Diversity and Inclusion

Our Culture

The Melbourne Medical School is a diverse and inclusive environment for staff and students to be supported to flourish in their chosen career trajectory. We respect that diversity in gender, cultural heritage and background, sexual orientation, and physical ability enhances the campus experience. We are strongly committed to increasing diversity to ensure an optimal experience for all those engaging with and attending the School. We have zero-tolerance for attitudes or behaviours that do not reflect our diverse and inclusive culture or demonstrate positive workplace behaviour. Our broader faculty values of collaboration and teamwork, compassion, respect, integrity and accountability underpin our culture.

We are proud that the University of Melbourne is a founding member of the SAGE (Science in Australia Gender Equity) initiative committing to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter to promote gender equity and diversity, particularly in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) fields.

Alongside the benefits that are available to all University and Faculty staff members, the Melbourne Medical School has launched initiatives that complement our plan to make our School a place that doesn’t just talk about diversity. We recognise that we are not there yet, but with 41% of women in Level E positions (increased from 37% in 2021), we have already exceeded our year-end target and we are committed to building on this.

Strategic Grants for Outstanding Women

Launched in 2019 and offered biennially, the scheme is an initiative led by the Melbourne Medical School and generously supported by our health service partners. The scheme is designed to assist high-performing early to mid-career women in academia in negotiating some of the challenges faced as they pursue career progression towards senior academic and leadership roles.

In 2021, ten grants have been awarded through a competitive application process. These grants are being used to support a broad range of activities to support career advancement objectives.

Find out more

Indigenous Development Grant

The University of Melbourne acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which its campuses are situated. The University has campuses and facilities on the lands of the Kulin peoples, which includes the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung Wathaurong, Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung peoples, as well as the Yorta Yorta nation.

The Melbourne Medical School is strongly committed to driving change in Indigenous healthcare by increasing representation of Indigenous Australians at all organisational levels.

The Indigenous Development Grants scheme aims to foster the professional development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professional and academic staff, including prospective staff, and graduate research students in our School. Supported activities include a wide range of teaching, research and administrative projects.

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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 within the Melbourne Medical School.

The group hosts events to connect with inspiring women leaders and encourage building a community of practice for women clinicians in academia. Events are open to all who wish to foster and promote women clinicians in academic leadership.

Learn more

In addition to our Melbourne Medical School specific initiatives the University also provides a number of services which support the needs of our diverse workforce:

Equity and Disability Support

Student equity and disability support provides services to those that need assistance with their studies. To find out more on the standards for students, staff, and the wider University community please visit the Student Equity and Disability Support webpage here.

Pride in Action

The University of Melbourne’s inaugural LGBTQIA+ ally network, Pride in Action, unites staff and students who identify as LGBTQIA+, their allies and supporters, to create opportunities to share information and foster an inclusive and supportive environment. Learn more at the Pride in Action Ally Network webpage here.

We are also a member of Pride in Diversity, the national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion specialising in HR, organisational change, and workplace diversity. Pride in Diversity publishes the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), Australia’s national benchmarking instrument for LGBTI workplace inclusion from which Top Employers for LGBTI people is determined. Learn more here.

Supporting Families and Childcare

For parents that need some private space on campus there are parent/breastfeeding rooms available on campus for staff and students. For more information, please visit the Parents Rooms webpage here.

We have subsidised on-site childcare facilities including at Queensberry Street and Swanston Street, an Early Learning Centre in Abbotsford and the Family Club Co-operative, a community managed childcare centre close to the Parkville campus. For more information, please visit the Early Childhood Education Services webpage here.

Flexible Working Arrangements

We support flexible working arrangements to help staff achieve work-life balance.  Learn more here.

Our Achievements

New leadership positions in the Melbourne Medical School include:

Professor Sarath RanganathanProfessor
Sarath Ranganathan

Head of the Melbourne Medical School

Associate Professor Margie Danchin

Associate Professor
Margie Danchin

Director of Clinician Scientist Pathways

Jo Douglass

Jo Douglass

Head of the Department of Medicine
James Stewart Chair of Medicine and Director of Research, The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Professor David Story

David Story

Head of the Department of Critical Care

Christobel Saunders

Christobel Saunders

James Stewart Chair of Surgery, The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Jawun Development Program

The Melbourne Medical School is pleased to participate in the Jawun Development Program which sends skilled professionals from Australia’s leading companies and government agencies into Indigenous organisations on six-week secondments.

Our recent Jawun secondee

In November 2023, Penny Mahoney represented the Melbourne Medical School by supporting the Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-Operative during a six-week Jawun secondment.

Penny Mahoney
Penny Mahoney, Manager, Department of Medicine and Department of Radiology.

Supporting the Rumbalara Executive team, Penny conducted a pilot program introducing the Gallup CliftonStrengths program, highlighting how it can increase employee engagement while creating a workplace culture that normalises our natural abilities and accepts that we are all unique.

Penny is looking forward to sharing her experiences with the School and Faculty as she becomes a Jawun alumni ambassador, striving to achieve parity for indigenous staff and students.

I was humbled listening to their stories of overcoming hardships, and I am encouraged by their resilience”.

The Garma Festival

The University is a key sponsor of the Garma Festival, primarily the Key Forum Program, and management of the auditorium space. This staff development opportunity offers an unparalleled two-way immersive cultural experience, learning from the Yolngu clan, one of the oldest living cultures in the world.

Our recent Garma Festival secondee

Janine Sala represented the Melbourne Medical School by volunteering to support the Garma Festival from 23 July - 4 August 2022. The Garma Festival is a cultural event organised by the Yothu Yindi Foundation that aims to facilitate cultural immersion, education, debate, exchange, and action.

Janine Sala
(L-R) Garma Festival volunteers Amanda Currie, Manager, Protocol Vice-Chancellor's Office, Ellen Hewitt, Project Manager, Office of the Vice-President (Advancement), Kellie Henderson-Giles, Undergraduate Admissions Manager, Student and Scholarly Services, and Janine Sala, Manager, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

This was the 22nd Garma Festival which was themed Look Ahead Towards the Future. The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, opened the ceremony by stating it was an honour and privilege to be amongst the oldest living continuous civilisation on the planet and that the Government should recognise this in our national birth certificate. He spoke about enshrining a Voice to Parliament.

“It was wonderful to be part of this historical moment and to have experienced learnings from the Yolngu clan which I will never forget!”.