“You might not always see us, but you need us…’ Celebrating the essential yet unseen work of Allied Health



In recognition of Allied Health Professions Day on 14 October 2021, RCH is excited to extend the celebrations across the entire week of 11-15th October. Allied Health Professions Day first began in the UK in 2018 and has since become an international event to recognise and celebrate the Allied Health Professional community.

More than 20 Allied Health professions contribute to Great Care at RCH. Come along to this Grand Round where we will spotlight a few of these essential, yet often unseen Allied Health professions and services who are leading the way in their field. You can help us celebrate the past, present, and future directions of Allied Health by bringing along your device and engaging in the interactive polling. How much do you know about the wonderful world of Allied Health? You will almost certainly learn something new and fascinating about your Allied Health colleagues!



Bernadette O’Connor has occupied the role of Director Allied Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital since late 2011, just after the move to this new hospital. She had previously managed the Speech Pathology Department for 3 years.  A Speech Pathologist by training, Bernadette has worked over a 39 year career in public and private health in clinical and leadership roles. She is passionate about promoting Allied Health services to enhance, improve and ensure safer and higher quality paediatric healthcare.

Elisha Matthews is an Allied Health Clinical Educator at RCH. A Dietitian by background, she is passionate about the integral role that Allied Health plays in the healthcare system and the importance of interprofessional learning and collaborative practice in great care.

Cathy Lewis After 14 years working as an orthoptist in Norway, Cathy returned to Australia in 2004, and in 2005 started working part time as an orthoptist at RCH.  Cathy has been the Chief Orthoptist at RCH since 2012 and her management duties span across both the orthoptic and ophthalmology departments. Cathy is also employed as a casual lecturer in Orthoptics at La Trobe University.

Dr Randy Suryadinata is a cilia scientist at the Victorian Diagnostic Service for PCD, department of Respiratory & Sleep Medicine. Randy has a strong background in cell biology, enabling him to implement a unique capability within the service that allow for the re-growing of patients’ airway cells in a laboratory setting. Since the adaptation of this technique, the service has provided accurate diagnosis without the need of having patients return for a repeat sampling, making the RCH a leader in PCD testing. Apart from continually maintaining a high-quality service, Randy is also active in a number of research and have ongoing interests in exploring new techniques and processes that can further improve PCD diagnosis, as well as basic research to better understand the biology of airway cells.

RCH Allied Health Feeding Clinic – Natalie Weekley, Sophie King and Danae van Asselt

The new RCH Allied Health Feeding Clinic was established in 2020 through collaboration between several Allied Health disciplines. The founding team consists of Danae from Occupational Therapy, Sophie from Dietetics and Natalie from Speech Pathology.

The therapists bring approximately 40 years of combined experience in paediatric feeding management in national and international clinical settings; including VPRS through Monash Children’s and RCH, Perth Children’s Hospital and Kings College Hospital in London.

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