Oration and Plenary Speakers

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians are proud to welcome the following presenting speakers at this year’s Congress.


Mr Paris Aristotle aristotle_paris

Mr Paris Aristotle AM is the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc. (VFST), also known as Foundation House, a specialised service for people of refugee background.

Mr Aristotle has over 25 years experience in the field of supporting refugees and asylum seekers, particularly the provision of services to survivors of torture and trauma.

Throughout this period, Mr Aristotle has worked closely with the UNHCR in the field of refugee resettlement and served on a wide range of state and federal government bodies advising on refugee and asylum seeker policy, and multicultural affairs, including the Refugee Re-settlement Advisory Council and the Immigration Detention Advisory Group.

In 2012 he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers. Mr Aristotle is currently the Chair of the Federal Government’s Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD), and is an Executive Member of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT).

Presentation Title: Refugee and asylum seekers health – wrestling with the ethical and political dilemmas


Adjunct Professor Stephen Bolsin2900970266cf3e0c4a5c372a3bc70d93_400x400

Adjunct Professor Stephen Bolsin is most famous for something that he claims “he is not”. He was the ‘whistle blower’ in the Bristol Paediatric Cardiac surgery Scandal last century. Dr Bolsin claims he was never a ‘whistle blower’. He followed all the right routes and told all the right people. The problem was they did nothing. Steve felt he had to do something and speaking out led to exile in Australia. The consequences in the UK were cataclysmic. The General Medical Council found the two surgeons and Chief Executive guilty of “serious professional misconduct”. More significantly the concept of “Clinical Governance” was coined to ensure such dreadful practice would never occur again in the NHS. The concept gained global recognition. A Public Inquiry vindicated Dr Bolsin’s actions making 200 recommendations for the NHS. Steve was in Australia and an Australian citizen before the Inquiry Reported.

Steve has since used new technologies to support medical performance and ethical standards, with Palm Pilots to monitor trainees and also allow them to report incidents, electronically. The 98% voluntary incident reporting achieved has never been bettered. The ethical behaviour of the trainees was also improved.

Dr Bolsin believes improving performance leads to less expensive health care. Reducing systemic medical error can eliminate many of the costly impositions in health and the medical profession has a key role in eliminating the problem because it is their ethical duty.

Presentation Title: Origins of clinical governance and Breakfast Workshop – Evolution of medical ethics 


Dr Carol Douglasdr_carol_douglas

Dr Carol Douglas MBChB,, FRACGP, FAChPM, Diploma Family Medicine(Monash Univ.),Diploma Palliative Medicine( Univ.Wales, UK) graduated from Otago University MB.ChB. in 1983.

After working for a significant period in General Practice in Adelaide and Brisbane, Dr Douglas moved to Asia (Taiwan, China and Sabah) where her husband managed large scale construction projects. While in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (1996-1998), Dr Douglas worked as an Honorary Medical Officer at the Palliative Care Unit Queen Elizabeth Government Hospital.

After returning to Australia, Dr Douglas gained Fellowship in the Chapter of Palliative Medicine (FAChPM) in 2000. Dr Douglas worked at The Prince Charles Hospital from 1998- 2005 as a Staff Specialist and Acting Director Palliative Care Service and has been the Clinical Director, Palliative Care Service Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.since November 2005.

Dr Douglas is the President Elect of Australia New Zealand Society Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM)

Presentation Title: Managing end of life support – a panel discussion 


Professor Malcolm Parkerparker_malcolm

Professor Malcolm Parker is Professor of Medical Ethics and Head, Discipline of Medical Ethics, Law and Professional Practice in the School of Medicine, University of Queensland.

Prof Parker has qualifications in medicine, philosophy and health law and was in general medical practice for over 30 years. He coordinates the teaching of ethics, law and professional issues in the MBBS/MD program.

Professor Parker is the chair of UQ’s Human Experimentation Ethical Review Committee, and immediate past president of the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law. Professor Parker has published nationally and internationally in philosophy of medicine, bioethics, medical ethics, health law, and medical education.

Presentation Title: Managing end of life support – a panel discussion


Ms Elaine PearsonElaine Pearson large

Ms Elaine Pearson is Australia Director, Human Rights Watch that works to encourage the Australian government to prioritise human rights as part of its foreign policy.

Based in Sydney, Ms Pearson works to build Human Rights Watch’s profile in Australia and regularly briefs journalists and policy makers. She writes frequently for numerous publications, and her articles have appeared in The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, The Australian, and Human Rights Quarterly.

From 2007 to 2012 Ms Pearson was Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division based in New York. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Ms Pearson worked for the United Nations and various non-government organisations in Asia and London.

She has specialised expertise in human trafficking and migration and holds degrees in law and arts from Australia’s Murdoch University and obtained her Master’s degree in public policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Presentation Title: Refugee Rights: A Global Picture for Health Professionals


Mr Terry Roycroftroycroft_terry_1

As a businessman and entrepreneur, Terry Roycroft has built a diverse portfolio in a number of industries over his career.

In 2002, Mr Roycroft combined his business experience with his personal gardening passion and opened an indoor and outdoor garden store. This venture made way for Mr. Roycroft’s enterprise into the medicinal cannabis industry.

In 2010, Mr Roycroft founded the Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre (MCRCI), a private organisation with licensed physicians on staff that educate and sign in support of qualified patients looking for legal access and guidance for medicinal cannabis. MCRCI soon became the leading cannabis clinic in Canada with a team of doctors who specialise in prescribing cannabis.

With his knowledge and experience in the medicinal cannabis industry, Mr Roycroft soon became one the top consultants in the country for the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) program by Health Canada.

Mr Roycroft continues to expand his network and database within the industry by working with production sites, pharmacists, medical laboratories, doctors, and patients. His companies are currently leading the country in cannabis related products and services.

Mr Roycroft has owned and operated a business consulting company, Croft Entertainment Inc. since 1986, which financed and raised funds for several public companies. Mr Roycroft was a licensed mortgage broker specialising in investment and corporate relations. In the last 30 years he has founded a number of new ventures ranging from film related companies to technological and internet companies.

Presentation Title: Managing end of life support – a panel discussion and Breakfast Workshop – Medicinal Cannabis: A Q&A


Laureate Professor Nicholas TalleyNicholas Talley

Laureate Professor Nick Talley is a gastroenterologist and neurogastroenterologist who held an appointment as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medicine at the University of Newcastle, Australia, from 2010. He was seconded to be the Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Research at the University of Newcastle from June 2013 to March 2014. In March 2015 Laureate Professor Talley was named Pro Vice-Chancellor, Global Research at the University of Newcastle. He is a Senior Staff Specialist at the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and based at the Hunter Medical Research Institute in Newcastle, Australia.

Laureate Professor Talley serves on a number of prominent boards, edits a major international journal (Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics), was the previous editor of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, is a section editor for Up To Date, and currently holds adjunct research appointments as Professor at Mayo Clinic, University of North Carolina and the Karolinska Institute. He has published over 800 original and review articles (H index 112) and is listed among the worlds 400 most influential living biomedical researchers. He has research support as a Chief Investigator from NH&MRC and NIH, and undertakes research on functional, neuromuscular and inflammatory and infectious gut disorders. He is a leading educator and textbook author.

Laureate Professor Talley was an RACP Travelling Scholar in 1987 and was awarded the RACP Cottrell Fellowship in 1993. Major awards received include inaugural Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2014, the Distinguished Educator Award from the American Gastroenterological Association in 2014 and the Masters of Clinical Research Award in 2000, the Distinguished Research Award from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia in 2006, the Research Scientist Award from the Functional Brain-Gut Research Group in 2004, the Rome Foundation Board Lifetime Award in 2011, the Excellence in Innovation Award from Newcastle Innovation in 2014, and the NSW Excellence in Biological Sciences Award in 2014.

Laureate Professor Talley was formerly Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida where he held the rank of Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Mayo Clinic, and was the Foundation Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney, Nepean Hospital for nearly a decade.

Presentation Title: How to get published and Breakfast Workshop – Governance Reform and Launch of the RACP Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health Position Statement

Adjunct Professor James Wardward_james

Associate Professor James Ward is a descendant of the Pitjantjatjara and Nurrunga clans of central and South Australia and has more than 15 years’ experience as a health researcher working within Aboriginal health and communities in Australia.

He has a strong background in community-based population health research in urban, regional and rural Australia, specialising in sexual and adolescent health and in 2010, was the lead writer of the third National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and Blood Borne Viruses (BBV) Strategy 2010-2013.

In 2014, Professor James Ward joined the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, based in Adelaide, after a stint in Alice Springs at the BakerIDI Aboriginal Health Research Institute and the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales.

He is a Chief Investigator of several NHMRC grants aimed at addressing STIs and BBVs, immunisation and offender health.

Professor Ward provides advice to government committees, including the Federal Ministerial Advisory Committee on BBVs and STIs and the Northern Territory Government Sexual Health Advisory Group, is a Board member of the Australasian Society of HIV Medicine and has presented at a number of national and international conferences.

Presentation Title: A forgotten epidemic: Sexually transmissible infections and blood borne viruses among the First Peoples of Australia


Professor John WhitehallWhitehall_John

Professor John Whitehall is Foundation Chair and Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Sydney.

John graduated from Sydney University in 1966 and completed his residency at Sydney Hospital before working in developing countries. He then pursued paediatric training in England and Australia, followed by training in neonatology.

John has held positions as Staff Specialist in the neonatal intensive care unit at Nepean Hospital, where he developed a particular interest in foetal medicine and echocardiography, Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Townsville and Chair of Northern Region Women’s and Children’s Committee which oversaw the development of services and the maintenance of standards throughout the region.

As Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at James Cook University, John developed and delivered courses in Tropical Paediatrics, a feature of which was to become an annual block of study, first in Sri Lanka, then Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh.

Professor Whitehall’s extensive experience working in developing countries includes a refugee aid program in Vietnam, a mission hospital in remote South Africa, the university hospital Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). He has been involved in aid organisations in Guam (for Vietnamese refugees), East Timor, Lebanon and Mexico. For two months over Christmas 2014, he worked as locum physician in a remote hospital in Madagascar.

In 2005, he was involved in an aid program in Sri Lanka after the Asian tsunami, finalist for Senior Australian of the Year in 2006 for his humanitarian work with victims the disaster. He then returned as visiting Professor to the Medical College of Tamil Eelam where he designed and presented a three month block of paediatric study and research for local practitioners.

John maintains a special interest in international health, and has published on a range of subjects from neonatology to public health. He is assistant author of the book War and Medicine, a collection of short stories of the experiences of medical practitioners in North-East Sri Lanka.

Presentation Title: Mustard Seeds