Keynote Speakers

A – D   E – H   I – L   M – P   Q – T   U – Z

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Donna Ah Chee

Donna Ah Chee

Central Aboriginal Congress
An Integrated model of child and family services as a core part of comprehensive primary health care

Donna Ah Chee is the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation, the Aboriginal community controlled primary health care service in Alice Springs. Ms Ah Chee is a Bundgalung woman from the far north coast of New South Wales and has lived in Alice Springs for over 25 years.  She has been actively involved in Aboriginal affairs for many years, especially in the area of Aboriginal adult education and Aboriginal health. In June 2011, Ms Ah Chee moved to Canberra to take up the position of Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation before returning to Congress in July 2012.

Donna convened the Workforce Working Party under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Forum, was Chairperson of the Central Australian Regional Indigenous Health Planning Committee, a member of the Northern Territory Child Protection External Monitoring Committee and jointly headed up the Northern Territory Government’s Alcohol Framework Project Team. She currently sits on the National Drug and Alcohol Committee and at a local level, represents the Congress on the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition.

Pat Anderson

Chair, The Lowitja Institute
A Northern Territory perspective on healthy infants and kids

Ms Pat Anderson is an Alyawarre woman known nationally and internationally as a powerful advocate for disadvantaged people, with a particular focus on the health of Australia’s First Peoples. She has extensive experience in all aspects of Aboriginal health, including community development, advocacy, policy formation and research ethics.

Ms Anderson has spoken before the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous People, and currently serves as the Chairperson of the Lowitja Institute. She has also been the CEO of DanilaDilba Health Service in Darwin, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), and was the Chair of the CRC for Aboriginal Health from 2003 to 2009. Ms Anderson has published many essays, papers and articles. She was a co-author with Rex Wild QC of Little Children Are Sacred, a report on the abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory. In 2007 she was awarded the Public Health Association of Australia’s Sidney Sax Public Health Medal in recognition of her achievements and she was awarded the Human Rights Community Individual Award (Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award) in 2012 and an honorary doctorate from Flinders University in 2013. Ms Anderson is based in Canberra.

In June 2014, Ms Anderson was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Indigenous community as a social justice advocate, particularly through promoting improved health, educational and protection outcomes for children.

Kerry Arabena

Chair, Indigenous Health; Director, Indigenous Health Equity, Melbourne University
Improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids

Professor Kerry Arabena has a Doctorate in Human Ecology and an extensive background in public health, administration, community development and research. Her work has made significant contributions across many states and territories in areas such as gender issues, social justice, human rights, access and equity, service provision, harm minimisation, and citizenship rights and responsibilities. Kerry is a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait and current Chair for Indigenous Health and Director of the Indigenous Health Equity Unit at the University of Melbourne.

Kerry has represented Australia in international forums on HIV/AIDS, and climate change. Her professional experience has seen her recognised as an Australian of the Year Finalist in 2010, recipient of the prestigious JG Crawford Prize for Academic Excellence at Australian National University in 2011, and a nomination in The bulletin magazine's 'Smart 100 Australians' Health and Medical Research Category, in 2004.

Julie James Bailey

Educator and film maker
Speaking Standard Australian English in Remote Communities

Julie James Bailey has been a volunteer teacher for fifteen years in remote Aboriginal communities and in the Pacific. She has learnt how difficult it is for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people to understand English.

She believes that if you work in a remote community you need to realise that you are a guest in a foreign country, learn the culture, empower the people by knowing the basics of teaching  English as an Additional Language or Dialect.

She has taught video and/or governance at the Ranger’s and Women’s Centres in Wadeye, the Art Centres in Maningrida, Mowanjum and Fitzroy Crossing, in the community in Mulan and Balgo at the University of Notre Dame in Broome visiting Beagle Bay, Bidyadanga, Lombadina and in schools  in Arlparra, Wadeye, Docker River, Mutitjulu and Corella Creek.

Five years ago she decided to learn how to teach English as a second language. She now coaches Indigenous Educators and tutors children in remote schools. She is currently recruiting retiring baby boomer teachers to tutor via Skype.

Her career covers documentary film making, educational television producing, regulating radio and television and her last job was Professor of Film & Media at Griffith University

Isabel Brookes

Research Fellow, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne
Panelist on the situation ‘on the ground’ in remote and rural areas

Isabel Brookes is a Research Fellow in Early Childhood Education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. Her work focusses on supporting the learning and development of vulnerable children, adult-child interactions, program quality, and working with early childhood educators to facilitate the implementation of evidence-based pedagogical practices.

Currently based in Alice Springs, Isabel is working to develop and implement an Early Years Improvement Strategy to achieve positive learning, development and health outcomes for Aboriginal children. This work centres on the integration of culturally appropriate, responsive, and evidence based approaches to early learning and healthcare. Isabel is a PhD Candidate with the ARC-SRI Science of Learning Research Centre, investigating the effect of adult prompts and feedback on children’s language learning.

Katherine Burchfield

Health Director, Royal Far West

Katherine Burchfield is a health economist with over 18 years’ experience working in health policy, system reform and service delivery in Australia and internationally.  In her role as Health Director at Royal Far West, Katherine leads a large, multidisciplinary clinical team to deliver specialist child health and development services to children and their families in rural and remote areas, aiming to improve access to services and change trajectories.    Prior to joining Royal Far West, Katherine was the Director of Integrated Care at the NSW Ministry of Health, leading a diverse policy portfolio which included integrated care reforms, primary and community care, chronic disease management, and disability.   

Lindsay Cane

Chief Executive Officer, Royal Far West
What’s critical in the remote and rural context for the health and wellbeing of our kids

Lindsay Cane is an experienced CEO and Company Director with broad skills and experience in leading, managing and inspiring organisational development and growth within the NGO sector. She has held the position of CEO Royal Far West, a NSW based NGO that provides health services to children living in rural and remote parts of the state,  since July 2011.

Lindsay has a proud history of working within the healthcare, sporting and community development sectors. She has previously led organisations such as Netball Australia, The Asthma Foundation (NSW) and the Australian Physiotherapy Association. She is also a skilled industry consultant and has provided strategic management, business development and executive coaching services to a range of health, charity, drug and alcohol, sporting and community development agencies.

Recognised as a strong organisational leader, Lindsay has previously been a finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and is a graduate of the Sydney Leadership program.

In addition to her role with Royal Far West, she continues to support a range of organisations. She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Director of the Confederation of Australian Sport and a member of Women on Boards Australia. She also volunteers her time to a number of community development projects.

Emily Carter

Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre
Working to free Fitzroy Crossing from FASD: a successful place-based program

Emily Carter is a Gooniyandi/Gidja Woman from the Bunuba people from the Fitzroy River country in the Central Kimberley.

The Gooniyandi people are one of the main language groups living in the Fitzroy Valley.

Emily’s grandmother lived on Bohemia Station and worked as a domestic. Her mother was taken away from her family when she was seven and grew up at Mulla Bulla Government Settlement in a dormitory just near Hall’s Creek in the East Kimberley.  Emily's father was a Gija man from the Warmun Area in the East Kimberley, also known as Turkey Creek.   Her mother and father married at Mulla Bulla and lived on the Government Settlement for a number of years as they were not allowed to move from there due to the policy at the time.  When Mulla Bulla closed down in 1956, they already had a family of 7 and they moved into Hall’s Creek and lived in a tent and then tried to build a house from whatever they could find.

Emily was born during this time and lived there until 1971 and then moved to Wyndham where she went to High School.  Emily left school at 16 and started working straight away for the Department of Community Welfare as a receptionist.  After a few years Emily became the Aboriginal Resource Officer for the same department, now known as the Department of Child Protection, and worked with them for 17 years.

In 1994 Emily and her husband and their three children moved back to country and Emily took up the position as Manager of 'The Sobering up Centre'.  Thankfully, this Centre was closed in 2006 due to the people in the community and the Centre staff feeling most concerned that much more needs to be done to assist people than just help them 'sober up'.

So with the assistance of Nindilingarri Cultural Health a new Centre - the Drug and Alcohol Mental Health Centre - was opened.  Emily became the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Worker/ Cultural Consultant for the non- Indigenous workers for the North West Mental Health Service.  She worked in this position until 2011.

In 2012, she became the Deputy CEO at Marninwarntikura - Women’s Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing.  Prior to this she was Chair of the Board at the Centre for six years.  Emily has also held the position as Chair for the Northern Building Company, looking at how to design housing for community people in the region.

Emily’s life has been very influenced by the fact that her mother and father both come from the 'Stolen Generation' where they were denied their language, their stories and their culture, which meant she grew up not knowing herself.  Emily is passionate now in wanting to educate Australians on the issues related to the 'Stolen Generation' and why things are the way they are for Aboriginal people whose parents lost everything due to being taken away. Due to this loss Emily wants Australians to try to understand the realities of these complex issues.  Due to being away from her own country, there are gaps in Emily's own cultural history and this saddens her deeply.

Richard Colbran

Business Director - Royal Far West
Demonstration of Royal Far West telecare system

Richard Colbran is a highly experienced senior level business executive with over 15 years’ experience spanning across various not-for-profit community and health service sectors. With a successful early career in strategy and business development within sports, events and media marketing; Richard began to forge his interests in community development and health management.

Richard joined Royal Far West as Business Director in 2012. He was responsible for the initiation of technology-driven services to enable access to specialised health and learning programs for children and their families living in rural and remote locations across Australia. He cites Royal Far West winning the 2013 NSW Premier’s Award for Public Service Delivery as an important milestone for the 90-year old charity.

Richard advocates for the application of evidence and values-based practices in NGOs and seeks to enhance NGO effectiveness and efficiencies through the implementation of organisational strategy, alliances and service commercialisation to enhance sustainability.

Trish Davidson

Executive Director for Children, Young People and Families, HNEHealth LHD; & Conjoint Professor of Paediatric Surgery, Uni of Newcastle
Joining the Dots for Country Kids

Professor Patricia Davidson (Trish), M.D., FRACS, FRCS, FRCP is the Executive Director of Child, Young People and Families Services and Clinical Networks for Hunter New England Local Health District in NSW, including the Newcastle Children’s Hospital.  Trish is a practicing Paediatric Surgeon who served as elected councillor and Censor-in-Chief of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.  In 2006 she was awarded the Sir Louis Barnett Medal for her singular contributions to surgical education in Australia and New Zealand. Trish is an accreditor for the Australian Medical Council; is on the Clinical Council of the Agency for Clinical Innovation; the Clinical Council of the Office of Kids and Families and in 2012 was elected president of Children’s Healthcare Australasia.

Tessa Davis

Tessa Davis

Paediatric Emergency Trainee and NSW Minister for Health Registrar of the Year, Sydney Children's Hospital
Apps and maps; devices that suffice

Tessa Davis is a paediatric trainee based at Sydney Children’s Hospital. She has recently completed her General Paediatric FRACP and is currently continuing with her Paediatric Emergency specialty training. In 2015 she won the NSW Minister for Health’s Registrar of the Year Award. Tessa’s non-clinical interests lie in online education and the use of social media for learning. 

Her website, (DFTB) is a free open access medical education (FOAM) blog providing online teaching resources for health professionals working in paediatrics. DFTB’s collaborations include EMA Journal, where the DFTB team are Section Editors, and APLS, with the recent Paediatric Acute Care Conference videos being made available online for the first time.

Tessa runs a medical education company,, which provides online exam revision resources for paediatric trainees. It is a social enterprise and directs funds towards health education projects in Aboriginal communities. In 2014, learnmed was awarded a Grant from Parramatta City Council to develop its social aims.

In addition, Tessa creates medical apps for health organisations through her app development company, and writes the Tech column for Her website is a crowd-sourced repository of links to online treatment guidelines.

Craig Dukes

Craig Dukes

Chief Executive Officer, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association
The role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers and practitioners in kids’ health

Craig Dukes is a descendant of the Mara and Jingili people from the Northern Territory, he has worked at the local, state and national level and has also formed strategic alliances with international organisations.

Craig is the current Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association, a peak body that represents the interests of Indigenous health workers and health practitioners and advocates on their behalf.  Previous to this he was the Director of the Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education Centre at the University of Canberra.

He has been a leader in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector for over 12 years, having worked at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Department of Health and Ageing and most recently the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA).   

Craig was the inaugural Co-Chair of Health Workforce Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stakeholder Advisory Committee, a position he held for three years.  He was instrumental in driving the development of a national curriculum framework for the teaching of Indigenous health at Australian universities, which is currently being finalised. 


Karen Edmond

Karen Edmond

Professor, Child and Adolescent Health Service, School of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia
'Complex care' services for children in Western Australia

Professor Karen Edmond, PhD, MMSc, MPHTM, FRACP, FRCPCH, FAFPHM, is an active consultant general paediatrician, clinical advisor in community health for the Child and Adolescent Health Service of the Western Australian Department of Health, and Professor at the School of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Australia.

Professor Edmond’s specific focus is on improving health services, especially primary care, for vulnerable children in low and high income countries.


John Elferink

Northern Territory Minister for Health
Children's health in the Northern Territory

The Hon John Elferink MLA is the current Minister for Health; Attorney General and Minister for Justice; Minister for Children and Families; Minister for Disability Services; Minister for Mental Health Services; and Minister for Correctional Services in the Northern Territory.

John was born in the Netherlands and moved to Australia in 1969, his family settling in Darwin. After graduating from Casuarina High School, John joined the Northern Territory Police Force as a cadet. He rose to the rank of Sergeant and served in both Darwin and Alice Springs.

Whilst in the police force John obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Monash) by correspondence and now holds a Bachelor of Law (New England). In 1997 he was elected to the rural seat of Macdonnell and served there until 2005. In 2008 he was elected to the seat of Port Darwin. John lives with his wife and two daughters in Darwin.

John’s vision for the Northern Territory is for it to be an area of growth and innovation, with a prosperous economy. John is driven to deliver better health outcomes for all Territorians, whether they live in urban or remote areas of the Northern Territory.

Since being appointed as the Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health Services and Minister for Disability Services, John has travelled widely across the Territory meeting professionals and experts in the Government and non-Government health sector to gain first-hand experience on the diverse services they offer and their challenges therein.

John has also progressed the new Palmerston Regional Hospital and delivered a new Northern Territory Suicide Prevention Strategic Action Plan, the first ever Northern Territory Mental Health Services Strategic Plan and increased the mental health workforce dramatically. He has also worked tirelessly in the disability sector to ensure that the rights and interests of people with a disability will be represented under the new National Disability Insurance Scheme.

John has a particular passion to optimise opportunities for young Territorians by investing in the early years of childhood development. He hosted the recent Aboriginal Congress on Health and will launch the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Plan in 2015.

Carol Hubert

Senior Manager, Strategic Engagement and Communications, Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth
The global picture, here and overseas, in ensuring wellbeing for children in rural and remote areas

Carol Hubert is responsible for ARACY’s interface with the external environment through its communications and membership services, and leadership of its unique Networks* and State and Territory-based Convenors. Carol brings an extensive background of social research and policy expertise, with over twenty years experience in the community services and humanitarian sectors as head of Research and Policy (Australian Red Cross), state-wide coordination of rural pilots in culturally responsive mental health provision (including a Churchill Fellowship in transcultural mental health), and evaluation consultancies. As a farmer she has a keen interest in the issues affecting rural communities, and as a Montessori Director and now member of ARACY staff, a special focus on child and youth wellbeing.  

* Early Years Chapter, Longitudinal Studies, Prevention Science, Student Wellbeing Action, Parent Engagement, Knowledge Brokering and Australian Fatherhood Research


Lynne Little

Paediatric and Child Health Nurse, Alice Springs Hospital
Panelist on the situation ‘on the ground’ in remote and rural areas

Lynne Little (Dip Nursing, Grad Dip Child Health) is a Clinical Nurse Specialist working in Alice Springs Hospital Paediatric Department in a Paediatric Liaison role and has worked in remote Australia for 18 years.

Lynne received her Diploma of Nursing from Flinders University and completed a Graduate Diploma in Child Health from Charles Darwin University.  She has previously held positions of Nurse Educator – Paediatrics, Nurse Lecturer – Pika Wiya Enrolled Nursing Program, Clinical Nurse Manager Child Health, Child Health Nurse, Clinical Educator & Child Health Nurse - Wurli Wurlinjang and Care Coordinator – Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane.

Lynne is an enrolled in the Masters of Nursing - Nurse Practitioner at Charles Darwin University.


Geri Malone

Chair, National Rural Health Alliance; and Director of Professional Services, CRANAplus
Nursing remote kids

Geri Malone is currently the Chair of the National Rural Health Alliance; and the Director of Professional Services for CRANAplus, the peak professional body for remote health.

Geri is a Registered Nurse and Midwife and her career has been very heavily based in the rural and remote health context.

Geri has spent a significant period of time with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) across several bases in clinical flight nurse roles as well as management.  She has also held a variety of education and professional development roles, policy positions with Country Health SAand as the Director of the Australian Rural Nurses and Midwives (ARNM).  Her overseas experience includes contract work with the International Committee of the Red Cross in East Africa.

Geri has also been a member of numerous national advisory bodies related to workforce and other professional issues in the context of remote health.

Jo McCubbin

Paediatrician, Gippsland, Victoria
Supporting the kids' health workforce we need

Jo McCubbin is a paediatrician based in Sale, Victoria. She also provides outreach to Orbost, Lakes Entrance and Bairnsdale. She has a 20 year old son who is a Medical Bioscience student at Monash Gippsland, and an ageing dog and mother. The past 12 months have seen vast sums spent on crumbling teeth.

Jo teaches Environmental Medicine to the Sale Based Monash Medical Students, and was delighted to find herself mentoring a former Sale student, along with about 10 other medical students, selected to train with Al Gore, in June last year.

Her other major passion is improving the air quality of rural people. She is self-appointed hazardous air commentator, and has seen an extraordinary year of Gippsland air quality issues, ranging from the Morwell Mine fire disaster, through the Goongerah fires during the same period, to the air quality over winter, in towns where wood burning is a major source of heating.

Meanwhile there is on-going activism on unconventional gas and she was recently invited onto a community consultation panel reporting to the Victorian Government. She is involved with pre-election think tank, Gippsland 2020. Finally, as a member of Gippsland Women’s Network she is part of a rather odd photograph on the front of the local phone book!

Ewen McPhee

President Rural Doctors Association of Australia
Rural general practice

Dr Ewen McPhee is a member of the Primary Health Care Advisory Group and a long term rural General Practitioner, GP Obstetrician and GP Supervisor in the town of Emerald, Queensland.

Dr McPhee has recently joined the Board of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, and taken the role of President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia.

Dr McPhee has held the position of deputy chair of the Queensland branch of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and State Director of the National Rural Faculty (RACGP) until recently.

Dr McPhee is Chair of the Telehealth Governance Committee for Queensland Health and eHealth Champion for the Rural Doctors Association of Australia. Dr McPhee is a Fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and consultant to the college on eHealth and Telemedicine.

A former deputy chair of the Central Queensland Medicare Local Dr McPhee has a strong interest in improving the health or rural and remote communities. Dr McPhee is a member of the International advisory committee to the World Organization of Family Doctors (Rural). He has recently completed an informal public speaking engagement in Japan addressing rural communities and health practitioners about primary care in Australia.

Megan Mitchell

National Children's Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
A human rights approach to the health and wellbeing of children in Australia's non-metropolitan areas

The announcement of the appointment of Megan Mitchell as Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner was made in Canberra on 25 February 2013. This marks a significant step in the protection of children in Australia.

Having commenced her term on 25 March 2013, Megan will focus solely on the rights and interests of children, and the laws, policies and programs that impact on them. Megan has had extensive experience in issues facing children and young people, having worked with children from all types of backgrounds, including undertaking significant work with vulnerable children.

She has practical expertise in child protection, foster and kinship care, juvenile justice, children’s services, child care, disabilities, and early intervention and prevention services. Megan’s previous roles include NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People, Executive Director of the ACT Office for Children, Youth and Family Support, Executive Director for Out-of-Home Care in the NSW Department of Community Services and CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service.

Megan also holds qualifications in social policy, psychology and education, having completed a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney (1979), a Diploma of Education from the Sydney Teachers College (1980), a Master of Arts (Psychology) from the University of Sydney (1982) and a Master of Arts (Social Policy) from the University of York (1989).

Tim Moore

Tim Moore

Senior Research Fellow - Institute of Child Protection Studies
Master of Ceremonies

Dr Tim Moore is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Child Protection Studies at the Australian Catholic University.

Over the past 20 years Tim has enjoyed working with children and young people: first as a youth worker and, since 2005, as a children’s researcher. His practice and research has mainly focused on “disadvantaged” children and young people and their engagement with the child protection, health, homelessness, justice, caring and disability sectors. He is committed to ensuring that children’s views and needs are placed at the centre of policy and practice and has worked to facilitate their participation whenever possible. Tim has also been a keen player in the carer and disability space – he is immediate past president of Carers Australia and member of the National People with Disability and Carer Council. In these and other roles, Tim has advocated for client-centred, family responsive approaches to service delivery. He likes long walks on the beach and dancing until dawn.

Elizabeth Murray

Director, Rural Support Section , Health Workforce Division, Department of Health
Rural health workforce challenges and programmes to increase the availability of services in rural, regional and remote Australia.

Liz was born and raised in regional NSW and moved to Canberra in 1998.  She currently works in the Commonwealth Department of Health, Health Workforce Division. She is Director of the Rural Support Section, assisting with policy and programmes to increase the availability of health services in rural, regional and remote Australia through the distribution of health workforce.  Her portfolio includes the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Rural Health Outreach Fund.  Liz has worked in the rural health workforce area since 2010.

Prior to moving to Health in 2006, she worked with the ACT Government Department of Housing and the Department of Immigration.

Chantal Ober

Chantal Ober

Youth Worker, YMCA Katherine; and NT Young Australian of the Year 2015
The ups and downs of a young life in remote Australia

My name is Chantal Ober, I am a 26 year old young Indigenous woman living in Katherine, NT. My family are originally from Innisfail Nth Qld and Saibai Island in the Torres Strait but I spent most of my childhood years in Batchelor and Darwin.  Looking for a fresh start I moved to ‘lil old Katherine and there I found my passion for working with young people.

Currently I volunteer through my local Church to run the ShineGirl Program with teenage girls which aims to encourage their self-worth, inner strength and purpose.

I am also a Youth Worker at the YMCA and a driving leader in the facilitation of the Girls Empowerment Program, the young women themselves have designed and participated in the following projects:

Barunga Festival Fashion Parade
Sister Power Music Video
Sister Power Dance Performance
Healthy Hour Sister Power Running Group
Suicide Prevention Rainbow Run

In 2015 I received the NT Young Australian of the Year award, the Local NAIDOC Young Person of the Year award and was appointed the Australian Government Indigenous Young Member for National Youth Week.

Frank Oberklaid

Director, Centre for Community Child Health, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
The changing nature of children’s health: challenges and opportunities

Professor Frank Oberklaid OAM, MD, FRACP is the Foundation Director of the Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children's Hospital, Co-Research Group Leader (Policy, Equity and Translation) at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and an Honorary Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Oberklaid is an internationally recognised researcher, author, lecturer and consultant, and has written two books and over 200 scientific publications. His work has been acknowledged in the form of a number of prestigious awards, and many invited international lectureships and visiting professorships.

He is Chair of the Victorian Children’s Council, which advises the Premier and Ministers on child health policy and is a member of several important national policy committees. He is especially interested in prevention and early intervention, and the use of research findings to inform public policy and service delivery.

June Oscar

Chief Executive Officer, Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre
Working to free Fitzroy Crossing from Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: a successful place-based program

June Oscar is Chief Executive Officer of Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre and a proud Bunuba woman from the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing.  She is a Bunuba language speaker and is considered one of the most outstanding Aboriginal leaders in the Fitzroy Valley, and across Australia.

June is a strong advocate and activist for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and work on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).   Her courage and determination to address the most complex and sensitive issues affecting the lives of Aboriginal Australians is inspirational.   She does this with little regard for the immense personal toll that such actions necessitate. Her focus on Aboriginal children, and her determination that we do not sacrifice the health of our children for the so-called ‘right’ to buy full strength take-away alcohol, makes her a role model for all Australia.

In 2011, in an article in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald (Weekend Magazines),  June was named as one of the 50 most influential women in the world for her work in improving the lives of those living in remote Aboriginal communities. June has previously held the positions of Deputy Director of the Kimberley Land Council and the first woman to chair the Marra Worra Worra Resource Agency (Fitzroy Crossing).  June is a Director on the Boards of Bunuba Films Pty Ltd and Bunuba Pty Ltd.  She is the former Chair of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the Kimberley Interpreting Service.  In 1990 June was an appointment of the Federal Government to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

June has a Bachelor's Degree in Business from the University of Notre Dame, Broome, Western Australia, and is currently writing her PhD.  June is a co-founder of the Yiramalay Wesley Studio School and is a Community member of the Fitzroy Valley Futures Governing Committee.   In 2012 June was appointed as an Ambassador for Children and Young People by the Western Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People.  June is a Chief Investigator on the Lililwan Project.

In June 2013 June was awarded an Order of Australia. June was the winner of the Westpac and Financial Review 100 Women of Influence 2013 for Social Enterprise and Not-for-Profit Category.  In 2014 June was awarded the Menzies School of Health Research Medallion for her work on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

In 2015 June became an Ambassador for the National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Bethany Paterson

Bethany Paterson

Rural Clinical Psychologist
Panel session on the situation 'on the ground' in remote and rural areas

Bethany Paterson is a clinical psychologist with 18 years’ experience.  She has devoted her entire career to providing psychological therapy to children and young people in rural and regional Australia.  Bethany is currently in private practice at Shrinkwrap Psychology in Kadina on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.  She is also a farmer, a hockey coach, an Apexian, a mother of 2, a step-mother of 3 and a grandmother of 6.


Damien Ryan

Mayor and Chief Executive Officer, Alice Springs Town Council
Welcome to Alice Springs

Mayor Ryan was born in Alice Springs in 1955 and completed his primary education at 'Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School'  in Alice Springs.  

His professional career began in 1972 when he started work at the Alice Springs Camera Shop, which he bought in 1974.  

Since then, he has also gained invaluable knowledge of the tourism industry as licensee of the Mt Ebenezer Roadhouse (south-west of Alice Springs) and later as co-owner of Dunmarra Roadhouse.  

Mayor Ryan is the President of the Local Government Association NT, an NT Grants Commissioner;  Co-chairman of the Outback Way Development Council and Vice-President of the Finke Desert Race.

First elected as Mayor of Alice Springs in March 2008, Mayor Ryan and re-elected in March 2012 for a second term.  

Along with his fellow Councillors, Mayor Ryan is passionate about promoting and working for the Alice Springs community.  

He works tirelessly towards making Alice Springs the best possible place to live, work and visit.

Mayor Ryan is currently involved in the Local Government Association NT, NT Grants Commission, Outback Highway Development Council, Centralian Girls Academy Advisory Committee, Alice Springs Alcohol Reference Panel and is Vice-President of the Finke Desert Race Committee.

Mayor Ryan is strongly committed to the sustainable development and advancement of Alice Springs.

Anthony Smith

Deputy Director, Centre of Online Health, University of Queensland
Telecare for more remote communities

Deputy Director - Centre for Online Health, The University of Queensland, Australia

Affiliate Associate Professor – Translational Research Institute, Queensland, Australia

Adjunct Professor – University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Associate Professor Anthony Smith commenced his career in 1992 at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Queensland, as a Registered Nurse.  Eight years later, in 2000 he accepted a research appointment at The University of Queensland’s Centre for Online Health (COH), to test a paediatric telemedicine service model in Queensland.  In 2004, Dr Smith was one of the first in Australia to complete a PhD in telemedicine – and is now credited for developing one of the world’s largest reported paediatric telemedicine programs – in Queensland, at the Royal Children’s Hospital.  He has more than 15 years’ experience establishing, managing and evaluating a broad range of telehealth programs, principally in paediatrics and more recently in the adult and aged care disciplines.  In 2008, Dr Smith was appointed Deputy Director of the COH and in 2013 he earned a lead chief investigator role for the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Telehealth.  Dr Smith has published more than 110 papers in peer-reviewed journals, three edited books and 12 book chapters on telemedicine related topics.  He is the scientific committee chair for the International Conference on Successes and Failures in Telehealth; and former President of the Australasian Telehealth Society from 2013-2015.  His frequent work in rural and remote areas of Queensland provides him ample motivation for healthcare innovation and use of telehealth – with the ultimate aim of giving people living in under-served locations, convenient and fairer access to specialist healthcare.

Christine Spencer

Christine Spencer

Acting Manager, Alice Springs Hospital
Panel Session on the situation 'on the ground' in remote and rural areas

Christine Spencer is a Warlpiri woman originally from Yuendumu but has been living in Alice Springs for 20 years. Christine has been employed for 26 years as an interpreter in the Northern Territory Government Education, Health and Justice services. Christine is currently employed as the acting Manager for the Aboriginal Support Staff Unit, Alice Springs Hospital.

Christine has a strong working history of interpreting and working with the clinical teams to plan care in the Paediatric environment with families from the remote communities of Central Australia, South Australia and the border regions of Western Australia. Christine is passionate about making a difference to others who’s English may be a third or fourth language to enable ‘both ways’ understanding, planning and decision making.

Nigel Stewart

Paediatrician, Port Augusta, South Australia; Immediate Past President, Australian Paediatric Society
From the ground up: a rural clinician's report on kids' health and wellbeing in Australia

Dr Nigel Stewart was born and educated in Auckland, New Zealand. He has lived in Port Augusta, South Australia for over 20 years and has worked as a regional paediatrician with the Port Augusta Hospital since 1993, and since 1995 has been Head of the Northern Regional Paediatric Unit at Port Augusta Hospital.

Dr Stewart aims to provide a high quality child health service as close to home as possible for the children of rural and remote locations across northern South Australia. He has a strong interest in many aspects of children’s health, including rural children’s health, indigenous health, behavioural paediatrics and developmental paediatrics. As a rural practitioner he has been a strong advocate for rural health consumers and their access to health services.

Teaching roles have included Honorary Clinical Lecturer at the University of Adelaide since 1995, and in 2003 as a Senior Clinical Lecturer for rural teaching in the Department of Paediatrics for the University of Adelaide.

Scott Stokes

Scott Stokes

Nurse Practitioner, WA Country Health Service - Kimberley, WA
Nursing, innovation and scopes of rural/remote practice

Scott Stokes is a Paediatric Nurse Practitioner (Acute Care), employed at Broome Hospital in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. He has worked in neonatal and paediatric care in WA, nationally and abroad for many years, and has post graduate and Masters level qualifications in these fields. Much of Scott’s career has been practiced in regional and remote areas.

Scott qualified as a PNP in 2012, and has since led reform and practice change in neonatal and paediatric care in the Kimberley region. Central to the ethos was to facilitate a model of ‘care closer to home’, whereby infants and children could receive treatment locally, as opposed to travelling vast distances to tertiary centres.  This has been especially exemplified through the PNP-led non-invasive respiratory program (CPAP and high flow oxygen therapy), which has had proven outcome benefits for both the patient and their family, as well as the health system.

Scott continues to assume an active leadership, education, consultancy and clinical portfolio within and external to WA Country Health, and is looking forward to being involved with expansion projects at a local, state and national level into the future.

Kylie Stothers

Indigenous Allied Health Australia, Katherine, NT
The place of allied health in kids' health

Kylie Stothers is a mother of two children, she is a Jawoyn woman who was born and raised in Katherine, NT.  Kylie comes from a large extended family with strong ties in Katherine and surrounding communities.  Kylie is a Social Worker and has worked throughout the Northern Territory for over 17 years.  Kylie currently works for Indigenous Allied Health Australia. Kylie’s interest areas are in child and maternal health, working with families, health promotion, child protection and health workforce issues.  Kylie is passionate about education and issues that relate to remoteand rural Australia. 


Michael Williams

Specialist Rural Paediatrician, Mackay
The role of telehealth in 'right care, right time, right place'

Michael Williams is a Specialist Rural Paediatrician in Mackay, Queensland.  Until recently he was the Director of Child & Adolescent Health Service at Mackay Base Hospital, Queensland. He has been a paediatrician in Mackay for over 35 years, providing outreach clinics and Telehealth support for rural sites. He has worked as a paediatrician in UK, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

Over the last 18 years he has undertaken telehealth consultation with associated research conducted in conjunction with the Centre for Online Health, University of Queensland. He has developed a telepaediatric service which provides sub specialty consultation for the patients of his region, as well as general paediatric consultation for those at rural sites.

He has a 0.5 time role of Director of Children’s Advice & Transport Coordination Hub (CATCH) within Childrens Health Qld, based at the LCCH. This aims to improve support for rural doctors and their paediatric patients, increasing care of children in their community and facilitate transport planning when needed. 

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