Clinician Connect

Farewell to Barbara Strettles

17 Dec 2021 Reading time approximately


Barbara 'Barby' Strettles has enjoyed a significant 50-year career within the NSW Health system. As Barbara enters retirement, this incredible milestone complements the many achievements throughout her career and highlights the importance of following your passion.

As the Agency for Clinical Innovation's (ACI) Brain Injury Rehabilitation Network Manager for 12 years, Barbara had an interest in brain injury from early in her career.

She has worked in nursing and health manager roles, dedicated to improving care for people with brain injury.

“In the 1990s, Barbara recognised that brain injury was a lifetime condition,” says Jenni Johnson, ACI Associate Director, Trauma Pain and Rehabilitation. “She advocated for community follow-up, led the establishment of community reintegration services in NSW and became the first team leader of a multidisciplinary team providing support to people in the community.”

"Close colleagues describe Barbara as irrepressible, inspiring, creative and dynamic."

Her legacy includes contributions to the establishment of:

  • the compulsory third-party scheme
  • the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program at Liverpool Hospital
  • Headway (a not-for-profit organisation)
  • the state transitional living unit network
  • the NSW Brain Injury Rehabilitation Programs.

“Perhaps the most enduring role Barbara has played over the years is as an advocate for people living with brain injury, their family members and carers,” adds Jenni. “She advocated for transitional living units, day programs and respite services for people with brain injury.”

Barbara (centre) receiving the NSW Health award for Outstanding Service in December. Presented by Ellen Rawston, ACI Clinical Director (left) and Jenni Johnson, ACI Associate Director, Trauma Pain and Rehabilitation.

Barbara (centre) receiving the Certificate for Outstanding Service in December. Presented by Ellen Rawstron, ACI Executive Director (left) and Jenni Johnson, ACI Associate Director, Trauma Pain and Rehabilitation.

During her time at the ACI, Barbara led, advocated for and promoted key innovations in brain injury rehabilitation, such as the Vocational Intervention Program, patient-reported outcome measures for brain injury, and community-based brain injury rehabilitation with a case management model.

Barbara also contributed to many book chapters and publications; and secured grant funding to support critical areas of work.

Her contributions have been greatly valued across the ACI and the health system. We wish Barbara all the best in retirement.

Learn more about the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Network

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