Archived News Item

Laudato Si’ at Mercy Health

Pictured L to R: Caroline Vaitkunas RSM, Climate Champion Support Dr Lisa Rasmussen, Laudato Si’ Lead Lauren Poulton, Sustainability Officer.


It is with great pleasure that Mercy Health announces two new appointments to the organisation in sustainability.


Ms Lauren Poulton has been appointed the Sustainability Officer, Health Services and Sr Caroline Vaitkunas RSM (Community South C) has been appointed to the role of Climate Champion Support. These new positions will focus on sustainability at Mercy Health’s two acute hospitals: Mercy Hospital for Women and Werribee Mercy Hospital and report to Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Adjunct Professor Sharon Donovan.


Both Lauren and Sr Caroline will be part of the new Laudato Si’ team at Mercy Health and will work with Project Lead, Laudato Si’, Dr Lisa Rasmussen and Group Executive Director Leadership and Mission Ms Julia Trimboli to help respond to Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on caring for the planet and its people. This newly formed team aims to guide Mercy Health’s focus in sustainability, addressing the six pillars in the encyclical: pollution and waste, climate change, water, loss of biodiversity, loss of social cohesion in society and global inequality. The work of this team complements Mercy Health’s Strategic Framework 2018-22, which incorporates increasing environmental consideration in growing a resilient and sustainable organisation.


Lauren comes to Mercy Health with ten years’ experience in environmental management across healthcare, local government and manufacturing. As Mercy Health’s new Sustainability Officer, she will provide leadership to ensure optimal environmental outcomes and to help our two large hospitals progressively achieve best practice in sustainability in the areas of waste, energy, water procurement, transport and capital works. Lauren was the Sustainability Officer at Austin Health for four years (2012–2016), and brings significant experience in sustainability across a tertiary health setting.


Sr Caroline’s role will provide support to staff to better understand environmental issues, and to help foster a stronger culture of environmental awareness at Mercy Health. She will develop an Environment Champion Program, and will work with our new Sustainability Officer to develop and implement environmental projects. Sr Caroline is well known at Mercy Hospital for Women, having worked for many years as a midwife.  She has a Bachelor in Theology and a Master of Public Health.


Both Lauren and Sr Caroline were attracted to these new roles because of Mercy Health’s organisational values and reputation. The roles also align with their great passion for sustainability and the environment.


The development of the Mercy Health approach to Laudato Si’ and these new sustainability appointments would not have been possible without the ongoing support of Mercy Health Group Chief Executive Officer Adjunct Professor Stephen Cornelissen and Chief Executive – Health Services Adjunct Professor Linda Mellors.


Messages to: Kasey McCulloch, Mercy Health