Dear QMWS Members and Friends,
QMWS is delighted so many of you could join us at the second QMWS dinner event of 2021, both in person and via Zoom. We had three incredible speakers reflecting on their very different experiences at the United Nations. Being able to have this international perspective was especially valuable as we are living with the current Covid 19 travel restrictions. We could sense the excitement in the room about having this unique opportunity to hear the stories of these amazing speakers firsthand.
Dr Jillann Farmer took us with her on her eight-year journey as the Medical Director of the United Nations, taking care of the health, safety and wellbeing of all UN personnel deployed throughout the world. She was also responsible for the standards in healthcare facilities operating under the UN flag and dealt with the Ebola pandemic. It is certainly reassuring to have her expertise back in Australia as the Deputy Director-General of Clinical Excellence Queensland.
Listening to the experiences of Brendan Rook as a senior investigator for the International Criminal Court (ICC) made us realise how challenging and important it is to find useful evidence to bring justice to the many victims of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Not everyone would be able to do this work without being traumatised or burned out themselves. We are grateful for the vital work that is done and for Brendan sharing his experiences with us.
We were very proud to have our previous QMWS committee member, Dr Helena Franco, speaking to us from Cairns via a video presentation. Helena has a strong interest in global health and is involved in the International Student Surgical Network (InciSioN). Through the opportunities through QMWS and AFMW, she attended the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland where she participated in the Essential Surgical Care Programme Technical Meeting. We hope Helena has inspired many of our (junior) members.
The evening was proudly sponsored by Queensland X-ray and Dr Annah Lane presented us with information on Queensland X-Ray Women’s Imaging. We are very thankful for the ongoing support of The Welsey Hospital and AMAQ who booked a table.
We look forward to seeing you again at our next dinner event on 19th August. Dr Christel Middeldorp, Professor of Child and Youth Psychiatry and co-chair of the Strategy expert group, will update us on the brand-new National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy. This has become even more important with the added stressors of the Covid pandemic.
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Dr Ira van der Steenstraten is the President of the Queensland Medical Women’s Society (QMWS). She was born in The Netherlands where she trained as a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and family therapist. She has over 25 years of professional experience and worked in a variety of medical and therapeutic settings as a consultant psychiatrist.
Currently working as a Life Coach, Ira is the founder of Breeze Life Coaching (www.breezelifecoaching.com). She is an internationally recognised and invited speaker that has developed several innovative Mindfulness, Wellbeing and Resilience programs for adults and children.
Ira is passionate about improving doctors’ health and wellbeing. She was commissioned by the Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ) to create and present the “Wellbeing at Work” program (previously “Resilience on the Run”). Funding from Queensland Health has made this program available to all interns in Queensland since 2017 and it has received the AMA 2018 “Best Public Health Initiative” award.