Wellend Health

Advanced Women’s Health

About us

Wellend Health was founded with a simple purpose in mind, to stop women dying of preventable breast cancer.

We improve the standard of care for women at high risk of developing breast cancer. Our advanced patient treatment program, incorporating hormonal therapeutics demonstrated to reduce high mammographic breast density, reduces women’s risk of developing breast cancer and aids in early detection.

Our research and development is run by Wellend’s sister company Chavah, a biotechnology company specialising in the development of hormonal therapeutics targeting breast health.

Wellend Health
Preventing breast cancer

Our team

Our passion for preventing breast cancer has produced a team with complementary skills sets, experience and a united vision.

Chief Medical Officer

Dr Stephen Birrell

Dr Stephen Birrell, BMBS PhD FRACS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER

Dr Birrell is a breast cancer specialist and an internationally recognised expert in the field of hormonal management of breast disease. His early research was seminal in explaining how conventional hormone replacement therapy increased the risk of developing breast cancer.

Dr Birrell was the founder of Australia’s first public and private multidisciplinary breast cancer clinics, a model that is now accepted as the only way to assess breast disease, and Flinders University’s internationally recognised and novel lymphedema management clinic.

Dr Birrell is a consultant to the internationally acclaimed Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories at Adelaide University run by his long-term scientific partner, Professor Wayne Tilley. Dr Birrell is a National Cancer Institute (USA) certified cancer trialist.

Chairman

Shelley Birrell

Shelley Birrell, BA
CHAIRMAN

Mrs Birrell has had a diverse career in medical education and administration. As a consultant to the Scholes Group in Cincinnati Ohio, she undertook clinical practice evaluations, then went on to manage a large National Institute of Health funded multi-centre trial of a new form of medical education that resulted in changing the way clinical skills are taught in the USA and Australia.

After moving to Australia Mrs Birrell continued with medical education research and training and has been involved in the development of early-stage clinical trials. Subsequently, Mrs Birrell has been instrumental in transitioning cutting-edge life science IP into Wellend.

Nicholas J. Birrell

Mr Nicholas J. Birrell, BA BBus
MANAGING DIRECTOR

Mr Birrell is an experienced entrepreneur and start-up CEO who specialises in the commercialisation of new technologies, having founded a number of successful, digital marketing and information technology businesses that have raised millions in venture capital and government grants. As well as being a Co-founder of Wellend, Mr Birrell is a director of HAVAH Therapeutics, Inc., a private life science research and development organisation. Mr Birrell has a close personal passion for the project as his mother is a breast cancer survivor.

Amie Bell

Amie Bell
PATIENT SERVICES MANAGER

Dr Tonia Mezzini

Dr Tonia Mezzini, BA (Hons) BMBS MHSSH FRACGP FAChSHM
SEXUAL HEALTH PHYSICIAN

Dr Tonia Mezzini is a Sexual Health Physician committed to improving women’s health and quality of life by providing best-practice, individualised and compassionate medical care.

She has spent her professional life helping people with a range of sexual, hormonal, vulval and reproductive health concerns and is pleased to be a part of the Wellend Health team.

In particular, she cares for patients with:

  • Menopause and hormonal concerns
  • Breast cancer prevention strategies
  • Vulval pain syndromes and vulval skin conditions
  • Low libido and pain with intercourse
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and irregular periods
  • Gender-affirming hormone therapy
  • Complex contraceptive choices, including IUD insertions
  • Sexually transmitted infections such as recurrent genital herpes
  • Recurrent bacterial vaginosis
  • Recurrent thrush (Candida albicans)

With her level of expertise, caring approach, and a fast growing reputation as a sexual health specialist able to resolve ‘difficult cases’, Dr Mezzini is sought after – both locally and interstate – by patients, referring GPs and other specialists. Patients can feel assured they are being offered the best possible advice and treatment options for their sexual health care needs.

 Dr Mezzini’s Training and Experience

During her training as a Sexual Health Physician, Dr Mezzini was awarded a Master of HIV, STIs and Sexual Health through the University of Sydney in 2013.

Dr Mezzini’s experience working in a range of sexual health services in South Australia is unparalleled, having worked at Clinic 275, Yarrow Place, Second Story Youth Health Service, Cervix Screen SA, Adelaide Women’s Health Centre and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. And as Medical Director of SHine SA, Dr Mezzini headed up the medical clinics for the State’s lead sexual health agency. Her most recent clinical experience focused on providing expert care to young girls and women with vulval and pelvic pain concerns.

Dr Mezzini is a regular presenter and attendee at national and international conferences and updates.

Dr Mezzini is committed to offering her patients lengthy appointments to ensure there is adequate time to discuss concerns and explore the best treatment options.

A referral letter is required from your GP. A referral letter and a report from a psychiatrist is required for transgender patients requiring gender affirming hormone therapy.

Dr Mezzini’s Current Positions

  • Lecturer in Sexual Health at the University of Adelaide
  • Committee member of the Australian Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Board member of the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia
  • Committee member for the Society for Australian Sexologists (South Australia)
  • Member of Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health
  • Member of the Australian and New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society
  • Member of the Australasian Menopause Association
  • Member of the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine

Published Papers:

  • Mezzini T, Crawford GB. Borderline personality disorder: challenges in the palliative care setting. European J of Pall Care, 2009; 16 (1): 31-35.
  • Mezzini T, Waddell RG, Douglas RD, Sadlon T. Mycoplasma genitalium: prevalence in men presenting to a public sexual health clinic in South Australia, Internal Medicine Journal, 2013; 43 (5): 494-500.
  • Bateson D, Butcher BE, Donovan C, Farrell L, Kovacs G, Mezzini T, Raynes-Greenow C, Pecoraro G, Read C, Baber R. Risk of venous thromboembolism in women taking the combined oral contraceptive: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Australian Family Physician, 2016; 45(1):59-64.

Dr Michele Brooke-Davey

Dr Michelle Brooke-Davey


WOMEN’S HEALTH SPECIALIST

Dr Michele Brooke-Davey is a Breast Clinician with a special interest in women’s health, preventative health, breast screening programs, patient education and counselling.  In addition to comprehensive general practice care, she also has postgraduate training in anaesthesia, intensive care and paediatrics including neonatal care.

Dr Brooke-Davey studied science at the Flinders University of SA in 1978 and studied medicine from 1979–1985 including overseas studies in France in 1985. After postgraduate training at Flinders Medical Centre, she started work in General practice in 1990.  She has been involved in the teaching of medical students and was awarded status by the School of Medicine at Flinders University of SA.

Prof. Paul Rolan

Prof. Paul Rolan,  MBBS MD FRACP FFPM(UK) FFPMANZCA DCPSA(UK)
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Professor Paul Rolan has been the principal investigator in over 700 early phase studies and has been an active Consultant to the pharmaceutical industry as well as being an invited speaker to the FDA.  He has held numerous senior executive roles in clinical and commercial settings and has career-long experience in regulatory and compliance.

After a period as Director of Medicine at Cairns Base Hospital he spent 18 year in the UK developing new medicines including one for migraine.  In 2005 he returned to Adelaide as Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Adelaide and Senior Consultant Physician at the Pain Management Unit of the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He retired from the University and RAH at the end of 2014 to focus on the development of a new treatment for pain, but continues to conduct research at the University.

Cheryl Lennon

Cheryl Lennon
CLINICAL TRIALS MANAGER

 

 

Claudia Sette

Claudia Sette
MEDICAL RECEPTIONIST

 

Suzanne Good

Suzanne Good
MEDICAL RECEPTIONIST

Kim Genrich

Kim Genrich
ACCOUNTANT

 

Helen Franzi

Helen Franzi
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

The Wellend Story

Committed to breast cancer prevention​

For 30 years, Dr Birrell has been fascinated by the effects of hormones on the breast. Working as a breast cancer specialist he desperately wanted to solve this puzzle in the hope of reducing the incidence of breast cancer in women. In 1997 he completed a PhD in molecular endocrinology, particularly focusing on the effect of androgens (testosterone) on breast tissue. His groundbreaking work in this area is now highly regarded by the international scientific community and has since spurred much laboratory work around the world.

On the path of trying to discover a cure for breast cancer, Dr Birrell learned much about what happens to a woman’s hormones throughout her life. Through continued study, laboratory and clinical trials Dr Birrell developed breakthrough improvements in aromatase inhibitors, utilising them in combination with specific hormonal therapeutics in order to reduce debilitating side-effects which severely limited the existing treatment’s efficacy through poor compliance. Dr Birrell has gained the support of AstraZeneca and the Mayo Clinic in the research and development in this work.

This work led Dr Birrell to specialise on the therapeutic response of specific hormones on the breast tissue and he gained tremendous insight into their impact on mammographic breast density. Over the past few years Dr Birrell has developed an efficacious and safe treatment to reduce high mammographic breast density.

This leads us to the present day where our clinics are treating an increasing number of women with high mammographic breast density in order to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer, reduce the aggression of tumors in those who develop breast cancer, to improve screening for breast cancer and improve hormonal availability during periods of hormonal depletion.

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