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Meet the team

  • Our team includes surgeons, doctors, clinical nurse consultants, nurses, allied health professionals and coordinators who provide expert, individualised care for each child.

    Director & Surgical Consultant – Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service

    Urology_-_King_Sebastian

    Professor Sebastian King PhD FRACS

    Following completion of his paediatric surgical training at The Royal Children's Hospital, he underwent further colorectal and neonatal surgical training at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada, before returning to Melbourne in 2015. A/Prof. King's clinical role at The Royal Children's Hospital is now focused upon children born with anorectal malformations or Hirschsprung disease, and those affected by chronic constipation. Prof. King established the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service at The Royal Children’s Hospital.   

    Consultants 

    2019 Liz McLeod

    Dr Liz McLeod MD MPH FRACS – Paediatric/Colorectal Surgeon

    Dr Liz McLeod graduated from the University of Melbourne and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, with fellowships in General and Paediatric Surgery. Her training included time with the colorectal service at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and, after completing paediatric surgery at The Royal Children’s Hospital, she underwent post-fellowship training at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Since returning to Australia in 2004, her practice has evolved a focus on Hirschsprung disease, anorectal malformations and inflammatory bowel disease.

    Urology - Juan-bortagaray

    Dr Juan Bortagaray MD (Hons), FRACS (Paed) – Paediatric Urologist

    Dr Bortagaray obtained his Medical Degree in Argentina at University of Buenos Aires in 2002. He underwent General Surgery training and then Paediatric Surgery training in Argentina, finishing in 2010. Towards the end of his training, Juan completed a Fellowship in Paediatric Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, Colorado. Following qualification as a Paediatric Surgeon, Juan subspecialised in Paediatric Urology at Garrahan Children’s Hospital in Buenos Aires – the most prestigious tertiary Paediatric Centre in the country, receiving complex patients from Argentina and neighbouring countries. After finishing his Paediatric Urology Fellowship in 2012, Juan was appointed as a Consultant Urologist at the same institution, where he had a leading role in developing the minimally invasive Urology service. Juan moved to Australia in 2014 and practiced at Monash Children’s Hospital for 5 years, until joining the Urology Department at The Royal Children’s Hospital in September 2019.

    Sonia Grover

    Professor Sonia Grover MBBS, FRANZCOG, MD – Paediatric Gynaecologist

    Professor Sonia Grover is the Director of the Department of Gynaecology at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. She has extensive experience in paediatric and adolescent gynaecology, having worked in this field for over 20 years. She has been instrumental in establishing this subspecialty in Australia, as well as Asia and internationally with teaching, providing clinical support and mentoring as well as undertaking research. As a gynaecologist, Professor Grover has the skills and expertise to undertake surgery on the reproductive and genital tract. Professor Grover holds interest and expertise in the care of young women with congenital anomalies (including reproductive tract anomalies, bladder exstrophy), and variations in sex development. As Professor Grover also takes care of adult women, her expertise extends to those who are no longer cared for at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

    Gastro - Mark Safe

    Dr Mark Safe MBBS (Hons) FRACP – Paediatric Gastroenterologist

    Dr Mark Safe is a Paediatric Gastroenterologist at The Royal Children’s Hospital and is the clinical lead for Neurogastroenterology and Motility in the Department of Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition. He underwent advanced training in Gastroenterology at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne and Sydney Children’s Hospital, during which time he developed his interest in motility disorders and gastrointestinal function in surgical patients. He has specific training in all areas of motility investigation and management and has published and presented abstracts in this field. After gaining his fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Dr Safe was awarded travelling scholarships to undertake an 18-month sub-specialist clinical fellowship at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, where he gained further advanced skills in gut motility and advanced endoscopy and investigation. During this time he worked closely with the complex colorectal surgical service and oesophageal atresia team at GOSH, providing manometry and consultation to these complex patient groups.

    Clinical Nurse Consultants

    Paediatric surgery - Suzie Jackson-Fleurus

    Mrs Suzie Jackson-Fleurus- CNC

    Ms Suzie Jackson-Fleurus is a Clinical Nurse Consultant within the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. She has over 16 years of acute paediatric experience in complex colorectal conditions, burns, urology, plastics, ENT, orthopaedics and trauma. Having served in clinical leadership roles, education and mentorship, Suzie moved to the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service to provide a comprehensive multi-disciplinary approach for children diagnosed with complex colorectal and pelvic conditions. Suzie completed The Royal Children’s Hospital BEST practice program (Building Evidence with Support to Transform Practice) in 2017-2018. As a result of the project, Suzie received a nomination for the Mary Patten award. Determined and passionate to make a difference in patients and family’s lives, Suzie prides herself on delivering the highest standard of care.

    Paediatric surgery - Jessica Taranto

    Ms Jessica Taranto- CNC

    Ms Jessica Taranto is a Clinical Nurse Consultant within the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. She has been a registered nurse at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne since 2012, and has had multiple roles during this time, including scrub/scout, surgical short stay and Stage 1 recovery nursing. In 2016 Jessica completed the BEST practice program at RCH investigating the occurrence of non-clinical delays in Stage 1 Recovery.  Jessica completed her Masters in Advanced Nursing Practice at Deakin University in 2017, with a thesis exploring “Parents’ Experience of Family Centred Care during non-clinical delays in the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit”. In 2017, Jessica was nominated for the Mary Patten award for her work on family centred care in Stage 1 Recovery. She was also the recipient of the Joan Hardy Scholarship in the same year. Jessica is thrilled to working within a multi-disciplinary team, focused upon children and families affected by complex colorectal conditions. 

    Colorectal - Sarah Ziegerink

    Ms Sarah Ziegerink – Stomal Therapy CNC

    Sarah Ziegerink is a Clinical Nurse Consultant within the Stomal Therapy/Continence Department at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. She graduated with a Bachelor in Health Science (Nursing) in 1994, and has worked in various roles across acute and community settings. Since 2000, Sarah has worked in the area of Continence, with a more dedicated paediatric focus since 2002. In 2006, Sarah joined the Stomal Therapy/Continence team at The Royal Children’s Hospital. This role has been multi-faceted, incorporating clinical care, support and education for children and their families with complex colorectal, urological and continence conditions. In 2010, Sarah was appointed as a Clinical Advisor for the State Wide Equipment Program in Continence for Children.

    Colorectal - Ret Pinnuck

    Ms Loreto Pinnuck - Stomal Therapy CNC

    Loreto is a Clinical Nurse Consultant with over 30 years’ experience in stomal, wound and continence care. In addition to her stomal and continence qualifications, she holds a Graduate Diploma in Health Education. Loreto has presented at both national and international conferences. As part of her previous roles, she was instrumental in implementing new and innovative ideas into practice to improve the lives and outcomes of the children she cared for. Loreto joined the CPRS as a Stomal Therapist in 2020.

    Allied Health 

    Peadiatric Surgery – Kim Gilson

    Dr Kim-Michelle Gilson – Clinical Psychologist

    Dr Kim-Michelle Gilson is a Senior Clinical Psychologist within the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service at The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. Kim has extensive experience working with families of children and adolescents with complex medical conditions. She is very passionate about family well-being and has been awarded several research grants to lead research projects on the mental health of parents of children with neurodevelopmental conditions. In 2018, Kim co-established the first clinic to exclusively focus on parent well-being at The Royal Children's Hospital. Kim takes a family-centered, sensitive and collaborative approach to working with patients and their caregivers, utilising a range of evidence-based therapeutic approaches.


    Colorectal - Ellie Braitberg

    Mrs Ellie Braitberg – Social Worker

    Ellie Braitberg is the Social Worker within the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service at The Royal Children’s Hospital. Ellie completed her Masters of Social Work at the University of Melbourne and has extensive experience working with children and their families, both in hospital and in community settings. Ellie has worked as a Social Worker in Melbourne, as well as in Alice Springs. Ellie is very passionate about supporting children and their families through the uncertainty and complex times of hospital admissions and medical intervention. Ellie utilises a family centred approach, and understands that having a child in hospital, or linked into hospital, impacts the entire family. Ellie will work with parents to support their children, as well as the extended family where appropriate.

    Colorectal - Olivia Larkens

    Ms Olivia Larkens – Child Life Therapist

    Olivia has worked at The Royal Children’s Hospital since 2010 as part of the Child Life Therapy team. She is a senior Child Life Therapist and has a broad experience supporting children throughout the hospital, including the Day of Surgery Unit and Children’s Cancer Centre. With a background in teaching prior to working at RCH, Olivia became a Certified Child Life Specialist with the Association of Child Life Professionals in 2017, and has also completed studies in Adolescent Health & Welfare and Palliative Care. Olivia is enthusiastic about working as part of the CPRS multi-disciplinary team as this provides her with the opportunity to engage, educate and empower children with complex colorectal conditions, throughout their hospital experiences.

    Alexa Stern

    Ms Alexa Stern- Dietitian 

    Alexa Stern is the Dietitian working in the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service at The Royal Children’s Hospital. Alexa completed her Masters of Dietetics at Deakin University and has worked across a range of tertiary Melbourne Hospitals, where she has gained a breadth of experience in working with children and their families. Alexa is passionate about supporting children and their families with their nutrition and diet and how this may impact their day-to-day life, while working together to improve this. Alexa utilises evidence-based practice and a family centered approach while working with the multidisciplinary team to provide a service that embodies the values of the child, family, and hospital.

    Coordinators

    Colorectal - Sasha Demicoli


    Mrs Sasha Demicoli- Care Coordinator

    Sasha Demicoli is a Coordinator within the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service, and provides organisational care for patients, their families and the service. Sasha has completed Certificate IV in Health Management and has 15 years‘ experience within The Royal Children’s Hospital as a medical administrator and manager. Sasha prides herself on providing excellent all round family care for patients with complex medical needs.


    Michael Ridley


    Mr Michael Ridley- Care Coordinator

    Michael Ridley is a Coordinator within the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service and an Office Coordinator with the Paediatric Urology team. He has worked with the RCH for two years, working in Specialist Clinics as a Customer Service Officer and a Clinic Coordinator before starting with the Urology and CPRS teams so that he could help support patients and their families. Michael completed a Bachelor of Business and worked in the hospitality and service industry before joining The Royal Children's Hospital. 


    Research

    Colorectal – Penny Hartmann

    Dr Misel Trajanovska - Research Coordinator

    Dr Misel Trajanovska is the Research Coordinator of the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service. Her research career began in 2002 within the Department of Gastroenterology at The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. The project explored the long-term clinical and quality of life outcomes of patients who had undergone surgery for Hirschsprung disease. In 2009, Misel completed her PhD at The University of Melbourne. Her PhD, a mixed-methods study, explored parental use of non-prescription medicine for children aged up to 24 months and the healthcare provider-parent communication related to these medicines. Misel has worked in diverse areas of paediatrics, including neonatal care, parent interventions supporting language and literacy outcomes, and models of care for children with bowel and bladder conditions. She is passionate about clinical research and how it may be applied to current care for improved health outcomes in children and their families.

    Office Coordinator – Department of Paediatric Surgery

    2019 Sara Tennison

    Ms Sara Tennison

    Sara is the Office Coordinator for the Department of Paediatric Surgery, and provides administrative support to the department as well as assistance with projects and reporting. Sara has been at The Royal Children’s Hospital since 2018, starting in Specialist Clinics as a Clinic Coordinator. She recently completed her Masters of Health Management at the University of New South Wales and has developed a keen interest in strategy and improvement, as well as change management.