Learning from the leaders: University of Sydney Health students get hands on

27 August 2014

Final year mentees
Final year mentees


The NSW Minister for Health is one of nineteen high-profile leaders in the health sector signed up to help high-achieving health students at the University of Sydney develop their leadership skills as part of a final year mentoring program.

Launched last week, the Faculty of Health Sciences Leadership Mentoring program pairs selected final year students with CEOs, senior partners and directors of public, private and not-for-profit organisations in the health sector.  

Occupational Therapy student Ruby Awram said she felt extremely privileged to be paired with NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, and looked forward to the chance to work with such a visionary and experienced mentor.

"Being a leader is about empowering others to effect change," said Ruby who grew up in Broome, Western Australia and is interested in improving access to health services in rural and remote Australia.

"Having the opportunity to be mentored by the most senior person in health in NSW will allow me to gain a real insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the health sector, and to seek advice on how I can make a difference with my career in the future."

The program is designed to further develop leadership skills and aspirations in students with the capacity to become future leaders in health, disability and aged care, by allowing them to shadow their mentors and get hands-on experience of the day-to-day activities of some of Australia's most influential decision makers.

Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Kathryn Refshauge said the program gives students an insight into how to become a true leader.

"We know that learning doesn't just happen in the classroom and an experience like this is absolutely invaluable in fostering our students' aspirations and ambitions early in their careers.

"Our vision is to develop tomorrow's leaders in health, and in health reform."


Minister Skinner with Ruby Awram
Minister Skinner with Ruby Awram



Mentors for the 2014 program include:

  • Mr Michael Ackland, CEO, GE Healthcare Australia & New Zealand
  • Mr Gary Barnier, Managing Director, Opal Aged Care
  • Ms Kristina Cabala, Director, NSW Cardiovascular Research Network, Heart Foundation NSW
  • Ms Paula Caffrey, Chief Allied Health Officer, NSW Health
  • Ms Lindsay Cane, CEO, Royal Far West
  • Prof David Currow, Chief Cancer Officer and Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Institute NSW
  • Mr Michael Dickson, Director, Health, PriceWaterhouse Coopers
  • Ms Liz Forsyth, Partner, Government Advisory Services, KPMG
  • Ms Caitlin Francis, Partner - Advisory, Ernst & Young
  • Dr Kenneth Graham, Principal Scientist, NSW Institute of Sport
  • Dr Kim Hill, Executive Medical Director, Westmead Hospital
  • Ms Anne Hollonds, Policy & Strategy Consultant, Benevolent Society
  • Ms Elizabeth Koff, Chief Executive, Sydney Children's Hospital Network (Randwick & Westmead)
  • Ms Grainne O'Loughlin, CEO, Karitane
  • Mr Peter Perry, CEO, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
  • Ms Carole Renouf, CEO, National Breast Cancer Foundation
  • The Hon Jillian Skinner MP, NSW Minister for Health & Minister for Research
  • Mrs Marelle Thornton AM, Chairman of the Board, Cerebral Palsy Alliance
  • Mr Brett Williams, Director, Allied Health, Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District

Contact: Michelle Blowes

Phone: 02 9036 7486

Email: 4628092f270d1c3540311c1a20234211363c555e1f3460130d26172225