AHIA National Conference 2009

Click here to download the Program.

A broad and thought-provoking Conference Program has been created to encompass the theme of “Private Health Insurance: Investing In The Future”.

Click on each of the speaker’s name below to view their bio and download their presentations in PDF version.

International Keynote Speakers, Biographies & Presentations

Dr Phil Hammond, Medical Commentator, UK

Dr Phil HammondQualifying as a Doctor in 1987, Phil Hammond became a GP in 1991. As a budding comedian Phil was part of the comedy duo Struck Off and Die, who performed sell out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and twice selected for the Perrier Pick of the Fringe and won Writers’ Guild and Silver Sony Awards for their Radio 4 series. Finding further success in radio Phil’s 28 Minutes to Save the NHS, aired on Radio 4, extended to a sell out Edinburgh Fringe show, 59 Minutes to Save the NHS and then on to a 60 date UK tour 89 Minutes to Save the NHS.

Phil has written Private Eye’s medical column ‘Doing the Rounds’ since 1992, presented the Channel 5 series Trust Me, I’m A Doctor and has made numerous appearances on the comedy panel shows, Have I Got News For You and The News Quiz.

In high demand as a speaker, facilitator and conference chair, Phil always receives great praise for his appearances.


Dr Foster Gesten, Medical Director, New York State Department of Health, USA Download Presentation

Dr Foster GestenFoster Gesten is the Medical Director for the Office of Health Insurance Programs in the New York State Department of Health. Dr. Gesten provides clinical direction and leadership for a team of professionals engaged in quality oversight, performance measurement and clinical improvement within health plans and public insurance programs in New York.

Major initiatives include the development of statewide public reporting systems for commercial, Medicaid, and Child Health managed care programs on quality, access, and satisfaction, medical home demonstrations, and provider based quality measurement and improvement. His interests include population health, health service research, and quality improvement projects directed at prevention services and chronic care.

Dr. Gesten is a member of the National CAHPS Benchmarking Database (NCBD) Advisory Group, the Committee on Performance Measurement (CPM) at the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), Expert Panel Member for the Agency for Healthcare Quality (AHRQ) Health Care Innovations Exchange, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Future Directions for the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports.

Dr. Gesten was trained in general internal medicine at Brown University.


Invited Speakers, Biographies & Presentations

The Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Minister for Health and Ageing

The Hon Nicola Roxon MP
The Hon Nicola Roxon has been the Minister for Health and Ageing in the Rudd Labor Government since its election in November 2007.

She has been a member of Federal Parliament since 1998, representing the Melbourne western suburbs seat of Gellibrand.

In an earlier life she was an associate to the nation’s first female High Court Justice, Mary Gaudron, and an industrial lawyer who acted in the high profile waterfront dispute.

Nicola has a First Class Honours Law degree and Arts degree from Melbourne University, and graduated top of her law class in 1990.

Since becoming Health Minister, Nicola has been busy laying the foundations for major health reform. She has been busy with negotiations at COAG, establishing the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, focussing our system on health prevention, and delivering a much needed injection of funds into public hospitals and infrastructure funding.

The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing

The Hon Peter Dutton MPPeter was elected as the Federal Member for Dickson in Queensland in November 2001 when, at the age of 30 he defeated Cheryl Kernot.

He was re-elected with an increased majority in 2004 and appointed as Minister for Workforce Participation, with responsibility for the Job Network, Disability Employment Services, Work for the Dole and improving transition to work opportunities for all unemployed Australians.

At the time of his appointment Peter was one of the youngest Minister’s since Federation.

In January 2006 Peter was promoted to Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer. He worked closely with Peter Costello in areas including budget preparation, taxation, superannuation, prudential regulation, and competition and consumer policy.

Following his re-election in November 2007, and with the change of Government, Peter was appointed to Shadow Cabinet as Minister for Finance, Competition Policy and Deregulation.

In September 2008 he was promoted to his current position, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing.

Prior to being elected to Parliament, Peter had a variety of jobs.

He started his working life at 12 – delivering newspapers, mowing lawns. He also worked after school as a butcher’s boy-a job he continued until starting university. Peter went on to complete a Bachelors degree in Business.

He started in property at 18 and eventually owned businesses employing over 40 staff.

Peter was a police officer for 9 years, working in the Sex Offenders Squad, Drug Squad, and the then National Crime Authority. He left the police in 1999 to manage his business interests full time.

Peter is married to Kirilly and is the proud father of Rebecca aged 7, Harry aged 5 and Tom aged 3.

Ms Pat Anderson, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

Pat Anderson is an Alyawarre woman, well known for her many years of advocacy for the health of Indigenous peoples. She was the co-author of the Little Children are Sacred report into abuse of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory, and is currently Chairperson of the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.

Prof Bruce H Barraclough, ISQua Download Presentation

Professor Bruce H BarracloughBruce Barraclough is President of the International Society for Quality in Health Care, Board Chair, NSW Clinical Excellence Commission, Associate Dean (Clinical Strategy) of the University of Western Sydney Medical School and Board Chair, Australian E-Health Research Centre. He serves on working parties for the WHO World Alliance for Patient Safety. He was President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (1998 – 2001), Professor / Director of Cancer Services, Northern Sydney Health and the University of Sydney, (2000- 2005) and Chair of the Australian Council for Safety & Quality in Health Care (2000 – 2005).

Mr Jim Birch, Ernst & Young Download Presentation

Mr Jim BirchJim is Ernst & Young’s Lead Partner in Health and Human Services. He has over thirty years experience in planning, leading and implementing change in complex organisations transcending such areas as Health Care, Justice and Human Services.

Jim has been a Chief Executive of a Human Services and Health Department (South Australia), Deputy Chief Executive of Justice and Chief Executive of major health service delivery organisations, including teaching hospitals. At a National level he has been Chair of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council, led the establishment of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and was a Board Member of the National E Health Transition Authority.

He is currently a Director of the Board of the National Health Call Centre Network Ltd and Chair of Rural Health Workforce Australia. Since 2006, Jim has delivered or led major consultancies in areas such as organisational review, infrastructure, program evaluation, policy development, strategic planning, financial turnaround and change management. Jim’s clients have included most of the Health Departments in Australia and also many private sector and non government organisations. Jim has also consulted internationally in the Middle East and South East Asia.

Mr Richard Bowden, Bupa Australia Group

Richard BowdenRichard Bowden is the Managing Director of private health insurer Bupa Australia, trading as HBA, MBF and Mutual Community. Bupa provides cover for over three million Australians. The Bupa Australia business includes a Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Wealth Management and a joint venture General Insurance business.

Richard started his career in audit, moved into financial services and has spent most of his career in the private health insurance field. He joined HBA 23 years ago and moved through a number of Executive roles whilst HBA merged and changed ownership. He has been MD of Bupa Australia for 11 years.

During his leadership, Richard has managed the transition from AXA Asia Pacific ownership to a standalone business under the international Health and Care Company, Bupa. In 2008 Bupa acquired the business of MBF and Richard is presently overseeing the integration of the businesses.

The Bupa Australia business has a excellent track record for consistent performance across customer, employee, operational efficiency and financial indicators, including delivering affordable increases for its customers. Richard credits the quality of his people and the strong teamwork culture at Bupa Australia as being key to its success.

Richard is the President of the Australian Health Insurance Association, a Commissioner on the Australian Quality and Safety Commission, is on the Foundation Board of Very Special Kids, and a Director on a number of other BUPA companies.


Mr Richard Royle, Australian Private Hospitals Association

Mr Richard RoyleRichard has 30 years experience in the healthcare industry and is currently Chief Executive Officer of UnitingCare Health in Queensland, incorporating 5 private not-for-profit hospitals totalling over 1,000 beds, and employing approximately 4,000 staff.

Richard has played a key role in setting UnitingCare Health’s growth strategy, which has culminated in the recent completion of a $100million expansion and upgrade at The Wesley and an $80million expansion at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane.

He has held several other senior roles in healthcare organisations, including a major health fund, other public and private hospital organisations, a health and aged care consulting company, and was a Founding Board Member of Uniting Aged Care Victoria and Tasmania.

Richard is currently Vice-President of the Australian Private Hospitals Association and Chairman of their Policy and Advocacy Committee.

Mr Barrie Cassidy, Political Commentator

Mr Barrie CassidyBarrie Cassidy is one of Australia’s most experienced political commentators, having covered federal politics since 1979.

He has worked as Canberra based political correspondent for ABC TV and radio and political analyst for the 7.30 Report.

For four years, from 1986 to 1990, he experienced political life from the inside when he worked as
senior press secretary and political adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Even when he took a brief sabbatical from Canberra and politics, to take up overseas appointments, he was always based in global political capitals.

He worked as US correspondent based in Washington for The Australian during the rise of President Bill Clinton; and then in Brussels as European correspondent for the ABC.

Barrie now hosts two programs on ABC TV, Sunday mornings, the highly regarded political discussion program, Insiders, and its younger sibling, a sports discussion program, Offsiders.

Dr Adam Elshaug, Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA) Download Presentation

Dr Adam ElshaugDr Adam Elshaug, MPH, PhD, holds a Hanson Institute Research Fellowship with Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA) and is Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Public Health at The University of Adelaide, Australia. Adam trained in clinical epidemiology and health services and policy research, with a focus in the area of disinvestment. Disinvestment and comparative effectiveness research involves the development and application of clinical, epidemiological, economic, ethical and policy appraisals of existing health care interventions that are ineffective, less effective or inappropriately applied with a view to reducing these in favour of more effective health care practices.

Dr Elshaug is working extensively with government, academic, insurance and health technology assessment groups in Australia (federal/state) and internationally (Spain, UK, Canada, USA) to advance research and policy reform in this area. http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/adam.elshaug

Prof Janet Hiller, Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA)

Professor Janet HillerJanet Hiller is Professor of Public Health and Acting Head of the School of Population Health and Clinical Practice at The University of Adelaide. Professor Hiller is also the Director of Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA), and an Adjunct Professor for the School of Public Health at the Queensland University of Technology. In 2006, she was made Honorary Professor at Shandong Academy of Occupational Health and Occupational Medicine in China.

Professor Hiller’s research interests include Health Technology Assessment, maternal and child health and cancer epidemiology. In 2008, Professor Hiller’s services to the Public Health sector were recognised when she was awarded the Basil Hetzel Award for Leadership in Public Health by the South Australian branch of the Public Health Association. A year earlier, she received the inaugural Adelaide Research & Innovation Impact Award for Growth in Contract Research and was also recognised as the University of Adelaide’s Postgraduate Lecturer of the Year, in 2002.


Dr Karen Luxford, Harkness Fellow in Health Policy & Practice 08/09

Dr Karen LuxfordIn 2008-2009, Karen was a Harkness Fellow in Healthcare Policy & Practice in the USA and studied exemplar health care organizations focused on patient-centred care and the role of patient feedback in improving service quality. Karen’s interests include new models of care, patient care experience, promoting evidence-based best practice, and health services delivery.

Dr Karen Luxford is General Manager at the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre overseeing programs in cancer control, information, policy and practice. Karen has overseen the development, implementation and evaluation of a number of large national programs in a range of areas across the cancer care continuum.

Karen is an Honorary Associate of the School of Public Health, University of Sydney and founding Executive Committee member of the Health Services Research Association of Australia & New Zealand.

Jason McCartney, Former AFL Player and Motivational Speaker Download Presentation

Jason McCartneyJason McCartney became the hero of the horrific Bali Bombings; the embodiment of the Australian ‘never say die’ attitude.

Despite suffering second degree burns to over 50% of his body, he believed others to be in more pain that him and set about helping those around him, rescuing two sisters in the process. He then gave up his seat on the plane to a fellow bombing victim. Upon returning home, he was almost unrecognizable to his parents, and the injuries to his body turned out to be more severe than he thought. He spent the following week in a coma with the last rites being administered to him.

However, through resolute determination, he survived and made it to his wedding on time. After months of rehabilitation, Jason McCartney took to the football field for one last time with the numbers 88/202 stitched on his Guernsey (to commemorate the 88 Australians, and 202 people killed in the Bali Bombings). He was instrumental in a 3 point win for the Kangaroos over the Richmond Tigers. After the game, he announced his retirement, as the horrific injuries and rehabilitation had taken their toll on his body.

Following his retirement, Jason McCartney wrote a book titled ‘After Bali’; an account of his harrowing ordeal. He is occasionally boundary rider for the Channel Nine coverage of the AFL and has become an popular motivational speaker in Australia.

For the 2008 AFL season, Jason McCartney has joined the Carlton Football Club as a development coach.


Mr Mitch Messer, Consumer Health Forum

Mitch has been a health consumer advocate for over 30 years and is the immediate past Chairperson of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF), the peak health consumer organisation representing consumers on national health issues. CHF has a broad membership from all parts of the Australian community including people with chronic conditions, disability groups, and specific population groups such as young people, carers and older people.

He is a Director of Thinking Beyond Pty Ltd, an organisation that provides services in the areas of strategic planning, advocacy, policy development and project support.

In addition he is involved in a number of organisations and is currently – President of Cystic Fibrosis Australia and Cystic Fibrosis Worldwide, a Trustee – Australian CF Research Trust, a Director of Australian General Practice Accreditation Ltd and Quality in Practice Pty Ltd and Chairperson – Genetic Support Council of WA. Mitch is also a member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and was recently appointed to the Research Committee of the NHMRC. He was also a member of the National Primary Healthcare Strategy External Reference Group.

Prof Justin Oakley, Monash University Download Presentation

Professor Justin OakleyAssociate Professor Justin Oakley BA, PhD (Philosophy) is Director of the Monash University Centre for Human Bioethics. He is the author of Morality and the Emotions (Routledge, 1993), and Virtue Ethics and Professional Roles (with Dean Cocking) (Cambridge University Press, 2001), and is editor of Informed Consent and Clinician Accountability: The ethics of report cards on surgeon performance (with Steve Clarke) (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and Bioethics (Ashgate, International Library of Essays in Public and Professional Ethics, 2009). He has published articles in international journals on the ethics of clinical trials, informed consent, surrogate motherhood, surgeon report cards, whistleblowing, reproductive cloning, and various topics in ethical theory. Justin is also co-editor (with Linda Barclay) of the quarterly refereed journal Monash Bioethics Review.

Since joining the Centre as Lecturer in 1990, Justin has taught several hundred clinicians and other professionals in the Master of Bioethics course at Monash. Justin recently completed an NHMRC-funded project on the ethics of providing patients with surgeon-specific performance data as part of the informed consent process. He is currently working on a project on virtue ethics and medical conflicts of interest, and a project on the moral significance of genetic parenthood and the regulation of assisted reproduction.

Dr Andrew Pesce, Australian Medical Association

Dr Andrew PesceDr Andrew Pesce was elected Federal President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) in May 2009. The AMA represents the interests of more than 27,000 medical practitioners from all specialties and locations across Australia.

Dr Pesce is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who works both in private and public practice. He has been Clinical Director of Women’s Health for Sydney West Area Health Service since 2006.

Dr Pesce’s priorities as AMA President include engaging with government to influence national health policy debate for the benefit of patients, the medical profession and the broader community. He is also committed to increasing the AMA’s membership base.

In 2006, he was awarded the AMA President’s Award for his work representing the profession during the medical indemnity crisis. Dr Pesce was Chair of the AMA Medical Indemnity Taskforce from 2003 to 2007 and was appointed to the Federal Government’s Medical Indemnity Advisory Panel in 2003 and to the Medical Indemnity Review Panel in 2006.

Dr Pesce was the Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Craft Group representative on AMA Federal Council from 2001 to 2007 and an AMA Executive Councillor from 2005 to 2007. He was Chair of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on Pregnancy Counselling from 2007-2009 and Chair of the National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists from 2006 to July 2009.

Dr Pesce graduated from The University of NSW in 1983 and became a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1990. He was awarded the Chris Hudson Fellowship for 1991-92, which enabled him to train at Whips Cross and St Bartholomew Hospitals in London.

Dr Pesce is married with two teenage daughters.

Ms Sophie Scott, ABC TV

Ms Sophie ScottSophie Scott is an award winning journalist and best selling author. She is the national medical reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Her stories appear on the ABC’s flagship news bulletin at 7.00pm, Lateline, Stateline and 7.30 Report. Her reports can be seen throughout the Asia-Pacific Region, through ABC’s Australia TV network

. She can also be heard on ABC radio. Sophie presents a weekly health show for ABC’s Australia Network and ABC on line called “Health Watch.”

In 2005, Sophie Scott received the Media award at the Research Australia “Thank You” Day Awards in recognition of her ability to communicate complex information in a way that the general community can easily understand. In 2004, she won the Australian Museum Eureka award for medical reporting.

Sophie Scott was a television newsreader for ABC Tasmania from 1998 to 2000. She is an executive of the Australian Medical Writers Association and is on the board of the Australian Medical Association Charitable Foundation NSW. Her best selling book titled “Live a Longer Life” was published by ABC books in 2007. Her next book on happiness will be published in 2010.

Dr Helen Zorbas, National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre Download Presentation

Dr Helen ZorbasDr Helen Zorbas is CEO of the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre. She has directed a number of key national projects and programs in evidence-based practice, clinical guidelines, monitoring, service improvement and psychosocial support to improve cancer care.

Helen has held a number of positions on key national cancer and health committees most notably Chair, BreastScreen Australia Evaluation Advisory Committee; member, National Health Committee of the NHMRC; member , NHMRC Health Advisory Committee; Chair, ASAC Quality Improvement & Workforce Working Group; Chair, Microwave Cancer Review Committee of the NHMRC; Acting Chair, Cancer Institute NSW Board. Helen was also named a finalist in the 2006 Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Helen was a GP for 14 years before becoming a breast physician and she now has a staff specialist appointment at the Breast Clinic, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.


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