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South West sisters paving the way for AV

March 8, 2024 | in News

After eight years at Ambulance Victoria (AV), paramedic Elli Dean never expected her older sister, an intensive care doctor, to follow in her footsteps.

That changed last month when Dr Jessica Dean started as a retrieval registrar with AV’s Adult Retrieval Victoria (ARV).

ARV is responsible for moving the state’s most critically ill patients, often requiring a crew that may include critical care nursing staff, paramedics, MICA paramedics, flight paramedics, medical registrars and specialists.

After around 10 years working across most of the state’s hospitals, Dr Dean said she was looking to explore a new health environment, outside of the traditional hospital system.

“I thought retrieval medicine looked really interesting, retrieving patients in planes and choppers is wildly different to what I’ve experienced in my career so far,” Dr Dean said.

“I know other doctors who have really enjoyed it and it was also a chance to work closely with other specialists, such as ED physicians and anaesthetists, and of course, paramedics.”

“My sister has always been very happy at AV, but it was actually hearing former CEO Tony Walker speak about the innovative work AV was doing in the mental health space, that I first thought this was an organisation I’d like to be involved with.”

Elli Dean (left) and Dr Jessica Dean (right)

Elli Dean (left) and Dr Jessica Dean (right).

Elli and Jessica, both passionate advocates for mental health and gender equality, are among thousands of AV women being celebrated as part of International Women’s Day this Friday, 8 March.

This International Women’s Day, AV is recognising the women across the organisation, like Elli and Jessica, for their leadership, achievements, and work to provide the best possible care to Victorians.

Elli, who is currently the Operational Community Engagement Liaison Coordinator (OCELC) for the Barwon South West region, said the day provides an opportunity to have a conversation about how women can overcome workplace challenges.

“During my time at AV, I’ve started to see more women in leadership positions, and those women are taking it upon themselves to support and mentor other women,” Elli said.

“I think the day offers us a chance to actively listen to women’s experiences and understand how each of us can contribute to achieving equality.”

Over the last eight years, Elli has held a number of leadership roles including Team Manager positions in the Gippsland and Metropolitan regions.

She is currently a Peer Responder, Diversity & Inclusion Council Member and has almost completed a Graduate Diploma of Psychological Science at Deakin University.

Working in a male-dominated speciality, and with two young daughters, Dr Dean is well aware of the challenges still experienced by women in the workforce, particularly those in the medical field.

“Medicine has come a long way, but there’s still a lot to do, particularly when it comes to making it accessible for women with children,” Dr Dean said.

“I think it’s important that organisations mark IWD to recognise the gaps that still exist.

“It’s a day for critical introspection and working together so that all women can realise their full potential.”

Dr Dean currently sits as a Director on the Boards of Beyond Blue and the Federal Australian Medical Association (AMA).