CHA Medal of Distinction 2022 Recipient
About Dr Elisabeth Hoehn's work
Elisabeth’s contribution to children’s healthcare is both exceptional and outstanding. Elisabeth has provided leadership at local and national levels, and represents her profession, her healthcare service and her country in an exemplary manner. Elisabeth is the Medical Director at Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, a Centre she has pioneered & led since it’s inception.
Over the past 20 years, Elisabeth has been instrumental in the conceptualisation, development, and implementation of the mental health continuum of care for parents in the perinatal period, infants, young children and their carers in Queensland and Australia.
During her training in psychiatry and then as a Consultant Psychiatrist, Elisabeth became increasingly aware that the children and adolescents she was treating in the Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS) had a history of emotional neglect, trauma, and delays in their social and emotional development. She advocated strongly for children under school age to have access to age-appropriate mental health interventions from conception to five years. At that time, through the 1990s and early this century, the power of mental health intervention in the early years was a novel concept. Only through Elisabeth’s strong and continued advocacy have perinatal and infant mental health services developed in Queensland.
In 2002, Elisabeth established the Child and Youth Mental Health Service Future Families program, targeting expectant parents, infants up to 3 years of age and their families in north Brisbane. In 2008, she secured seed funding to establish a statewide strategic hub of expertise in perinatal and infant mental health. Her vision was to develop and support statewide infrastructure for the implementation of perinatal and infant mental health services and models of care, from primary through to quaternary care.
That embryonic hub has developed into the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (QCPIMH), now employing approximately 30 staff. Under Elisabeth’s continuing leadership, The Centre now includes the 0-4 Child and Youth Mental Health Service and the 0-4 Volunteer Family Support Service, which support families in Greater Brisbane. Based on her early capacity-building, Elisabeth’s work was awarded a Queensland Health Australia Day award in 2008 and 2009, and in 2009 was similarly acknowledged with an award from the Department of Child Safety.
Elisabeth is considered by her local, national, and international colleagues as a leader in the perinatal and infant mental health sectors. She has garnered great respect for her exceptional strategic capacity, creativity and fervent commitment to the mental health and emotional wellbeing of parents, infants, young children and their families. Her vision, innovation and tenacity has helped drive reform within CHQ HHS, and more importantly within and across sectors throughout Queensland that touch the lives of those vulnerable families who may never come to the attention of our services.
Elisabeth also demonstrates a compassionate professionalism in all that she does in the workplace. Staff needs have always been thoughtfully considered alongside the strategic and operational aims of the organisation, and she conducts herself with empathy and high standards in everything she does. Above all things Elisabeth is self-effacing and does not readily seek out the limelight, preferring the evidence and the work of her teams to speak for itself.
The 2022 Medal of Distinction Nominees
CHA would also like to acknowledge the extraordinary contributions to child health of the following individuals who were nominated for this award. Each of these individuals goes above and beyond to make a positive difference to children and their families and are an inspiration to their peers, and to the whole CHA community. Congratulations and thank you for your ongoing leadership.
Dr Christa Bell, Emergency Physician and Paediatrician, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, QLD
Leanne Coupland, Child Safe and Family Violence Project Manager, West Gippsland Healthcare Group, VIC
Maeve Downes, Nursing Director – Women’s and Children’s Division, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network
Kym Forrest, General Manager (retired), Monash Health, Monash Children’s Hospital, VIC
Dr Scott Macfarlane, National Clinical Leader: Child Cancer, National Child Cancer Network, based at Starship Child Health, Auckland, NZ
Dr Annie Moulden, Medical Lead, Quality & Safety, Royal Children’s Hospital Clinical Lead, Victorian Paediatric Clinical Network, Safer Care Victoria, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC
Sukoluhle Moyo, Nurse Educator Specialist formely known as Clincal Nurse Educator, Nurse Educator Specialist formely known as Clincal Nurse Educator
Kristine Pierce, Consumer Representative Volunteer, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC
Dr Phil Sargent, Medical Director, Children’s Critical care, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD
Jessica Taranto, Clinical Nurse Consultant, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, VIC
David Tickell, Clinical Director of Women’s and Children’s Services, Ballarat Health Services and Consultant Paediatrician, Ballarat Health Services, VIC
Mary Whitty, Clinical Nurse (Child and School Health), Western Wheatbelt Population Health, WA
Dr David Wood, Former Board Member, Children’s Health Qeensland Hospital & Health Service
Professor Jeanine Young, Professor of Nursing, Deputy Head of School – Research, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, University of the Sunshine Coast Member, Queensland Child Death Review Board, University of Sunshine Coast, QLD