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Networking for better healthcare- Inspire and build community

Networking for better healthcare

“Inspire and build community”

From the day I started working in Dandenong Ranges (“The Hills”) 18 years ago, I would go around to the  clinics in the area to meet the health practitioners and build connections. Building relationships within my local community was important for growing and developing my business and to create a referral network my patients. 4 years ago, I decided to bring the practitioners in the hills together, to create a collaborative networking group for the best care of our patients. Imagine a world where you have different practitioners with different skills working together to help people on their journey to better health! My aim for the group was to develop a network of health care practitioners with different skills, so that we could:

  • Give our patients the best care
  • Support each other with the challenges of clinical practice
  • Learn from and with each other
  • Have a diverse range of talks to cover many different areas of health

All in a non-judgmental, fun, educational and caring environment.

When people come into our clinics do they just come in with just a sore shoulder or back? Well NO, they come in with all the complexities that make us humans. One practitioner won’t have all the skills to help a patient with all facets of their health. But when a network of practitioners bring their different skill sets and work together, we can give our patients the best quality of care, and get them onto the road to better health.


As practitioners we are working with people every day, but it can be a lonely job and you can feel isolated. A big part of the group is supporting and helping each other with the challenges of running a practice and with how life interacts with it.  A lot of this is driven through my own personal experience many years ago where I myself felt isolated and I was struggling with life. Some of the talks have been aimed about self-care for the practitioner to make sure we have coping strategies to keep us at our best. The practitioners in the group have become close friends and people I can now rely on for support and for this I am very thankful.


I have chosen a wide range of topics to be covered during the talks because humans are emergent complex beings. To treat people effectively, we need a diverse and wide knowledge of health. Some of these topics are outside of our scope of practice, but I believe that to make an appropriate referral for a patient, you need to have  a diverse knowledge base to draw upon to get them to someone how can help them further. A lot of practitioners say they use the Biopsychosocial model of care to make themselves sound smart. What this refers to is how health involves the complex and emergent interactions of the biological, psychological, and social elements of our life, and these cannot be separated.  The Biopsychosocial model of care has been infused through the presentations (or talks?) to make sure the practitioners are seeing the whole human that is in front of them.

“One thing I realized a long time ago, is how anyone reasons is hugely dictated by what you plan to do- the more biased and limited your skills/ knowledge, the more blinkered and limited your reasoning is going to be” (Louis Gifford, 2014)


In The Hills we are lucky to have an amazing and caring group of practitioners that work together for what is best for the patient. Rest assured that if you are a person in need of help and you see one of these practitioners in the network you will get the best care or be referred to someone who can. During this emotional and stressful roller-coaster that is the Covid- 19 crisis, the support from the fellow local practitioners has been a great comfort to me and shows how much we care about each other and our well being.

We say a big thank you to the wonderful people that have given talks to our group over the past 4 years and a big thank you to the amazing practitioners we have in the Dandenong Ranges (“The Hills”).

4-week Mindfulness course- Michelle Johnson

Dementia- Suzanne Mcloughlin

Stress, Pain & neuroplasticity- Mat Richardson

Gut Health- Marika Rodenstein

Understanding Pain-Mat Richardson

Insights into grief- Karen Philippzig

Pelvic health- Liana Johnson

Self-care for health practitioners- Amy Islip

Breathing- Allan Abbott

Managing the interplay between chronic pain and mental health- Amy Islip & Mat Richardson

Talking Tendons- Dr Ebonie Rio

Corinne’s Story- Corinne Nijjer

Acute pain support and nutritional and herbal medicine- Sarah McLachlan


Upcoming events for after the Covid 19 crisis

Amanda’s story- Amanda Freeman

Pelvic health-Psycho/ social considerations- Liana Johnson

Changing the relationships between perceptions & protective responses- Mat Richardson



Gifford, Aches and Pain, CNS press, 2014