DATE: 16 JUNE 2022, 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Since 2005 the Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) with the support of the Victorian Department of Health has proudly hosted the annual Victorian Rural Health Awards (VRHA). These awards recognise the outstanding contributions made by health professionals and champions of rural health excellence, working in regional and rural communities.

The Victorian Rural Health Awards (VRHA) honour the exceptional medical professionals, nurses, allied health professionals, Aboriginal health workers and practice managers working across rural Victoria.

The Victorian Rural Health Awards are supported by the Victorian Government.


The Victorian Rural Health Awards are carefully curated each year to ensure relevance for the communities we support. They are a reminder that a rural career is not just about lifestyle but an opportunity for professional achievement, team work, and most of all about the communities across regional and rural Victoria.

Length of Service Award (35+ years of service)

The Length of Service Award acknowledges the lifetime of dedication and commitment from rural doctors to the well-being of our Victorian rural communities.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award celebrates the future of rural health care. Each year we recognise a junior health professional who has shown a true passion for rural health and is intent on dedicating their career to rural communities.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Allied Health

This award recognises an allied health professional who has shown professional and personal commitment to regional and rural communities, and has gone above the expectations of their role to provide services to the community.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Practice Management

This award recognises a practice manager who has gone above the expectations of their role shown professional and personal commitment to regional and rural communities through their leadership, mentoring and innovation.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural GP or Rural Generalist

This award recognises a rural doctor who has shown ongoing commitment to providing exceptional care to meet the current and future healthcare needs of their community.

Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

This award recognises a health professional, team or organisation that has made significant contributions in providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and communities.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Health Team

This award recognises an exceptional team contribution to create a positive difference in the delivery of health care in rural Victoria. This award also recognises the importance of a team contribution in providing excellence in service delivery and improved client outcomes.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Outreach Provision

This award recognises a health professional, team or organisation that has made significant contributions in providing outreach services to rural and regional communities.

Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Health Consumer Advocate

This award recognises the contribution of a consumer, carer or community member from rural Victoria that has made a significant contribution to healthcare, by using their lived experience to engage with health professionals or health services to improve the quality, accessibility or safety of healthcare.

Outstanding Contribution to Rural Primary Care Nursing

The Outstanding Contribution to Rural Primary Care Nursing award recognises an exceptional rural nurse or midwife who has delivered outstanding patient care, positive outcomes and who performs above the expectations of their role.


The Outstanding Contribution by a Rural Medical Specialist Award recognises a rural non-GP specialist who has shown an ongoing commitment to providing exceptional care to the community.

About Our 2022 Host


S’up F*#@kers!

Geraldine Hickey, MC

The host and MC of the 2022 VRHA, Geraldine Hickey, Gez, is not only a world class Australian comedian. She also hails from the country Victoria and, when not travelling around the globe, bringing laughter to unsuspecting audiences, resides in our own rural Gippsland. From 2016 to 2021 Geraldine was a co-host on the much-revered breakfast radio show Breakfasters on RRR, and has made multiple appearances on ABC Radio, Triple M and the Hit Network as well as on The Project, Have You Been Paying Attention? Geraldine is an award-winning comedy stand-up performer. Her deceptively effortless knack for turning low-key yarns about agapanthuses and bouncy-castles into high-stakes, helplessly funny narrative rollercoasters, has culminated in her Most Outstanding Show award at the 2021 Melbourne Comedy Festival for What A Surprise.

About Our 2022 Speakers

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The Hon. Martin Foley
Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services, Minister for Equality
Martin Foley has been a Labor Party member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly since 2007, representing Albert Park. He has been Minister for Equality in the First and Second Andrews Ministry since December 2014 and Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services since September 2020. He was previously the Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Creative Industries prior to September 2020.
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Associate Professor Grant Phelps
Board Member, Chair VRHA Committee
Assoc Prof Phelps has practiced as a Gastroenterologist and Acute Physician in regional Victoria for more than 20 years. He trained in safety and quality at Dr Brent James’ Institute at Intermountain Healthcare in the US and has held management and leadership roles in Victoria and Tasmania. Grant currently works as an independent consultant providing advice to hospitals and organisations on clinical leadership and safety and quality.
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Lauren Cordwell
GM Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement, RWAV
Lauren Cordwell commenced in the role of General Manager in February 2020. Lauren is an experienced senior manager and health policy analyst. She is committed to finding practical solutions to address the challenges preventing communities in rural Australia from accessing affordable and safe health care. For over 20 years, Lauren has designed and implemented innovative programs with communities, health professionals, diverse organisations and government agencies that continue to have a lasting benefit.
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Dr Libby Garoni
2021 Winner, Rural Generalist Award
Dr Libby Garoni has been in rural medicine for most of her working life. She is also a volunteer with the Gundowring CFA and actively fought the Corryong fires on New Year’s Eve 2019. She volunteers her services for multiple Equine Events in rural locations, has been a past member of School Council and has as many other qualities that make her a special part of the local community
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Adjunct Associate Professor Morton Rawlin AM
Board Chair
Assoc Prof Rawlin is an experienced General Practitioner and medical educator. He is currently in clinical general practice in suburban Melbourne and previously practiced in rural Victoria for 10 years. Assoc Prof Rawlin is Chair of the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaborative and a past Chair of the Mental Health Professionals Association and is a board member of the Mental Health Professionals Network.
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Trevor Carr
Trevor has built an extensive career in governance, policy evaluation and advocacy, and the operation of public healthcare and aged care services. Trevor has been involved with rural and regional health and aged care policy and service delivery since commencing his working life. Prior to joining RWAV, Trevor was the CEO of Leading Age Services Australia Victoria (LASA Victoria), and before this, he was CEO of the Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA).
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Louise Holland
2021 Winner of the Rural Primary Care Nursing Award
Bendigo Community Health Services, Nurse Practitioner Louise Holland, has been at the forefront of sexual and reproductive health and women’s health in rural and regional areas for over 25 years. Louise is well versed in the challenges of addressing topics traditionally swept under the carpet. She plays a vital role in responding to the health care needs of the community often working with agencies where sexual health is not core business, but who have an interest from working with the initiative’s target groups.
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Muhammad Yousuf
2021 Winner of the Rising Star Award
Muhammad joined the team at HeadtoHelp Wellington as a provisional psychologist after recognising increased demand following drought, bushfires and more recently Covid-19. To meet the needs of his clients, he has undertaken further studies and is currently completing a Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy.

Who Should Attend

The Victorian Rural Health Awards are a celebration for our regional and rural communities. We welcome all health professionals, practice managers, rural health and medical students, community leaders to join us and acknowledge the winning achievements and the future of rural health in Victoria.

Registration form

Please fill out the form below to register in 2022 VRHA event.
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