The keynote speakers at the APNA National Conference will offer new perspectives, provoking reflection and action

Trailblazers, innovators, leaders – be inspired to make some changes, however big or small, to advance yourself professionally and personally.

Keynote Speakers

Back by popular demand, MC extraordinaire Jean Kittson is fired up with fresh stories to share with familiar faces (and some newbies!) as she steers the ship at APNA's 2019 National Conference.

A trailblazer in the role of women, Jean is a public advocate for education, youth, health, equal opportunity and ageing; making her an ideal MC to lead the show!

Jean Kittson is a performer and scriptwriter for stage, television, radio, magazines and newspapers.

Jean came to national attention on 'The Big Gig'. Followed by Let the Blood Run Free, Kittson Fahey, Good News Week, the Glasshouse, Flat Chat, The Einstein Factor, Media Dimensions, Strictly Speaking, Talking ’Bout Your Generation, Studio Ten, the Today Show and she is also well known for her comedy debates for the ABC, Channel 9 and Channel ten.

She has been a regular columnist with New Weekly, Sunday Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney Magazine, Inspire Magazine, the Readers Digest Health Smart magazine and The Hoopla.

She is the author of Tongue Lashing, published by Penguin.

Her film credits include Hating Alison Ashley and The Nugget.

Theatre includes Mum’s the Word, Calendar Girls, Siren, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

She is a regular panellist on ABC 702 radio drive programme, Thank God It’s Friday.

She has conversed on Conversations with Richard Fidler twice.

Jean is an experienced MC, keynote speaker, panellist, debater and facilitator of conventions, conferences, award nights and other after dinner frolics, in corporate, government and community arena.

She was a founding Director of the National Cord Blood Bank, the inaugural Chair of the Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation (AGCF) and a founding Ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia. She is currently an Ambassador for The Macular Disease Foundation, Northcott Disability Services, The Raise Foundation, Taldumande Youth Services and the Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation. She is the Patron of Junction Works and most recently she has been appointed the Patron of Palliative Care Nurses Australia.

As an advocate for women’s health issues, she was invited to speak about her experiences of menopause at the National Press Club.

This lead to her recently published book, “You’re Still Hot To Me. The Joys of Menopause.” (Pan Macmillan)

“Informative, accurate, funny and just so accessible. I love it and finally have the definitive book to recommend to my patients.” 
Dr Penny Adams, GP and medical media advocate for women’s health

Jean is married to cartoonist and political satirist Patrick Cook.

And is the mother of two daughters, Victoria 25 and Charlie, 18.

Sarah Brown is the Chief Executive Officer of Purple House and has been helping the Indigenous Directors to run the organisation since its inception more than sixteen years ago. 

In 2017 she was Hesta’s Australia’s Nurse of the Year. In 2018 she made it to the BOSS magazine’s ‘True Leaders’ list.

Sarah holds a Master of Nursing , a Graduate Diploma in Aboriginal Education and a Graduate Diploma in Health Service Management. Prior to joining Purple House, she was as a remote area nurse and university lecturer.

She paints, has exhibitions across Australia and overseas, has 3 kids and drives a 1959 Morris Minor.

She thinks ‘Work/Life balance’ is irrelevant if you love what you do!

APNA President Karen Booth has worked as a primary health care nurse and nurse manager in general practice since 1998. Her roles include acute care, preventative health and chronic disease management, care coordination, data management, accreditation, administration, staff training and mentoring. Karen has recently moved into practice management.

Karen’s true passion is preventative health care and utilising surveillance and health checks to identify health problems so that care can be initiated early to prevent damage to a person’s health and wellbeing. Key to this is the development of systems to utilise skills of the whole general practice team to support health prevention activity and care.

Karen has participated in advisory groups for APNA, Australian Medicare Local Alliance, Nursing in General Practice Program, New South Wales Health, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Practice Nurse Clinical Education, and Sydney University, and Health Pathways Advisory Group for Inner West Sydney Medicare Local/Sydney Local Health District.

Karen holds several committee and advisory group positions at Australian Government Department of Health level including the General Practice Roundtable, the National Immunisation Committee, the Advisory Committee for Safety of Vaccine (Ministerial appointment). In 2014 Karen participated in several advisory groups for the RACGP including the Pandemic Taskforce and the review of the Pandemic Flu Kit, the Infection Control Standards and Quality Health Records.

APNA is thrilled to announce hero anaesthetist and Thai cave dive rescuer, Dr Richard “Harry” Harris SOC OAM, will headline a thought-provoking and highly relevant conference program.

Dr Harris works in anaesthesia and aeromedical retrieval medicine in Adelaide, South Australia. Harry made international headlines in July when he assisted in the rescue of a group of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

He has expertise in diving, wilderness and remote area health. His passion for cave diving goes back to the 1980’s and has taken him to the corners of the globe in search of new adventures.

Harry and the “Wet Mules” have explored the Pearse Resurgence in New Zealand to 229m depth, Daxing Spring in China to 213m and Song Hong Cave in Thailand to 196m to name a few.

He is an enthusiastic but inferior UW photographer and videographer who is resigned to capturing opportunistic images via helmet cams.

Harry has a professional and voluntary interest in search and rescue operations, establishing the first sump rescue training course in Australasia. By building relationships with emergency services in Australia he has been preparing for such an event. The 2018 Thailand Cave Rescue was an opportunity to put this training to work.

Professor White is a Professor Emerita of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Sydney and the Faculty of Health University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia. Jill is now an independent consultant in the areas of health education, regulation and policy.

Professor White’s distinguished career has seen her at the frontiers of major change in nursing education, policy and regulation, with her work having had a significant impact at state, national and international levels. In 2011, she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia Medal (AM) in the Australia Day Honours list for services to nursing and midwifery.

Professor White was the Dean of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Sydney from 2008-2015. Prior to this she was Dean of the Faculty of Nursing Midwifery and Health at the University of Technology, Sydney 1997-2008.

Professor White helped develop one of the first university nursing programs in Australia and chaired Australia’s largest health professional regulatory body. She was the inaugural Chair of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council, which helps to protect the health and safety of the Australian community by establishing high-quality standards of nursing and midwifery education, training and assessment.

In 2015 Jill received a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, researching how nursing might have a greater influence on health policy.

In 2017 Jill was seconded to the International Council of Nurses (ICN) as Associate Director (Global Education) where she headed the review, refreshment and development of ICN education programmes.

Jill has undertaken work in many countries, notably assisting with the development of Midwifery and Nursing programmes in Vietnam, the Non-Communicable Diseases programme in Tonga and educational developments in Indonesia and India.

Professor White officially retired in March 2018 from the University of Sydney where she had been Dean of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery. She has been awarded the prestigious life-time title Professor Emerita in recognition of her contributions.

Currently Jill is the Western Pacific Region nursing representative on the Board of the Nursing Now Campaign.

Dr Chris Helms is a registered nurse and endorsed nurse practitioner currently working in primary health care in a remote Aboriginal community in far north Queensland.

Chris received his formal training as an Adult and Geriatric NP from the University of Wisconsin, based in the United States. He has worked in diverse healthcare settings, ranging from remote primary healthcare to subspecialty practice in a quaternary referral centre. He immigrated to Australia in 2007 and has since served on several committees vested in the advancement of the Australian nursing profession.  

Dr Helms currently holds a ministerial appointment with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, and is member of the Commonwealth Health Care Homes Implementation Advisory Group.  He recently completed his PhD, which validated a specialist clinical learning and teaching framework for Australian NPs. In his spare time he serves as a Director for a consultancy based in Canberra that helps organisations better understand, plan and implement NP models of care.

Chris received APNA's 2018 Rosemary Bryant Award in recognition of his contribution to the nursing profession, dedication and advocacy of nurses working in primary health care.

Dr Jenny Gowan is a practicing pharmacist and a Teaching Associate at Monash University. She is a current member of the PSA Branch committee, Editorial Board Member of AUS-DI, SHPA ‘Don’t Rush to Crush’, Guidelines Committee for the Australian Asthma Handbook,  and the Thunderstorm Asthma Expert panel, and RACGP Silver book for Aged Care . 

Jenny is an accredited consultant pharmacist, and conducts her own company focussing on medication reviews in the home and Aged Care Facilities as well as Quality Use of Medicine consultancy.  She works regularly in community pharmacy plus sessions in a GP clinic at a Community Health Centre. Jenny has published over 350 educational articles and presents hundreds of talks annually.   

In 2010 Jenny received the Sanofi-Aventis award by the University of Sydney,  in 2013, PSA Australian Pharmacist of the Year and  2016 Jenny was the AACP-MIMs Consultant Pharmacist of the Year.

Associate Professor John Litt
Discipline of General Practice, Flinders University
Life member, RACGP
Life time achievement award, Lung Foundation
Ambassador Cancer SA
RACGP Rose-Hunt award winner: 2016

John is an academic GP and was the GP teaching coordinator in the Flinders University MD program until he recently retired.

John is also a public health physician.  His teaching activities focussed on coordinating the teaching of general practice and arranging placement for medical students in the Flinders University Medical Course.

His major clinical and research interests are in prevention and its implementation. He has over 100 refereed publications (journal articles, book and book chapters) including co authorship of the Australian General Practice Smoking Cessation Guidelines and its updates and the RACGP prevention guidelines.

He has had a special interest in vaccination in adults and older persons. He was one of the inaugural Directors of the Influenza Specialist group (1996-2015) and remains on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Immunisation Coalition.

He conducted the first National GP and patient survey into Influenza and Pneumococcal disease in older persons in 1998 and followed up with the first Australian study into the attitudes and beliefs about shingles and its complications in GPs and their patients. He chaired the SA health Department Primary Care pandemic influenza planning group between 2007 and 2009, running pandemic planning workshops and meetings for GPs and their practice staff.

John was a member of the (International) Merck Adult Vaccine Advisory Board from 2013-2017.

He has been a member of several national committees, consortia, and Scientific Advisory Committees including NHMRC, Cancer Australia, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance and Freemasons Centre for Men’s health.

He has been the leading driver of the RACGP green book, Putting Prevention into Practice and evidence-based review of effective implementation strategies for prevention activities in the GP setting. The 3rd edition of this monograph was published in May 2018.

Dr Louise Schaper is on a mission to fix health care.

As leader of Australia’s peak body for digital health - the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA), Dr Schaper, is a passionate advocate for the transformation of health care.

As CEO of HISA she brings together world-class clinicians, researchers, innovators and organisations from across the biomedical, health and technology spectrum who are committed to the improvement of health outcomes enabled through innovative uses of technology and information.

She is a facilitator, an innovator and a change agent who explores and leverages the convergence of people, systems and technologies in the transformation and future of health and medicine.

With a background as an occupational therapist, Louise has a PhD in technology acceptance among health professionals, is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Informatics, a graduate of Stanford’s Executive Leadership Program, a Certified Health Informatician and a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow.

Louise is an in-demand speaker and writes for academic and industry publications.

Louise is host of the popular Dissecting Digital Health podcast, she is always online, and yes, she does have the coolest job!



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