Helping families is his passion, with retirement only a distant rumour. Dr Bernard Maurice Jenner is a consultant Paediatrician and Family Therapist in private medical practice, former Head of Paediatrics at the University Geelong Hospital Barwon Health and St John of God Geelong Hospital. He undertook his undergraduate training at Monash University, and postgraduate training at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Sydney, Williams Road Family Therapy Centre Therapy Centre, Melbourne, and Swinburne University.
He had the privileged upbringing of the post war Australia, in a warm caring family environment that had been ravaged the generation before, where his Jewish German father, an orphan and refugee survived a concentration camp during the holocaust, to be sent to Australia ‘the lucky country’. He appreciates the privilege of life and loves every day working ‘semi-retired’ in-hours 4 days per week, with other times in the garden, making Barista style coffee, travel, and treadmill watching political themes. He has four children, two grandchildren, a very happy home life, where he and his wife billet young AFL footballers that are drafted to the Geelong Cats football club as mentor Host Parents; he accepts all the credit for the clubs success! The inner sanctum has taken up a lot of wonderful emotional energy.
Helping families is his passion, with retirement only a distant rumour. His personal experience with PTSD, Disability, Family Tragedy, Learning Difficulties, Adhd, Autism, has driven a missionary healing zeal. He believes that the strength and success of a society is ultimately judged by the way the most vulnerable are cared for. Whether they have medical or psychological issues, suffered the tragedy of the death of a loved one or are adjusting to life with a disabled child, they deserve support, understanding and to never feel alone.
He led the development of a cohesive Department of Paediatrics of Excellence at Geelong Hospital Barwon Health. He remains Chairman of Barwon Paediatric Services that incorporate all the regions’ Paediatricians overseeing child service provision and advocacy.
Through his professional networks, contacts, systems-theory-thinking and recruiting numerous generous community minded people, he has been able to help make things happen within the Barwon and surround community. Dr Jenner has been honoured to lead the development of two award-winning Charities and remains inaugural President of both.
Firstly, he created the NGO NFP Gateways Support Services in 1982 to provide support for children with disabilities and their families, by providing a “one-stop shop” for advice, early intervention, case management, respite, accommodation, sport and recreation, which has since grown into a lead support agency within the Barwon Region and now expanded to Western Districts and Western Melbourne. Secondly, he created Hope Bereavement Care, which is an NGO NFP organisation free service, which supports anyone affected by the sudden death of a child or baby. The service started in 1985, with its model of bereavement support vision of expanding Nationally.
He was awarded the 1995 Advance Australia Foundation Award, the 1998 Alan J. Holding Memorial Lions Clubs International Award for Community Service, in 2002 Barwon Health Quality Award, in 2003 the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International, in 2005 Parks Victoria Regional Achiever Award, that year a finalist in the Victorian Healthcare Awards, in 2012 was the recipient of the Compassionate Friends of Victoria Compassionate Employer Recognition Award for Gateways Support Services. He was the profile picture on the front of 2013/14 #Geelong Region Yellow Pages. In 2008 became an Australian Day Ambassador after receiving the 2007 Australian of the Year Regional Victorian Local Hero; hence a finalist Australian of the Year Awards.
Photo supplied by Dr Bernard M Jenner