We are thrilled to announce that Professor Paul Croaker and Registered Nurse, Liz Hearn, have been presented with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow recognitions by the Rotary Club of Hall for their outstanding voluntary contribution to paediatric care.

They are both part of the ROMAC team, which provides life-saving and dignity-restoring surgery to children from developing countries in the Pacific region.

Immediate Past President Rob Woolley honoured Professor Croaker and Liz Hearn last Tuesday, who attended the meeting to give the club feedback on their Solomon Islands trip funded by the club

(Pictured above L to R: President Andrew Giumelli Professor Croaker, Liz Hearn, IPP Rob Woolley)

Departure to Solomon islands

Liz has been a vital member of the ROMAC team since 2019. She has taken on a more organisational role since November 2022, and has helped to source a lot of equipment, securing increased weight allowance through Solomon Airlines, and more.

Since Liz joined the team, the paediatric ward nurses’ work has become easier, with preoperative procedures now being performed unsupervised in some cases, and postoperative care much improved.

Liz also showed compassion and support for a baby named Vincent and his mother Cosinta, who were in Canberra for 17 months. Cosinta was having mental health issues and Liz helped to manage her medical appointments. It was a difficult time, and Liz’s help was very much appreciated.

Prof David Croaker has been involved with ROMAC since it started in Canberra in 2007. He has been the leading paediatric surgeon for all our ROMAC children, although he has not operated on all of them. The paediatric surgeons work as a team.

David has a long history of involvement with third world surgical practice, beginning with a student elective in Nepal in 1977; visits to the United Mission Hospital, Tansen in Nepal since 1987; to Al Awda Hospital in Gaza since 2006; to the National Referral Hospital in Honiara since 2015; and to several other places (from Zambia to Ulaan Bataar) on a one-off basis.

David was part of the negotiations with the Minister for Health for the original MoU between ROMAC and the ACT Government in 2010 and again when it was renewed in 2018. He has also been a powerful advocate for ROMAC within the medical community and the public.

We congratulate both Liz and David for their well-deserved recognition and thank them for their amazing work with ROMAC. They are both inspiring examples of service above self in our community.