2020 Invited Speakers

Dr Sarah-Jane Paine, Tomaiora Research Co-Director, University of Auckland

Sarah-Jane Paine (Tūhoe) is a Senior Lecturer at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori and Director of the Tōmaiora Research Group, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences (FHMS), University of Auckland. She holds science degrees from the University of Otago and a PhD in Public Health from Massey University and has more than 15-years experience examining the determinants and consequences of Māori health inequities across the life-course. Sarah-Jane has a long-standing interest in research methods and ethics and currently works with the Office of the Tumuaki to enhance responsiveness to Māori across all student and staff research projects conducted at FMHS.


Professor Nicola Dalbeth, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland

Professor Nicola Dalbeth is a rheumatologist who holds dual appointments at the University of Auckland and at Auckland District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand.  She is a principal investigator in the Auckland Bone and Joint Research Group.  She leads a research programme focusing on the mechanisms, impact and treatment of crystal arthritis


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Professor Ian Harris AM, Orthopaedic Surgeon, University of NSW

Professor Ian Harris is Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at UNSW. He maintains a clinical orthopaedic practice and directs a research unit based at Liverpool, in Sydney’s south west. His research activities include registries, clinical trials, systematic reviews and methodological studies in the fields of surgical outcomes, trauma (fractures), joint replacement surgery and rehabilitation after surgery. His aims are to improve the evidence base for orthopaedic surgery and to better align clinical practice with that evidence base.


Professor Rachael Morton,  Director – Health Economics, NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre

Professor Rachael Morton is the Director of Health Economics at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney. She specialises in trial-based and modelled economic evaluation; elicitation of patient preferences using discrete choice experiments, and patient reported outcome measures (PROMs). Prof Morton has been an active member of ACTA since 2015, and is Co-chair of the ‘Research Prioritisation: tools and criteria’ Reference Group since 2016. She is also President of the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand (HSRAANZ).


Will Taylor

Associate Professor Will Taylor, Rheumatologist and rehabilitation physician, Hutt Valley District Health Board, Wellington, New Zealand.

Will Taylor also has an academic appointment with the University of Otago where he is involved with a postgraduate teaching programme in rehabilitation. His PhD concerned the classification criteria of psoriatic arthritis and his research interests remain in the broad field of clinical epidemiology, particularly health status measurement and diagnostic classification criteria. He has expertise in psychometrics, latent class analysis, the application of Rasch models to health status measures and is developing an interest in conjoint analysis of discrete choice experiments. He has over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and an h-index of 40, with 17 publications that each have more than 80 or more citations.

He is currently involved with national and international collaborations particularly in the field of gout: validation of gout flare definitions, how gout flare rates are related to patients’ perceptions of disease control in gout, whether serum urate is an adequate surrogate for clinical outcomes in the context of clinical trials, application of the ICF to gout and development of valid criteria for remission from gout that could be used in outcome studies. He has recently completed an international project that re-defined the case-definition for gout sponsored by the American College of Rheumatology and European League Against Rheumatism. He has chaired the gout OMERACT group since 2010 and participated in the ICHOM working group for standard outcome evaluation in inflammatory arthritis.


Professor Chris Maher

Professor Chris Maher, Director, Institute for Musculoskeletal Health Sydney, Sydney Local Health District; Professor, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney.

Professor Maher leads a research group focusing on the promotion of musculoskeletal health and physical activity across the lifespan. Prof Maher’s research evaluates the management of back pain and he has published 16+ clinical trials in leading journals such as NEJM, Lancet, Ann Intern Med. He is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapy. He has over 585 publications, $45 Million in research funding and 34 PhD completions. He is on the editorial board of the Cochrane Back and Neck group and Executive Committee for ANZMUSC Clinical Trials Network. Prof Maher is an investigator on the Wiser Healthcare Collaboration.


Professor Haxby Abbott, Director of the Centre for Musculoskeletal Outcomes Research, University of Otago

Professor Abbot is a Research Professor at the Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Otago. Haxby Abbott’s research has focused on the management of common musculoskeletal problems in middle-aged and older adults, particularly osteoarthritis. Haxby’s work has largely been funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. He has collaborated widely with researchers locally and internationally. Haxby has also worked with the Southern District Health Board to implement the Joint Clinic – a practical solution to addressing the unmet need of people referred to Dunedin Hospital with osteoarthritis.


Professor David Hunter, University of Sydney

Professor Hunter is a rheumatology clinician researcher whose main research focus is clinical and translational research in osteoarthritis (OA). He is the Florance and Cope Chair of Rheumatology and Professor of Medicine at University of Sydney, Chair of the Institute of Bone and Joint Research and Staff Specialist at Royal North Shore Hospital. He is ranked as the leading expert in the world on osteoarthritis on expertscape.com and is the section editor for UpToDate osteoarthritis. He holds a medical degree and Master of Sports Medicine from the University of New South Wales. He completed a fellowship in Rheumatology at the Royal Australian College of Physicians and earned a Masters of Medical Science (Clinical Epidemiology) from the University of Newcastle and received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2001. His research is focused on a number of key elements in OA including (but not limited to) the epidemiology of osteoarthritis, the application of imaging to better understand structure and function with application to both epidemiologic research and clinical trials, novel therapies in disease management and heath service system delivery of chronic disease management. He is an editor for leading international journals in his field, has authored books on osteoarthritis and has over 500 publications in peer reviewed journals.


Dr Ben Darlow, Physiotherapist, University of Otago

Ben is a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Specialist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice at the University of Otago, Wellington.


2020 Invited Panellists

Professor Kathryn McPherson, AUT Deputy Vice Chancellor

Kath McPherson became Deputy Vice Chancellor at AUT (Auckland) in October 2019 having been the chief executive of the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) from 2014.  Whilst these roles allow little time for research, Kath remains engaged in neurorehabilitation.  Kath has a clinical background in nursing and midwifery and holds a BA(Hons) in Psychology from the Open University (UK), and a PHd from the University of Edinburgh.  In addition to her substantive position, Kath remains an advisor to the Chair and Chief Executive of the HRC, is a member of the Mahi Orange Board for the Ministry of Social Development and ACC’s Health Services Strategy Committee.


Mr Ben Horgan, ANZMUSC CAG member & Consumer advocate, Consumer and Community Health Research Network

Ben Horgan is currently working for the Consumer and Community Health Research Network as a Consumer Advocate sharing his time between Edith Cowan University (ECU) and Curtin Universities. Ben brings over 15 years of advocacy experience to the role. He has worked at Arthritis Australia as a consumer advocate and between 2011 – 2015 worked in primary health care organisations supporting patient driven, evidence based, multidisciplinary care. Ben has been a consumer representative in state and national committees and was the first patient to be appointed a National Coordinator by the World Health Organisation initiative, The Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010. As a patient research partner he has worked for nearly two decades in local, national and international research projects. Ben has attended 5 OMERACT conferences since 2004. He was a member of the Patient Research Partner leadership group between 2006 and 2010. During his time with OMERACT, he has been directly involved in several projects including the Flares group, The Health Literacy Group, The Pain Group (ongoing) and the JIA group (ongoing). His current role enables him to utilise all his experience and evidence based best practice models to improve collaboration between researchers, health consumers and the community. The results will enable increased levels of involvement from health consumers and community, more relevant health research, plus increased rates of translation into health service delivery.


Dr Sam Adie, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Senior Lecturer, UNSW

Dr. Sam Adie is an Orthopaedic Surgeon and Senior Lecturer (Conjoint) at UNSW. Sam has had a long association with the university, completing his undergraduate Medical degree in 2005, a Master of Sports Medicine in 2009, a Master of Public Health in 2010, and was awarded his PhD in 2014- all at UNSW. He became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian Orthopaedic Association in 2016. He then completed three clinical/research fellowships at the University of Toronto (Canada), the University of Oxford (UK), and Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. He practices at St. George (public and private) and Sutherland hospitals.

Sam’s research interests focus in the clinical effectiveness of orthopaedic/musculoskeletal interventions: systematic reviews, clinical trials, and clinical registries. He also has a particular interest in the scientific quality and reporting of research publications. Sam has been awarded A$1.5million in research funding, and is an investigator on a series of clinical trials in orthopaedics, including a randomised registry trial recently funded by the NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund.

Sam supervises both undergraduate (Independent Learning Project) students, as well as higher degree students. He is also involved in the teaching and curriculum development of CLEAR (Critical Literature Evaluation and Research), a mandatory clinical epidemiology course offered to trainees of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.


Associate Professor Justine Naylor, University of NSW & SWLSHD

Associate Professor Naylor is a clinical researcher and conjoint Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales and a Senior Research fellow with the South Western Sydney Local Health district. Her research interests include orthopaedics and rehabilitation. She was the Chief Investigator in the recent HIHO randomised clinical trial comparing inpatient to home rehabilitation following knee replacement.