VicHealth Awards Night

Local finalist in Victoria’s premier health awards

Caption: Pictured is Latrobe Health Advocate, Jane Anderson (second from left), with (from left) the members of the Gippsland Primary Health Network’s Latrobe Health Innovation Zone (LHIZ) team, Megan Barnes, Lauren Sewell and Ashlea King at the VicHealth Awards.

Gippsland Primary Health Network and Quit Victoria were recognised as a finalist in the VicHealth Awards for their joint initiative Smokefree Gippsland.

The initiative aims to ensure people who smoke in the Latrobe Valley and beyond are, at every opportunity, provided with consistent and best practice care to quit smoking.

The annual VicHealth Awards in Melbourne on Tuesday night, are the state’s highest accolade for health promotion, celebrating organisations working to create a healthier Victoria.

Gippsland PHN and Quit Victoria was one of two finalists in the Preventing Tobacco Use category for their work in reducing the impact of smoking in the Latrobe Valley region and reinforcing the crucial role of health professionals, in particular general practitioners, in helping patients to quit smoking.

Since 2017, Gippsland PHN in collaboration with Quit Victoria have trained over 170 health professionals in the Latrobe Valley to have effective conversations with their patients about smoking. Smokefree Gippsland is the next iteration of this work, with online training for GPs now available across the whole Gippsland region.

The initiative drives referrals to Quitline, helping people in the Latrobe Valley who smoke to access trained Quitline counsellors who can offer personalised, empathetic and non-judgemental support throughout a person’s quitting journey.

Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, was thrilled to be recognised on behalf of the dedicated Primary Health Network staff, general practitioners and practice nurses involved in the project.

“Smoking rates in the Latrobe Valley have traditionally been higher than the state average but are on the decline,” Ms Proposch said. “This initiative promotes wellbeing in the community by encouraging people who smoke to speak to their general practitioner for advice and help to quit, and supports doctors through delivery of online training, resources for patients and practices and development of evidence-based clinical guidelines.

“This partnership has utilised the strengths of each partner organisation to develop a suite of work relating to the smoking cessation initiative and tailored to the needs of the local community.” HPE Number: DOC/19/0000

Quit Victoria Director, Dr Sarah White, was equally delighted with the recognition. “We know that one in 33 conversations in which a health professional advises someone to stop smoking results in that person successfully quitting,”she said. “This initiative helps to ensure these conversations are held at every opportunity.:

Smokefree Gippsland is an initiative implemented as a result of the State Government’s investment in the Latrobe Health Innovation Zone (LHIZ). More information about the ‘Smokefree Gippsland’ initiative can be found in the VicHealth Awards Finalist Gallery here and at

For more quitting advice, visit or call the Quitline on 13 7848.