Jen is a patient safety advocate and healthcare user representative from Melbourne. She works with a multitude of organisations across the health system, and advocates independently, to improve patient care. Jen is known for ‘stepping up’ to speak truth to power when needed, and for bringing a patient voice to arenas from which such voices have been traditionally absent.
As a survivor of multiple instances of serious harm in healthcare, Jen is passionate about contributing to a healthcare system that is safer, kinder and more equitable for all. She hopes one day, patient harm experiences like hers will feature only in the history books.
Jen burst onto the national healthcare advocacy stage at the tender age of 23, when she gave evidence to a parliamentary committee about the experiences of harmed patients in the healthcare regulation system (wearing her first ever suit, purchased specifically for the occasion). She was consequently offered a job in patient safety research at the University of Melbourne and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, Jen has had the privilege of an extraordinarily diverse patient advocacy career – at once a researcher and a patient safety investigator, an author and university lecturer, a board member and simulated patient, a disciplinary committee member and university admissions interviewer, a bioethics advisor and a conference organiser, a public speaker and an advisory committee member.
True to her roots as a kid described as ‘conscientious’ in every school report, she now has qualifications in science, humanities, science communication, governance, consumer and community engagement, and health service quality and safety.
Jen is a nature lover who takes delight in wildlife, and exploring nature’s special places. She is also active in the debating community, and a volunteer mentor for a youth mentoring organisation.