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About us



Associate Professor Helen Bourke-Taylor PhD, is an occupational therapist, academic and researcher in the Occupational Therapy Department at Monash University, Melbourne ( Helen graduated from La Trobe University in 1989 and received a Master of Science in the USA in 2000. Helen returned to Australia to complete her PhD, 2010.

Helen worked with children and teenagers with disabilities for 20 years in both Melbourne and Chicago, USA. Helen was the Allied Health representative with the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations School Disability Advisory Council, 2011-2013. Helen’s PhD investigated the health and situation of mothers of school aged children with developmental disabilities in Victoria. The findings of this study informed the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families program. Helen has presented parts of the program or the full program in Melbourne and Chicago.  Helen is dedicated to research and scholarship that informs services that promote the health and participation of mothers and ultimately strengthen families, as well as improving school support, educational experiences and the life opportunities of children with disabilities. Helen is married with three children.

Hear Helen introduce herself and talk about Healthy Mothers Healthy Families:


Dr Fiona Jane MBBS, is a General Practitioner with 30 years experience in general practice with a special interest in women’s health. Fiona is Director of Arc Women’s Wellness, a medical practice for women, and a Research Fellow in the Women’s Health Research Program at the Alfred Centre, Monash University, Melbourne. Current research projects include a number of trials looking at health issues for women such as breast cancer, midlife weight gain and diabetes, cognitive and memory loss, anti-depressant therapy and loss of libido.

Fiona graduated from Melbourne University in 1982. Her post-graduate training included experience in paediatrics at the Royal Children’s Hospital; in sexual health and women’s health at The Sexual Health Clinic and Family Planning Clinic; and psychiatry in outer Melbourne. Fiona lived in the USA for five years where she was President of the National Institute of Health International Women’s Group in Washington DC. On returning to Australia, Fiona recommenced general practice, now working specifically in women’s medicine. Married with five boys, Fiona lives a full and energetic life.

Hear Fiona introduce herself and talk about Healthy Mothers Healthy Families:


Mission Statement

The mission of the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families program is to support, empower and encourage mothers of a child with a disability to learn about, and create a healthy lifestyle that fosters their own health and well-being, alongside a healthy, happy family life.  The workshops and website provide mothers with information, research findings and the shared wisdom of other mothers, to better support mothers to meet their important daily responsibilities caring for their child with a disability and family, whilst also caring for themselves. Healthy Mothers Healthy Families advocates for appropriate, evidence informed support that strengthens and empowers parents, carers and families.



The Healthy Mothers Healthy Families team envisions a future where families receive full, comprehensive and coordinated services from the health, disability and education sectors so that all family members’ needs are evaluated and met. Families raising a child with a disability have complex and multiple needs. The Healthy Mothers Healthy Families program is one innovative program that has been designed to meet the needs of mothers, empower mothers and celebrate mothers.  Our aim for the future is that all family members have access to effective and inspiring programs and supports from the moment their loved child is diagnosed or acquires a disability or chronic medical condition. We believe that the future can be bright for all family members with tailored, responsive and available education and support.



"The workshops were all very valuable and I felt that the range of information provided was fantastic. 

Obviously well researched and extremely well prepared. It was very, very good.  The research findings were particularly apt, because I've never seen research findings on mothers or carers with child with a disability.”  

Jennifer, mother to 9 year Genevieve who has Aspergers syndrome and an anxiety disorder.