The 2022 ACM Midwifery Awards were presented at the National Conference gala dinner in Cairns; a wonderful night of celebration and relationship building.
Midwife of the Year
Prize: $5000 from Health Professionals Bank
"My greatest passion in midwifery is continuity of midwifery care. I truly believe that every woman, no matter what variations may occur during her pregnancy, labour, birth or postnatal period, deserves a known midwife to support her and her family through this journey."
Paula is a Clinical Midwife within a hospital-based Midwifery Group Practice (MGP). She has a full-time caseload of 40 women/per year and provides antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care to a mixed risk caseload of women. Paula has been part of this team since it began in 2016 and has been there to lead and support student, graduate, registered and clinical midwives to work in this model. It has been one of her greatest achievements to be one of the leaders of this amazing group of dedicated midwives and to be see how this program has grown and been embraced by her hospital.
Paula’s love for the women and families she cares for is always evident; she goes the extra mile to provide individualised care by advocating for specific requests from women and facilitating alternative care options. Paula’s determination to ensure more women have access to this service sees her regularly reviewing the inclusion/exclusion criteria for MGP and advocating for wider access. She is a great negotiator on the woman’s behalf and is prepared to put herself out of her comfort zone to ensure that the woman’s informed choice is paramount.
As Midwifery Group Practice Team Leader, Paula never fails to provide enthusiasm and passion to her profession, colleagues and families. Despite long hours of being on-call and providing up to 16 hours of care at a time, Paula always arrives with fresh enthusiasm. Paula’s love and joy for her work is infectious and inspires her colleagues, providing motivation and encouragement for managing the on-calls and long hours.
Best New Talent
Prize: $1000 from Health Professionals Bank
Alice embodies a midwifery philosophy which is woman centred, fuelled with kindness, evidence and a dedicated heart to truly be 'with woman' in every circumstance. Alice’s passion to provide care which meets the expectations of women, her complete respect for all women in her care, and her commitment to advocate choice, acknowledges each woman’s unique needs. Alice seamlessly tailors her midwifery care to ensure that each woman is made to feel as though she is the most important person present at any given time.
Alice is dedicated to be the midwife women need her to be, not the midwife she needs to be, not the midwife the team leader or manager needs her to be. Alice places women central to all care, which leads to building capability in all women and our wider communities. Alice promotes principles of cultural safety, justice, equity and women’s reproductive rights.
Alice is a shining light within our profession, always supporting her peers and her leaders. She promotes positive energy and is a true leader of the future. Alice soaks in the rich tradition of midwifery and exudes her passion in all of her endeavours which ensures women, families and newborns experience expert midwifery care. Alice is an exceptional role model for her peers. Her ability outweighs her years of experience and it will continue to be an honour to witness her growth, development and investment in herself, her peers and the women in her care.
Maternity Service of the Year
Birthing in our Community
Birthing in Our Community is a partnership between Mater Mothers Hospital, the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane Ltd. The Partners re-designed the model of care for First Nations families to include: continuity of midwifery (caseload) care, strong First Nations governance, First Nations workforce, integration with the Aboriginal community-controlled primary health network. The service is relationships-based and strengths-based, focusing on meeting the individual and collective needs of First Nations families. This service is very popular and is contributing to profound intergenerational improvements to women, infant and community wellbeing.
This service led to a profound reduction of preterm birth (~50%) among women having First Nations babies through the Birthing in Our Community service compared to other women having First Nations baby/ies and receiving standard care at the same hospital (Kildea et al. 2021). This equates to 25 preterm births prevented. This is truly significant considering preterm birth has not improved for First Nations families across Australia since the beginning of the Closing the Gap strategy, initiated over 10 years ago.
Women receiving the Birthing in Our Community service were also more likely to attend five or more antenatal visits and more likely to exclusively breastfeed on discharge from hospital compared to women having First Nations baby/ies and accessing standard care at the same hospital. There were also fewer medical interventions in labour/birth, increased access to a First Nations family support worker and known midwife through their pregnancy, birth and postnatal journey, fewer statutory child removals, increased opportunities to connect with other First Nations families and Elders through community days and regular events at the community hub, as well as a ten-fold increase in First Nations staff working on the program.
2022 Honour Recipients
This is what nominators said about 2022 Life Members.
Dr Alison (Ali) Teate
Since completing her midwifery certificate in the UK in 1992, Alison has completed a Masters of Midwifery at UTS, a PhD of Midwifery at Western Sydney University and a prescribing course to become a Medicare Endorsed Midwife. Ali has practiced midwifery as a clinician across a very broad scope of practice from low risk public-funded home birth and midwifery continuity models, to leadership roles as a Clinical Midwife Consultant.
Alison has also worked for many years as an educator and lecturer sharing her midwifery wisdom and skills with both undergraduate and postgraduate midwifery students. She maintains her Adjunct Associate Professor positions at University of Canberra and Edith Cowan University and has recently been employed at Edith Cowan University as a Course Coordinator for a post graduate certificate course for midwives working to endorsement.
Alison currently works as a private midwife, and IBCLC having set up a very busy and successful private midwife practice in the ACT region providing women with a high standard of midwifery care, from birth at home to antenatal and postnatal continuity of care and complex lactation support.
Alison is known, and loved, by women and her colleagues for her kind and woman centred approach, her strong voice in advocating for both women and midwifery and her ability to encourage, support and lead with equal measures of strength, compassion and determination.
Alison has been the ACT Branch Chair since 2019 and ACM Board Director since 2020.
Jeniffer Owen first registered as a Midwife in New South Wales in 1977and has worked continuously in clinical practice and education ever since. Jenny’s clinical work has been in the hospital setting, including secondary and tertiary settings in both country and metropolitan areas. She has provided care across the continuum of maternity services including Special Care Nursery and gynaecology. She is passionate about women and their health across the lifespan, fulfilling the true role and scope of practice as internationally defined for the Midwife.
Jenny moved into education after working with midwifery students in the postnatal wards at a tertiary maternity hospital. She enjoyed the opportunity to share knowledge and skill with learners, which led to her completing a postgraduate qualification in adult education. Jenny has a special interest in breastfeeding that she has been able to foster for students, graduates through continuing professional development programs for Midwives. She was a leader in developing a preceptorship program for students recognising their need for consistent support and feedback. She went on to coordinate the Midwifery Refresher program at King Edward Memorial Hospital, encouraging midwives to return to the profession.
Jenny has been an active member of ACM since 2000 when she immediately became involved as a WA Branch executive committee member. Her interest in education led her to become part of the Education Committee with responsibility for organising state conferences and other education activities for midwives in WA.
Graeme Boardley has been registered as a Midwife since 1994 during which time he has worked primarily in maternity services, clinical, research and management. Graeme’s experiences of becoming a father had a significant impact on his decision to become a Midwife and he has in turn provided mentorship and support for many male midwifery students and Midwives over the years, sharing his experiences and furthering the acceptance of men in midwifery.
Graeme’s career objective is to improve equity of access to safe, high quality maternity and health care across primary, secondary and tertiary services, for all Western Australian women and babies.
This commitment to making a positive difference and treating people equally has been a significant feature of Graeme’s clinical and managerial working life.
Graeme is a strong supporter of education and research for midwives. He has held various management positions and has been Director of Midwifery Services, Women and Newborn Health Service, King Edward Memorial Hospital, since 2008.
Graeme has continued to lead practice change including the implementation of Midwifery Group Practice resulting in fewer obstetric interventions including a reduced Caesarean section rate in low risk women. He was integral to the implementation of water birth as an option for women in Western Australia during his time as Co-Lead of the WA Women and Newborn Health Network. More recently he has secured funding to implement an Aboriginal Midwifery Group Practice and has strong links with the Aboriginal Liaison Service both within the health service and wider community.
Dr Jan Taylor
Jan is highly respected in the ACT for the kindness and generosity she bestows on her colleagues and student midwives as they learn the art and science of midwifery. In 1983 she undertook her certificate of midwifery at the Royal Canberra Hospital and in 2004 she was awarded a PhD at Western Sydney University: Exploring postnatal fatigue: Influential factors and management strategies for women.
She has held leadership positions at University of Canberra and though now retired, continues to teach Perinatal Mental Health to midwives and other health disciplines. This focus on Perinatal Mental Health has underpinned much of her research, education achievements and ongoing supervision of Honours and PhD students. She has co-authored over 16 publications since 2014 with a focus on supporting childbearing women and the development of exemplary midwifery care.
Jan’s dedication to Perinatal Mental Health is also reflected in her ACM work where she continues to represent ACM in this important space. She is an active member of the ACT Branch and continues to undertake valued and vital coordination roles.
Terri’s professional CV narrates her commitment and contribution to the profession of midwifery over almost 40 years. From her first position as a graduate midwife through to her mid-career leadership positions, and more recently, as an Executive Director, Terri represents the profession of midwifery in every forum she attends. Having undertaken critical leadership roles such as Principal Midwifery Officer and Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer for WA Health, Terri has been able to bring the voice of midwifery to senior tables throughout her career, always advocating for the use of evidence-based practice and optimal outcomes for mothers and babies, demonstrating the importance of access to midwifery care for all women regardless of risk or geography.
Health services that have benefited from Terri’s executive leadership in her previous positions continue to enjoy the legacy of leadership that is known to be kind, fair, knowledgeable and compassionate. Teams that she has built continue to flourish in their own areas, highlighting the impact of her midwifery leadership that seeks to bring justice, equity, equality and presence. Although her clinical work as a midwife has passed some years ago, Terri continues to be anchored by the fundamental philosophy of midwifery – being woman-centred and compassionate. These attributes continue to be a defining thread throughout her midwifery career and our profession is all the richer for continuing to benefit from her leadership commitment.
Terri has been a member of the ACM for over 20 years and has held active leadership roles since 2011. Terri served on the Executive Committee of the Western Australian Branch of the ACM, ultimately in the role of President. She was subsequently elected to the National Board of the Australian College of Midwives following unification as the inaugural Central-West Director. Her service and leadership were recognised, being elected uncontested as President of the ACM in her second term on the Board.
As well as Terri’s publicly facing leadership roles, she continues to mentor midwives at all stages of careers. She has offered formal and informal mentorship to early and mid-career midwives as well as those in executive positions. Her encouragement of these midwives individually and collectively continues to make a difference as midwives find purpose, mission and passion in their work because of her support.
Professor Linda Sweet has made a significant and long-term contribution to the midwifery profession since registering as a midwife in 1997. Throughout her distinguished career, she has held clinical, management, research, and education positions in both public and private health services, and in the tertiary education sector.
Linda’s commitment to strengthening the midwifery profession extends internationally, for example, building professional capacity through week-long education workshops with midwives and other health professionals in Indonesia (2009), Fiji (2012, 2016), the Solomon Islands (2015), Vanuatu (2015), Kiribati (2015), and Palau (2015).
Linda has contributed to ACM in multiple ways at state, national, and international levels. At a state level, she participated in several scientific and conference organising committees, as well as assisting the education program within South Australia. As an exceptionally generous and inclusive researcher and educator, Linda encourages and supports early-career midwife researchers both in their research and work, and mentors them to present their findings in midwifery forums and through publication.
Linda is the Deputy Editor of ACM’s midwifery journal Women and Birth.
This is what nominators said about 2022 Fellows.
Bek leads from the front, with her heart and with a huge work ethic. She is visionary, enthusiastic, committed, generous and kind to all that she meets. She is an excellent advocate for women, midwives and the midwifery profession. She has managed to advocate in every midwifery role she has held. She is a force to be reckoned in all midwifery matters and in strategic planning.
Bek’s trajectory from graduate midwife to manager and lecturer is inspiring. In 2009 she commenced as a graduate midwife in Calvary before moving to Canberra Hospital to a continuity midwifery position, 2011 – 2016. In her last year she was the Manager of the Canberra Midwifery Program, a continuity of midwifery care model and birth centre. From 2017 -2021 she was a lecturer of midwifery at the University of Canberra as she undertook her PhD. In 2021 Bek was the first Midwifery Advisor for the Office of the ACT Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office.
She was ACT Branch Chair, 2013 – 2019, ACM Council Chair and ACM Board Director, 2017 – 2020. These roles overlapped and Bek was able to maintain a level-headed focused approach for each of these roles. The ACT Branch held several education and fundraising activities during her term as Chair that were well attended encouraging networking and fundraising for the ACM.
She has been recipient of the ACT Rhodanthe Lipsett Award, Midwife of the year award for ACT Branch of ACM in 2013 and 2020. In her ACM ACT Branch Chair role she was also awarded Rotary Certificate of Appreciation for mentoring midwives from Tonga, Fiji & Samoa, 2017.
Dr Megan Cooper
Megan has been a member of ACM since her student days (2007-2009) and has been a dedicated, high achieving member of the branch throughout that time. Over the last seven years she has been one of the most active members in the SA Branch and is currently Branch Chair. She has been outstanding and is noted for her advocacy work for both ACM and Australia’s women and babies during this time.
Megan’s PhD studied warm water immersion in labour and birth, and with over 13 first-author peer reviewed publications she is Australia’s leading expert, and internationally recognised for her expertise in this area. Megan is also a midwifery educator and is having a profound influence on the next generation of midwives through her work as senior lecturer and course coordinator of the Bachelor of Midwifery Program at Flinders University. She has also worked as a lecturer at the University of South Australia, and in both institutions, she has received high Student Assessment of Teaching (SAT) scores for her ability to communicate complex concepts and for her contribution to student learning.
Megan is a true leader of midwifery, although she is also one of its most humble and least self-seeking members. She is a quiet achiever, and unsung hero and if you ask her, whatever she does always has been and always will be for the betterment of the world’s women and babies.
Jenny is quiet achiever and passionate midwife who cares so much about improving outcomes for women and babies that she gives an exceptional amount of her own time outside of work to the midwifery profession through the Australian College of Midwives (ACM). She has held nearly every office one can hold for the branch and has been a dedicated member of the SA Branch executive committee for over 10 years. All organisations run by volunteers need someone like Jenny who so freely gives of her time and applies both knowledge and experience to keep SA Branch running so seamlessly.
All organisations run by volunteers need someone like Jenny who so freely gives of her time and applies both knowledge and experience to keep SA Branch running so seamlessly.
Jenny Wood began her midwifery career at Queen-Victoria Hospital (QVH) in Adelaide in 1987 as a student-midwife. At QVH she worked across the continuum and was appointed to a Level-2 position in postnatal. In 1995 QVH amalgamated with Adelaide Children’s Hospital to become the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH). Jenny assisted with the planning and move of the QVH to the WCH and has contributed to all areas of maternity services as a midwife, clinical midwife, Midwifery Unit Manager of Women’s Assessment Service (WAS) and now Senior Project Manager to the CEO and Executive of WCHN.
In all the roles undertaken, Jenny works with others, but especially with women, striving to improve the systems she works in, from within. As such she has made many positive and significant changes to the maternity care systems at WCH. She is a ‘can do’ person with remarkable analytical skills, enabling her to tackle barriers and improve outcomes for women and families.