During the early 1990s there was an increasing awareness of shortcomings in the provision of health services to the medical profession, and in particular the provision of assistance to doctors and medical students who had health problems that were causing, or likely to cause impairment. This concern was widespread throughout the profession, and investigations were made into possible solutions to the problem. In 2001, the Victorian Doctors’ Health Program (VDHP) was established as a not-for-profit and fully independent entity, separate from the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria (MPBV – now AHPRA) and the AMA Victoria. The program has broad support from across the medical profession and is believed to be the first Doctors’ Health Program of its kind, outside North America.
In 2000, Dr Taffy Jones was appointed the first Chair of the Board of VDHP. Dr Jones brought to this role strong recognition as a leader in healthcare services and a compassionate supporter of the medical profession. His commitment proved crucial in the early stages of the development of the program. In 2005, Dr Kerry Breen was appointed Chair of the Board. Dr Breen had been instrumental in the establishment of VDHP while President of the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria (MPBV) and was ideally placed to further this commitment as Chair of the VDHP Board. His hard work and passion for doctors’ health issues ensured the organisation continued in a positive direction. Dr Robyn Mason was appointed Chair of the Board in 2009 and Dr Bill Pring in 2011.
In 2001, Dr Naham (Jack) Warhaft was appointed the first Medical Director of VDHP. Dr Warhaft came from an anaesthetics background and developed an interest in doctors’ health through working with anaesthetists who had become impaired as a result of chemical dependency. He further developed his knowledge in doctors’ health issues by working with US and Canadian physician health programs. Jack’s enthusiasm and passion for doctors’ health issues benefited the many doctors that consulted VDHP during those years. Dr Warhaft stepped down in 2007 and VDHP appointed an interim CEO, Professor Greg Whelan AM. Prof Whelan provided invaluable assistance to the organisation by maintaining its services, providing financial guidance and inducting new staff. Dr Kym Jenkins was appointed Medical Director in 2007 and resigned in August 2017.
Dr Helen Schultz
Dr Helen Schultz is a consultant psychiatrist located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. She provides clinical care to doctors and medical students and is a passionate advocate for the wellbeing of those in her profession – medicine.
Cheryl has been with VDHP for 15 years and proud of the work that is being done to support our doctors.
Dr Fiona McGlade
Fiona joined the team in October 2017 and provides strong clinical support.
Dr Brendan Steele
Brendan is an Obstetrician and past Rural GP bringing a wealth of wisdom and experience
Sally recently joined to provide excellent administrative support
Our Consultative Council
VDHP’s Consultative Council is comprised of at least one representative from the following organisations:
- Monash Uni Medical Undergraduate Society
- Monash Uni Faculty of Medicine
- The Uni of Melbourne Faculty of Medicine
- The Uni of Melbourne Medical Students Society
- Deakin Uni Faculty of Medicine
- Deakin Uni Medical Students Society
- Medical Student Council of Victoria
- Australian Doctors in Recovery
- AMA Victoria
- Medical Benevolent Association of Victoria
- Rural Workforce Agency of Victoria
- Post Graduate Medical Council of Victoria
- Rural Doctors Association
- MDA National
- Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetist
- Australasian College of Dermatologist
- Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists
- Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
- Royal College of Pathologists Australia
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
- Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators
The Consultative Council meets annually to discuss current issues at VDHP and the future direction of the organisation. We welcome representation from any additional medical organisations that also have an interest in physician welfare. If you represent such an organisation and would like to join the Consultative Council, please contact us.