Meet the Medical team

Dr Rammy Abu-Assi
- Paediatric Gastroenterologist

Rammy is an extremely competent Paediatric Gastroenterologist who is committed to improving children's health by focussing on their gut issues and how they relate to the overall well-being of the child. He was born in Darwin and undertook his medical training with the University of Adelaide, completing his fellowship in Paediatric Gastroenterology through the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He undertook 3 years of research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis). Rammy also completed a one year fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.

Rammy is accredited in the undertaking of endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures in children. He works part-time at the Women's and Children's Hospital, North Adelaide. Rammy is married with two children and family is very important to him.


Dr Henning Johannsen
- Paediatric Allergist and Immunologist

Henning is a Consultant Paediatric Allergist and Immunologist and has been working in Paediatric Medicine since 2003.

He completed his primary medical degree in Germany before coming to Adelaide to complete his General Paediatric training at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the Flinders Medical Centre, the Lyell McEwin and the Port Augusta Hospital.

In addition to this, he completed four years of specialist advanced training in Paediatric Allergy and Immunology.

This involved working at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, the Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth and the Charité in Berlin, Germany, a leading hospital in Europe, well known for its advances in Paediatric Medicine and Paediatric Allergy and Immunology.

He currently works as a Consultant at Flinders Medical Centre as well as in private practice.

He is married and is a devoted father of 3 young children who he loves spending time with.

He is dedicated to support families with children, especially those with allergies and immunodeficiencies. This includes all forms of allergies, skin prick testing, immunotherapy, both subcutaneous and sublingual and food/drug challenges. 



Dr Matt Scholar
- Paediatrician

Matt was born in Adelaide but grew up in the ACT and attended Canberra Grammar School. In 2003, he graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Medicine/Surgery and Bachelor of Laws. Matt returned to SA for his internship at Flinders Medical Centre before commencing paediatric training there in 2005. He has also worked at Women's and Children's Hospital, Lyell McEwin Hospital, Modbury Hospital, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, and most recently, Royal Darwin Hospital. On completion of training in July 2012, Matt returned from the NT to work at Adelaide Paediatrics and part-time at Flinders Medical Centre.

Matt enjoys all aspects of general paediatrics but has a particular interest in medical law, having been recently admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Northern Territory. He is married to a local GP and is the proud father to a son, who (from birth) barracks for the Adelaide Crows, ACT Brumbies and Canberra Raiders.


Dr Vanessa Brooks
- Paediatrician

Vanessa is a General Paediatrician who has been working in paediatric medicine since 2003. She completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Adelaide in 1998, and postgraduate Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery at Flinders University of South Australia in 2002. Her paediatric training was completed at the Women's and Children's Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre and Lyell McEwin Hospital, Adelaide, and Port Augusta Hospital. She was admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Paediatrics) in 2011.

Vanessa enjoys all aspects of paediatric care and parenting concerns, from newborns to adolescents. She has a particular interest in infant feeding and breastfeeding support and is a qualified Lactation Consultant. Other interests include neonatal medicine, child development, sleep and behaviour concerns, and paediatric allergic conditions.

Vanessa is a devoted mother to three young boys. She is dedicated to caring for children and their families, supporting parents to enjoy raising their children, and helping children to thrive.


Dr Thu Kent
- Paediatrician

Thu studied medicine at Adelaide University, and graduated in 2001. After an internship at Flinders Medical Centre, she commenced her paediatric training at Flinders Medical Centre for a year, then moved on to complete the remainder of her training at the Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, with rotations at the Lyell McEwin hospital, Alice Springs Hospital and a variety of community positions as well.

She received her Fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Paediatrics) in 2012. She is happy to provide medical care for children from birth through to adolescence. Thu has also recently completed a Master of Public Health at Flinders University and has an interest in preventative strategies and health promotion to maximise each child's potential. She is married, with three children.



Dr Sonali Vasilunas
- Paediatrician

Sonali is a Consultant General Paediatrician who has been working in Paediatric Medicine since 2001. She completed a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery through the University of Adelaide in 1999. Her Paediatric training was undertaken through the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre, The Lyell McEwin Health Service, Modbury Hospital and Port Augusta Hospital. She was admitted to Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2010 and since that time she has been working as a Consultant Paediatrician at Flinders Medical Centre and a Lecturer in Paediatrics at Flinders University in the School of Medicine.

Sonali enjoys all aspects of Paediatrics and is comfortable taking on the care of any child or adolescent up to 18 years of age. She is experienced in all aspects of General Paediatrics but has a particular interest in Respiratory Medicine, Infants and children with feeding difficulties, Paediatric allergic conditions and children with haematological conditions. In addition, as a result of her work at Flinders Medical Centre, she has extensive experience in acute care Paediatrics. She has a passion for teaching and has devoted much of her time to training medical students and junior doctors.

Sonali is the mother of 2 beautiful children and is returning to work from maternity leave following the birth of her second child. As a mother she understands the importance of the family unit in the long term care of children and adolescents with medical and behavioural issues and is committed to supporting children and their families in order to help them reach their full potential. She is extremely excited to be joining the Adelaide Paediatrics team.


Dr Anthony Chitti
- Paediatrician

Anthony is a paediatrician who was born and raised in Adelaide. He is married and a proud father of two young children at home. He attended St Ignatius College where he became Dux of the College in 1993. He graduated from Adelaide University in 2000 and was admitted to the Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Paediatrics) in 2007. His paediatric training was undertaken at the Women's And Children's Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, The Lyell McEwin Health Service and The Townsville Hospital, Queensland.

Anthony is happy to take on the care of any child less than 18 years of age. He has particular interests in childhood learning, developmental and behavioural problems as well as neonatal medicine. Apart from his busy private practice he also works as a part-time Staff Specialist in Paediatrics at Flinders Medical Centre where he enjoys teaching medical students and junior medical staff.


Dr Paul Lang
- Paediatrician

Paul completed his undergraduate medical degrees at The Flinders University of South Australia. His subsequent specialist training was at the Women's and Children's Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, and Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth. He gained his Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Physicians (Paediatrics) in 2001.

Paul has over 10 years' experience as a consultant paediatrician, largely in private practice in Adelaide. He enjoys immensely the diverse spectrum of general paediatric medicine, ranging from newborn to adolescent care. His particular interests include neonatal medicine as well as developmental and behavioural problems. Paul is also the sole visiting paediatrician to the south coast community of South Australia where he has been keenly involved in the teaching of medical students from the Flinders University Rural Clinical School.

Paul has developed an empathetic and balanced approach to caring for children and their families through both clinical and practical experience as a father of three active boys.


Dr Ben Saxon
- Paediatric Haematologist

Ben graduated from the University of Sydney medical school and moved to Adelaide to study paediatrics at the Women's and Children's Hospital. Developing an interest in oncology and haematology - the treatment of children with cancer or blood disorders - he and his family moved to Toronto, Canada in the mid-late 1990's. He spent almost three years at the Hospital for Sick Children specialising in this field. Upon his return to Adelaide, Dr Saxon worked as a paediatric haematologist/oncologist both at the Women's And Children's Hospital and in private practice. More recently he has worked at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in transfusion medicine and returned to Canada to work for another couple of years.

We are now fortunate to have Dr Saxon back in Adelaide and part of the Adelaide Paediatrics team. He continues to work at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and the Women's and Children's Hospital. His practice covers all aspects of paediatric haematology and oncology with special interests in blood clotting, bleeding problems and transfusion medicine.


Dr Mandy Yiu
- Paediatrician

Mandy graduated from University of Adelaide in South Australia. Her subsequent paediatric training was at the Women's and Children's Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre. She gained her Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Paediatrics) in 2011. She was born in Hong Kong and can speak fluent Cantonese.

Mandy is experienced in general paediatric medicine and has a specific interest in eating disorders.

Mandy is currently working part time at Flinders Medical Centre as the leading clinician for the Eating Disorder Team for medical assessment and management. She is also the sole visiting Paediatrician in Murray Bridge.


Meet the Allied Health team

Ondrea Ballinger
- Paediatric Speech Pathologist

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Speech Pathology


Ondrea graduated from the Flinders University in 1999 and since this time has worked as a Speech Pathologist with children and their families in rural and metropolitan community health, hospitals, university clinics and private practice. 

Ondrea is passionate about supporting the communication development of young children.  She specializes in the assessment, diagnosis and intervention of communication difficulties in babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

Ondrea has an interactive, play-based approach to therapy.  She strives to provide family-focused therapy, working with parents/ carers to support their child’s communication development.

Ondrea is committed to evidence based practice and is a Certified Practising Member of Speech Pathology Australia. Ondrea is trained in the Hanen ‘It Takes Two to Talk’ program, Lidcombe Program, Marte Meo approach and Circle of Security Parenting program. 

Helping individuals, families and groups with:

  • Early communication development / 'late talkers'
  • Speech sound difficulties / clarity
  • Language Understanding (following instructions, answering questions, understanding concepts)
  • Expressive Language (putting sentences together, vocabulary)
  • Play skills
  • Preschool stuttering (Lidcombe program)
  • Home / preschool / child care programs


Angela Coppi
- Psychologist

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Junior Primary and Primary Education

Angela Coppi is a registered psychologist with extensive experience in the area of education and developmental psychology. She has worked both in the private and public sectors in metropolitan, regional and rural areas. She specialises in the assessment, diagnosis and intervention of psychological conditions affecting children and adolescents and their families. Angela is also a registered teacher. Her knowledge of the curriculum and experience working in the school environment assists her in providing effective intervention and recommendations to assist children in achieving the best possible outcomes and maximising their potential. Her strong knowledge and understanding of the school system within South Australia enables her to confidently advocate for families.

Helping individuals, families, groups and schools with:

  • behavioural problems,
  • anxiety disorders,
  • depressive disorders and adjustment disorders
  • school issues, such as bullying, performance anxiety and perfectionism,
  • toileting issues,
  • trauma and attachment disorders,
  • developing parenting skills, particularly for parents of children with a disability or challenging behaviours
  • developing positive behaviour plans and proactive approaches to meltdowns
  • assessment and intervention of autism spectrum disorders (Angela is an Autism SA accredited diagnostician and provider under the ‘Helping Children with Autism’ program),
  • identifying learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, and
  • identifying gifted and talented learners.

Dr Hayley Dohnt
- Psychologist

Qualifications:

•  Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)

•  Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology)

Hayley is a Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of paediatric psychological problems.

Hayley completed her clinical and research training at Flinders University, including a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the area of adolescent sleep. Her PhD thesis focused on childhood body image and eating concerns.

Hayley has worked at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Flinders University, and in Private Practice.

Hayley has a particular interest in the area of sleep, with experience in the research, assessment and treatment of sleep disorders across the lifespan.

Hayley also has experience in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders, behavioural problems, trauma, and body image and eating concerns.

Helping individuals, families, groups and schools with:

  • Sleeping problems, including delayed sleeping patterns, settling difficulties, sleep association problems, issues with initiating or maintaining sleep, and trouble waking in the morning;
  • Anxiety disorders, such as separation anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, and panic disorder;
  • Mood and adjustment disorders;
  • Body image and eating concerns;
  • School issues, such as school refusal, bullying, performance anxiety and perfectionism;
  • Behavioural problems;
  • Responses to trauma;
  • Dealing with grief, separation or divorce;
  • Toileting issues; and
  • Social skills training, among others


Nikki Marshall
- Podiatrist

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Podiatry – University of South Australia.

Nikki is an accredited podiatrist who has undertaken further training in dry needling, foot mobilisation and toe walking. Since graduation, she has worked in rural settings, metropolitan hospitals and private practice and now divides her time between public and private work.

Nikki first became interested in children’s feet while at university and working part time at Ollie Ashenden Children’s Shoes.

She is now passionate about providing children with the best possible foot care and helping them to achieve their full potential.

In her spare time Nikki volunteers as a mentor with ‘Time For Kids’ which is a not for profit organization that provides disadvantaged children with role models to support them in overcoming life’s challenges.

Helping individuals, families, groups and schools with:

  • Flat feet
  • Toe walking
  • Intoeing/Outtoeing
  • Gait abnormalities
  • Lower limb pain
  • Normal lower limb development
  • In grown toe nails
  • Warts
  • Orthotic therapy
  • Footwear assessment


Hayley Uden
- Paediatric Podiatrist

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Podiatry, University of South Australia, Conferred April 2005
  • Master of Health Science (Podiatry), University of South Australia, Conferred March 2011
  • Currently a PhD candidate, University of South Australia, Commenced February 2012

Hayley has worked as an accredited podiatrist in both the public, private, rural and metropolitan regions. Currently Hayley works as a full time lecturer at the University of South Australia teaching students from first year through to the final year of their studies. In particular Hayley teaches the paediatrics component of the podiatry course and also coordinates the paediatrics community clinic.

To further Hayley's interest and skills within paediatric podiatry she began her PhD candidature in 2012 with her thesis entitled:

The paediatric flat foot; what is it? and does it hinder lower limb function?

Hayley is especially passionate in helping children to achieve their greatest physical potential to keep them active and engaged in life's activities.  

Helping individuals, families, groups and schools with:

  • Flat feet
  • Intoeing
  • Toe walking
  • General lower limb orthopaedic issues
  • Ingrowing toenails
  • Warts
  • Gait assessment
  • Shoe wear assessment
  • Normal lower limb development

Julia Boase
- Paediatric Dietitian

Qualifications:

  • Accredited Practising Dietitian
  • Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Paediatric Nutrition
  • Bachelor of Biotechnology (Hons)

Since 2001, Julia has had been an Accredited Practicing Dietitian specialising in the area of Paediatrics. Julia has worked at both the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne and the Women and Children's Hospital, Adelaide.

Her extensive experience includes the nutritional care of children with food allergies, cystic fibrosis, chronic renal disease, congenital cardiac abnormalities, gastrointestinal problems and other complex medical conditions. Julia's research interest in the area of Cystic Fibrosis saw her awarded an international travel scholarship to present at the 2009 North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference. Julia has always maintained a keen interest in teaching, and has been involved in lecturing, tutoring, mentoring and providing clinical supervision to Nutrition & Dietetics Students attending Flinders University.

Julia has a keen interest in fussy eaters right through to those with more significant feeding problems. She also has significant experience and interest in the area of food allergies and intolerances and is a dietitian member of the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA). Julia is a mother to two young boys.

Helping individuals, families, groups and schools with:

  • General feeding advice for infants, toddlers & children
  • Fussy and problem eating
  • Food allergies & intolerances
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as lactose/fructose and sucrose intolerance
  • Failure to thrive/underweight
  • Overweight
  • Nutrition support for complex medical conditions


Johanna De Kort
- Paediatric Occupational Therapist

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy
  • Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies (Leadership)
  • Advanced Positive Behaviour Support

Johanna is a registered and very experienced Occupational Therapist who currently also works with Disabilities Services in South Australia. She has more than 13 years' experience working with children living with intellectual disability and complex behavioural and support needs. She has a strong community focus and values supporting her clients to achieve an active life, participating in those activities that are meaningful and relevant to their lives. She works using developmental, sensory processing, behavioural, family systems, attachment and occupational performance approaches. She likes to work with families in the child's authentic environment (such as home or school) to address concerns around activities of daily living, sleeping, toileting, play, sensory processing and challenging behaviour.

Helping individuals, families, groups and schools with:

  • Child development
  • Disability issues
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Participation in activities and everyday routines
  • Behavioural issues and positive behaviour support
  • Anxiety
  • Sensory processing
  • Attention and concentration
  • Self-regulation and alertness
  • Physical skills, fine motor skills and coordination
  • Activities of daily living, such as sleep and toileting
  • Family problems


Rachel George
- Paediatric Dietitian

Qualifications

  • Accredited Practising Dietitian
  • Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sports Science)

Rachel is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with over 12 years experience. She has worked both interstate and overseas, and spent the last 6 years at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide. Her experience includes the nutritional education and care of children with diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and diseases, fussy eating, failure to thrive, neonatal care, congenital heart disease, and cancer. She has also provided education to pregnant women in the area of general pregnancy nutrition and gestational diabetes. Rachel has also been involved in lecturing, tutoring and clinical supervision to Nutrition and Dietetic Students from Flinders University.

Rachel enjoys working with infants and children to ensure they receive the appropriate nutrition to support their ongoing growth and development.

Helping individual, families, groups and schools with:

  • Fussy and problem eating
  • Solids introduction to infants and general nutrition for toddlers and children
  • Lactose/sucrose/fructose intolerance
  • Failure to thrive/underweight
  • Overweight
  • Pregnancy nutrition and Gestational Diabetes
  • Nutrition support for complex medical conditions


Chelsea Mauch
- Paediatric Dietitian

Qualifications:

  • Accredited Practising Dietitian
  • Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours)

Chelsea is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with over six years' experience working with children and families, both in a clinical setting and in research. During her time at the Women's and Children's Hospital she provided nutrition education and support to children and families with diabetes, disabilities (including cerebral palsy & Down syndrome), congenital heart disease, failure to thrive, enteral nutrition, obesity, and other nutrition and feeding issues. She also practiced maternal nutrition, providing education for gestational diabetes and general pregnancy nutrition. Her recent work in research and teaching at Flinders University has extended her specialist knowledge in infant and toddler feeding. Chelsea has a passion for promoting healthy feeding practices in infants and children to best support growth, development, and future health.

Helping individuals, families, groups and schools with:

  • Infant and toddler feeding (such as solids introduction, fussy eating)
  • General nutrition advice
  • Failure to thrive / underweight
  • Nutrition support for
    • medical conditions, such as congenital heart disease
    • disabilities and developmental delay
    • cancer
  • Lactose / fructose / sucrose intolerance
  • Overweight / obesity
  • Nutrition for fertility, pregnancy and gestational diabetes


Michael Brockbank
- Physiotherapist

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy
  • Bachelor of Science with Honours
  • Completed the Aquatic Physiotherapy 1 and "Green" Aquatics Coaching License courses.
  • Michael is a physiotherapist with more than 12 years' of experience working with children in the public, private and community health systems. He has an extensive and diverse range of skills in both land and aquatic-based physiotherapy and considerable experience in the management of children with a wide range of health issues and conditions. Michael has spent most of his career working at the Women's and Children's Hospital as a Senior Physiotherapist and Clinical Educator as well as being the Co- Director of Childs Play Physiotherapy. Michael's specific clinical experience and interests are in paediatric orthopaedics as well as paediatric developmental and rehabilitation physiotherapy. He has a strong commitment to see every child achieve their full potential.

    Helping individuals, families, groups and schools with:

    • Congenital orthopaedic issues
    • General paediatric orthopaedics
    • Post surgery rehabilitation
    • Child developmental challenges
    • Gross motor and coordination issues
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Disability issues
    • Cerebral palsy


Sim Dhaliwal
- Paediatric Speech Pathologist

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Speech Pathology
  • Graduate Certificate Management

Sim is a speech pathologist with more than 17 years' experience working in the health and education systems in both New South Wales and South Australia. She has experience working with children who have spoken and written communication difficulties from a range of culturally diverse backgrounds, in a variety of environments (at their homes, child care centres, preschools and schools). Having spent most of her career in the South Australian education system, Sim is familiar with the different types of supports available for children with learning difficulties and is able to confidently advocate for families navigating their way through this system. Sim has extensive experience in providing training and development for parents, health professionals, teaching and school support staff and is able to tailor packages to suit the needs of individual groups of people.

Sim is a published author, having co-written Nelson Phonics (Published by Cengage Learning), a complete phonics program for children in the first 3 years of school. She has also authored programs for teaching and support staff to work on with students in the preschool and school environments.

Helping individuals, families, groups and schools with:

  • Early communication development / late talkers
  • Play skills
  • Speech difficulties
  • Preschool stuttering (Lidcombe program)
  • Specific language impairment / Language Disorder
  • Language delays
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Listening / following instructions
  • Use of picture symbols or signing for children with limited communication
  • Home / preschool / school programs
  • Developmental Screening
  • Prevention / early intervention for speech / language / literacy
  • Difficulties with spelling, writing, reading comprehension


Renae Gibbs
- Paediatric Speech Pathologist

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Speech Pathology

Renae graduated with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology in 2005 and has over 8 years’ experience working with children in acute hospitals, community and disability settings. She has worked within regional and metro SA, as well as having 2 years’ experience in London.

Her special interest areas are paediatric feeding, parent-child interaction and complex developmental needs.

Helping individuals, families and groups with:

  • Early communication development / late talkers
  • Play skills
  • Speech sound difficulties
  • Difficulties eating and drinking, especially children having difficulties transitioning to solids (anatomical or sensory)
  • Specific language impairment / Language Disorder
  • Language delays
  • Listening / following instructions
  • Home / preschool / child care programs
  • Developmental Screening and complex developmental needs


Meet the Reception team