2021 Congress speakers

Confirmed speakers and panel members below.

More speakers to be announced!

Keynote speakers

Verna YiuMD, FRCPC | President and CEO, Alberta Health Services

An accomplished leader in the academic and healthcare sectors, Dr. Verna Yiu has been involved in public sector governance for over two decades. She is currently the President and CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS), Canada’s first and largest province-wide health system providing integrated care to more than 4.3 million Albertans. AHS has been recognized as a national and international leader in many clinical and administrative areas including: being named as one of the top 5 most integrated healthcare systems out of 40 countries, having one of the top 3 best health supply chain management systems in the world, and awarded one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for four consecutive years.
Dr. Yiu is guided by the principle that healthcare is a people business, built upon strong and collaborative relationships. Creating the stability and vision that people and organizations need to succeed, strengthened within the objectives of Quadruple Aim, have been hallmarks of her governance style – first in her role as Interim Dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta and now in her current role. Since taking the reins of AHS in January 2016, Dr. Yiu has strengthened relationships with AHS’ many partners, including government; academic institutions; health foundations; the AHS workforce; patients, clients and families; and communities across Alberta. By doing so, AHS has bolstered community engagement, collaborated on world-class research, led the country in many health performance indicators and met budget targets – all with the most efficient and leanest healthcare administrations in Canada.
Dr. Yiu previously served as Vice President, Quality and Chief Medical Officer in AHS from 2012-2016. Prior to the role of Interim Dean in 2011, she was Vice-Dean for the Faculty of Medicine/Dentistry from 2008-2011 and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs from 2000-2008. She has won numerous awards for teaching and clinical excellence and also chaired the Specialty of Nephrology for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for 6 years. Dr. Yiu is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and continues to practice as a pediatric nephrologist.

Jeffrey Braithwaite, PhD, FIML, FCHSM, FFPHRCP, FAcSS, Hon FRACMA, FAHMS

Professor Braithwaite is Founding Director of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Director of the Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, and Professor of Health Systems Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He has appointments at six other universities internationally, and he is a board member and President Elect of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) and consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO).
His research examines the changing nature of health systems, which has attracted funding of more than AUD $137 million. He is particularly interested in health care as a complex adaptive system and applying complexity science to health care problems.
Professor Braithwaite has contributed over 500 refereed publications and has presented at international and national conferences on more than 950 occasions, including 104 keynote addresses. His research appears in journals such as The BMJ, JAMA, The Lancet, Social Science & Medicine, BMJ Quality and Safety, and the International Journal for Quality in Health Care. He has received over 45 different national and international awards for his teaching and research.  

Rob Edwards OAM

Rob Edwards has a Bachelor of Science with majors in Anatomy & Physiology. He has been a company director for 20 years in the health and well-being industry where he designed and delivered staff development programs for hundreds of organisations.
Prior to that he worked for five years in a cardiac rehabilitation program where he wrote the internationally distributed book Better Blood Pressure
He has diverse experience working with people at all levels of business, cardiac patients, young offenders, elite athletes and remote island communities.
Rob received an Order of Australia Medal this year for his charity work.  He founded Its Time Foundation that installs solar power in remote Pacific island schools so, those kids can have a modern education. He also founded Plastic Free Oceans and the Sustainable Social platform. 
Rob’s focus is simply to encourage people to take a brief time out in their busy lives to consider their most important asset - themselves.  And to get you thinking about sustainable actions that you can do so you have a long and high quality life.
We can’t look after other people unless we look after ourselves first.  That’s why the session is called “It’s All About You”.

Dr Ben Hamer

Dr Ben Hamer is one of Australia's leading work futurists. He drives the Future of Work agenda at PwC and, in this capacity, spent time seconded to the World Economic Forum heading up critical projects on the future of work, skills, and education.

Ben has a Doctorate of Public Administration, which included time spent as a Visiting Scholar at Yale University, and is an Adjunct Fellow with the Centre for the New Workforce at Swinburne University. Ben has featured in numerous publications providing expert commentary on the Future of Work, including The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, WA Today, and on the ABC.

Panel members: 

Professor Tracy Smart AO, Air Vice-Marshal (Ret.) 
BMBS, MPH, MA, Dip AvMed, FRACMA, FACAsM, FAsMA, FCDSS, FACHSM (Hon)  
Professor, Military and Aerospace Medicine/Public Health Lead - COVID Response Office; Australian National University

Professor Smart is a physician, health leader, and retired Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) senior officer. During 35 years of service, Professor Smart served in tactical, operational and strategic roles, on overseas deployments, and was Surgeon General of the ADF from 2015 to 2019. She transferred to the RAAF Reserve in 2020.  

Professor Smart’s current roles at the ANU include provision of public health guidance to ensure a COVID-safe, responsive and resilient ANU, and contributing to the development of the University’s Space Medicine program. In addition to these roles she is: Public Health Advisor and a Mental Health Steering Group member, Australian Football League (AFL); a Member, Australian Space Agency’s Technical Advisory Group - Space Medicine & Life Sciences; President, Australasian College of Aerospace Medicine; Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne; and Strategic Advisor – LGBTI Inclusion, Department of Defence.

Professor Smart was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012 and an Officer of the Order of Australian in the 2019 Queens’ Birthday Honours List. 

Elizabeth Koff

Secretary, NSW Health

Elizabeth was appointed Secretary, NSW Health in 2016. As Secretary, Elizabeth is responsible for the management of the NSW health system ($29 billion budget and 122,000 FTE) and setting strategic direction to ensure NSW continues to provide exceptional healthcare, research and education.

Elizabeth is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), NSW President of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) and a member of Chief Executive Women.

Professor (Practice) Alison J McMillan

Alison McMillan commenced as the Australian Government Department of Health’s Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer in November 2019.

Alison is a Registered Nurse with a Critical Care Nursing Certificate, a Bachelor Degree in Education, a Master of Business Administration and was awarded a National Emergency Medal in recognition of service following the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. She is an experienced executive manager with more than 30 years’ experience across the public health system. Alison has held senior executive roles in government and health services within Victoria including the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer and Director of Quality, Safety and Patient Experience.

Alison is a member of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee contributing to key advice provided to the National Cabinet during the COVID-19 pandemic and, as Co-Chair of the Infection Control Expert Group providing advice and information on best practice on infection prevention and control in the community, hospitals, aged care, schools and community sport.

Alison has been a part of a team providing communication to the community, which is clear, honest, and compassionate. In February 2020, Alison was the nurse team leader for an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) deployed to repatriate Australian’s from the Diamond Princess Cruise ship in Japan.

Alison has collaborated with state and territory Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers and other key stakeholders including the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Australian College of Nursing, Australian College of Midwives and Australian College of Critical Care Nurses to ensure sufficient nursing and midwifery capability and capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carmel Monaghan

Chief Executive Officer, Ramsay Health Care Australia

Carmel Monaghan is the Chief Executive Officer, Ramsay Health Care Australia, commencing in this role 1 October 2020. Carmel joined Ramsay in 1998 and has worked across hospital, corporate and global Ramsay positions playing a key role in the company’s successful growth during this time. She has extensive experience and a comprehensive understanding of healthcare operations and strategy both in Australia and overseas. Coming from a marketing and communications background, Carmel has had a strong focus on delivering results through focusing on customers and developing strong doctor relationships. She is a respected leader with the ability to build an experienced and loyal team and her collaborative style and people-focused approach, is closely aligned with ‘The Ramsay Way’. Having worked with the Company’s founder Paul Ramsay for many years, she has a strong belief in its organisational culture of ‘people caring for people’.

Karen Price

President, RACGP

As a former practice owner, RACGP Victoria Co-Deputy Chair, Chair of Women in General Practice and a GP for more than 25 years, Dr Karen Price came to the role of President with plenty of experience under her belt.

Karen’s priorities as RACGP President include transforming the vision of a vital general practice sector. This includes funding for general practice and improving the college’s engagement with members from remote/rural to urban areas. Establishing a lifelong college of innovative learning to support new GPs through their vocational journey is essential RACGP business.

Karen is passionate about GPs thriving through effective communication, good governance, teamwork and patient safety, and providing the profession the support it needs to carry out the purpose of our work – high-quality holistic and longitudinal patient care. She continues to promote leadership, advocacy, peer support and evidence-based medicine in her research and her clinical general practice. She is also finishing her PhD at Monash University on the role of peer connection in Australian general practice.

Every day of Karen’s Presidency will be dedicated to getting GPs the resources they need to do the job they were trained to do while meeting the high standards the RACGP has always set. It’s our college, so ‘members first’ is a priority.

Professor Tony Capon

Tony Capon directs the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and holds a chair in Planetary Health in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. He was a member of the Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on Planetary Health. A public health physician, Tony’s research focuseson urbanisation, sustainable development and human health. His career spans the local—as Director of Public Health and Medical Officer of Health in Western Sydney—to the global—as Director of the International Institute for Global Health at United Nations University (UNU-IIGH). Tony currently co-chairs the Future Earth Health Knowledge–Action Network.

Dr. Tarun Weeramanthri

President of the Public Health Association of Australia

Tarun Weeramanthri is President of the Public Health Association of Australia, Deputy Chair of the PathWest Board, and an adjunct professor in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Western Australia. He is a trained specialist in internal medicine and public health, and has a PhD in social medicine. He was Chief Health Officer in Western Australia (WA) from 2008 to 2018, and in the Northern Territory (NT) from 2004 to 2007. In 2014, he was awarded the Sidney Sax Medal by the Public Health Association of Australia, for his contribution to public health in Australia. From 2019-2020, he conducted an Inquiry into the Impacts of Climate Change on Health in WA. Over the last year, he has worked with governments in WA, Victoria and South Australia as an advisor on the COVID-19 response, and with the Commonwealth Government as a panel member on the National Contact Tracing Review. In early 2021, he conducted an independent review of Hotel Quarantine Arrangements in WA.

Fiona Armstrong

Executive Director and Founder of Climate and Health Alliance

Fiona is Executive Director and Founder of Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) in Australia, a national coalition of health groups with a mission to build a powerful health sector movement for climate action. She is a founding director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance; the architect of the world’s first Framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia (2017); and a lead author of the Queensland Human Health and Wellbeing Climate Change Adaptation Plan (2018). Fiona recently conceived and led the Rewrite the Future Roundtable series, which led to the publication, ‘Australia in 2030: Possible Alternative Futures’, and she is the lead author of the accompanying Healthy, Regenerative and Just policy agenda, which outlines the pathway to this preferred future.  Fiona is regularly invited to speak at national and international events, and appears regularly in media, in ABC Radio National Breakfast and in The Canberra Times. Her recent article for The Conversation: ‘Coronavirus is a wake-up call: our war with the environment is leading to pandemics, with Professor Tony Capon and Dr Ro McFarlane, has been translated in Danish and read over 60,000 times.