SOMANZ Executive Council

Meet Your SOMANZ Council 2020 - 2022

SOMANZ President

Dr Helen Barrett

Dr Barrett is Director of Endocrinology and Diabetes and an Obstetric Physician and Endocrinologist at the Mater Hospital Brisbane and a Senior Research Fellow at Mater Research Institute - The University of Queensland. Dr Barrett undertakes clinical care for women with high-risk complex pregnancy across the breadth of Obstetric Medicine. Outside pregnancy, Dr Barrett's clinical focus is on diabetes and endocrinology in Young Adults and Adults. Her primary research focuses on understanding maternal, placental metabolism in complex pregnancy and how they relate to the microbiota. Dr Barrett has been an investigator in many observational and randomised controlled trials of management in pregnancy.

SOMANZ Honorary Secretary and President-Elect

Dr Stefan Kane

Stefan is a maternal fetal medicine subspecialist obstetrician based primarily at the Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, where he is head of the Fetal Medicine Unit, acting head of the Diabetes Unit, and Program Director for MFM Training. His clinical engagements cover the spectrum of high-risk pregnancy care, and include preterm birth prevention, multiple pregnancy, fetal medicine and maternal medical disorders in pregnancy. He also performs tertiary-level fetal and gynaecological ultrasound, and has a private obstetric practice at St Vincent’s Private Hospital.

Stefan's primary research focus is on the maternal neurological effects of pre-eclampsia. His PhD research project aims to evaluate the potential utility of maternal ophthalmic ultrasound in assessing changes in the cerebrovasculature and intracranial pressure of pre-eclamptic women. Other research interests include structural and genetic fetal anomalies, red blood cell alloimmunisation, preterm birth prevention, and early pregnancy prediction of later complications. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers on these topics, and has acted as site co-ordinator for a number of international randomised controlled trials.

Stefan is actively engaged in teaching at all levels, from medical students to advanced specialist trainees, and holds an honorary position as a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne. He has a longstanding interest in prevocational medical education, and serves as an accreditation team leader for the intern accreditation authorities in Victoria and Queensland. As the Clinical Lead for Preterm Birth with Safer Care Victoria, Stefan also participates in the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance, and is a member of the steering committee for the Women's and Newborn Health network of the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health.

SOMANZ Honorary Treasurer

Dr Josephine Laurie

Dr Laurie is a senior staff specialist in obstetric medicine at the Mater Mothers' Hospital Brisbane, a quaternary maternity facility delivering over 10,000 babies annually.

Her clinical responsibilities include preconception counselling, antenatal management and postnatal care of complex and very high risk women. She is also the chair of the very high risk maternity multidisciplinary team. Current research activity includes mobile technologies for facilitation of antenatal care, simulation in obstetric teaching and collaborative approaches in obstetric medicine.

Jo is the Academic Coordinator for the University of Queensland - School of Medicine, Mater Clinical Unit.

As a physician and mother, she is passionate about helping women achieve a positive and safe pregnancy.

SOMANZ Immediate Past President

Professor Angela Makris

Angela completed her advanced training at RPAH, Sydney. Subsequently she went on to complete a PhD in placental ischemia and preeclampsia. Since 2007 she has been at Liverpool and Bankstown Hospitals as an obstetric and renal physician. Angela undertakes multidisciplinary high risk clinics and also cares for women who are inpatients with medical complications of pregnancy. She is currently actively involved in clinical research, both investigator driven and international collaborations as well as basic science research. The basic science research undertaken is investigating both the pathogenesis of the clinical syndrome as well as ways to ameliorate it. Teaching is also an important part of her role, both renal as well as obstetric medicine to trainees and midwives locally and nationally.

SOMANZ Executive Officer

Suzie Neylon

Suzie Neylon is the Executive Officer for SOMANZ and as many of you will recall, managed the secretariats for ASSHP and OMGA and assisted the respective presidents with the amalgamation of the two entities to form SOMANZ in 2004. Suzie joined the societies in 1992 bringing with her a background in nursing, travel management, advertising, promotions and public relations. She completed her Bachelor of Science with Honours in 2004 with a preeclampsia based project. She continues to manage the busy SOMANZ Secretariat and provides support to the Council and the members.

SOMANZ Council Members

Dr Briony Cutts

Briony is a passionate Obstetric Medicine Physician and haematologist and has been an active SOMANZ member since 2012 having undergone a fellowship in Obstetric Medicine at both Guys’ and St Thomas Hospital, London, UK with Professors Cathy Nelson-Piercy and Beverley Hunt and through the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne.

She is the clinical lead for Obstetric Medicine at the new Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s at Sunshine Hospital, Western Health in Melbourne as well as doing a number of Obstetric Medicine outpatient clinics and providing inpatient care for women at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne and within the private sector.
She has been on three SOMANZ conference organizing committees over the past 5 years and has introduced the regular Haematology in Obstetrics Women’s Health (HOW) sessions to our regular SOMANZ conference.

She is actively involved in writing national guidelines and research in Obstetric Medicine, having won previous research grants through Western Health and the Australian and New Zealand Haematology Society. She is committed to and enthusiastic about teaching junior staff, associated colleagues and midwives about Obstetric Medicine and strongly believes in empowering women to help manage their medical issues in pregnancy to optimise their health and baby’s outcomes antenatally and in the puerperium.

A/Prof Amanda Henry

I am an academic obstetrician based at the University of New South Wales and St George Public Hospital, Sydney, obtaining my FRANZCOG in 2011 and my PhD in 2016. I have wide-ranging interests in research, education and advocacy related to pregnancy care and maternal complications of pregnancy. My current research focus is the Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy, particularly their long-term effects on maternal health. Through my NHMRC Early Career Fellowship and NSW Health funding I am leading multi-disciplinary, multi-site early intervention clinical research to improve women’s cardiovascular health after hypertensive pregnancy, in collaboration with many SOMANZ colleagues. I am also involved more broadly in Pregnancy and Non-Communicable Diseases research and advocacy through The George Institute for Global Health, where I am an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in their Global Women’s Health program. My other research areas in Obstetric Medicine include iron-deficiency anaemia in pregnancy, especially the use of intravenous iron, and the role of the pregnancy microbiome in maternal health and disease.
I am closely involved with both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. This includes as RANZCOG Training Program Coordinator for the St George Hospital network, and as supervisor and teacher of fundamental research skills for Year 4 UNSW Medicine students undertaking their first research placements.
I have been an active SOMANZ member since obtaining my FRANZCOG, including as session chair at SOMANZ ASMs, and through sponsoring my students to attend and present their first research projects in the collegiate and supportive environment that characterise our ASMs. It is now my privilege to make a larger contribution to our Society by serving on the Council; helping SOMANZ fulfil its mission to improve outcomes for women with medical disorders related to pregnancy, promote clinical excellence through collaboration, provide a research-supportive academic environment, and foster high standards in Obstetric Medicine education and training.

Professor Natalie Hannan

Prof Hannan leads the Therapeutics Discovery and Vascular Function Group, within the broader Translational Obstetrics Group at the Mercy Hospital for Women, University of Melbourne. She is passionate about developing new approaches to combat major complication of pregnancy, especially preeclampsia. Natalie’s research is focused on developing therapeutic strategies that are safe in pregnancy and novel approaches to deliver therapies directly to the placenta. Her pre-clinical research has led to a number of exciting clinical trials both internationally and nationally.
Natalie’s research has been recognized by the award of a NHMRC CDF Fellowship and she currently holds two NHMRC Project Grants (as CIA), she is a past recipient of the University of Melbourne C R Roper Fellowship and was recently awarded a Melbourne Medical School inaugural Strategic Grant for Outstanding Women. Natalie has a strong research profile with over 90 peer-reviewed publications in international journals. Natalie is the President of the Australian New Zealand Placental Research Association (ANZPRA), and an executive member on The International Federation of Placental Associations (IFPA) executive committee.
Natalie is well known for her engagement and passion to communicate her research to the public, she was selected as a Fresh Scientist and awarded a Young Tall Poppy award. As the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, MDHS, University of Melbourne and a VESKI Inspiring Women Fellow, Natalie is a staunch ambassador for Women in STEM and is involved in initiatives to reduce the gender inequity in STEM. Natalie believes in a diverse and discrimination free workplace, where gender, sexuality and sexual orientation, disability and an individual’s background should not be a barrier to reaching their full potential.

Dr Amanda Beech

Amanda Beech is an Obstetric Medicine Physician and Endocrinologist at the Royal Hospital for Women and the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, and holds a conjoint associate lecturer position at the University of New South Wales. She has a breadth of clinical experience in preconception counselling, managing medical disorders of pregnancy including pre-eclampsia, gestational and pre-existing diabetes, thyroid disease and hyperemesis, as well as a focus on women’s health across all ages, particularly reproductive endocrinology, menopause and osteoporosis.

Amanda has been actively involved in SOMANZ since 2016, after being elected to the Council in the capacity of Trainee Representative, before transitioning across to Honorary Treasurer in 2018. She has been involved in organising a number of Annual Scientific Meetings for SOMANZ, and chaired the local organising committee for the ADIPS ASM in Sydney in 2019. Amanda represents SOMANZ on the ISOM (International Society of Obstetric Medicine) Executive Council and is the chair for the Organising Committee of the 2023 ISOM international meeting. She has also been actively involved with the Heart Foundation in their work on long term cardiovascular outcomes following pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, and is currently a site investigator in the BP2 randomised controlled trial looking at postpartum lifestyle intervention to reduce the long term incidence of hypertension following hypertensive pregnancies.

Amanda has a passion for medical education, which has seen her invited to speak at a number of SOMANZ conferences, the BOOM conference, RANZCOG Diplomates evenings, and registrar training days. She contributed to the working party for the SOMANZ Guidelines for the Management of Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy and Hyperemesis Gravidarum, as well as presenting a couple of webinars for the RACP specialty society webinar series.

Dr Natalie Cromer

Dr Natalie Cromer is a Haematologist and Obstetric Physician. She graduated from the University of New South Wales in 2007. Following her Haematology training at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney she undertook Obstetric Medicine training at Campbelltown Hospital and Royal Hospital for Women.

Natalie is passionate about the convergence of Haematology and Obstetric Medicine and in providing patient focussed, evidence based care.

She is now the primary Obstetric Haematologist at Royal North Shore Hospital and also provides a Telehealth service to rural and remote public hospitals in Queensland. She also has appointments at North Shore Private Hospital and the Mater.

Natalie has strong research interests. She is a co-investigator in a multi-site prospective observational study looking at a potential biomarker to distinguish Immune Thrombocytopenia from other causes of thrombocytopenia in pregnancy. She has also presented at a number of national conferences in both Haematology and Obstetric Medicine.

Natalie has a strong teaching and education focus and is actively involved in mentoring. As the Trainee Representative, Natalie is keen to bring these strengths to the SOMANZ Council to ensure the next generation of Obstetric Physicians are ready to provide excellent care to pregnant women.

A/Prof Jason Waugh

Associate Professor - University of Auckland : Clinical Director Regional Maternity Services - Auckland District Health Board : Consultant Obstetrics and Obstetric Medicine - ADHB. Clinical expert in obstetric medicine.