Message from the Head of School

Dear Colleagues,

While the year may be drawing to a close work continues apace in the Melbourne Medical School on the new Doctor of Medicine (MD) program commencing next year.

Ministerial Visit Celebrating MD Rural Pathway

On Monday 6 December the Dean, Professor Jane Gunn, and I visited the Melbourne Medical School’s Department of Rural Health in Shepparton for an event to recognise students who will embark on the Doctor of Medicine (Rural Pathway) in Shepparton in 2022.

The Minister for Regional Health, the Hon. Dr David Gillespie attended to celebrate this milestone and acknowledge guaranteed pathway students who have completed their Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) degree at La Trobe University.

These students will join competitively selected Melbourne Medical School applicants to form the inaugural cohort of Victoria’s first end-to-end rural medical program. This partnership, established in 2019 between the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University, reaffirms a shared commitment to strengthening Victoria’s rural and regional health workforce.

University of Melbourne and La Trobe Uni at Shepparton facilities

University of Melbourne and La Trobe University staff and student representatives gather at the site of the new Shepparton facilities

University of Melbourne and LaTrobe University leadership Shepparton

Left to Right: Professor Julian Wright (Professor of Medicine, Head of Department of Rural Health and Director of Medical Student Education), The Honourable Damian Drum MP (Federal Member for Nicholls), Gabriella Hill (Student), Oscar McGraw (Student), Professor Jane Gunn (Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences), Professor John Dewar AO (Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University), The Honourable Dr David Gillespie MP (Minister for Regional Health), Darren Grossman (Project Manager, Rural Doctor of Medicine Program) tour the site.

The $6.5 million upgrade to the Department of Rural Health campus, funded as part of the Federal Government’s Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network, remains scheduled for completion in early 2022.


On behalf of the School I offer sincere congratulations to all who were promoted in 2021. The lengthy list of promotions which follows is a testament to the outstanding talent in the School as well as the support systems which are continually evolving to maximise career development assistance available to individuals.

Level B

Level C

Level D

Level  E

Aaron Collins, Department of Surgery

Alexandra Howard, Department of Psychiatry

Ada Cheung, Department of Medicine

Anna Ryan, Department of Medical Education

Ahmed Al Saedi, Department of Medicine

Charlotte Indermaur Denniston, Department of Medical Education

Alex Bahar-Fuchs, Department of Psychiatry

Michelle Dowsey, Department of Surgery

Ben Kirk, Department of Medicine

Christiane Kehoe, Department of Psychiatry

David Kok, Department of Clinical Pathology

Natalie Hannan, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Carmine Onofrillo, Department of Surgery

Frances Saunders, Department of Psychiatry

Jessica Howell, Department of Medicine

Nicholas Opie, Department of Medicine

Claire Quilliam, Department of Rural Health

Paul Robertson, Department of Psychiatry

Leonie Griffiths, Department of Medical Education

Nicole Sadler, Department of Psychiatry

Digsu Koye, Department of Medicine

Serena Duchi, Department of Surgery

Lisa Dell, Department of Psychiatry

Oliver Hofmann, Department of Clinical Pathology

Jennifer Keast, Department of Medical Education

Trish Campbell, Department of Infectious Diseases

Lisa Cheshire, Department of Medical Education

Sarah Whittle, Department of Psychiatry

Katrina Dell, Department of Medicine

Vijay Venkatraman, Department of Radiology

Margarita Moreno-Betancur, Department of Paediatrics

Tu'Uhevaha Lino, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Kevin Lee, Department of Medicine

Vinita Rane, Department of Medical Education

Raymond Wong, Department of Surgery

Victoria Palmer, Department of General Practice (direct appointment prior to conclusion of promotion round)

Olivia Mitchell, Department of Rural Health

Wonie Uahwatanasakul, Department of Paediatrics

Samantha Loi, Department of Psychiatry

Alessandra Radovini, Department of Psychiatry


I also offer thanks on behalf of the School to the broader teams who have supported these individuals with their applications whether it be through mentoring, reviewing submissions or writing references.

To those who were unsuccessful in your application for promotion on this occasion, while this is obviously disappointing, I encourage you to take every opportunity to seek feedback in relation to your application. Targeting additional areas or refining existing activities in addition to seeking support in response to the feedback received will greatly strengthen a future application.

Staff Excellence Awards

I continue with notes of congratulations to School staff who were awarded Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Staff Excellence Awards for their strategic and values-based contributions. A number of these awards, which were announced at an online awards ceremony on 29 November, were received in partnership with staff from across the Faculty.

2021 MDHS Award for Program Innovation - For excellence in: developing an integrated Ways of Knowing in Healthcare program in First Nations health and collaborative practice through an interprofessional team of First Nations and non-Indigenous educators.

Awarded to: Ways of Knowing in Healthcare program team: Joanne Bolton, Ngaree Blow, Elizabeth Molloy, Madelyn Hudson-Buhagiar, Anthea Cochrane, Louisa Remedios, Karen Donald, Naomi Norris, Tamara Clements, Lilon Bandler, Heather Buttigieg, Sue Durham, Peter Carew, Samantha Byrne, Jemma Skeat, Nicole Hill, Donya Eghrari (Melbourne Medical School, Melbourne School of Health Sciences, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Melbourne Dental School, School of Biomedical Sciences and the Faculty's LIME Network).

2021 MDHS Award for Outstanding Student Services - Providing intensive mental health support for medical students on placement throughout Victoria.

Awarded to: Health and Wellbeing Practitioner team - Danielle Clayman, Hannah Sloan, Lisa Power, Tim Adam (Department of Medical Education and Department of Rural Health)

2021 MDHS Award for Professional Excellence and Innovation - fostering the professional development and networking of professional staff across our Faculty

Awarded to: FAN Network, represented by Jelena Hendricks, Thomas Cougan, Grace Bircht, Priya Chand, Nury Emniyet, Jan Mariani, Sarah Marcola (Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences including Melbourne Medical School)

2021 MDHS Award for Excellence in Research by an Early-Career Researcher - advancing patient-centred care in orthopaedics

Awarded to: Samantha Bunzli (Department of Surgery)

2021 MDHS Award for Outstanding Graduate Researcher Supervision - inspirational supervision, positively influencing and motivating students and creating opportunities for the next generation to forge their own, independent research careers

Awarded to: Bruce Campbell (Department of Medicine)

2021 MDHS Award for Excellence in Indigenous Education - enabling Indigenous leadership and ownership in higher education, empowering the next generation of leaders in Aboriginal health

Awarded to: Raylene Nixon, Gwenda Freeman (Department of Rural Health)

2021 MDHS Award for Excellence in Staff Supervision - values-based leadership of a collaborative, supportive and respectful team, fostering the career progression of individual members and enabling team-based high performance

Awarded to: Jan Hodgson (Department of Paediatrics)

2021 MDHS Dean's Award - outstanding service to the Faculty and University through the Public Health Advisory Group

Awarded to: Lena Sanci, Jodie McVernon, Kirsty Buising, Nancy Baxter, Matt Spittal, Margaret Kelaher, Ben Howden, Margie Danchin, Katherine Gibney, Mark Davies (Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Melbourne Medical School and School of Biomedical Sciences)

2022 MACH-Track Cohort

I am pleased to announce that the incoming 2022 MACH-Track cohort has been selected. The MACH-Track program provides the opportunity for a small and exceptional cohort of developing clinician-scientists to complete pre-PhD, PhD and initial post-PhD research training alongside their vocational training. Congratulations to all six recipients on their selection into this highly competitive program. I encourage you to read about the talented and diverse interests of these future leaders:

2022 MACH-Track Cohort - Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (

Note of Thanks

In closing I’d like to thank everyone for their tremendous efforts in 2021. While the difficulties experienced this year have been universally acknowledged an increasing volume of honours and grants have continued to flow to members of the School. I am grateful that such a high level of productivity has been able to be maintained by so many whilst managing a complex array of competing demands. The themes of this year’s edition of Chiron are generosity, preparedness to tackle very difficult problems, and social impact. I think these themes aptly summarise the work being done by so many and I encourage you to read about the world-class projects being undertaken by some of our rising stars in this edition.

I would like to extend a special note of thanks for the outstanding support provided by the professional staff - in the Melbourne Medical School as well as those we partner with both in the Faculty and central University. These staff have continued to make a huge effort during an especially demanding year.

I hope that if you have not already had the opportunity to take the staff ‘recharge’ days announced by the Vice-Chancellor in August that as the year draws to a close you can use these to enjoy some much-deserved time with family and friends.

Wishing you all a healthy and restful festive season and a prosperous 2022.

Best regards

John Prins
Head, Melbourne Medical School