RANZCOG Wellbeing Award recipients 2021

Meet the individuals and groups leading the way in wellbeing at the College in 2021.


The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Congratulations to our inaugural Wellbeing Award recipients, and thank you to everyone who took the time to write a nomination – they were a joy to read.

The nominations were discussed by the RANZCOG Wellbeing Working Group who endorsed the below recipients, which were approved by the RANZCOG Board. 

Individual award recipients

Dr Chloe Frei

Dr Chloe Frei

Nominated by Dr Caitlin O’Rourke (RANZCOG Trainee)

Dr Chloe Frei is a FRANZCOG SMO at Wellington Regional Hospital. Chloe instigated the forming of a Wellbeing Group – putting together representatives from across the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department and ensuring all groups were appropriately represented. She drew up a terms of reference that was presented to management and governance committees to formally institute an ongoing initiative that will continue despite a changing workforce. The Wellbeing Group has initiated a formalised introductory system for incoming staff and review of our dedicated orientation, an adverse events support group, midwifery survey and support channels. Chloe demonstrates a balanced and evidenced approach to self-care and kindness and her empathy and integrity are admired by all.

Dr Ashleigh Smith

Dr Ashleigh Smith

Nominated by Dr Rachel Collings (RANZCOG Fellow)

Dr Ashleigh Smith is a current 3rd year RANZCOG trainee undertaking her rural rotation at the Toowoomba Base Hospital. Within the professional sphere, Ash provides support and advocacy to trainees through her role as the QLD trainee representative and is a kind and caring mentor to students and junior doctors.  In the wake of the tragic death of her daughter in 2020, Ashleigh launched the highly  regarded and successful ‘Glimmer Podcast’ and ‘Online Glimmer Program’ to help support women and families experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn loss. This non-profit project has supported thousands of women nationally and internationally over the last 12 months and continues to grow and expand. Consider referring suitable patients to this unique and meaningful resource. 

Dr Greg Jenkins

Dr Greg Jenkins

Nominated by Dr Gaya Jayasinghe, Dr Tanja Baltus and Dr Madeeha Dean (RANZCOG Trainees)

Dr Jenkins is the head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Westmead Hospital. In 2018 he pioneered protected mindfulness sessions on a weekly basis. These sessions provide a safe and confidential environment where staff feel free to share their personal burdens/thoughts. Dr Jenkins participates equally by sharing and this encourages communication and connection which promotes harmony and wellbeing within our department. Whilst these sessions are an opportunity to debrief, mindfulness strategies and guided meditation is also taught. As a result of these sessions, people have been able to use mindfulness techniques in day-to-day work life to optimise their ability to cope with immense challenges of this job but also share the difficulties encountered at work. Dr Jenkins has an ongoing commitment to teaching and promoting a culture of respect. This attitude permeates throughout our department and makes our workplace a really enjoyable place to be.

Group award recipients

Mater Mother’s Hospital Staff Debriefing Group

Mater Mothers group

This group identified a lack of formal processes for immediate support following events that emotionally impact staff – including trainees and specialists. This working group championed the cause of immediate support for staff on shift resulting in an impactful program being delivered. The educational training program was developed and delivered by O&G, neonatal and midwifery staff in collaboration with a clinical psychologist with expertise in supporting the mental health of health professionals. 

Over 60 doctors and midwives have been trained as hot debriefers – capable of facilitating a hot debrief on or immediately after a shift when an event has happened. Staff are encouraged to pause their work and spend a short amount of time sharing their experiences and supporting each other. Staff now conduct “hot debrief” as a matter of routine and feel supported by both their peers and the organisation as a result. 

If you would like to find out more information about Hot Debriefer Training for your workplace, please contact Lauren Peters.

Group members:

Dr Paul Bretz (FRANZCOG)
Dr Pita Birch (Neonatologist)
Dr Luke McLindon (FRANZCOG)
Dr Sarah Janssens (FRANZCOG)
Dr Suzanne Bertrand (Anaesthetist)
Dr Steve Cattanach (FRANZCOG)
Ms Amy Kwan (clinical psychologist)
Mr Andrew Kennelly (pastoral carer)
Ms Amanda Bates (RN)
Ms Catherine Cooper (RM)
Ms Stephanie Barwick (RM/RM)

Monash COVID-19 Kindness Toolkit Group

The Monash Covid-19 Kindness Toolkit Group is a group of 4th year RANZCOG trainees at Monash Health that created a peer-led group to improve wellbeing of trainees during the COVID-19 pandemic. They created a peer-led series of workshop and resources using previously validated tools to improve wellbeing and self-care and avoid burnout for their peer trainees. They also performed evaluation of this pilot program through qualitative and quantitative research applying validated questionnaires before and after the intervention (Copenhagen Burnout Inventory and the World Health Organization Wellbeing Index), showing significant improvement of the scores after participation in the program.

Group members:

Dr Madeleine Ward – RANZCOG Trainee
Dr James Aridas – RANZCOG Trainee
Dr Rebecca McDonald – RANZCOG Trainee
Dr Daniel Rolnik – Adjunct Senior Lecturer Monash University and RANZCOG Fellow
Dr Karen Crinall, William Crinall – Crinall Consulting

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