On the 1st of February 2020, MEDSAC bid farewell to Min Lo as Board Chair, and welcomed Annette Milligan as our esteemed leader.

Min has been known to refer to MEDSAC as ‘The Kingdom of the Elves’ because it is an organisation in which magic happens at the hands of magical people…

Min has been working her magic with MEDSAC since 2004, initially as the Manual Editor, then Vice President (before we changed ‘President’ to ‘Chair’), and then as the elected President/Chair in 2009; the role in which she has remained for the last 11 years and 1 month. This is in addition to involvement on a number of MEDSAC committees. In this time Min has achieved many extraordinary things for the advancement of sexual assault medicine in Aotearoa New Zealand. This short missive cannot possibly do justice in acknowledging them all. Min’s legacy includes:   

  • Editing the 6th edition of the MEDSAC Manual
  • Transitioning the MEDSAC Manual from hardcopy to digital
  • Revamping the Journal Club
  • A 3+ year period of being completely obsessed with bottoms as a lead in the Journey to Uranus project resulting in the development of guidelines for the examination and interpretation of anogenital findings in adult victims of alleged acute anal sexual assault. The project was initiated after a number of challenging court cases resulting in endless discussions, peer group meetings, literature searches, assignments and essays, lobbying the Colorectal Society for a consensus opinion regarding interpretation of anal findings, a scientific meeting in 2008and a presentation at the FAMSACA conference in Sydney in 2009.
  • Having a laser-sharp mind able to distil the most complex medical/forensic ideas into pithy, understandable nuggets including finding quirky non-medical images to illustrate anatomy (remember the vagina sofa?) for the medical/forensic training courses
  • Being a well-respected mentor having trained and supported countless clinicians through the mentoring, accreditation and MERG processes
  • Leading the transition from DSAC to MEDSAC and the associated restructure
  • Leading the development and launch of the SAATS-Link Manual

Min's qualities are exemplified in her passion for running - determined, goal oriented, persistent, prepared to go the distance and enjoying taking people along with her.

Albus Dumbledore could as easily have been speaking about Min when he said to Harry Potter: 

“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”

It is a time of mixed feelings as we say farewell to our valued friend and colleague. We thank you Min for taking up the mantle, when no one else was ready, and keeping the organisation on track for all of this time.

Meanwhile we are very blessed to welcome Annette into the role of Chair. Annette has a teaching background as well as being a registered nurse (MEDSAC’s first nurse Chair!) and is best described as a highly skilled networker and a ‘mover and shaker’ having started the Independent Nursing Practice (INP) in Nelson in 1989 because she knew more could be done to improve women’s access to health services. The women-focused, nurse-led sexual and reproductive health centre was one of the first of its kind. Annette also co-ordinated the Nelson SAAT service through INP from 2011.

Whilst Annette sold INP in 2019, she is continuing with her role as Chair of Safeguarding Children, a Nelson trust for which Annette was a founder, aiming to reduce child abuse in Aotearoa New Zealand by ensuring that the people who are in key positions to help a child or young person have the essential knowledge, skills, systems, competencies and confidence to do so. So far, they have trained over 14,000 people. 

Annette is also the founder and a director for Health Click - a company that provides health education resources for young people, especially those with intellectual disabilities, to learn about sexual health, hygiene and personal safety. 

Last month, Annette’s tireless work and campaigning was acknowledged with a Royal New Zealand Honour. Annette has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to health, particularly nursing.

Annette was elected as a director on the MEDSAC Board in 2017, as well as having been involved on a number of MEDSAC committees, in addition to Vice Chair. Annette is also currently the MEDSAC Key Stakeholder Liaison and Chair of the MEDSAC Membership Committee. In the latter role, Annette has led the development of a Nurse Accreditation Pathway, with one nurse in the country now operating as a MEDSAC Accredited Nurse Examiner. 

Annette has described herself as possessing the ‘Zoom Gene’. In brief, this means she gets things done, and fast! A perfect attribute for a MEDSAC Board Chair.

We know that we are in safe hands and that Annette’s energy, enthusiasm, and Zoom Gene, will continue to drive MEDSAC forward.

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