2023 Marian Barrett Lecture: Elimination of Cervical Cancer

In 1945, Sir James William Barrett made a bequest to The University of Melbourne to provide a lecture on a subject of interest to Nursing and Medical professors and 1953, an inaugural Marian Barrett Lecture was delivered. Since 1997, the Marian Barrett Lecture has become an annual event and a highlight of our Nursing calendar at The University of Melbourne. Watch a recording of last year's Marian Barrett Lecture here.

The Marian Barrett Lecture for 2023 took the form of a panel discussion on the role of nurses (past, present and future) in the elimination of cervical cancer. Few diseases reflect global health disparities as starkly as cervical cancer. We have the tools to prevent and find this cancer early yet 0ver 600,000 women and people with a cervix will develop cervical cancer each year and more than 300,000 will die of the disease. 90% of deaths from cervical cancer in 2018 occurred in low- and middle-income countries. While Australia is likely to be the first country in the world to reach the elimination target (<4 cases per 100,000) we see significant disparity in the potential to reach this target for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and for women and people with a cervix experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.

The WHO launched a formal call for international efforts to eliminate cervical cancer at the World Health Assembly in 2018. Following this member states formally endorsed the plan which has three key targets:

  • Vaccination – 90% of girls fully vaccinated with HPV vaccine by the age of 15
  • Screening – 70% of women screened using a high-performance test by the age of 35, and again by the age of 45
  • Treatment – 90% of women with pre-cancer treated and 90% of women with invasive disease treated.

The potential for nurses to contribute to Australia achieving elimination is called out in the draft National Action Plan on Cervical Cancer Elimination but there are systemic and other barriers to achieving the potential of nurses.

In this panel discussion we traced the role of nurses across the elimination agenda in history (particularly in cervical screening), explored some current innovations in nursing (advanced practice in management of abnormal findings following HPV DNA testing) and examined the future role nurses might play in ensuring equity in access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer.

Presented by


  • Ange Steele headshotAnge Steele is a Registered Nurse and a Registered Midwife, with a Post Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and a Master of Public Health. Ange is a Nurse Practitioner Candidate and a Director on the Board of ACPCC. Her current role is Dysplasia Nurse Coordinator and she is the First trained Nurse Colposcopist in Victoria. Ange has been a Cervical Screening Nurse for 22 years and is a Nurse Educator in Cervical Screening Training, with experience in rural remote settings.
  • Photograph of Michelle CorneliusMichelle Cornelius is a Registered Nurse with over 15 years' experience working in cervical screening. Over this time, Michelle has been working in variety of roles including as a Nurse Cervical Screening Provider. These roles include working in a health promotion, education, clinical and management roles at Cancer Council Victoria, Family Planning Victoria (now Sexual Health Victoria) and Community Health at Clayton and Healesville.  
    Michelle’s current role involves supporting and educating health professionals around the three National Cancer Screening Programs. Michelle is passionate about preventative health care and access to safe, evidence based, non-judgemental health care.
  • Photograph of Gina BundleGina Bundle is a Djiringanj  Walbunja, Woman and Program Coordinator and Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer – of Badjurr-Bulok Wilam – meaning ‘Home of many women’ in the Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri Peoples – at the Royal Women’s Hospital.
    Gina has been is a member of the research team that created the award winning  ‘Baggarrook Yurrongi’ caseload programs since the beginning 2017 that provides high-quality maternity care and patient liaison, which give pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and Non- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander womens having Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander babies  greater access to gold standard maternity care.
    Gina’s Art and Cultural Practice is in Possum Skin Cloaks which saw her facilitate the making  of the Victorian Treaty Commission Possum Skin Cloak Which is a “Historical Document” in its own right which now sits with the First Peoples Assembly. First Peoples Assembly Member Pelts and most recently making a large Possum Skin Cloak for the Yoorrook Justice Commission.
  • Photograph of Michael QuinnProfessor Michael Quinn AM headed the oncology unit at the Royal Women’s Hospital between 1988 and 2008 and retired from clinical practice in 2015.
    He has published over 300 papers and co-authored five textbooks. He has over 11,000 citations.
    A co-founder of ASGO, AOGIN and of ANZGOG, he has held leadership positions in all the major international societies including co-chairing the FIGO Oncology Committee and chairing the Gynecological Cancer Intergroup (GCIG) and President of the International Gynaecologic Cancer Society (IGCS).
    Most recently he has been responsible for leading an APEC webinar series on the current management of cancer of the cervix, is active in coordinating a joint inter-disciplinary approach to the management of gynaecological cancer in the Western Pacific, and with WHO is leading a group to establish a global summit to assess progress in the elimination of cancer of the cervix.
  • headshot of Marion SevilleProfessor Marion Saville has been Executive Director of the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (ACPCC) for over 20 years, where she has led the laboratory, population health and digital health teams focussing on the control of cancer and infectious diseases through the delivery of laboratory and registry services, particularly focussing on cervical cancer prevention. Marion has served on cervical screening advisory committees in Australia, New Zealand and Ontario. She currently chairs the working group to review Australia’s Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities in the National Cervical Screening Program. Marion was appointed as a member of the Order of Australia on Australia Day 2020 for her significant service to women’s health through cervical screening initiatives.

Panel discussion facilitator

  • Headshot of Sanchia ArandaProfessor Sanchia Aranda AM, a nurse by background, has worked in cancer control for over 40 years, most recently as CEO of Cancer Council Australia (2015-2020). She has held roles in healthcare, government, and tertiary education and across the spectrum from prevention, through treatment and palliative care. She is a passionate advocate to improve health equity.
    Sanchia has significant board governance experience having served on the boards of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (President 2006-2010) and the Union for International Cancer Control (President 2016-2018). She is the inaugural Board Chair for the City Cancer Challenge Foundation (2019 – current). Sanchia is also Board Chair for Scope Australia, a leading provider of disability services and is Deputy Board Chair for the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Alliance and a Director of the Dust Diseases Board of NSW.
    Sanchia holds a part-time appointment as a Professor of Health Services Research at The University of Melbourne.