Co-Founder, CEO, Director
In 2017, Amy launched the Australasian Birth Trauma Association (ABTA), she has established a not-for-profit organisation focused on the recognition and understanding of birth-related trauma.
With a multi-disciplinary advisory group of midwives, physiotherapists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, mental health clinicians and clinical researchers, she is working to develop the resources and strategies to prevent and effectively manage birth-related trauma.
Amy’s understanding of the issues many birthing families face, has come from her own experience, and the many people she has listened to and helped to find support. Amy’s vision is to break down the stigma attached to birth trauma, and empower people to feel comfortable speaking out, so to continue driving change in current maternity practices in Australia and New Zealand.
Amy is a proud mother of two young girls.
Maria is a mum of two girls and wife to her Kiwi husband Mark. After her own experience with post-partum PTSD she wanted to help other families who had experienced something similar and came across the ABTA. After volunteering with the ABTA in various capacities, she has now taken on the role of Volunteer Manager, bringing her experience as a Training Coordinator to the role. Maria is currently studying for a Bachelor in Psychology and Counselling which will make a valuable contribution to this role.
Rachel has been working with ABTA since January 2018, she has worked in marketing for over 22 years, 14 of those in healthcare communications, and 4 in the Not for profit sector. She has been involved in producing support materials for healthcare professionals and patients across multiple therapy areas and takes huge pride in her work. Her passion lies in health and well-being strategy and communications and she aims to create concrete and meaningful connections between doctors and patients. She understands the complexities of working with CALD communities and advocates for health communications methods to meet the needs of the individual.
Laura discovered the ABTA when seeking support for the psychological birth trauma she encountered with the birth of her daughter in 2019. She joined the volunteer team in 2021 in an advocacy role, whilst also supporting the ABTA’s development and review of materials for clinicians and consumers. Laura has a clinical background, practicing as a physiotherapist for over a decade in tertiary health services before taking up roles within government which focus on improving quality and safety in healthcare. Laura is passionate about improving the healthcare system to prevent the occurence of birth trauma, as well as providing better support for women and families who have experienced birth trauma.
Non Executive Director
Venessa has over fifteen years’ experience driving community initiatives in the areas of health promotion, chronic disease, injury and violence prevention, mental health promotion, and disaster prevention, in Australia and overseas.
She has held both board and executive-level roles, and has designed, managed, and evaluated evidence-based local, state and national initiatives.
Venessa is currently a non-executive director with a number of not-for-profit organisations, is a freelance consultant, and is completing a PhD exploring leadership and decision-making.
Venessa is a mother of two young children. She is passionate about empowering women and children, as well as prevention and trauma-informed recovery.
Non Executive Director
Sam Chadwick is a senior sports executive and commercial lawyer, and father to two beautiful boys. He has expertise across strategic planning, project management, business development, law, governance, operations, media/ communications and organisational development and has held a number of high profile roles and Directorships in the sporting and mental health spaces.
The births of both of Sam’s boys were traumatic. Sam’s children both spent time in the neonatal intensive care ward – which was something he was unprepared for and uneducated about. Sam’s vision is for parents – both mothers and fathers – to receive empathetic, transparent and objective health care education and support – both before and after birth – and for a society which is informed and compassionate with respect to the birthing experience.
Non Executive Director
Associate Professor Alka Kothari is a Senior Staff Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Redcliffe Hospital and a Conjoint Site Co-ordinator for the Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland. She is an Examiner for the Royal Australasian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the University of Queensland. She is also a member of the Prince Charles Human Research and Ethics Committee.
She has significant research experience in the conduct of multiple systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials. She has published multiple papers in the field of perinatal mental health, Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and medical education. She regularly leads multi-disciplinary research collaborations and supervises research projects for RANZCOG and RANZCP trainee registrars and medical students.
She is currently pursuing a PhD on “Forgotten Fathers in pregnancy and childbirth”. This truly unique body of research work attracted recognition as the “Best Oral Presentation in Perinatal Mental Health” at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists World Congress in London 2019. She is regularly invited to speak at national and international conferences including the Australian and New Zealand Colleges of Anaesthetists, Psychiatrists and the Society of Obstetric Medicine Specialists.
Dr Glenda McLaren
Non Executive Director
Glenda has worked as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist for over 30 years in the UK and Australia and holds dual fellowships of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. With and interest in risk management and improving patient care she has completed legal studies and holds a Masters in Reproductive Medicine providing advice at local, state, and national levels to Medical Advisory Committees. In her current role as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland she teaches and examines medical students and is a mentor for doctors wanting to pursue a career in Obstetrics and Gynaecology through the Australian Medical Association mentor program.
Glenda is passionate about providing evidence based, collaborative, women focused maternity care and works at the Mater Mothers Private Hospital Brisbane. She is the founding director of Bloom Women’s Health which provides integrated allied health and Obstetric and Gynaecological services.
As a mother of 4 children, Glenda has her own personal experience of difficult births and the long-term outcome of this on a family and understands the enormous impact that birth trauma and disability can have over a lifetime.
Glenda is committed to improving maternity care outcomes by empowering women with evidence-based knowledge before, during and after pregnancy whilst providing holistic, multidisciplinary care.
Non Executive Director
Passionate about supporting, empowering and making a difference in the lives of people. Through my work, I bring success in and continue to make change in the lives of Australian, their support networks, as well as the wider community who are affected by personal and health barriers. I am committed to developing innovative, future focused ideas, strategies and projects to make an impact.
Dr Chris Gillespie
Chris attended medical school at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, graduating in 2001. After some time overseas, he underwent general surgical training at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne (2005-2011) but spent one year at King’s College Hospital in London for intensive care and emergency medicine training. During this time Chris received the Gordon Gordon-Taylor medal for the highest mark in Australasia for basic surgical sciences. Chris was then accepted to post-fellowship training in colorectal surgery under the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia & New Zealand, and spent 2 years undergoing subspecialty training at Auckland City Hospital and Gold Coast Hospital. Chris achieved membership of the CSSANZ and was awarded the Travelling Fellowship resulting in visits to St. Mark’s Hospital, Oxford and Basingstoke Hospitals in the UK in 2013.
Since completing training Chris works in Brisbane and holds public appointments at Princess Alexandra Hospital and Queen Elizabeth II Hospitals and started private practice at at Mater Private Hospital in 2014. In 2013 he set up the “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery” programme at Logan Hospital; this has gone on to result in improved outcomes for colorectal surgery patients at Logan Hospital, with reduced complications and hospital stay.
Chris enjoys teaching and has been senior coordinator of the Queensland CORE course for general surgical trainees, as well as being an instructor for the “Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient” course. He contributes to colorectal surgery in this region as a councillor for the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia & New Zealand. He has particular interests in minimally invasive surgery, anorectal fistula, and colorectal pelvic floor disorders including faecal incontinence and defecatory dysfunction. Chris set up the colorectal pelvic floor unit at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, now the Queensland centre for public patients with colorectal pelvic floor disorders. He has many years of experience in investigating patients with anorectal problems using anorectal physiology and endoanal ultrasound and is passionate about holistic multidisciplinary care for all patients. He is an accomplished laparoscopic and robotic surgeon, offering his patients a wide range of surgical options, with close collaboration with other specialities and allied health professionals.
Fiona is a practising Midwife with over 34 years experience. She has worked in all areas of midwifery practice in New Guinea, India and Australia; in remote, rural, regional and urban settings. In low risk, all risk, high risk and continuity programmes. She is committed to Public Health and believes that care will be appropriate and best when individualised, provided by the right carer in the right setting and at the right time by people who place the woman at the centre of all care.
Dr Sascha Callaghan is a specialist in health law and bioethics at the University of Sydney. Sascha has a special interest in women’s health and mental health, and has researched, written and advocated for better women’s health outcomes for over a decade. Her technical skills are in legal advisory, policy writing, regulation, and corporate and government advisory on a diverse range of health matters issues including medical harm, Clinical ethics, public health ethics and use and access to novel technologies in health care. Sascha has provided specialist advice to public and private organisations across Australia, including NSW Health, the Mental Health Commission, and the Australian Human Rights Commission. Previously she was was a corporate lawyer in Sydney, Canberra and Hong Kong, specialising in technology and health care regulation for clients including Astra Zeneca, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and the Commonwealth Department of Health.
Caitlin is a law graduate of the Australian National University. Caitlin has an interest in issues concerning health law and bioethics. She recently completed her Honours thesis which focussed on birth trauma litigation and judicial attitudes towards enhancing patient choice. In 2019, she presented my paper on informed consent in obstetrics at the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law Conference in New Zealand. Caitlin is passionate about supporting women who have experienced a traumatic birth, and empowering women to be proactive in the decisions concerning their own care.
Dr Amy Daly
Amy has an Advanced Diploma of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is a GP obstetrics registrar, medical researcher and mother to two young children. It was during medical school, after the birth of her first child, that she realised her calling to continue her medical career into GP obstetrics. She continued on to win the Obstetrics Award, as well as other academic awards including a Deans Medal. She has presented her research work both domestically and internationally and published in peer reviewed journals. Amy currently works in regional NSW in both private practice and a hospital setting. She enjoys providing whole person care to women and their families and is passionate about supporting and empowering women during their pregnancy and beyond.
Dr Rosanna Pajak
Rosanna is a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in perinatal mental health and works in private practice in Sydney’s inner west. She is a member of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) and the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMH). Rosanna has worked across numerous clinical and community settings in both the UK and Australia, including specialist trauma services and women’s health services. Previously, she has coordinated UNSW’s Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program and published numerous papers on trauma, PTSD, memory and emotion-regulation. As an experienced trauma-informed clinician – and a mother of two young boys – Rosanna is passionate about supporting parents through the experience of a traumatic birth.
ABTA is extremely grateful to the many volunteers that donate their time and expertise to ABTA projects and peer support programs. For information around volunteering for ABTA, visit our volunteer page.
Dana found ABTA in 2019 following the birth of her daughter when she was seeking advice and support to engage effectively with the health profession to obtain the specialist support she needed. Dana’s birth had resulted in a 3B tear and subsequent diagnosis of a perianal fistula. Dana’s struggles to obtain timely and accurate diagnosis fuel her desire to support the work of ATBA.
Dana is an Associate Director at Grosvenor Performance Group. Dana is a public sector expert, possessing over a decade of deep experience advising Government organisations on program evaluation, organisational review, optimisation and procurement projects. She supports the sustainability of ATBA through contributions to our fundraising efforts.
Ellie is a Registered Nurse and has a Postgraduate qualification in Special Care of the Newborn. Ellie’s professional work has predominantly involved working as a Neonatal Nurse in Special Care Nurseries in Melbourne and surrounding areas, caring for premature and unwell babies and their families.
Ellie lives in Regional Victoria with her two children James & Mia. In 2018 Ellie gave birth to James and sustained a 3rd degree tear and retained placenta complications. This traumatic experience encouraged Ellie to seek out ABTA for support. Ellie is now at a point in her recovery where she is able to give back, as an active volunteer within the organisation.
Lyn is a mum of two. Following her diagnosis with levator avulsion and prolapse, she found ABTA as she searched for information to understand her birth injuries. Lyn was shocked to learn of the high rates of birth injuries, and also grateful to find a community through ABTA where she could seek support and understanding on how her injuries had impacted her.
Lyn has a background in environmental science and law, and is an environmental consultant at BMT. She has a deep passion for finding solutions to her clients’ problems, and brings this passion with her to support the work of ABTA. As a member of the Community ThinkTank, Lyn hopes to contribute to ABTA’s objectives to improve the long-term well-being of the mother and families of those affected by birth trauma. In particular, Lyn wants to advocate for women with physical injuries for which the medical world currently has no permanent solution.
Nina is mum to Isobel. With various friends who had experienced some form of birth trauma, Nina took various steps ahead of her birth to support herself and her partner, including engaging a doula and investing in pelvic floor check-ups. She found these to be an amazing support and was disappointed to witness so many women lacking knowledge of these types of tools.
Determined to spread the message and support other women, Nina enrolled in public health studies and found ABTA during a research project. She was thrilled to find a community that shared a similar mission.
NIna is a lawyer in the healthcare sector, with a background in yoga teaching and the arts. She loves working closely with her clients, to find effective and practical solutions for bringing their mission and vision to life. Nina is currently undertaking studies in health sciences and doula care; and is passionate about contributing to the wonderful work of ABTA.
April is the Founder and Director of May June Creative.
With a passion for all things design, April forged her career as a digital marketing specialist by helping business owners *kill it* on social media.
In 2015, April had a traumatic birth experience during the birth of her first baby and found the support of ABTA invaluable during this time. In an effort to give back, April now provides Strategic Social Media Services on a pro-Bono basis for The Australasian Birth Trauma Association.
Prof Hans Peter Dietz
Dr Elizabeth Skinner
Prof Maya Drum
Dr Oliver Daly
Oliver is a father of two amazing daughters and married to the wonderful Kathryn. He is a RANZCOG-certified Urogynaecologist and Obstetrician, and clinical lead for Urogynaecology at Western Health in Melbourne. Through his training and ongoing care of women at the Royal Womens Hospital, Monash Medical Centre, Royal Prince Alfred, Gold Coast University Hospital, and now Western Health, he has persevered to raise the important issue of preventable obstetric pelvic floor trauma to improve the care of women.
Through Western Health, the University of Melbourne and Monash University, he runs an active research programme currently undertaking a PhD to investigate obstetric pelvic floor trauma, methods of delivering patient information and improvements in the quality of care provided at a health-system level. To support this research Oliver has received numerous scholarships and grants from the RANZCOG, CFA, UGSA, IUGA and the federal government. Oliver is a member of the editorial committee for ANZJC and ANZJOG, as well as being a reviewer for BJOG, ISUOG and the IUJO. He has served in a number of leadership and representative roles at local, national and international level and serves on the International Urogynaecological Association’s obstetric pelvic floor trauma special interest group to promote improved care at an international level.
Oliver works directly with women both on the birth suite and postnatally to prevent and reduce the effects of trauma but also acts to increase clinician’s knowledge about the risk factors and prevention strategies, and skills to manage such trauma, also encouraging the empowerment of women to direct their care to reduce the risks of childbirth.
Dr Jennifer Kruger
Dr Jennifer is based in New Zealand, she played a vital role in establishing the ABTA in 2016. Jennifer’s research focus is maternal/child health and she leads the Pelvic Floor Research group at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland. Where they use a multi-disciplinary approach to pelvic floor mechanics and its relationship to childbirth and pelvic floor disorders, including pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence. Dr Kruger’s background is in nursing and midwifery, so she is able to recognise the need for evidence based research to better inform women of their choices in childbirth for optimal outcomes.
Prof Bryanne Barnett
Professor (Conjoint UNSW) Bryanne Barnett AM
MBChB, FRANZCP, MD
Bryanne is a child and family psychiatrist with a particular interest in prevention and early intervention in mental health. Her doctoral thesis concerned anxiety and its effects on mothers and their infants. Those studies included the first Attachment research in Australia. In subsequent research she has focused on translating research findings into relevant mental health initiatives, including in primary care.
Currently she holds a conjoint professorial appointment with the School of Psychiatry at the UNSW, where she previously held the first Chair of Perinatal and Infant Psychiatry, establishing services in Sydney’s South West and with Karitane and then with St John of God Health Care, in Blacktown and Perth. She is a Foundation Board member of both Gidget Foundation Australia and the Australasian Birth Trauma Association (ABTA).
Bryanne is a foundation member and past President of the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health, the Australian Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and both the International and Australasian Marce Societies.
In 2007 Bryanne was awarded Membership in the Order of Australia in recognition of her service to families and the profession. In 2016, she received a Citation from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, and in 2018 she was awarded the John Cox medal by the International Marce Society.