IWD: ‘The trailblazers, caregivers, innovators, and leaders who heal’

Michelle Wisbey

1/03/2024 4:47:48 PM

A human rights philosopher, a GP, and a social advocate will speak as part of the RACGP’s International Women’s Day Tasmanian event.

Dr Anna Alomes bowing next to the Dalai Lama.
Dr Anna Alomes with the Dalai Lama (left), Dr Alexander Seidel at the Huon Valley Health Centre (top right), and Melody Towns at a Be Hers event (bottom right).

She has worked with international peace laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the former Irish President.
The Dalai Lama even wrote a forward in her four books.
Dr Anna Alomes’ career has taken her across the globe, and to some of the world’s most influential people.
A Doctor of Philosophy in Ethics and Human Rights, she has led initiatives across Europe, Africa, and North America, aiming to bridge academic insights with their real-world applications.
Her next stop will be as a panellist at RACGP Tasmania’s International Women’s Day event – alongside the state faculty’s Deputy Chair Dr Alexandra Seidel, and Be Hers Founding Director Melody Towns –examining the world’s trend towards equality, as well as the need for much action.
‘We’re striving for a world where things like equality, compassion, and understanding are not just ideals, but realities to be achieved,’ Dr Alomes told newsGP.
Earlier in her career, Dr Alomes created a program for Tallaght University Hospital in Ireland to address burnout and empathy fatigue for doctors and nurses. She knows how important it is for healthcare professionals to look after themselves, not just their patients.
‘I think it’s a really good opportunity to just bring that focus back in, embracing mindfulness to allow us to appreciate the progress we’ve made, while remaining focused and committed to the work that lies ahead,’ Dr Alomes said.
‘We need to be kind to ourselves and realise that we’re perfectly fine just as we are. We also need to remember our interconnectedness, our actions, and that our voices are part of a larger tapestry of humanity.
‘Let’s take the present moment as part of our to do list, be fully present in our actions, mindful of our thoughts, and considerate of our impact on others in the world.’
Dr Alomes will use the event to speak about the need to create a future where every individual can thrive.
In order to realise this goal, she said more equitable and effective measures must be introduced to not only boost women in leadership, but also open doors for women to take on those roles.
Dr Alomes said there is also a critical need to offer flexible work options for women often juggling professional and personal responsibilities.
‘This International Women’s Day, we celebrate the incredible women in medicine, the trailblazers, caregivers, innovators, and leaders who heal, inspire, and transform lives every day,’ she said.

‘Your journey empowers others to break barriers and shape a world where every voice is heard, every contribution is valued.
‘So, here’s to them for not just making their mark in the field, but for embodying the strength, intelligence, and empathy that makes medicine a noble calling.’
In her practice in Southern Tasmania, Dr Seidel is one woman already making a big difference.
She said it is often the small changes which have lasting impacts on individuals, then families, communities, and finally, on society.
‘I’m looking forward to exploring the theme for this year, which is about improving the pathways for women to learn, earn and lead, and how we as GPs can make big impacts from small grassroots changes,’ Dr Seidel told newsGP.
‘It’s often said that you can’t be what you can’t see – I try to be a positive example for our medical students and registrars.
‘I educate them on how valuable general practice is and what a great job it is to have, how lucky we are to impact the lives of so many people and that it is an enjoyable team-based career, rather than isolating and lonely.’
Dr Seidel’s message this International Women’s Day is simple, but powerful.
‘Do not underestimate the impact you can have on women your community, even just one consultation at a time,’ she said.
‘There is immeasurable value in the work we do and the care we provide.
‘Just because the MBS doesn’t put a value on caring and listening, does not mean that there is no value or impact at all.’
Rounding out the panel, Ms Towns has been a driving force in Tasmania.
She is the Founding Director of Be Hers, an organisation which began more than 10 years ago after she heard the horrifying stories of women and children enslaved through human trafficking.
Over the course of a decade, Ms Towns has created a powerful national charity, dedicated to creating change for women.
She has hosted high-profile awareness and fundraising events, works with international partners to fund rescues, rehabilitation, employment, and education, and even has a sewing centre in Hobart to employ women at risk of exploitation.
‘Many women find themselves trapped in “survival” jobs which do not use their skills, expertise, and aptitudes, while others may not be able to enter the labour market due to the abovementioned barriers,’ Ms Towns told newsGP.
‘This results in lower paying jobs, low-skilled and insecure jobs, and lack of meaningful employment.’
This International Women’s Day, Ms Towns said she hopes organisations like Be Hers become a pathway to creating change.
‘Events like this one as part of International Women’s Day shine the light on a topic that is usually hidden in plain sight,’ she said.
‘We aim to inspire inclusion and create alternatives, to uplift women, foster inclusion, and contribute to a more prosperous and empowered community.’
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #CountHerIn, with RACGP events being held across Australia and online on 7 and 8 March.
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