Phone 03 9347 9911
Phone 03 9347 9911
Professor Helen O’Connell is an academic Urologist based in Melbourne. She is the Head of Urology at Western Health. Completing her Urological training in 1994, she became Australia’s first female Urologist. She was Fellowship trained after that in Houston and became a leader in the field of clinical urology, urodynamics and lower urinary tract reconstruction, particularly in women.
Her Doctorate, (Melbourne University 2005) was in the study of female urogenital anatomy, studies for which she has international renown. She has been Principal investigator on a large number of clinical trials for drugs and devices for overactive bladder, stress incontinence in men and women and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Her current research interests are female urethral science, minimally invasive surgical approaches to problematic transvaginal mesh, stimulated transplanted smooth muscle neo-sphincters and shared care models of treatment for men with prostate cancer, and big data on incontinence in men and women.
She is the Chair of the forthcoming International Continence Society meeting Melbourne 2021. She has a Master of Medicine in Women’s Health, Fellowship of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has had long running directorships for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand. She became a Full Professor at the University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery in 2013.
In 2021, Professor O'Connell was named an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia: For distinguished service to medical education, and to medicine, in the field of urology, as an academic and clinician, and to professional groups.
2020 Professor, Research, Monash University
2019 Chair of Australasian Pelvic Floor Procedures Registry Steering Committee
2019 Chair of Dr Daniel Christidis Research Club
2017 Chair of International Continence Society (ISC) 2021
2016 Head of Urology Western Health, Melbourne
2013 Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne
"Throughout my childhood and adolescence, as mothers do, mine would fuss over my hands. "You will do something great with those hands". My natural love for problem solving and the need to try to satisfy Mum's inspiration found a home in a career in surgery, Urological surgery. I had experienced successful squint surgery as a toddler in the early 1960s. It set up the belief that surgery had the power to transform or cure. Giving up glasses was good even as a 2 year old.
The attraction to Urology: firstly it was intriguing to know almost nothing about an area after 6 years of medical study. What were they keeping secret? I liked the type and range of surgery used - cystoscopic, ureteroscopic, nephroscopic, open abdominal and perineal. As a young woman choosing a career, in the Urology clinics I was given encouragement for being female, patients not all women, saying they were happy to be treated by a lady doctor.
My favourite work is the actual operating. I feel at home with a team of highly skilled individuals doing something that is likely to make someone's life better, easier or cured. "
Prof Helen O'Connell