International Women’s Day: 4 Women Rewriting Healthcare in Australia

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In this article

Trailblazers and Innovators Alike Dr Amandeep Hansra Amanda Cattermole Dr Emily Kirkpatrick Dr Cheryl Martin Celebrating Women

International Women’s Day: 4 Women Rewriting Healthcare in Australia

March 8, 2024

Trailblazers and Innovators Alike


International Women’s Day, a day steeped in a history of advocating for gender equality and women’s rights, has evolved significantly over the years. For those of us in the medical profession, it offers a unique vantage point from which to acknowledge and celebrate the monumental strides women have made in healthcare.


Med CPD aims to shine a light on the remarkable women who have shaped and continue to shape the landscape of healthcare. Their stories are a testament to the progress made and a reminder of the work that remains. As medical professionals, let us honour these trailblazers, not just today, but every day, for their enduring impact on our profession and the well-being of society at large – not to mention their inspiring presence which encourages the next generation.



Dr Amandeep Hansra


An incredible woman you may know from her founding community – Creative Careers in Medicine – Dr Amandeep Hansra is a formidable figure in Australia’s healthcare sector, with a far-reaching impact that spans clinical practice, digital health, and healthcare innovation. With 18 years of experience as a General Practitioner, her expertise extends beyond traditional medicine into realms of digital health consulting, entrepreneurship, and investment. Hansra’s work has significantly advanced Australia’s healthcare industry, particularly through her roles as a Digital Health Adviser with the Australian Digital Health Agency and as a Principal at Main Sequence Ventures, managing the CSIRO Innovation Funds.


Her leadership as the CEO & Medical Director of Telstra’s telemedicine business ReadyCare and her involvement in establishing a telemedicine business in the Philippines have been pivotal in transforming telemedicine services. As the NSW clinical lead for the Australian Clinical Entrepreneur Program and of course the founder of Creative Careers in Medicine, she has fostered innovation and supported healthcare professionals in navigating their careers in medicine creatively.


Amandeep’s academic achievements, including a Bachelor of Medicine with honours, a Global Executive MBA, and a Masters in Public Health, along with her role as an Adjunct Associate Professor in Biomedical Informatics and Digital Health, underscore her commitment to education and healthcare improvement.


Her diverse experiences in primary care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, Refugee Health, and more, combined with her leadership positions across prestigious healthcare organisations, highlight her multifaceted impact on healthcare in Australia and beyond. Dr. Hansra’s passion for healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship continues to inspire change and progress in the medical industry, making her a true pioneer in her field.



Amanda Cattermole


Amanda Cattermole’s impressive career trajectory is a testament to her profound impact on digital health and public service in Australia. With a diverse background that spans law, commerce, and public administration, she brings a wealth of experience to her role as the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Digital Health Agency since September 2020. Her leadership during critical periods, such as the 2019/20 bushfires season when she served as interim CEO of Services Australia, underscores her ability to guide and execute pivotal strategies under pressure.


Before leading the Australian Digital Health Agency, Cattermole held significant positions within Services Australia, including Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Secretary, Health and Aged Care. In these roles, she was responsible for overseeing the delivery of more than $60 billion in annual payments and services crucial to Australians’ health and wellbeing, covering Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), and aged care services. This responsibility highlights her central role in managing complex, high-stakes operations that directly affect the lives of millions.


Amanda’s career also extends into senior roles across various Commonwealth and State departments, showcasing her versatility and commitment to public service. Her work has had a considerable impact on diverse sectors, including Indigenous affairs, where her efforts in providing housing for Indigenous communities in remote areas were recognised with the prestigious Public Service Medal. Furthermore, her leadership in the National Gambling Reform laws demonstrates her dedication to tackling significant social issues through thoughtful policy and reform.


Her academic achievements, including degrees in Law, Commerce, a Master of Laws, and a Master of Business Administration, underpin her practical experience with a solid theoretical foundation. This unique blend of skills and knowledge enables her to navigate the complex landscape of digital health and public service with expertise and vision.


Amanda Cattermole’s career is not just a series of impressive titles and roles but a clear indication of her relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation in public service and digital health. Her efforts have undoubtedly contributed to shaping a more efficient, responsive, and inclusive healthcare system in Australia, making her an inspiring figure for current and future leaders in the sector.



Dr Emily Kirkpatrick


Dr Emily Kirkpatrick exemplifies leadership and innovation in healthcare, merging her extensive experience as a Specialist General Practitioner with executive roles to pioneer improvements in health systems. Based in Adelaide, South Australia, her career is marked by a commitment to primary and preventative healthcare, advocating for care delivery that is timely, appropriate, and sustainable. Dr. Kirkpatrick’s vision for a value-based healthcare ecosystem is underpinned by her advocacy for virtual models of care and her forward-thinking research on the Virtual Hospital of the Future, exploring the integration of AI and Machine Learning to enhance system safety and efficiency.


Her pivotal role during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading South Australia’s community response as the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer and then as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Executive Director of Community and Primary Care Partnerships, showcased her ability to navigate crisis situations with innovation and partnership. This period also saw her overseeing the creation of a comprehensive virtual primary care team, demonstrating her commitment to accessible and efficient healthcare.


As the Executive Medical Director of the Calvary-Medibank Joint Venture (CMJV), Dr. Kirkpatrick continues to influence healthcare delivery, focusing on clinical governance, workforce, and innovation. Her extensive background in holistic healthcare, health policy, medical education, and research complements her leadership roles, contributing to her reputation as a leading figure in advancing healthcare quality and accessibility. Dr. Kirkpatrick’s dedication to public health and preventative medicine, combined with her innovative approaches to healthcare challenges, make her an inspiring figure in the medical community, driving positive change and exemplifying excellence in healthcare leadership.



Dr Cheryl Martin


Dr Cheryl Martin is a distinguished figure in the fields of emergency medicine, sports, exercise, and lifestyle medicine, with an illustrious career spanning over two decades. Her extensive experience in emergency, trauma, and critical care across Scotland and Australia has equipped her with a profound understanding of the demands and challenges faced by healthcare professionals in high-stakes environments. Dr. Martin’s commitment extends beyond clinical excellence, focusing significantly on the health, well-being, and sustainable practice of her colleagues. This dedication is evidenced by her leadership in well-being portfolios at various levels including department, hospital, and college, demonstrating a holistic approach to medical practice that prioritises both patient care and practitioner health.


In 2022, Dr. Martin enhanced her leadership skills through the prestigious Stanford Well MD Chief Wellness Officer Course in California, an opportunity that allowed her to explore evidence-based approaches to improving physician wellness. This commitment to leadership and well-being is further amplified by her current pursuit of a global senior executive MBA program at Melbourne Business School for the academic years 2023/24. This endeavour aims to expand her strategic leadership, managerial judgement, and organisational behaviour skills, ensuring she remains at the forefront of medical leadership and innovation.


Dr. Martin’s passion for optimising performance and well-being among clinicians led to the creation of The Mind Full Medic Podcast in 2020. This project embodies her commitment to the science, art, and practical application of sustaining high performance and well-being in the medical profession, offering valuable insights and strategies for maintaining longevity in practice.


Outside her professional life, Dr. Martin is an enthusiastic trail runner, embracing the natural beauty of coastal and mountain trails alongside her trail tribe. For her, running in these serene settings serves as a moving meditation, akin to her yoga asana practice, providing a space for reflection, rejuvenation, and connection with nature. Dr. Martin’s multifaceted approach to life and medicine showcases her as a model of holistic health and leadership in the medical community, inspiring both colleagues and patients alike.



Celebrating Women

As we reflect on the progress made, it is imperative to recognise the challenges that have been overcome and the battles still being fought. The path to equality in healthcare is ongoing, and as we celebrate International Women’s Day, we must also commit to supporting and elevating women in our field, wherever they are in their journey. Their insights, leadership, and contributions are indispensable to the fabric of healthcare, and recognising their achievements is not just a matter of equity but a testament to the richness and diversity of thought they bring to the table.



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