Vol. 24 No 4 | Summer 2022
RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation
Despina Demertzidis
Scholarships and Grants Coordinator, RANZCOG

The RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation supports philanthropic initiatives in the areas of First Nations and Māori women’s health, global women’s health, and women’s health research. We apply our knowledge and expertise to best align programs and awards with each of the Foundation’s focus areas. These include the development of medical, midwifery and research skills in the reproductive health workforce in the Pacific, and women’s health research through the award of research grants leading to significant outcomes in women’s health. Through the generous support of trustees and donors, we have been able to create a strong support network for research and community work within our membership.

Global health in the Pacific

The RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation aims to assist in building O&G workforce capacity in Pacific Island countries via support for training, education and research. Pacific O&G clinicians receive access to RANZCOG resources, such as publications and online learning modules, as well as scholarships to attend RANZCOG Scientific Meetings in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. RANZCOG also supports and collaborates with the Pacific Society for Reproductive Health (PSRH), an Auckland-based non-government organisation focused on the education of the Pacific reproductive health workforce.

The support of the RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation is critical to these global health activities. In 2022, the Foundation offered three Pacific scholarships to O&G clinicians from Papua New Guinea and Tonga to attend RANZCOG Scientific Meetings in Darwin and on the Gold Coast. Attending these events affords recipients an opportunity to update their O&G knowledge and skills, learn more about new products, techniques and technologies, and network with O&G colleagues.

The Foundation also provides funding for the PSRH to maintain a secretariat for the purpose of enabling its work. This includes organisation of a biennial conference held in the Pacific, the only one of its kind focused on Pacific women’s health. The first PSRH Conference in three years was held in Samoa in August 2022, bringing together Pacific doctors, midwives, nurses and others with an interest in Pacific women’s health for several days of professional development, connection and collaboration.

Through these initiatives and projects, the Foundation assists in the establishment of a strong community of qualified healthcare professionals who contribute towards improving health outcomes for women and their families in the Pacific.

Research in women’s health

The RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation proudly supports Fellows, trainees and scientists pursuing high quality, innovative research and training in women’s health. It is through the generous bequests, donations and contributions of our invaluable partners that the Foundation is able to continuously support and empower individuals on their professional and academic journies in women’s health. Research scholarships, Fellowships and travel grants are awarded annually across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, to promising researchers committed to continuous improvement in the fields of obstetrics, gynaecology, and the reproductive sciences. The Foundation strives to recognise researchers at different stages of their careers, in particular young researchers, to assist them as they progress their careers. We support doctors pursuing international research opportunities in the world’s leading hospitals and institutions, as well as in low-resource settings in developing countries. Research has been undertaken in a broad range of areas such as endometriosis, menopause, fetal growth and development and innovative surgical techniques. It is this incredible work that leads to significant outcomes in women’s health. The Foundation has awarded fifty (50) research and travel grants in the past five years, valued in excess of AU$1.2million.

Supporting current and emerging research is crucial in the continuous improvement of health services and outcomes for women and their families. It also enables our members to keep up to date with the latest developments in the O&G space. The travel grants have been imperative in providing our members and trainees with opportunities to work and live in health settings that are very different to our own, and it has enriched their experience and perspective in service delivery. We are proud to play a part in contributing to improvements in health services and delivery for women and their families.

You can read about the work of some of our recipients in this issue, such as Dr Alex Chen. To find out more about our global health work and research awards please visit the RANZCOG website.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *