Member Profile of Cath Maloney, Australian Capital Territory

Cath holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy and a Master of Science in Medicine (Pain Management) and has always been passionate about ensuring that people living in rural and remote communities have access to leading edge health services.

The Essentials:

Your Name Cath Maloney
Your Profession/Study I hold a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy and a Master of Science in Medicine (Pain Management)
Your Location Canberra, ACT
SARRAH Member Since... 2008


The Questions:

1. What are you most passionate about?

I have always been passionate about ensuring that people living in rural and remote communities have access to leading edge health services.   I’ve worked to deliver on this commitment since my days as principal of my own practice in a rural town, and have continued over the years by working with other practitioners in both public and private sectors to develop service delivery models that work for rural communities.

2. What is your best way to de-stress after a busy week?

The concentration involved in not falling off my SUP board while taking in the passing birdlife really helps to clear my head…

3. Do you have any other corporate skills or experience?

I’ve been lucky to have worked in a variety of settings, as the principal of a physiotherapy practice and business unit manager for an Occupational Rehabilitation company, then moving into health service management, working as part of the executive team of a rural health district as Director Allied Health. 
In 2012 I was elected to the board of a Medicare Local, and graduated from the Company Directors’ Course through the Australian Institute of Company Directors shortly after.  I served as a board member for six years, including the transition from Medicare Local to Primary Health Network.  This gave me a fantastic perspective on our primary health system, in particular the challenges we face as allied health professionals in influencing the future of primary health.

4. How rural/remote have you been?

I was privileged to work on the APY Lands in remote South Australia for six months in 2018, gaining an insight into health service delivery in remote communities.

5. Have you always practiced rurally? And if so, for how long?

I grew up on Wiradjuri country, near Young NSW.  In a time-honoured tradition, my father was a farmer, my mother a nurse.  My first few years post-graduation were spent in Sydney, London and the Illawarra.  In 1991 I returned to my roots, and since that time I have literally worked the length and breadth of the Wiradjuri lands and further afield, from Dubbo and Mudgee in the north to Tumbarumba and Albury in the south, from Tumut, Goulburn and Lithgow in the east, to Hillson and Hay in the west.  Over the years I’ve met many fantastic allied health professionals who share my passion for bringing best-practice services to rural and remote communities.

6. What is the weirdest word you use every day in your field of work/study?

I’ve always thought that “biopsychosocial” was a cumbersome, awkward word, yet it persists, I guess in the absence of a better word…

7. What is your hidden talent or skill outside of work?

I have a special talent for catching part of my clothing on anything that comes too close.  Door handles, hand brakes and laptop cords are a specialty.

8. What is the most rewarding thing you have done?

I won’t be able to pick just one; I’ve been fortunate to have had many rewarding experiences over my career, and hopefully there is more to come.  Starting my own physiotherapy practice remains high on my list, where I was able to live out my commitment to bringing leading edge services to the community in which I raised my three sons.  Incidentally, raising these three amazing people is another high-ranking rewarding experience. 
Serving on the board of a primary health network gave me the opportunity to work with some very experienced, like-minded people with a strong commitment to rural and regional communities.  Same goes for the allied health professionals with whom I worked as Allied Health Director, across both public and private sectors.  I learned a lot from some fantastic, committed rural health professionals.
Last, but by no means least, while working in NSW Health I was privileged to be invited to convene the 2017 National Allied Health Conference in Sydney.  I got to work with a fantastic group of people on the organising and scientific committees, with a couple of my favourite egg heads in Lorimer Moseley and Adam Spencer, learning so much about our great sector in the process.

9. Where is your favourite place in the world?

It would have to be sitting around the table with my family and friends.  Location doesn’t matter.

10. Lastly, why allied health?

I believe the future of our health system lies in a robust primary care sector.  Allied health professionals will play a pivotal role by lending their expertise to the multidisciplinary team care required to manage complex chronic disease and keep people out of hospital.  We need to be working with policy makers to ensure that allied health professionals are enabled to participate in multidisciplinary team care through the development of funding models that work, especially for rural and remote communities.