Breaking news

Edition 17 Chief Commissioner T Bear 416x621In line with their mission to support Victorian hospitals, Blue Ribbon Foundation launched their COVID-19 appeal in March.

Supporters were asked to purchase a Constable T Bear or make a donation and nominate their local hospital.

The appeal supported 74 hospitals across the State, including Eastern Health sites! What an amazing contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

We are most grateful to Blue Ribbon Foundation for their ongoing support and partnership. This includes their newly formed Eastern Metro Branch.

Find out more about their commitment to remembering lives by saving others at

Turning Point has recently received a grant of $215,000 to support older adults in the Yarra Ranges, thanks to Gandel Philanthropy.

Close shot of patient holding hands with a carerDid you know that chronic pain affects one in three older adults, and it is estimated to be Australia’s third most costly health problem?

Many people living with chronic pain become dependent on prescribed opioid medication and research shows that this can be harmful in the long-term.

Social connection is recognised as a key ingredient to improving the quality of life for those suffering chronic pain, and an important step in reducing opioid dependency, but it is often difficult for health providers to address in the traditional clinical setting.

A new project, devised by Turning Point in partnership with Eastern Health Foundation, aims to tackle this challenge and it has been given a significant boost after being awarded a Major Grant from Gandel Philanthropy.

The Opioid Use and Pain, Addressing Loneliness in Mature Adults (OP-ALMA) project, is a pilot program targeting older adults in the Yarra Ranges with chronic pain and opioid dependence.

It is an innovative, world-first approach to the holistic management of pain and opioid dependence combined with well-being and quality of life in older adults.

The project will include a strong focus on mentoring and coaching health professionals in the region, to enhance their capacity to address social isolation.

Dr Shalini Arunogiri, an addiction psychiatrist at Turning Point, says the team is thrilled to receive this funding from one of Australia’s largest independent family philanthropic groups.

“As health providers we know that long-term use of some pain medications can be harmful to health. We want to help people get up and about, to connect with others in their community. This project gives us a real opportunity to make a difference”, says Dr Arunogiri.

Vedran Drakulic OAM, CEO of Gandel Philanthropy, says the project ticked all the boxes when considering grant recipients.

“Positive ageing is one of the key focus areas for Gandel Philanthropy. As such, partnering with Turning Point and Eastern Health to pilot this new approach to improving the health, wellbeing and quality of life of older people experiencing chronic pain, addiction and loneliness was a natural fit.

The project is embedded in community, offers tailored social and community activities and involves consumers, carers and health healthcare professionals. It is clearly a comprehensive, well-structured approach and it is strongly aligned to our emphasis on promoting healthy ageing within communities,” says Mr Drakulic.

Turning Point will collaborate with the peak body for older adults, COTA Vic, and other key community partners in the Yarra Ranges region as well as with Eastern Health’s Pain Management Services, in delivering this project.

Thank you Gandel Philanthropy!

About Turning Point

Turning Point is a national addiction treatment centre, dedicated to providing high quality, evidence-based treatment to people adversely affected by alcohol, drugs and gambling, integrated with world-leading research and education.

Turning Point is a highly-valued internationally recognised centre within Eastern Health, that delivers outstanding and innovative research, education and treatment services across Australia.

About Gandel Philanthropy

Gandel Philanthropy is one of Australia’s largest independent family philanthropic funds. It has been the vehicle for charitable giving by the extended Gandel family since its formation as The Gandel Charitable Foundation in 1978.

John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel AC are actively engaged in the philanthropic work and are universally recognised for their generosity and commitment to both Jewish and general causes.

Through Gandel Philanthropy, over the past 40 years they have channelled over $100 million dollars towards supporting various charitable causes in the community. Find out more at

Staff from the Respiratory Assessment Clinic at Box Hill Hospital Support from our community has meant the world to our doctors, nurses and allied health staff over the last few months.

Eastern Health is tremendously grateful to everyone who has donated to the Eastern Health Agility Response Fund so far.

You’ve shown just how much you appreciate our frontline health workers, including members of our Respiratory Assessment Clinic at Box Hill Hospital (pictured).

Thank you!

As at 30 June 2020, the following equipment and programs have been funded for our COVID wards, Emergency Departments, Intensive Care and other units at Angliss, Box Hill and Maroondah Hospitals:

  • Vital signs monitors to provide 24/7 monitoring of heart rate and breathing function
  • Video laryngoscopes to help doctors insert breathing tubes for patients who require ventilation
  • Flu testing machine to quickly test people for flu
  • iPads to keep patients in touch with their families
  • Heart lung bypass machines to take over the work of the lungs (or heart) when they are too ill to absorb oxygen
  • Enhancement of a ‘virtual hospital ward’ to provide health care services in the home
  • ICT equipment in Specialist Clinics to support telehealth / telepresence services

With Stage Three resrictions being reimposed in Melbourne from 9 July 2020, your support is still valued. Please make a donation to the Eastern Health Agility Response Fund today.

Last year 53 staff, family and friends from Box Hill Hospital banded together to raise funds for toys and equipment for the Children’s Ward, with the goal of making kid’s time in hospital a little more comfortable and fun.

Thanks to generous support from the community, their dream is now a reality.

Making time in hospital better for sick kids (Open Captions) from Eastern Health on Vimeo.

After streaming past their original goal, they were able to purchase much more than expected and have since added a raft of additions to the ward including a nitrous machine, art and craft supplies and outdoor play equipment. The ward also plans to construct a sensory wall in the near future.

The most popular item purchased so far has been an electric car used to transport patients around the hospital.

Heading into hospital can be daunting, even for grownups, so for our littlest patients, distractions like the car can take their mind off this unfamiliar environment and help them get home sooner.

Thank you to all those who contributed to this cause. Your donations are having a profound impact on the experience of children and their parents in Box Hill Hospital.

Joyce He, a member of Impact the Future Giving Circle, says she and her fellow giving circle members are motivated by giving back to the broader community they are living in.

“We are honoured to support Box Hill Hospital and help frontline medical teams combating the COVID-19 pandemic and protecting Australians”, says Joyce.

GivingCircleJuly20BMembers of the Giving Circle are mostly young professional Chinese Australians. They are community-minded donors from various walks of life, including professionals, entrepreneurs and students.

“Box Hill Hospital is located in an area that a large group of Chinese migrants are living in. It also has emotional ties for our members, as many have family and friends living near the hospital”, explains Joyce.

“As a giving circle, our mission is to raise awareness and empower change within the community, by supporting charities that protect our environment, support families and the wider community.”

“We would like to be a bridge connecting the Chinese community with mainstream society in Australia”, says Joyce.

“With COVID-19 spreading all around the world, we are very proud to have opportunities to contribute locally via Box Hill Hospital, and to assist combating the global pandemic.”

Impact the Future is based on a ‘collective giving’ model, which is the coming together of individuals or foundations to jointly fund social change.

“The ability to scale up the impact of each individual’s contribution is incredibly powerful”, Joyce explains.

A sub-fund of the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation, Impact the Future Giving Circle’s aim is to build long-term relationships with the organisations they support.

Eastern Health Foundation looks forward to our continued partnership with Joyce and her fellow members of Impact the Future Giving Circle.

Thank you for your support!

Eastern Health Foundation: Supervision Endoscope

Dr Nicholas Wilsmore, from our respiratory team, has a message of thanks to donors for their amazing contribution to the Super Vision Endoscope.

"I can't express enough the gratitude and thanks we have to all the generous donors and supporters in the community who have not only supported Eastern Health in this initiaitve, but also in all other initiatives through the Foundation", says Dr Wilsmore.

The new Super Vision Endescope, funded entirely by donations, is world-class technology that will profoundly improve the lives of cancer patients in our community.

It provides faster, less invasive and more accurate internal ultrasound and biopsy, to detect cancer in respiratory and digestive organs.

Thank you!

Lions BlackburnThe President of the Blackburn Lions Club, Ken Lindorff, recently met with Box Hill Hospital Medical Imaging team members Paul and Peter, presenting them with a donation for the purchase of an anthropomorphic phantom for the Medical Imaging department.

An anthropomorphic phantom is a 'dummy' body part that can be used to safely test and measure radiation doses (instead of testing on people). It mimics the body's absorption of radiation.

Paul, Medical Imaging Tutor, and his project team (including graduate and undergraduate Medical Imaging Technologists) will use the phantom arm to investigate how much x-ray exposure (radiation doses) can be reduced by, whilst maintaining image quality.

This is a fantastic project that will ultimately benefit patients requiring x-rays.

Thank you to Blackburn Lions Club and their partners in this project, Australian Lions Foundation and Blackburn South Community Bendigo Bank, for makng this research possible.


Milly Xiaohui Li was an English teacher for Chinese migrants for many years in Box Hill. When COVID-19 began to affect Victorians, she reached out to her former students, friends and colleagues to support Box Hill Hospital and the Eastern Health Agility Response Fund.

“I realised the necessity of such contributions in my local community”, says Milly, a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor from LYU You Study International Pty Ltd.

“When my husband and I began the fundraiser, we received contributions from past students and friends in the Australian community, and also a few friends who are living in mainland China”, she says.

TheMilly group donated over $16,600 to the Eastern Health Agility Response Fund in early April 2020.

“During this difficult time, many of us are living in a state of privilege; being able to work from home, study at home and connect with others online from the safety of our home”, says Milly. “This is thanks to the many frontline doctors and nurses in our community who are dedicated to keeping us safe.”

“We are humbled to help and say thank you to frontline medical staff in our local area. Box Hill hospital has been grounded and supportive of this community for such an extensive period of time. I myself gave birth at Box Hill Hospital twice!” says Milly.

“We trust that Box Hill Hospital will use our donation to positively impact doctors and nurses and our local community as well.”

To date (12 June 2020), community support for the Agility Response Fund has enabled the purchase of vital life-saving medical equipment across Eastern Health, including:

  • One heart lung bypass machine – to take over the work of the lungs (or heart) when they are too ill to absorb oxygen
  • Three video laryngoscopes - a device to help doctors insert breathing tubes for patients who require ventilation (Box Hill Hospital and Maroondah Hospital)
  • 16 vital signs monitors - to provide 24/7 monitoring of heart rate and breathing function (Box Hill Hospital)
  • “We are proud to be able to support others in need. This donation sets us on track to recover from this pandemic.”

“In many ways, we are proud, grateful and humbled that we can contribute to this effort in ways other than staying at some and social distancing”, says Milly.

“Thank you to the doctors and nurses who have spent many sleepless nights preparing for and fighting this virus.”

Eastern Health Foundation is most grateful to Milly and her students, friends and colleagues for their wonderful contribution to the Agility Response Fund.

With coronavirus preparations affecting health services across Australia, our local Chinese community has provided much-needed support to Box Hill Hospital.

We extend our appreciation to the Asian Business Association of Whitehorse (ABAW), who recently partnered with local business and groups to donate $40,000 to the Eastern Health Agility Response Fund for coronavirus equipment at Box Hill Hospital.

Steven Zheng"There were a lot of businesses in Box Hill that were effected in late January", says Mr Steven Zheng, Vice President, ABAW told SBS News during an interview in April, pictured. "We cancelled Chinese New Year and a lot of our local business shut down."

"But despite that, our business and community members rallied together to support the doctors at Box Hill Hospital."

Mr William Ma, Vice President ABAW, is encouraging the local community to continue to come together to help other people.

"We work for the community and we care for our community", Mr Ma says.

Donations to the fund are providing a vital lifesaving service during the coronavirus pandemic as well as providing the community with vital equipment that can be used in other respiratory and cardiac cases well into the future.

"The frontline health staff are the real heroes. They need as much support as possible", says Steven Zheng.

The Asian Business Association of Whitehorse is continuing to encourage the community to give,.welcoming donations to the Asian Business Association of Whitehorse appeal for Box Hill Hospital.

When Eastern Health Foundation reached out to our local community to support our frontline medical teams, we never expected such an overwhelming response from so many people.

Supporters of the Eastern Health Agility Response Fund, launched in March, continue to give our medical heroes an extra dose of appreciation in these challenging COVID-19 times.

“We received so many beautiful words of encouragement – it touched us deeply,” says Jason Smith, Director, Eastern Health Foundation.

ICU, Emergency and COVID-19 wards receive new equipment

Dr John Dyett with medical equipmentDonations raised so far have been immediately assigned to urgent lifesaving equipment, including:

  • Three video laryngoscopes - a device to help doctors insert breathing tubes for patients who require ventilation (Box Hill Hospital and Maroondah Hospital)
  • 16 vital signs monitors - to provide 24/7 monitoring of heart rate and breathing function (Box Hill Hospital)
  • 18 iPads and iPod touches - to facilitate communication between patients who are isolated due to COVID-19 with their friends and family who are restricted from visiting (Intensive Care)
    (as at 1 May 2020)

"At times like this, your support means the world to our doctors, nurses and allied health staff. Thank you!" says Dr John Dyett, Intensive Care Specialist, pictured with equipment funded by Agility Response Fund donors.

The fight isnt over

Additional equipment still urgently needed by our frontline health workers includes:

  • $51,724 for two more video laryngoscopes in our emergency departments – to help doctors insert breathing tubes;

  • $65,400 for two portable transport ventilators – to provide life support for people with critical lung failure;
  • $262,840 for two heart lung bypass machines - for patients with critical heart and / or lung failure, if traditional ventilation with a breathing tube is not enough.
    (as at 1 May 2020)

"I know that many people are under financial, emotional and even physical constraints at this time", says Jason. "But our health workers are facing difficult challenges each day, and every dollar raised helps them know they are not alone."

Every dollar you give will directly support frontline medical staff - there are no administration fees.

"Thank you for giving our medical heroes the equipment and resources they need to continue the fight against coronavirus," says Jason. “We are immensely grateful.’