First do no harm – Diana uses her profile to push for gender equality

Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton OAM

Professor Diana Edgerton-Warburton has been in the news quite a bit in the last month – both for her specific high-profile research achievements in a landmark study on treating collapsed lung, and for her overall body of work, being recognised with an OAM.

Professor Egerton‐Warburton, Director of Emergency Medicine Research at Monash Medical Centre since 2011 and Co‐Chair of Monash University’s Emergency Research Collaborative (MERC), will headline our International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration on Tuesday 3 March (starting at 12.30), along with Distinguished Professor Robert Wood.

All Monash Health employees are invited and encouraged to come to the lunch and event at Monash Medical Centre, which picks up on the IWD 2020 theme of #eachforequal.

In 2018 Professor Egerton-Warburton was added to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her extraordinary contribution to the state and beyond. The citation said she was “an emergency physician and patient-advocate whose research is driving systemic change in healthcare to benefit the lives of all Victorians.”  Professor Egerton-Warburton was also recognised with the 2016 Australian Medical Association Woman in Medicine Award.

These honours don’t come without the challenges.

“When I started in emergency medicine, 30 years ago, it was unusual to be a woman. I was regarded as the ‘token woman’ and people would say we’re inviting you along to events as an honorary boy. As a medical student I was definitely subject to all kinds of harassment and inequality,” Diana said.

“Gender and unconscious bias impact all elements of work for women working in male-dominated workplaces.”

Diana is not afraid to use her profile and her social media presence (you can follow her on Twitter @First_do_noharm) to call others to account and to advocate strongly for her beliefs and push for change.

“I use the opportunity to call out unconscious bias by conference organisers. I called out the convenor  of a conference in New York – someone who had over 200,000 followers – and asked him to do something to change his all-male panel (using the hashtag #unconsciousbiassucks), to which he replied ‘it’s not bias, I just want the best speakers’.

“On the back of this exchange he was invited in to speak with FEMinEM (Females working in Emergency Medicine) who developed a speakers bureau as a result of this episode. He also reformed his ways and managed to get some balance into his conferences, within 24 hour his RESUSCITATE NYC2016 had two women speakers!

“Sometimes it is exhausting to keep addressing these issues but I have had some wins.”

While she will call out the poor behaviour of the men in the room, Diana also says this is a two way street. We all have to be part of the solution.

“You have to push. I sought out scholarships in leadership and from there I make sure I speak about about my achievements and about women in leadership. I mentor other female leaders.

“I always go to grand rounds or a conference presentation with a question – we need to speak up and ask questions. We need to be seen. We need to put ourselves out there and overcome our imposter syndrome and the negative internal voice. We also have our own unconscious biases. I talk a lot to women about these kinds of things.”

Diana’s talk on Tuesday is bound to have some interesting thoughts on other issues impacted by gender inequality, such as family violence.

As an emergency medicine specialist, she sees a lot of challenging issues and advocates strongly about alcohol-related harms and family violence.

Come along on Tuesday and find out more about what makes an OAM tick.

Picking up on the theme of women’s leadership, Distinguished Professor Robert Wood, will round out Tuesday’s IWD celebration event.

The future of work is a hot topic in a rapidly changing world. Knowing what we know about the future of work, what do we need do to ensure a gender equal world?

Distinguished Professor, Robert Wood, who is a Director of the UTS Futures Academy and founder of the Centre for Ethical Leadership at the University of Melbourne, works with organisations to enhance their cultural diversity and has some thought provoking ideas on gender at the future of work.

Professor Wood says “future work has been described as a race between the adoption of technology and the acquisition of skills. Ironically, while necessary, hard technical skills are not the key skills required of future leaders.

“As is always the case in times of disruptive change, those who are adaptive and who tackle the big issues, like the ethical challenges, emerge as thought leaders.”

Professor Wood, who is leadership expert, will apply his ideas to a health setting and talk about issues such as the impacts of artificial intelligence on women’s representation.


  • International Women’s Day celebration
  • Tuesday 3 March
  • Monash Medical Centre, Lecture Theatre 1 (or via BlueJeans)
  • 12.30 (for light lunch), followed by speakers from 1-2pm

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