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Staff Spotlight: Meet Dr Frog

picture of Dr Frances

21 June 2024

Dr Frances Graham, known to her colleagues as “Dr Frog”, started her role at Victorian Integrated Cancer Services (VICS) as the Optimal Care Summits Project Manager in August 2023.

VICS is Victoria’s cancer services improvement network. The VICS Optimal Care Summits program is delivered by the North Eastern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (NEMICS), one of the nine VICS based at Austin Health.

The VICS Optimal Care Summits program examines tumour-specific patterns of cancer care, experience, and outcomes. Importantly, it identifies unwarranted variations in Victorian cancer care to be addressed by the VICS and other cancer organisations.

“Like many people, I have experience of family and friends who have been diagnosed with cancer which in turn have triggered a broad and profound effect on the health and well-being of all those involved including me,” shares Frances.

Frances adds, “What I love most about my role is that it aligns with my core value that all people with cancer have access to timely, high-quality, affordable cancer care.”

Last month Frances received her PhD in public health (environmental epidemiology of Legionnaires’ disease, University of Otago) at Dunedin Town Hall, New Zealand. Frances shares, “At the ceremony prior to being ushered on the stage was an especially emotional moment as I reflected momentarily in silent solidarity on all those years of study with terrific support from so many people that had culminated into finally being able to wear a floppy hat.”

Receiving her PhD at the town hall was a cherry on top of the cake as this venue held cherished memories for Frances who is also has a Bachelor of Music and is an accomplished cellist and previous member of the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.

“To cap off (pun intended!) this moment, it was also an opportunity for my family to celebrate with me the result of all my hard work. Indeed, I could hear my sister’s fog-horn like voice calling out ‘Go Dr. Frog’ (a family nickname that goes way back) which made me laugh as I leaped gracefully across the stage!” shares Frances with amusement knowing that her sibling was unlikely to let such an opportunity pass toadily wasted!).

Frances is currently preparing a manuscript for publication in collaboration with several colleagues on unwarranted variations in oesophagogastric (OG) cancer, comparing Victorian data from 2012-2016 and 2017-2021 to the OG cancer Optimal Care Pathway standard of care.