Invited Speakers



Prof John Zalcberg OAM

Founding member of the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AGITG) and Chair, Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA); Tony Charlton Chair of Oncology, Alfred Health, Head, Cancer Research Program, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Monash University

Professor John Zalcberg was the Director, Division of Cancer Medicine, at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia for 17 years prior to recently taking up the position of Head, Cancer Research Program in the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Monash University in 2014. After earning a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Melbourne and a PhD in cancer immunology, he served as Director of Medical Oncology at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and as Director of Cancer Services at the Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre. A co-founder of the Lorne Cancer Conference and the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AGITG), he is immediate past Chair of the Board of AGITG after serving in this role for over 15 years and a past Board Member of Cancer Trials Australia. He was the co-Chair of the Cancer Drugs Alliance, an organization which advocated for improved access to new cancer drugs for patients and also the Chair of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance. This organization is involved in advocating for embedding clinical research into routine clinical practice in order to improve the quality of health care delivery.

A past Board Member of the NSW Cancer Institute, past President of the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia, and a past Member of the Consultative Council of the Victorian Cancer Agency, he has received a Medal of the Order of Australia Award (OAM), the 2011 Cancer Achievement Award from the Medical Oncology Group of Australia and the 2014 “Tom Reeve Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cancer Care” from the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia. Professor Zalcberg’s clinical research interests include gastrointestinal cancer and health care outcomes. He has published more than 270 articles in peer-reviewed journals.  He was a Principal Investigator for the EORTC advanced GIST trial in Australia and remains active in numerous trials in gastrointestinal malignancies.  He continues an active clinical practice in GI cancer.


Prof Chris Reid

John Curtin Distinguished Professor, Curtin University, Director, Monash and Curtin Centre’s of Cardiovascular Research and Education                                 

Christopher Reid is a cardiovascular epidemiologist with appointments as Research Professor in both the School of Public Health at Curtin University and the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. He was appointed as a John Curtin Distinguished Professor in 2018 and is Director of the Monash and Curtin Centre’s of Cardiovascular Research and Education (CCRE) and the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Cardiovascular Outcomes Improvement (2016-2020).  He holds a National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellowship (2018-2022).  He has been awarded over $113M as a Chief Investigator and has received continuous NHMRC funding since 2001.  He has over 350 peer-reviewed publications, many of which are in leading journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JACC and the BMJ. He has been Study Director for the 2nd Australian National Blood Pressure (ANBP2) Study and is currently a Chief Investigator for the Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) Study, the Statins in Reducing Events in the elderly Trial and the Australian arms of the HOPE-3, REACH and CLARIFY Registries. He is a Principal Investigator for the Victorian Cardiac Procedures Registry Project, the Melbourne Interventional Group (MIG) registry, and the ANZSCTS National Cardiac Surgical Registry.  He participates as a WHO consultant for prevention of cardiovascular disease in Mongolia, Vietnam and the West Pacific region.


Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira

Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Northern Clinical School

Associate Professor Ferreira is Principal Research Fellow and NHMRC Fellow at the Institute of Bone and Joint Research/Kolling Institute and Associate Professor at Sydney Medical School/The University of Sydney. She holds a Sydney Medical Foundation Fellowship and is an Oxford Martin School Visiting Fellow (Oxford University). She leads the clinical back pain research theme at The Kolling Institute, where she oversees a research team on the mechanisms, prognosis and management of back pain. She has attracted more than $10.5 million in research funding and leads the first placebo randomised controlled trial of spinal surgery, an NHMRC-funded study that will establish the efficacy of decompressive surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis. With over 6,000 citations (H-index of 38) she is currently the world’s highest ranked researcher for ‘back pain in older people’ (Web of Science, 2018) and 7th in the world for ‘back pain’ (of a total of 33,000 authors worldwide – Expertscape).


Mr Mick Gooda

Former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

Mick Gooda is a proud descendent of the Gangulu people of Central Queensland and has been involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs throughout Australia for over 35 years. Mr Gooda’s most recent appointment was as Commissioner on the Royal Commission onto the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory which delivered its report to Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments on 17 November 2017. He held the position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2010 to August 2016. As Social Justice Commissioner, he advocated for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia and to promote respect and understanding of these rights among the broader Australian community. Mr Gooda actively promotes the concept of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples being intimately involved in decisions that affect them. He has focused on the empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Mick is particularly passionate about closing the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, a move he says is “non-Negotiable”. Immediately prior to taking up the position of Social Justice Commissioner, Mr Gooda was the Chief Executive Officer of the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health. For five years as CEO, Mr Gooda drove a research agenda which placed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ‘front and centre’ in the research agenda, working alongside world leading researchers.


Ms. Anneliese Synnot

Research Fellow and Editor, Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group, La Trobe University, and Cochrane Australia, Monash University

Annie Synnot is a Research Fellow with Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group (CCCRG) at La Trobe University, and Cochrane Australia, Monash University. She has worked on a number of research projects in partnership with consumers and other stakeholders, including policy makers, health professionals and the not-for-profit sector. Annie leads the CCCRG’s review prioritisation activities, and is supporting their priority author teams to meaningfully involve consumers and other stakeholders in their systematic reviews. As part of her PhD, she is evaluating the stakeholder engagement approach being used by one of the priority Cochrane review teams. Annie’s research interests include innovations in evidence synthesis, including living systematic reviews, and new ways to involve and work with stakeholders in systematic review prioritisation and production.


Prof Lyn March AM

Senior Staff Specialist in Rheumatology and Clinical Epidemiology at Royal North Shore Hospital; Liggins Professor of Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Epidemiology Medicine, Northern Clinical School, University of Sydney; Consultant Rheumatologist North Sydney Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Centre

Prof Lyn March is a clinician researcher who conducts clinical trials and measures burden of disease and health outcomes in arthritis, osteoporosis and all musculoskeletal disorders. She advocates to raise their profile and ultimately to improve patient care. Monitoring long-term patient outcomes and treatment effects and implementing evidence-based guidelines for arthritis, back pain and fracture prevention are ongoing challenges.  She currently leads the Australian Arthritis and Autoimmune Biobank Colllaborative – A3BC – with a mission to provide infrastructure for all MSK researchers to work towards a cure for these disorders.


Dr Mary O’Keefe

Marie SkłodowskaCurie Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Sydney 

Mary O’Keeffe is a physiotherapist and European Union Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow at Musculoskeletal Health Sydney, The University of Sydney. Mary’s fellowship involves two years in the University of Sydney, a three month secondment to EFIC in Brussels in Belgium, and 9 months in the University of Limerick in Ireland. Mary was awarded her PhD in 2017 in the University of Limerick. Her PhD research examined whether tailoring multidimensional rehabilitation to the individual chronic low back pain patient enhances effectiveness. Mary is very passionate about public engagement and communicating evidence-based information about low back pain through radio, newspapers and social media. Examples include All you ever need to know about back pain (RTE News Ireland), 10 myths about back pain and how to cope when it strikes, 15 things you didn’t know about back pain, How to move on from back pain, How your sleep patterns could be contributing to your back pain (Irish Independent newspaper). Mary has published 32 papers relating to low back pain and other musculoskeletal pain conditions. Mary is part of the Wiser Healthcare research collaboration that aims to conduct research that will reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment in Australia and around the world.



Dr Ivan Lin

Senior Lecturer, NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, Rural Remote and Regional Health, University of Western Australia

Dr Ivan Lin is a physiotherapist with the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service, senior lecturer and NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow at the Western Australian Centre for Rural Health (University of Western Australia), and holds an adjunct position with Curtin University School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science. In clinical practice he mainly sees Aboriginal people with persistent musculoskeletal pain conditions. His research brings together collaborations of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people from diverse professional backgrounds and experiences with a collective focus on improving the quality of musculoskeletal pain care, the development of culturally appropriate health information, and improving clinical communication; all ultimately aiming to improve health and reduce disparities. Ivan has lived for many years in coastal regional Western Australia in Geraldton (Southern Yamaji country), about five hours drive north of Perth.


Ms Julia Medew

Walkley award winning journalist, PhD student, Bond University

Julia Medew is a Walkley Award winning journalist who has mostly written for The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and other Fairfax Media publications. Julia writes news, commentary and features; has edited other journalists’ work; and runs social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Having written extensively about health for 10 years, Julia is a well-connected reporter who understands Australia’s complex health system and medical research. She has studied short courses in genetics, epidemiology and evidence-based medicine. Julia performs guest lectures at Monash University about health policy and the media, and she is currently undertaking a PhD at Bond University to investigate media coverage of medicine. She was named Australia’s best young journalist by the Walkley Foundation in 2009. In 2016, her widely read feature “The Big Sleep” was nominated for another Walkley award and re-published by The New York Times. Before writing about health, Julia covered legal affairs and court cases for The Age in Melbourne.