Meet 10 Inspiring Women Revolutionising Healthcare
March 07, 2023
These ten women are on a mission to transform healthcare in Australia and beyond, making it more innovative, accessible, and patient-centric. From digital health and genetic research to patient advocacy and medical technology, their groundbreaking contributions break barriers and pave the way for a better future.
Founder, Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation & Childhood Dementia Initiative
Meg is the mother of two children, Isla and Jude, who both have Sanfilippo Syndrome. She founded the Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation driving millions into research for this little-known and poorly understood genetic condition. From there, Megan saw the need to tackle research into these rare diseases differently; she went on to set up the newly established Childhood Dementia Initiative. Childhood Dementia is caused by over 70 rare genetic conditions, most of which have no meaningful treatment. Megan has turned her personal tragedy into good, inspiring attention and action to these rare disorders.
Lucinda Lines is a fertility educator, experienced embryologist, and patient advocate who guides women and couples on their fertility journeys. Lucy’s independent fertility guidance and support are available online at Two Lines Fertility and in person daily. She provides clear, concise, and to-the-point fertility guidance to anyone trying to conceive - from the basic biology of conception to complex fertility treatment explanations. Her advocacy and community support are invaluable to anyone trying to conceive, and she shares her own experience of recurrent miscarriage to help others feel seen and supported.
Dr Amandeep Hansra
General Practitioner, Founder of Creative Careers in Medicine, RACGP Expert Committee Member, Practice & Management (eHealth), and Director of Digital Health, Evermed Consulting.
With over 17 years of experience as a GP, Dr Amandeep Hansra is a leading digital health innovator and advocate for more accessible healthcare. She has founded businesses such asCreative Careers in Medicine,invested in start-ups, and served on boards to bring innovative solutions to the healthcare system.
Founder & Author of Mackenzie’s Mission. Advocate for IVF, Genetic Testing, and Child Loss.
Rachael Casella founded Mackenzie’s Mission, a research study that offers reproductive genetic carrier screening to couples planning to have children or in early pregnancy. The study, named after Rachael's daughter Mackenzie, who died of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), aims to inform couples about their likelihood of having a child with a severely debilitating and/or life-limiting genetic condition. Rachael and her husband Jonathan didn’t know they were carriers of SMA, and neither displayed symptoms because they did not have the condition themselves. After tragically losing Mackenzie, they knew they didn’t want other families to go through the same pain, so they started to raise awareness and lobby the government to make reproductive genetic carrier screening more broadly available.
Founder & CEO of HealthMatch
Manuri Gunawardena founded HealthMatch after seeing patients struggle to gain access to clinical trials. As a medical student, she worked in neuro-oncology research and witnessed the challenges that patients faced in navigating the medical system. Her company, HealthMatch, aims to connect patients to clinical trials and treatment options, regardless of geography or access to leading specialists. HealthMatch has over 1 million registered users and has facilitated over 3.5 million patient matches to clinical trials.
Dr. Chantel Thornton
Specialist Breast Cancer Surgeon at Epworth Hospital and Visiting Medical Officer at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Dr. Chantel Thornton is a passionate breast surgeon who specialises in the surgical treatment of breast cancer and benign breast conditions. She also delivers multidisciplinary care for breast cancer patients. She has a special interest in oncoplastic breast cancer surgery, which focuses on maximising cosmetic results with breast conservation surgery. Chantel is also committed to philanthropy and is involved in a number of charitable organisations, including the Foundation for Breast Cancer Care.
Founder of Kin Fertility
Nicole Liu founded Kin, a fertility empowerment platform that provides online medical support from qualified fertility experts. Her personal experience with a misdiagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) led her to create a platform that normalises the conversation around reproductive health and provides better access to healthcare for a simpler fertility journey. Kin Fertility offers information and services on contraception, fertility, conceiving, pregnancy, and postpartum, and even has a subscription service that delivers contraceptive prescriptions directly to users' doors.
Prof. Ingrid Winship
Professor of Adult Clinical Genetics at the University of Melbourne
Professor Ingrid Winship is a leader in genetics research and health services. She is a clinician-scientist who specialises in clinical genetics, cancer genetics, and genodermatology. She is Chair of the Australian Health Ethics Committee and a member of the NHMRC Council. Ingrid has also played a key role in establishing and leading the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, which aims to integrate genomics into routine healthcare. She has been recognised for her work with an Order of Australia and election to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
Prof. Sarah-Jane Dawson
Medical Oncologist & Clinician-Scientist
Professor. Sarah-Jane Dawson is a renowned cancer researcher and innovator who has dedicated her career to advancing the field of oncology. She is recognised for her groundbreaking work in developing non-invasive diagnostic tests for cancer patients, which have the potential to revolutionise cancer treatment by enabling earlier detection and personalised treatment options.
Dr. Dawson is passionate about improving patient outcomes and has founded several companies focused on developing innovative cancer diagnostics and therapies. She is committed to translating her research into clinical practice and providing patients with the best possible care.
Through her work, Dr. Dawson has brought hope to countless cancer patients and their families. Her tireless dedication to improving cancer care and finding a cure for this devastating disease has earned her the respect and admiration of her peers and the broader medical community.
Co-Founder & Chief Clinical Officer at Eugene
Last but certainly not least, Eugene’s very own Zoë Milgrom.
Zoë is the Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer at Eugene, a healthcare company dedicated to democratising access to genetics and empowering individuals to make informed healthcare decisions. Zoë is a certified genetic counselor with experience working in public and private healthcare systems. She has supported individuals at all stages of life, from planning a pregnancy to navigating the loss of a child.
Zoë understands the power of genomics to prevent or improve the impact of genetic conditions on individuals and their families. She is passionate about developing new client-centred models of healthcare that give people access to advanced knowledge and proactive healthcare choices.
Eugene was founded to provide a healthcare experience that Zoë and her team would want for themselves and their loved ones. The company believes that genetic health tests should be accessible to everyone, regardless of cost or difficulty in obtaining them. Eugene is on a mission to help all families gain personal knowledge about their genetics, navigate health vulnerabilities, and take control of their health journey from start to finish.