Meet Our Team

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Business Manager: Peter Hammond

Peter has been in the Veterinary profession for over 16 years, experiencing General Practice, Charity (volunteer and employment) and Emergency and Specialist environments in that time.

He has a Diploma in Leadership and Management and has been the Business Manager at VRH for the last 5 years.

Peter draws on his knowledge and experience to support the teams in delivering exemplary standards of care, in a friendly and welcoming multi-disciplinary hospital.

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Medicine: Dr Catherine Bovens

Dr Catherine Bovens is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ECVIM) for companion animals. Catherine is from Belgium and graduated from the University of Liege, Belgium in 2005.

After a one-year small animal internship in the same university, she went to the UK for a three-year Senior Clinical Fellowship in Internal Medicine at the Animal Health Trust, obtaining the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Medicine in 2009. This was followed by further intensive training in internal medicine with a three-year residency programme at the University of Bristol in the UK. Catherine obtained her European Diploma in Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2014.

She enjoys all areas of feline and canine internal medicine; her areas of particular interest include feline lower urinary tract disease, haematology and endoscopy. Catherine has published articles in several veterinary journals, including the Veterinary Times and the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, and has lectured in several countries. She has received awards for her presentations at conferences, including the Best Medicine Abstract at the UK national veterinary congress and the Best Case Report at the Small Animal Medicine Society conference.

Catherine has three cats, all coming from rescue centres, and outside work she enjoys exploring the countryside. Catherine is passionate about the care and wellbeing of her patients and is proud to be part of our multidisciplinary team at the Veterinary Referral Hospital.

For a list of Medicine: Dr Catherine Bovens's publications Click Here

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Medicine: Dr Sarah Helmond

Dr Sarah Helmond graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2001.  She worked in general practice before moving to the USA to undertake a residency at the University of Minnesota in Small Animal Internal Medicine.  During that time she performed research into immune-mediated diseases and treatments for blood clotting disorders.  Sarah was awarded Diplomate status with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2010.  Since then Sarah has worked both in academia  (Cornell University) and in private referral practice in  the USA.  Sarah returned to Australia in 2015, working as a medicine specialist in Sydney for 3 years before joining VRH in Melbourne.

Sarah has a particular interest in haematological (blood) disorders, publishing research on IMHA and platelet clotting mechanisms.   She enjoys all aspects  of small animal medicine especially endocrine (hormonal) disease and renal (kidney) disease and is currently undertaking training through the UC Davis Hemodialysis academy.

Away from work Sarah looks after her two children and her cat, “Mr Sparkles”. She enjoys working in a collaborative environment where her patients can benefit from the expertise of specialists in all fields of veterinary medicine.

For a list of Medicine: Dr Sarah Helmond's publications Click Here

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Medicine: Dr Lucia Yu

Dr Lucia graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Queensland in 2012 and worked as a general practitioner for some years before pursuing her passion in small animal internal medicine.  This career journey has included a rotating internship at the University of Sydney, followed by a small animal internal medicine residency at U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital through the University of Melbourne, which was completed in 2018. Over the last 4 years, she has been admitted as a member of the small animal internal medicine chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists, and completed a post-graduate degree of Master of Veterinary studies. She is currently completing a  post-graduate research degree (Master of Veterinary Science), investigating the dosing of oral radioiodine for treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats, as well as how the renal parameters change in this population of cats. In the remainder of her time, Lucia and her labradoodle Henrietta-Coriander Yu enjoy long walks on the beach together.

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Surgery: Dr. Alasdair Renwick

Orthopaedic Surgery

Alasdair Renwick is Victoria’s only orthopaedics specific specialist. He trained and worked at some of the best and busiest referral centres in the UK prior to emigrating with his family to Australia in 2018.  He brings a wealth of experience in all areas of small animal orthopaedics. His passions are joint replacement (both hips and elbows), management of cranial cruciate ligament rupture and management of elbow dysplasia. Alasdair has been performing total hip replacements for over 10 years and has authored and co-authored two landmark papers on total hip replacement in dogs. He has extensive experience in the treatment of cranial cruciate ligament rupture including returning a large case load of performance dogs back to full function. He has published the largest prospective study carried out on this condition in dogs. He also has in depth experience in management of elbow disease including managing all orthopaedic referral work for the guide dogs for the blind in Scotland and North England.  After performing orthopaedics for over 20 years both as a practitioner and then as a specialist he has a very good understanding of what does and does not work and he is very passionate to bring this experience to Melbourne.

For a list of Surgery: Dr. Alasdair Renwick 's publications Click Here

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Surgery: Dr Cameron Broome

Soft Tissue and Orthopaedic Surgery

Cameron is a Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Surgery. He graduated from the University of Queensland in 1993.  He then completed a surgical internship at Queensland Veterinary Specialists before undertaking a surgical residency at Massey University in New Zealand.  Since then, he has worked in a number of private practices and universities in Australia and overseas, including 3 years as Head of Surgery at the University of Glasgow.  Cameron has a keen interest in veterinary education and has been published on a range of topics. He is interested in all aspects of surgery, but has a particular interest in minimally invasive surgery and efforts to minimise the impact of surgery on patients.

For a list of Surgery: Dr Cameron Broome's publications Click Here

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Surgery: Dr Jack Neville-Towle

Soft Tissue and Orthopaedic Surgery

Jack completed his veterinary degree at the University of Sydney, during which time he worked at a local specialist veterinary hospital and developed an interest in the rapidly advancing field of veterinary surgery. After starting his career in canine and feline general practice, Jack undertook an internship at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Canada, which exposed him to many fields of specialist practice and refocused his interest in pursuing further surgical training.  In 2014, Jack returned to the University of Sydney to undertake residency training in small animal surgery. Whilst completing the residency, he visited institutions in the United States and Europe, which provided additional experience and training in fields such as orthopaedics and neurology. Following this training, Jack was admitted as a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons by examination, qualifying him as a specialist small animal surgeon. Jack has published multiple peer-reviewed papers, has been regularly involved in teaching veterinary students and is actively involved in research as a current PhD candidate. As such, he has a particular focus on evidence-based surgical practice in the pursuit of the best possible outcomes for his patients.

For a list of Surgery: Dr Jack Neville-Towle's publications Click Here

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Imaging: Dr Rob Turner

Diagnostic Imaging

Rob is a Massey University trained veterinarian from Zimbabwe. He completed his ANZCVS Memberships in Small Animal Radiology in 2015 and continued into a veterinary diagnostic imaging residency at U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital. He is excited about joining and working with the VRH team and veterinarians in Melbourne in optimising patient care by providing expertise in diagnostic radiography, ultrasonography, fluoroscopy, CT and MRI. He is currently doing a PhD, investigating the image characteristics of the pancreas and body composition determination by various imaging modalities. Rob has previously worked in general practice in Adelaide, Cairns and for a short period, Jaipur, India.  He enjoys combining travel with work, having been to India twice and to China to assist in small animal welfare clinics, camel, and horse welfare education, and to volunteer at the Animal Asia Centre in Chengdu. When not at work, Rob enjoys Crossfit and running with his ever-energetic German Short-haired Pointer.

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Emergency and Critical Care: Dr Yenny Indrawirawan

Dr Yenny Indrawirawan is a Fellow of Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientist in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. She graduated in 2004 from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Animal Science and Bachelor of Veterinary Science. She has been working in various small animal emergency and critical care hospitals in Australia since graduation. She undertook emergency and critical care residency at Animal Accident and Emergency in Melbourne, and spent her externship at Colorado State University and Tufts University. She obtained her Fellowship in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 2016. 

Yenny has been tutoring general practitioners that are sitting their Membership of ANZCVS. She was involved in the Membership and Fellowship examination process with the ANZCVS. She is currently supervising a ANZCVS residency program in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. 

For a list of Emergency and Critical Care: Dr Yenny Indrawirawan 's publications Click Here

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Emergency and Critical Care Resident: Dr. Leah Wright

After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 2009, Leah spent 4 years working in mixed and small animal practice in the Northern Territory and country Victoria. She then completed a rotating internship at the University of Sydney where a love of emergency and critical care medicine was born. After taking 12 months out of clinical practice to volunteer in Borneo, Leah returned to Melbourne to join the emergency and critical care team at AEC/VRH Hallam in November 2015. Leah commenced an Emergency and Critical Care Residency under the supervision of Dr. Yenny Indrawairawan in 2017 and has recently published her first journal article on Lowland Copperhead snake envenomation in the dog. Leah has also completed a Masters in Conservation Medicine and has spent time training at Healesville Sanctuary during the completion of this degree. Leah’s interests include endocrine emergencies and transfusion medicine. Leah lives with her 2 cats, Puddy and Tully, and her Dalmatian Chayce – Chayce and Tully are also blood donors in emergencies!


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Emergency and Critical Care Resident: Dr. Suzanne Tso

Suzanne graduated from the University of Sydney in 2014. After graduation, she spent one year in a general practice in the Central Coast Sydney before starting a one-year rotating internship in a 24-hour Emergency and Specialist Hospital in central Sydney. During that time, she developed keen interest in emergency and critical care. Suzanne stayed on as an emergency vet after finishing her internship. She received her graduate certificate in small animal emergency and critical care from the University of Melbourne in 2018. She also passed her membership exam in emergency and critical care in July 2018 before starting her residency at AEC Hallam/ VRH in Melbourne.

When not working, Suzanne likes to spend time with her cat that she adopted from the RSPCA when only a kitten – Button and her cutest Italian greyhound - Aria. She likes hiking and spending time on the beach.

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Nursing Director: Sarah Stafford

Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing, Diploma Surgical Nursing, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

Sarah began her career at a specialist referral hospital in 2009, where she discovered her love of all aspects of surgical nursing. In 2010 Sarah pursued a highly rewarding opportunity working at the RSPCA’s veterinary clinic as a qualified Veterinary Nurse. In 2013 Sarah joined the VRH team, where she particularly enjoyed participating in major orthopaedic procedures and total hip replacements. Sarah is now the Nursing director for the Animal Emergency Centre and the Veterinary Referral Hospital where she enjoys providing management support to the nursing teams.

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Training Coordinator: Brooke Simpson

Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing, Diploma of Leadership and Management

Brooke began her nursing career in June 2008 working across general practices before commencing work as the nursing manager in April 2012.  She has established her own canine and equine Myotherapy business and attends to all her four legged patients on her days off.  

She loves all aspects of surgical nursing but has a keen interest for all lameness, biomechanics and joint issues cases.  

At home she keeps busy with her young son Jackson, her horse Chilli, her border collie cross Delta and her best friend Tehya the Labrador.

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Medicine Nurse: Samantha Elsner

Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing , Certificate IV training and assessment, Certificate III Equine Nursing

Sam qualified as a small animal veterinary nurse in 2009 and has worked in small and large animal veterinary clinics across Victoria. Prior to beginning work in the medicine department of VRH in May 2016, she was casually working at the Animal Emergency Centre while training and mentoring students studying Certificate IV in Veterinary nursing at a small RTO.

Sam is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to her patients. She has a particular interest in diagnostic imaging procedures and feline internal medicine.

When Sam isn’t at work she is at her small acreage property with her Husband, their children Ryan and Charlotte and all their fur family, including horses, dogs and beloved cats.

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Surgery Nurse: Kimberley Roulston

Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing, Diploma Surgical Nursing, Certificate III Equine Nursing

Kimberley began her nursing career working in a large small animal general practice in May 2006. From there she developed a passion for surgery which led her to VRH in March 2014.  Kimberley is currently studying for her diploma of surgical nursing with a keen interest in intervertebral disc disease patients.  

In her spare time she is off spending time with her horse Roy part-taking in such Horse activities as trail riding, camping and increasing her skills in horsemanship and liberty ground work.  Her home life is shared with her loving Husband, 2 dogs (Millie and Bundy) and 2 cats (Terry and Bruce).   

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Surgery Nurse: Sandra Ford

Associate diploma in applied science (animal technology), Advanced certificate of Veterinary Nursing & Certificate of Veterinary Nursing

Sandra commenced working with VRH since the beginning of a surgery team at Hallam and has seen it grow into what it is today.

She has been nursing for over 20 years with a broad range of experience in different specialty clinics working mainly with small animals. She really enjoy all aspects of Veterinary Nurse and the daily challenges of working in an Emergency and Specialist facility especially  helping make the lives of animals better.

When Sandra is not at work she is busy at home with family life and enjoy catching up with friends.
Currently Sandra and her family  have a cat called Kimi, a rabbit called Molly and a dog called Archie.

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Surgery Nurse: Nadine Hobbs

Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing, Diploma General Practice

Nadine had always wanted to work with animals, and after a period of volunteer work with the RSPCA, she managed to secure a job in general practice in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. During this time she earned her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, and developed a passion for surgical procedures as well as behavioural issues. Nadine came on board with the VRH at the start of 2017.

She is the owner of a very handsome white rabbit named Benedict, which rules the house like most pets do! When she is not working in her dream job, she likes to travel both overseas and interstate to see friends, camping and exploring the great outdoors, as well as spending time with family and her now rabbit-loving boyfriend.

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Surgery Nurse: Shannel Downey

Cert IV Veterinary Nursing

Shannel began nursing in 2014 at a busy general practice clinic. In 2016 she started to do some casual work in the Animal Emergency Centre and developed a keen interest in surgery, which lead her to the surgical department at VRH in 2018. Shannel has a keen interest in anesthesia and is always looking to provide optimal patient care.

Her home is full of many fluffy creatures including Mabel & Lottie the Bernese Mountain Dogs, Chester & Memphis & Daisy the ginger cats and Sugar & Paw the rabbits.

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Surgery Nurse: Shona Whelan

Cert IV Veterinary Nursing, Advanced Diploma in Horse Management

Shona joined the VRH Surgery Department in Dec 2017 after starting her nursing career as an Emergency & Critical Care Nurse at the Hallam AEC.

In her spare time she enjoys outdoor activities such as camping and four wheel driving and spending time with her geriatric Miniature Poodle, Andy.

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Surgery Nurse: Georgia Difabrizio

Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing

Georgia has been a nursing for 6 years, and still loves every minute of it.  Georgia joined the VRH team in early 2018 and she is so glad she did!

She has a dog named Hiro and a cat name Jasmine - they are her children and she’s mad about them.  In her spare time you can find Georgia taking her dog on bush walks and going to the gym.

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Surgery Nurse: Sarah Van Loon

Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing

Sarah grew up on a farm in South Gippsland and has always had an interest in animals, large and small. Sarah worked for a dairy farmer for 6 years milking cows before moving to Brisbane for two years to pursue her vet nursing career. Sarah worked in a General Practice clinic for a year in Brisbane before moving back to Melbourne and joining the VRH surgical team.

Sarah has a little tribe of animals including her dog Pepper, horse Paddy, cat Wussa and sheep Possum. Sarah’s hobby is horse riding and she has been doing Dressage and eventing professionally for 17 years.

Sarah also enjoys being on the farm, camping, and socialising with friends and family.

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