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Confirmed speakers and panel members include:

Professor Brett Sutton is Victoria's Chief Health Officer. The Chief Health Officer undertakes a variety of statutory functions under health and food-related legislation. He also provides expert clinical and scientific advice and leadership on issues impacting public health.

Professor Sutton has extensive experience and clinical expertise in public health and communicable diseases, gained through emergency medicine and field-based international work, including in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste. He represents Victoria on a number of key national bodies including the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee). He is also Chief Human Biosecurity Officer for Victoria. Professor Sutton has a keen interest in tropical medicine and the incorporation of palliative care practice into humanitarian responses.

Professor Sutton is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, a Fellow of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine and a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM). He is also a member of the Faculty of Travel Medicine.

Dr Nick Coatsworth is an outstanding medical communicator.  Nick held a key national role in the Australian response to COVID-19 as Deputy Chief Medical Officer.  Bringing together his skills as an infectious disease physician, a respiratory physician, a practitioner of disaster and humanitarian medicine, and high level experience in health administration, Nick became one of the most recognised medical spokespeople during the pandemic, engaging the Australian community through a variety of media platforms.

Nick has had a long history of leadership in medicine. He was Executive Director of the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre in Darwin, and oversaw deployments of Australian Medical Assistance Teams to Vanuatu and Fiji after Cyclone Pam and Winston. Nick led the second AusMAT to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. During his early career years Nick was a field doctor for Medecins Sans Frontieres and practised in the Republic of Congo, Chad and Darfur. Later, he became President of the Australian Section of MSF and served on the Board for two terms. He continues to serve on the Board of Careflight Limited.

Nick has a passion for clear communication driven by the need to translate the increasingly complex world of medicine into a language that can help his patients make informed choices.  He uses the same style to engage audiences as he takes them through the journey that has been his career so far, translating his many experiences into practical and ethical lessons for life. 

Tony Walker ASM is Chief Executive Officer of Ambulance Victoria. He is a Registered Paramedic with over thirty-five years’ experience working in a range of senior clinical, operational and leadership roles within the ambulance sector. 

Tony holds an adjunct appointment as Professor within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, Associate Professor in the College of Health and Biomedicine at Victoria University and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Critical Care at the University of Melbourne.  He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Paramedicine, Chair of the Australasian Council of Ambulance Authorities and a non-executive director of the Emergency Services Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Tony is a recipient of the Ambulance Service Medal (ASM) for his contribution to the development of ambulance services at a state and national level and has also been awarded the Australian Resuscitation Council Medal for his significant contributions to improving resuscitation practice and outcomes. Tony was also a finalist for the Australian Mental Health Prize in 2019 in recognition of his work in improving paramedic mental health and wellbeing.

Dr Tess Ryan is an Aboriginal woman of Biripai country, originating from Taree, New South Wales. Dr Ryan entered academia and was awarded the University of Canberra Medal in 2013 for her Honours thesis, ‘The push/pull indicators of Indigenous political engagement’. Tess then completed a PhD at The University of Canberra focusing on Indigenous women’s leadership in Australia.  

Dr Ryan has  held a Post-Doctoral position with The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at The University of Melbourne, which involved the facilitation of a leadership program with King’s college, London, research collection and data dissemination relating to the Indigenous health. Her multi-disciplinary work involves Indigenous women, media representation, Indigenous research, health, leadership and diversity. She also works as a freelance writer and contributing editor for Croakey Health Media. Dr Ryan currently holds a strategic development and  research capability building role with The Australian Catholic University. 

Dr Ruth Vine is Australia’s first Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health. Ruth provides policy advice on critical mental health issues impacting the Australian community due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and champions Commonwealth policy development and implementation activities to better integrate the Australian mental health system.

Ruth is a consultant psychiatrist and has more than 25 years’ experience. Ruth has worked for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, and has held positions of Deputy Chief Psychiatrist, Chief Psychiatrist and Director of Mental Health. She has chaired the AHMAC National Mental Health Standing Committee, the National Mental Health Workforce Committee, and National Safety and Quality Committee.

Previously, Ruth was the Executive Director of NorthWestern Mental Health, a division of Melbourne Health from 2013 to 2019. NorthWestern Mental Health is the largest mental health service in Victoria, covering a population of approximately 1.4 million people across a number of growth corridors. 

Ruth is a member of the Board of Forensicare, the Board of Mind, and the Medical Practitioners Board (Victoria). Ruth holds a Bachelor of Medicine and a Doctor of Philosophy from Melbourne University, a Bachelor of Laws from La Trobe University, and is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Dr Stephen Duckett is Director of the Health and Aged Care Program at Grattan Institute. Dr Duckett is a Life Member of the Australian College of Health Service Management.





Dr. Zoe Wainer is the Deputy Secretary for Public Health in the Victorian Government Department of Health. 

Dr Wainer has previously held roles as the Director of Clinical Governance at Bupa Australia and New Zealand, Chair of the Board of Dental Health Services Victoria and a Director on the Board of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation. Her passion and expertise in public health has driven formal and informal collaborations with the ICHOM, Harvard Business School and The University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School in value-based health care across multiple organisations. Zoe also has a continued advocacy focus on the importance of sex differences across health from basic research to health systems implications.

Zoe holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from Flinders University, and has a clinical background in cardiothoracic surgery and thoracic surgical oncology. She has a PhD and a Master of Public Health from The University of Melbourne, is a fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Allan Fels AO is a professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne in the Law School and in the Faculty of Business and Economics. He is former Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and its predecessor bodies the Trade Practices Commission and the Prices Surveillance Authority.  He was Dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) from 2003 until 2012.  He is former Chair of the Australian National Mental Health Commission, a former Commissioner of the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Health, Board Member of the Haven Foundation and Chair of Mind Australia.

Professor Fels is Chair of Visy Australasia Governance Board.  He Chairs the Public Interest Journalism Initiative (PIJI).  Professor Fels has had numerous government appointments at national and state level. He has recently written Tough Customer, Melbourne University Press (2019). He received the Order of Australia in 2001.

Briana Baass has over 20 years of experience in the health sector across Australia, with a background in clinical prosthetics/orthotics. Her experience spans clinical treatment, health service operations, business management, various roles in a government department and seven years of consulting in a global firm.

Briana is a successful graduate of the College’s Management Residency (Internship) Program (2005-06) and she is now passionate about supporting and developing other emerging managers across the sector.



Michael Roff is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA). Michael joined APHA as Public Affairs Manager in 1994 and was appointed CEO in 2000. 

Prior to joining APHA, Michael worked as an assistant to a Justice of the High Court and as a Policy Advisor to Ministers in the New South Wales and ACT Governments. He also spent several years in Sydney as a public affairs manager with a major national industry association.

APHA is the peak national body representing the interests of the private hospital sector, with a diverse membership that includes large and small hospitals and day surgeries, for profit and not for profit hospitals, groups as well as independent facilities, located in metropolitan, regional and rural areas throughout Australia.

For more than ten years, Michael has served on the Board of the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards and is also Chair of ACHS International in addition to holding appointments on a wide range of Ministerial, government and industry advisory bodies.

Professor Patrick McGorry is an Irish-born, Australian psychiatrist known world-wide for his development and scaling up of early intervention and youth mental health services, and for mental health innovation, advocacy and reform. He is executive director of Orygen, Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, and founding editor of the journal  “Early Intervention in Psychiatry”.  He led the advocacy which resulted in the establishment by the Australian government in 2005 of the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, which in 2006 became Headspace, and he remains a founding board member of that organisation. 

Professor McGorry has published over 980 publications, with 47,266 citations and a “h” index of 112 (Scopus). He has played a key advocacy and advisory role to government and health system reform in Australia and in many parts of the world.

He is President of the International Association for Youth Mental Health, Past-President of the Schizophrenia International Research Society, Past-president of the Society for Mental Health Research, and was Founding President and is now Treasurer of the IEPA: Early Intervention in Mental Health. He is also a Founding Board Member of Australians for Mental Health.

In 2010 Professor McGorry was selected as Australian of the Year and became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). In 2013 he received the Annual Research Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Washington DC, and in 2015 was awarded the Lieber Prize for Schizophrenia Research by the US-based Brain and Behaviour Foundation.  In 2016 he became the first psychiatrist to be elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.  In 2018 he received the Schizophrenia International Research Society Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2019 the Humanitarian Award of the Society of Biological Psychiatry and the NHMRC Research Excellence Award. In 2019-2020 Pat was Chair of the Expert Advisory Committee, Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Other roles include President and Member of the Committee of Management of the Celtic Club, a National Patron of the Justice Reform Initiative, Member of the National Committee of the Australian Republican Movement and Board Member of Ausflag. 

Prof Jenny Firman completed her medical degree at University of Melbourne and while a student joined the Royal Australian Navy. Over the next 22 years was posted to a range of positions in Navy and the ADF including sea time, involvement in underwater medicine, general practice and later development of strategic and operational health policy for the ADF.  She transitioned to the Navy Reserves and continued to serve. In February 2015 was promoted to Rear Admiral and appointed as Surgeon General Australian Defence Force Reserve.

On leaving full time service she took up an appointment as the Chief Medical Officer for Defence Force Recruiting organisation where she remained until 2007 when she moved to the Department of Health where she worked as the Principal Medical Adviser in the Office of Health Protection.  In this role she was responsible for the provision of medical and scientific advice to assist in the work of the Department and the Australian Government in communicable disease control and health emergencies.  This experience led to her secondment to Health in 2020 to support the COVID 19 pandemic response.

She was appointed as the Chief Health Officer, Principal Medical Adviser in DVA in February 2019 and remains in this position.   Additionally, throughout her career, she has continued to regularly work part time in general practice.

In July 2020 she was appointed as an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University in the College of Health and Medicine. Professor Firman was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Military Division in the 2021 Queens Birthday Honour list for her exceptional performance of duty in the field of military medicine.

Kylie Woolcock has worked in the health sector for over 20 years, starting her career as a pharmacist, before moving her focus into health workforce development, health policy and reform. She is passionate about reorienting the health system to achieve the outcomes that matter for people and their communities, and sees workforce wellbeing and clinician leadership as crucial in that shift. She has extensive experience in the for-purpose sector, bringing the diverse views of stakeholders together with the evidence base to influence and effect change.

Kylie has worked with a range of health professions, service providers and governments; from a range of perspectives; and from a local region, national and international focus.

Kylie has postgraduate qualifications in health economics, artificial intelligence, training and management. She is a Visiting Fellow at the Faculty of Health, Research – Public Health, Queensland University of Technology.

Andrew Way has served as Alfred Health's Chief Executive since 2009.
Andrew’s focus is on improving access, ensuring high quality, safe services with low mortality, within a strong financial framework and research supportive environment. Alfred Health is now seen as a leader in these areas.

Andrew led the development of Victoria’s first Academic Health Science Centre - Monash Partners, now an accredited NHMRC Advanced Health and Research Translation Centre. He was appointed as an Adjunct Clinical Professor in the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University in 2015.

Andrew is also a Director of other health related organisations and is a member of several government and other advisory groups. Prior to his relocation to Melbourne in 2009, Andrew had an extensive career in the NHS in the UK, latterly as CEO of the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust.