL, Jagsi R. From #MeToo to #TimesUp in health care: can a culture of accountability end inequity and harassment? Lancet. 2019 Feb 9;393(10171):499-502. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30251-X. PMID: 30739670.
- Advancing women in medical leadership
- Mousa, M.,Boyle, J. A.&Teede, H. J.,Mar 2020,In :The Medical Journal of Australia.212,4,p. 190-190.e12 p.
- Advancing women in medical leadership
- Teede, H. J.,Nov 2019,In :Medical Journal of Australia.211,9,p. 392-394.e14 p.
- New Power - Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms
- Becoming - Michelle Obama
- Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons - Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
- Dare to Lead - Brene Brown
- Thrive - Ariana Huffington
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead - Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg
- The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed As You are - Alicia Menendez
- Show Up Hard - Shannon Weber
- “Conversations with RBG”
- The wife drought - Annabel Crabb
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain
- Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women who Helped Launch Our Nation Into Space - Margot Lee Shetterly
- Your Oxygen Mask First: 17 Habits to Help High Achievers Survive & Thrive - Kevin N. Lawrence
- Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career - Sylvia Ann Hewlett
- Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean - Kim Scott
- The Buzz - Tracey Ezard (Look out for Ferocious Warmth Leadership)
- True North - Bill George
- Leadership for the Disillusioned - Prof Amanda Sinclair
Websites and Blogs
- Women’s Agenda
- Gender Avenger
- Evolve from the balcony to the staircase
- #BeEthical A Call to Healthcare Leaders: Ending Gender Workforce Disparities is an Ethical Imperative
- Pandemic Kindness
- TED Talk - To solve the world's biggest problems, invest in women and girls, Musimbi Kanyoro, recent CEO of the Global Fund for Women
- TED Talk - Building a psychologically safe workplace, Amy Edmonston
- TED Talk - What does my headscarf mean to you?, Yassmin Abdel-Magied
- Priscilla Kincaid-Smith Oration - Women in medicine as a critical component of disruption in relation to the profession, its identity and its interaction with the broader health system, Prof Helena Teede
- “When they enter, we all enter”: Intersectionality, Racial Justice, and Gender Equality - relating to BLM and current
- 10 New & Old Books for Intersectional Feminist Readers
- Intersectional Feminism 101
- Intersectional Feminism 101: Why It’s Important And What We Must Remember
Toolkits and good resources:
How to be a better intersectional feminist / ally:
If you are organising a talk, a meeting or conferences
- Have you got yourself a #manel?
- Who is not in the room?
- Which voices are not being heard?