Hard work, heart-warming wins: VHA’s Ann Yeomanson

May 19, 2021

With a master’s degree in public health and a background in pain management, we find out what brought Ann Yeomanson to work at the VHA.

What projects are you working on at the VHA?

I’m working on three exciting projects for the sector. GPs in Community Health as part of the Community Health Action Plan 2020-24, the High-Risk Accommodation Response, and the Vaccine Ambassador Program.

Can you tell us a little bit about your career before joining the VHA?

After graduating with a degree in Physiotherapy back in the 90s, I had an amazing time working in England. Somehow, I packed in working full time at a 1700 bed hospital (one of the UK’s largest), some backpacking around Europe, and meeting my now husband, Mark. Very productive!

Once back in Australia, I found myself gravitating to in and outpatient rehabilitation roles, and then eventually to working in complex pain management interdisciplinary teams. I’ve always found the mind-body interaction, and people in general very interesting, so having the opportunity to work with patients with multifaceted challenges was really gratifying. During this time, the advances in neuroscience that taught us that pain comes from the brain opened exciting new avenues for treatment. The work was often hard, but the wins our clients had were just so heart-warming.

After completing some high-impact pain service redesigns and a master’s degree in Public Health, I was fortunate to obtain an Associate Director role in service transformation at a large Melbourne Metro hospital. Our team worked on multiple projects in the areas of rehabilitation, geriatric management and evaluation, palliative care, emergency department diversion, non-weight-bearing patient diversion to residential care, and stroke management, to name a few. I then moved to a half innovation, half operations role, with a focus on potentially preventable hospitalisations.

My final role before coming to the VHA was as Executive Officer of a Collaboration between Eastern Health, the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network, and several Community Health Services within the region. This was a great opportunity to learn about more of a systems approach to integrating care, regional planning, and cross-sectoral projects. When COVID arrived, I had the opportunity to co-lead the Eastern Health COVID Positive in Community (CPIC) initiative. The pre-existing relationships the Collaboration and I had allowed us to rapidly stand-up the second CPIC service in Victoria. Our Community Health Services were the backbone; providing an integrated health and social response for more than 80 per cent of the COVID positive clients, whilst the balance of sicker clients was managed by the hospital. This work further primed my interest in the state-wide systems reform space, and ultimately my shift to the VHA.

What’s one word you would use to describe community health?

That’s hard, so here are a few: holistic, agile, socially aware and integration-oriented.