SOMANZ Executive Council

Meet Your SOMANZ Council 2022 - 2024

SOMANZ President

A/Prof 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 Immediate Past President

Dr Helen Barrett

Dr Helen Barrett is Director of Obstetric Medicine at The Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick NSW and a conjoint Associate Professor UNSW Medicine. 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 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.


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.

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

Professor 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 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.

Dr Rebekah Shakhovskoy

Dr Rebekah Shakhovskoy is a senior staff specialist in General and Obstetric Medicine at the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Hospital Service, completing her obstetric medicine training in 2012. Her clinical responsibilities include preconception counselling, antenatal and postnatal management of high-risk women as well as management of general medical inpatients and outpatients. Rebekah has been the SOMANZ representative on the RACP General and Acute Care Medicine Advanced Training Committee since 2019 and chairs the SOMANZ training committee, coordinating all Obstetric Medicine training and accreditations in Australia and New Zealand. Her obstetric medicine research interests are predominantly in renal disease and sleep disorders in pregnancy.

Dr Renuka Shanmugalingam

Renuka Shanmugalingam is a Nephrologist and Obstetric Medicine Physician at Liverpool Hospital, a tertiary teaching hospital in South-Western Sydney (SWS) and has an active clinical and research interest in Obstetric Medicine. She has completed a PhD in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and remains an active researcher within the Women's Health Translational Research Unit (WHITU) in SWS. Renuka is also currently leading the update on SOMANZ's guidelines on hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and is part of ISOM (International Society of Obstetric Medicine)'s Dialysis in Pregnancy guidelines development group. Renuka also has a passion for teaching and is currently the clinical sub-dean of Western Sydney University's School of Medicine and is often an invited speaker for national and international clinical and research meetings. Renuka is a strong believer of patient centred holistic care and continues to advocate for this through her clinical, research and leadership roles.