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Medical leadership at Avant

26 August 2021 | Avant Media

The position of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is a key leadership role in Avant.

As a mutual owned by its doctor members, the CMO provides key member insights and perspectives to the executive as well as often leading Avant’s interactions with other medical stakeholders.

Dr Penny Browne has filled the role since 2015, working three days a week with Avant and practising as a general practitioner for the remaining two days. Stepping down from this role, she reflected on her time in the position and the opportunities it provided, which highlight the myriad of interesting aspects that lie ahead for her successor.

“It is an incredibly wide and varied role that combines an internal focus of providing advice to the organisation from the members’ perspective, with a very public external role of representing our members and the medical profession in discussions with policy makers to create a better system,” Dr Browne said.

“The team at Avant is very talented with some of the best medico-legal lawyers in the country, very supportive medical colleagues who work throughout the organisation, and highly-regarded insurance professionals. We all have a shared purpose - to support our members in serving the Australian community.”

Natasha Fenech, Group CEO and Managing Director at Avant thanked Dr Browne, saying, “Penny has made a wonderful contribution to Avant over many years and although she will remain a member of the Avant family, we will all miss her boundless energy, enthusiasm and practical can-do attitude. The role of the Chief Medical Officer is now firmly established as a key executive position.”

    Some of the highlights of Dr Browne’s seven years as CMO are:
  • Leading Avant’s Advocacy, Education and Research talented team in developing thought leadership and education on emerging medico-legal issues.
  • Liaising with the US and UK medical indemnity insurers to understand global trends and representing Avant as part of the international medical professional liability association.
  • Establishing our National Advocacy Stakeholder Committee, bringing college leaders and Avant closer to share perspectives and, where appropriate, work with each other on the issues facing the profession.
  • Representing Avant at numerous medical conferences and on committees, which has allowed us to develop strong relationships and helped us to advocate on behalf of members.
  • Providing medical leadership to Avant’s COVID response, where we have had excellent engagement and feedback at a time of great uncertainty and stress.
  • Developing the doctor in training adviser role at Avant, which enables a doctor to join us each year and work with the claims and legal team to provide the doctor in training perspective.
  • Launching the Avant Foundation in 2017, and serving as its inaugural Chair, which has awarded over $1 million in grants for projects in quality safety and professionalism.
  • Interviewing and sharing some of the insights from well-known US surgeon and writer, Atul Gawande, as part of Avant’s education program.

If you think that combining this type of role with your clinical practice would be of interest to you or someone that you know, then I would encourage you to find out more here.

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