Our People

Ann Brassil - Chief Executive Officer 

Ann Brassil is the Chief Executive Officer of Family Planning NSW.

Ann holds an honorary university position of Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney. She is a Director of the Family Planning Alliance Australia, a member of the NSW Health NGO Advisory Committee, and Director of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights. Prior to joining Family Planning NSW in 2006, Ann was the Director of BreastScreen NSW, the largest breast screening program in Australia, for 10 years.  Ann has high-level experience in population health and community- and hospital-based health service governance and management, in Australia and in the international development arena. She has broad experience in clinical services, education, research, advocacy and health service administration.

Ann’s publications cover the topics of population based mammograph screening and breast cancer incidence, termination of pregnancy and cervical screening.

Qualifications:  Bachelor of Science (Psychology) Honours; Master of Clinical Psychology (Honours); Master of Business Administration; Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

Publications: A selection of Ann's publications can be found here.

Jane Estoesta - Director, Research Centre

Jane Estoesta is the Director of the Family Planning NSW Research Centre.  She is responsible for the strategic and operational management of the Research Centre and the coordination of organisational data reporting, monitoring, evaluation, data linkage and research projects and activities. Jane also oversees the functions of the FPNSW Ethics Committee, and is the National Data Manager for the Family Planning Alliance Australia.

Jane has held senior management positions in the NSW health sector since 1997. She was the BreastScreen NSW State Data and Evaluation Manager and managed the BreastScreen NSW State Data Registry from 2000 to 2006, and was an accredited Data Auditor for BreastScreen Australia and BreastScreen New Zealand from 2004 to 2006. Jane has extensive data management and evaluation experience across a wide range of health settings including tertiary teaching hospitals, population health programs and non-government health service organisations.

In 2012 Jane was awarded funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing under the Family Planning Grants scheme to manage and develop the first National Reproductive and Sexual Health in Australia report. She also managed the publication of the 2011 Reproductive and sexual health in New South Wales and Australia: differentials, trends, and assessment of data sources funded by the NSW Ministry of Health. In 2013 Jane was awarded further funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing under the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Support Grants scheme to manage two FGM projects: Feasibility study for National FGM Data Collection and Scoping and Development of FGM Continuing Professional Development.

Jane’s publications cover the topics of breast screening, contraception, migrant and refugee sexual and reproductive health, termination of pregnancy and domestic violence.

Jane is involved in a number of FPNSW research studies, including:

  • Evaluation of abortion services at Family Planning NSW
  • Reproductive coercion screening and the implications for service provision

Qualifications: Master in Medical Statistics; Master in Public Administration; Bachelor Science in Chemical Engineering

Publications: A selection of Jane's publications can be found here.

Deborah Bateson - Medical Director

Deborah Bateson is the Medical Director at Family Planning NSW with honorary university positions including a Clinical Associate Professorship in the Discipline of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology at The University of Sydney and Adjunct Professorships at the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW, Sydney and in the Faculty of Health, UTS, Sydney.

Deborah has worked as a clinician, researcher and educator in the field of reproductive and sexual health for over 20 years. She has published widely and frequently provides expert commentary to the media. She is a member of several committees and boards with a focus on reproductive and sexual health including the International Federation of Professional Abortion and Contraception Associates (FIAPAC) and the National Cervical Screening Program Quality and Safety Monitoring Committee. Deborah is also a past Chair of the Australasian Sexual Health Alliance (ASHA).

Deborah’s research interests include access to contraception and safe abortion, cervical screening as well as sexually transmissible infections (STIs), with a focus on chlamydia and pelvic inflammatory disease. 

Qualifications: Master of Arts (University of Oxford) Biochemistry;  Master of Science (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine); Human Nutrition; Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (University of Hong Kong)

Publications: A selection of Deborah's publications can be found here.

Clare Boerma - Associate Medical Director

Clare Boerma is the Associate Medical Director at Family Planning NSW, as well as a General Practitioner. She was previously a conjoint associate lecturer at the school of Women’s and Children’s Health at UNSW.

Clare has become increasingly engaged in reproductive and sexual health over the years, spreading her time across medical education, research and as a clinician at Family Planning NSW. She enjoys collaborating with interdisciplinary teams and contributing to research to inform optimal medical care.

Clare has been involved in the following studies at Family Planning NSW:

  • A multicentre randomised control study looking at the effectiveness and safety of a non-hormonal medical device for treatment of menopausal vulvovaginal atrophy.
  • An international observational study investigating the safety of a new combined oral contraceptive pill (NOMAC-E2; containing nomegestrol acetate and estradiol) compared with a levonorgestrel-containing combined oral contraceptive pill
  • A national randomised controlled trial comparing primary HPV testing to cytology-based screening for cervical cancer in both HPV-unvaccinated and vaccinated Australian women.
  • A randomised controlled trial examining whether treating the male partners of women being treated for bacterial vaginosis reduces the chances of the woman getting BV again.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Medicine; Bachelor of Surgery; Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners; Diploma of Child Health

Jessica Botfield - Senior Research Officer

Jessica Botfield is a Senior Research Officer at Family Planning NSW, and Adjunct Lecturer at the Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Arts and Social Sciences.

Jessica’s research focus is primarily qualitative, with particular interests in sexual and reproductive health and intersections of gender, sexuality and culture. She has experience working in academic, NGO and clinical settings, and undertakes collaborative and interdisciplinary research in Australia and the Pacific region.

Jessica’s PhD was awarded in February 2019: Engaging young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds with sexual and reproductive health care. She is also a Registered Nurse, and has a Master of Public Health and Master of International Public Health. In 2018, Jessica won the ASHA Young Leader Award in recognition of her achievements and contributions to sexual health.

Over the past six years, Jessica has successfully secured research funding for a number of studies. These have more recently included a qualitative study relating to young migrant and refugee women’s views and experiences of the contraceptive implant (2020), a study exploring the feasibility of midwives inserting contraceptive implants in the postpartum period (2018), an acceptability study of the female/internal condom (2018), and a pilot study exploring cervical cancer prevention amongst Aboriginal women in remote NSW (2017). Jessica has also been involved in several successful ARC grants as a partner investigator over the past three years.

Jessica’s research interests relate to contraception, reproductive health and rights, unintended pregnancy and cervical screening, particularly among young people and migrant and refugee communities. She is leading and/or involved in a range of research studies, including:

  • An acceptability study of the female condom for women in NSW
  • An investigator-initiated study exploring the feasibility of contraceptive implant insertions by midwives in the immediate postpartum period
  • A study exploring the acceptability of the Copper IUD as emergency contraception
  • Evaluations of Family Planning Australia’s international programmes in the Indo-Pacific region, in the areas of cervical screening, gender and disability

Qualifications: PhD; Master of Public Health; Master of International Public Health; Bachelor of Nursing

Publications: A selection of Jessica's publications can be found here.

Yan Cheng - Senior Research Officer

Yan (Wendy) Cheng is a Senior Research Officer at Family Planning NSW.

Yan completed her PhD in Epidemiology and Health Statistics in 2007 in Fudan University, China. Prior to starting her role at Family Planning NSW in 2015, Yan worked as a Research Associate and Associate Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Social Science Research on Reproductive Health, Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood Research (SIPPR), WHO Collaborating Centre for Research in Human Reproduction from 2007 to 2015 and was nominated as a Master’s Supervisor at School of Public Health, Fudan University in 2015. During that period, she received research grants from WHO/HRP, UNFPA, UNESCO and local governments for adolescent sexual and reproductive health research. Yan has over 50 peer-reviewed publications in the field of reproductive health.

Yan’s research interests relate to reproductive health and rights and service delivery among priority populations. At Family Planning NSW she is leading and/or involved in a range of research studies, including:

  • Evaluation of abortion services at Family Planning NSW
  • Reproductive coercion screening and the implications for service provision
  • Clinician attitudes and practices following implementation of the cervical screening renewal in NSW

Qualifications: PhD; Bachelor of Medicine

Publications: A selection of Yan's publications can be found here.

Sarah Wright - Research Officer/Ethics Executive Officer

Sarah Wright is a Research Officer at Family Planning NSW, and is the Ethics Executive Officer for the Family Planning NSW Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). She also teaches in the School of Psychology, Western Sydney University.

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Social Psychology & Social Research), a Graduate Diploma of Psychological Studies, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Psychology, and is in the final year of her PhD at the MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University. Her skills lay in cognitive and experimental psychology including experimental and survey design, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, and research ethics.

Sarah is involved in a range of research projects at Family Planning NSW including:

  • An investigator-initiated study exploring the feasibility of contraceptive implant insertions by midwives in the immediate post-partum period.
  • An evaluation of a capacity building program with Bilingual Community Educators delivering education sessions regarding new cervical screening protocols.
  • A qualitative study exploring IUD insertion experiences of young nulliparous women.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Social Science (Social Psychology & Social Research); Graduate Diploma of Psychological Studies; Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Psychology; PhD candidate

Publications: A selection of Sarah's publications can be found here.

Sarah Fenwick - Research Officer

Sarah Fenwick is a Research Officer at the Family Planning NSW Research Centre, joining the organisation in 2018.  She has also taught for the School of Psychology, Western Sydney University and at the Australian College of Applied Psychology.

Sarah submitted her PhD examining the influence of multimodal (auditory-only vs. auditory-visual) and clearly articulated speech on cross-language speech perception with the MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney, in 2020.

At Family Planning NSW, Sarah is involved in a range of research activities including:

  • Young women's digital cervical screening project evaluation
  • An acceptability study of the female condom for women in NSW
  • Prospective controlled cohort study on the safety of a monophasic oral contraceptive containing nomegestrol acetate (2.5mg) and 17b-estradiol (1.5mg) (PRO-E2 study)

Qualifications: Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology); Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Psychology;  PhD candidate

Publications: A selection of Sarah's publications can be found here.

Prudence Kidman - Research and Publications Officer

Prudence Kidman is the Research and Publication Officer at Family Planning NSW.

Prue is coordinating the update of the Reproductive and Sexual Health (RSH) Handbook, and the development and launch of the associated subscription-based website. She is also involved in several other research studies, including:

  • A study evaluating the differences in health-related risks or benefits associated with oral contraceptives among women
  • A clinical trial examining the treatment of male partners of women with bacterial vaginosis to reduce recurrence
  • An acceptability study of the female condom for women in NSW
  • A pilot study examining the outcomes and safety of a non-hormonal medical device versus a sham device on the treatment of vaginal dryness in post-menopausal women

Qualifications: Master of Research; Bachelor of Philosophy; Bachelor of Arts

Lorraine Edney - Research Nurse

Lorraine Edney is a registered nurse who has worked in the area of reproductive and sexual health care for many years. She joined Family Planning NSW in 1988 and has roles in clinical care, education and clinical research.

Lorraine has worked as a Research Nurse for the last 15 years, including on contraception clinical trials including contraceptive vaginal ring development and management of problem bleeding on contraceptive implants. Her particular interests are in working with investigators to achieve effective and timely study recruitment. 

Examples of studies Lorraine is involved in include:

  • Compass: Future Directions in Cervical Screening
  • An investigator-initiated study exploring the feasibility of contraceptive implant insertions by midwives in the immediate postpartum period
  • Treating male partners of women with BV to reduce recurrence

Qualifications: Bachelor of Nursing; Certified Midwife

Eleanor Wilson - Research Assistant

Eleanor Wilson is a Research Assistant at Family Planning NSW, and Master of Global Health student at the University of Sydney.

Eleanor graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Social Research and Policy (sociology and anthropology) in 2019 and is completing her Master of Global Health at the University of Sydney (expected completion June 2020). She has experience interning for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) working in health and food security research, as well as the Canterbury Earlwood Caring Association researching domestic violence in the Canterbury Bankstown area.

Eleanor is in the early stages of her dissertation which looks at the intersection between climate change and women’s health; aiming to promote a gendered perspective of climate change policy. She began her time at Family Planning NSW in 2019, working on a study which explored the status of comprehensive sexuality education in the Asia-Pacific region.

Eleanor’s research interests relate to reproductive health and rights, domestic violence, and the adverse effects of climate change events on women’s mental, sexual and reproductive health, particularly in lower- and middle- income countries

Qualifications: Master of Global Health (in progress); Bachelor of Social Research and Policy

Kevin McGeechan - Consultant Statistician

Kevin McGeechan is a consultant statistician for Family Planning NSW.  He is a Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney.

Kevin has worked in a variety of private sector and government positions, including five years analysing general practice data with the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) study and then with the General Practice Research Network (GPRN). He is a Chief Investigator on the Third Australian Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR3): a nationally representative sexual health survey, and SPHERE – The Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women: Achieving Better Outcomes through Primary Care. He joined Family Planning NSW as a consultant statistician in 2011.

Qualifications: PhD; Master in Biostatistics; Graduate Certificate in Pharmaeconomics; Graduate Diploma in Public Health; BSC (Hons)

Publications: A selection of Kevin's publications can be found here.

Sally Sweeney - Research Medical Officer

Sally Sweeney is a general practitioner with expertise in sexual and reproductive medicine and over 15 years clinical experience. Sally joined Family Planning NSW in 2008 and has been the Medical Coordinator at FPNSW Hunter Clinic since 2016. She is a Clinical Instructor across all FPNSW education courses, and joined the FPNSW Research Centre in 2019. Sally is also a Conjoint Senior Lecturer with the School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Newcastle, and works in private practice at Elermore Vale General Practice in Newcastle. She has been a past clinical examiner for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Sally has clinical expertise in the areas of STI management, LARC, Shared Antenatal Care, medical termination of pregnancy and diagnosis and management of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. She is early in her research career and is currently a Site Investigator for a pilot study to identify microbial and immune biomarkers for improved diagnoses of pelvic inflammatory disease. Sally has presented this research at national and international conferences. Her current research interests include cervical screening, and partner treatment in BV to reduce recurrences. Sally is passionate about using quality evidence to inform clinical practice.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Science (Medical Science); Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery; Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 

Rong Liu - Data Manager

Rong Liu works as a Data Manager with the Family Planning NSW Research Centre.  Her working experience ranges from academia, commercial and NGOs. Rong was previously a lecturer in Computer Science at Wuhan University in China before migrating to Australia, where she was then the Head of IT and Development Manager in Australian Property Monitors (later part of Domain.com.au) for over 15 years.  

Rong’s experience lies in data processing, statistical analysis and reporting, data management and warehousing, computing system architecture and development.  A key area of focus is in spatial data processing and modeling, where she has published a journal article and co-authored two technical reports. Rong will commence her PhD in the Faculty of Built Environment at UNSW Sydney in June 2020.

Rong supports all aspects of Family Planning NSW systems development and maintenance. She is also involved in programming the accessibility of FPNSW clinics for provision of abortion services. 

Qualifications: Master of Computer Science; Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours)             

Catherine Bernasconi - Data Officer

Catherine Bernasconi is a Data Officer at the Family Planning NSW Research Centre. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Sydney. Her previous roles have included technical and research roles within the University of New South Wales, School of Medical Sciences, and as education consultant for Cotton Australia. She has co-authored several publications in the area of fetal cardiovascular and renal development.

At Family Planning NSW, Catherine is responsible for the provision of data and the management of data systems in the areas of health promotion, education and clinical services, contributing to regular and specialist reports as well as organisational planning. She has also contributed to a range of research studies, including the data management of the Pro-E2 study, a study evaluating the differences in health-related risks or benefits associated with oral contraceptives among women.

Qualifications:  Bachelor of Science in Agriculture; Certificate in Information Technology

Carolyn Apaclla - Quality Management and Accreditation Officer

Carolyn Apaclla has worked as the Quality Management and Accreditation officer at Family Planning NSW since joining the organisation in 2017.

Carolyn’s professional experience lies in quality management, risk management, quality auditing, compliance and process improvement. She has previously worked in different industry sectors such as healthcare, consultancy and manufacturing. 

As well as supporting quality management and accreditation, Carolyn is involved in the evaluation of the reproductive coercion program at Family Planning NSW.

Qualifications: Master of Information Technology (Business Process Management); Postgraduate coursework (Diploma) in Quality Management Systems and Bachelor of Sciences

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