July 15, 2021

A new honour for Wanda Stelmach

Wanda Stelmach, Chief Medical Officer, has been promoted to Honorary Clinical Associate Professor with University of Melbourne.

Wanda said she was  honoured to be promoted. “I think it’s a recognition of our health service and its engagement in teaching and training. Also, where it is going in the future, whether it’s education or research.”

Wanda’s teaching journey at the University of Melbourne began in 1983, when she got into the Surgical Training Program and continued in 1993, after she received her Fellowship as a Consultant.

Wanda is a general and breast surgeon, who commenced as  VMO surgeon at Preston and Northcote Community Hospital (PANCH) in 1993, and at Northern Hospital Epping in 1998. She was appointed Chief Medical Officer in 2020.

However becoming an Associate Professor was never a goal for Wanda.

“The goal at the start of my career was to be a good clinician and to ‘pay back’ my learning experiences to the hospital and the University of Melbourne,” Wanda said.

“There are many teachers and mentors who taught me and their support meant a lot to me. Offering that support to our future doctors was a way that I thought I could repay the system that had supported me. It’s great to see people who start off as very junior, maturing and growing. I have taught many medical students who are now interns, who are junior residents, some of them are now consultants at Northern Health, so I have seen them grow and develop and I am very proud of their achievements.”

When asked how the Northern Health priority of Engaged Learners, Inspired Research, correlates to her achievement, Wanda said education was at the core of everything.

“If you want to get the best out of people, you have to know how to support them in their education, you have to encourage those interested in research, to look at how we can improve what we do,” Wanda said.

“It’s in all areas – medicine, nursing, allied, it’s non-clinical. It’s about improving the experience of everyone in the health service community and if that isn’t your ethos, you are not going to attract good people and you won’t provide the best care.”

Dr Leonie Griffiths, Director Medical Education Northern Clinical School, announced Wanda’s promotion to Honorary Clinical Associate Professor with University of Melbourne this week.

“Wanda has made an outstanding contribution to the education of medical students, trainee doctors and healthcare professionals,” she said.

“Her promotion acknowledges her excellence in research, leadership and service to the profession and community. Wanda has taught medical students from the University of Melbourne for over 20 years and has been integral to the success of the Northern Clinical School. She is a highly regarded Professional Practice tutor, has been nominated for Teacher of The Year on many occasions and consistently advocates for students in the hospital to experience the breath of learning opportunities in surgery.”

“Wanda provides valuable pastoral care and mentorship to the students and is an experienced supervisor of research projects. The Clinical School is grateful for Wanda’s long standing support and encouragement, she is a wonderful role model for students and the University looks forward to ongoing collaborations in education and research.”

Wanda hopes her achievements and highly successful career in the health sector inspires the younger generation to reach for their dreams.

“But it is also important that children are aware that their parents can have careers, careers are for both mum and dad,” she said.

Featured image: Wanda Stelmach