Our Region, Our People: Meet Dr Samantha and Clinic Nurse Jodi


A 23-year-old Cairns woman who has suffered with chronic pelvic pain and health issues for the past 10 years is now living an “amazing life”.

And she credits her transformation to the new Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Clinic, established at True Relationships and Reproductive Health (True) in Cairns.

In 2023, True received a Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) grant, via Northern Queensland Primary Health Network, to establish the clinic.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said the Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Clinic and the True team had “changed her life”.

“Chronic pelvic pain impacts your life in an inexplicable way, and at times I was unable to work, socialise, or exercise,” she said. “It just takes over your life.

“I couldn’t begin to imagine where my life would be at right now if it weren’t for this amazing clinic.

“The team supports me, cares for me, and does everything they can to help me – even when it feels like there are no answers left to give.”

It’s a sentiment shared by the many women and gender-diverse people who have visited the new clinic.

True was one of only 20 practices in Australia to receive a Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) grant to establish a new Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Clinic onsite.

True Relationships and Reproductive Health general practitioner Dr Samantha Olliver said there had been a significant increase in women visiting the clinic in need of help.

“We’ve had a lot of women voice how exciting it is to have a regional clinic providing thorough pelvic pain care,” Dr Olliver said.

“We have definitely seen an increase in women enquiring about pelvic pain and presenting for the service. They are keen to access the supportive team that we have available.”

Dr Olliver said pelvic pain could be excruciating and consuming for those suffering from the debilitating condition.

“You don’t have functioning communities without functioning women,” she said. “Ultimately, our goal is to improve function, comfort, and quality of life for people.

“Pelvic pain can impact people’s work, school, and other normal daily activities, and for many, it can lead to multiple trips to the hospital.”

Dr Olliver said many people are told that the pain they are suffering from was normal.

“But it’s not, and that’s why clinical diagnosis is so important,” she said.

“Pelvic pain can be different for every person and there are many potential causes, such as traumatic childbirth, regular UTIs all their life, a history of trauma and sexual pain, or endometriosis.

“Endometriosis can also affect other organs, including the uterus, bladder, bowel, and the sexual reproductive system, causing even more pain.”

True general practitioner Dr Samantha Olliver, NQPHN Primary Care Engagement Officer Claire Lawless, True Clinic Nurse Manager Jodi Mauro, and NQPHN Senior Primary Care Engagement Officer Linda Jowitt.

True Relationships and Reproductive Health Clinic Nurse Manager Jodi Mauro said more people were talking about endometriosis and pelvic pain because they had a safe space to do so at the clinic.

“We spend the time with each person so they can go into detail about their personal situation, then we can start to identify what the root cause is for them,” Ms Mauro said.

“They are often very thankful for the opportunity to speak with someone at length in a dedicated safe space. Many people may not have experienced that before.

“We are also conscious of young people between 12-14 years old, who are menstruating, and may be experiencing early symptoms of endometriosis and pelvic pain.

“Our team can monitor them to get on top of their pain early so they can go to school every day, enjoy daily activities, and lead a normal life.”

The funding has enabled the clinic to invest in new equipment, resources, education, and upskilling the team to build capability, further benefiting the community and True’s clients.

“We have upgraded a procedural bed with better functionality, and we have also been upskilling and informing the team with cutting-edge evidence, education, and research. We also have specific resources for staff and clients,” Ms Mauro said.

Dr Olliver said they had also created a clinical pathway that was nurse led and client centred.

“We have engaged with key allied health providers in our community to strengthen our specialist referral network to those who have particular interests in pelvic pain and endometriosis to ensure thorough multidisciplinary care,” she said.

“We work with pelvic physiotherapists, occupational therapists, exercise physiologists, pain psychotherapists, persistent pain management specialists, as well as gynaecologists. We are one big team that delivers holistic care.

“Our next goal is to engage our local GPs by providing further education and awareness of pelvic pain to ensure more collaborative care.”

/Public Release. View in full here.