12th Australian Palliative Care Conference
  • Department of Health and Ageing

    Department of Health and Ageing
  • Mundipharma

  • Cabrini

  • Link Pharma

    Link Pharma
Palliative Care ACT
Palliative Care Australia
celebrating canberra centenary

12th Australian Palliative Care Conference

3 - 6 September 2013 | National Convention Centre, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Palliative Care Australia and Palliative Care ACT

Keynote Speakers


International Speakers

Eric J Cassell

Professor Eric J Cassell


Professor Cassell received his BA from Queens College in 1950, an MA from Columbia University also in 1950 and his MD from New York University College of Medicine in 1954. He did his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine.

Professor Cassell has been on the faculty of New York University School of Medicine and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a Master of the American College of Physicians. Professor Cassell was a member of the President’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission from 1997 to 2001.

Professor Cassell has written a lot about moral problems in medicine, the care of the dying and the nature of suffering. He is the author of The Healer's Art, The Place of the Humanities in Medicine, Changing Values in Medicine, two volumes on doctor patient communication entitled Talking with Patients, Doctoring: The Nature of Primary Care Medicine, and The Nature of Suffering, now in its second edition. A new book, The Nature of Healing is in the works.

His major interest is the theory of clinical medicine and the development of new ideas to guide medicine’s practice and teaching. One of his tests for every idea continues to be whether it works in end-of-life care.

Amy Chow

Associate Professor Amy Chow

Dr Amy Chow is Associate Professor with the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, the University of Hong Kong. She is a member of the prestigious International Workgroup on Death, Dying and Bereavement, a registered social worker with the Hong Kong Social Workers Registration Board and a fellow in thanatology with the Association of Death Education and Counselling. She received her Bachelor of Social Sciences from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and her Master of Social Sciences and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Hong Kong.

Dr Chow's field of specialisation is in palliative care, grief and bereavement. She has published widely on her area of specialisation and has close to 20 peer-reviewed journals and 20 book chapters. She also has an edited book titled ‘Death, Dying and Bereavement: The Hong Kong Chinese Perspective’ that is widely used as a textbook by undergraduates and postgraduates of the University of Hong Kong.

Dr Chow also has a deep passion for teaching. She has taught widely, both in Hong Kong and in the international community. To date she has supervised more than ten postgraduate students. Dr Chow's impact is not limited to education and research. With achievements in research, education and service development, Dr Chow can be considered one of the most established young social work academics in the Asia Pacific region.

Irene Higginson

Professor Irene Higginson

Professor Higginson has a dual training in palliative medicine and epidemiology/public health.  She has extensive experience in leading national and international multidisciplinary research, teaching, collaboration and care in palliative care. Since 1996 she has been Head of Department and Professor of Palliative Care Policy and Rehabilitation at King's College London.  

She has over 250 scientific papers published in peer review journals, has published 14 books on palliative and end of life care and is an adviser to many governments in research and policy in palliative care. Professor Higginson has developed two tools - the Support Team Assessment Schedule (STAS) and the Palliative Care Outcome Scale (POS) used widely in the UK and many other countries.

Professor Higginson was awarded an OBE for services to medicine in the Queen's Birthday Honours list of 2008.  In 2002 she was appointed Scientific Director of Cicely Saunders International and is leading the development of the Cicely Saunders Institute.

Adrian Hopper

Dr Adrian Hopper

Dr Adrian Hopper is the Joint Leader of the Medicine Clinical Academic Group and Associate Medical Director in charge of patient safety at Guy’s and St Thomas’.Adrian Hopper is Associate Medical Director for Patient Safety at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust. He led a quality and safety improvement programme at the Trust which resulted in the service having both one of the lowest lengths of stay and mortality in the NHS, and has given advice to more than 30 trusts on this work. Adrian’s current patient safety work aims to introduce high reliability methods into acute care. He leads an acutely ill patients programme team and is clinical lead for an end of life care team.




Local Speakers

Frank Brennan

Dr Frank Brennan

Dr Brennan is a Palliative Care Physician based in Sydney. He is currently working in two main areas of Palliative Care – Renal Disease and Motor Neurone Disease. He is also a lawyer. He has an interest in the interface of Palliative Medicine, the humanities and the law. He has written extensively on the concept of pain management and Palliative Care as human rights. He published a series of narratives drawn from his work (Standing on the Platform).  Several of these narratives have been broadcast on ABC Radio.

Ita Buttrose

Ms Ita Buttrose

Ms Ita Buttrose is the 2013 Australian of The Year, Twice-voted Australia’s most admired woman, she is an accomplished communicator who has led in many different areas of endeavours as a businesswoman, journalist, author, advisor to corporate, community and welfare organisations, and as a company director. 

Ita has had a distinguished media career. Currently Chairwoman of the digital publishing company, Reddo Media Services, she was Founding Editor of Cleo Magazine, the youngest Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly and the first woman to ever edit a major metropolitan newspaper in Australia when Rupert Murdoch appointed her Editor-in-Chief of the Sydney Daily & Sunday Telegraphs.
Ita has had a longstanding commitment to health and ageing issues. She has been National President of Alzheimer’s Australia since February 2011, having previously been a member of the Advisory Committee of Alzheimer’s Australia (NSW) for three years. She is also an Alzheimer’s Australia NSW Ambassador.

Ita is Vice President Emeritus of Arthritis Australia, having served as President from 2003-2006 and as national spokesperson for several years. She is patron of the Macular Degeneration Foundation of Australia. Her interests in health have included chairing the National Breast Cancer Centre’s Advisory Network and serving as a director of the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Ita was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 for her services to the community especially in the field of medical education and health care for her work as Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on AIDS when her committee spearheaded Australia’s HIV/AIDS Education Program. She received an OBE for her services to journalism in 1979 and the Centenary Medal in 2003 for service to Australian society in business leadership. She is a regular social commentator on Channel Nine’s Today show.

Colleen  Cartwright

Professor Colleen Cartwright

Professor Colleen Cartwright is Foundation Professor of Aged Services and Director of the ASLaRC Aged Services Unit at Southern Cross University. She has extensive teaching and research experience in ageing, ethics and medical decisions at the end of life, at national and international levels, with publications in major journals and a number of book chapters. She has been Chief Investigator on many research projects relating to improving end-of-life care, especially for older people. Professor Cartwright regularly runs information and training sessions for community and health professional groups on ethical and legal issues relating to care at the end of life, including advance care planning, informed consent and capacity, palliative care, issues for carers and the special challenges of caring for people with dementia.
David Kissane

Professor David Kissane

David W. Kissane, MD, is an academic psychiatrist, psycho-oncology researcher and author. He is currently the Head of Psychiatry for Monash University in Australia, recently the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and previously the Foundation Chair of Palliative Medicine at the University of Melbourne.    

His academic interests include group, couples and family psychotherapy trials, communication skills training, studies of existential distress, and the ethics of end-of-life care. He is best known for his model of family therapy delivered to ‘at risk’ families during palliative care, which prevents complicated grief and depression in bereavement. His work on demoralization as a variation of depression in the medically ill has preceded interventions to promote meaning-based coping. He developed a cognitive-existential model of group therapy for women with early stage breast cancer, which ameliorated fear of recurrence, and his trial of supportive-expressive group therapy for advanced breast cancer showed the prevention of depression alongside improved quality of life. 

Peter Roberts

Mr Peter Roberts

Peter Roberts has worked as a specialist music practitioner within palliative care for the last 19 years. The positive influence of Peter’s music in this area has been the subject of published research and his personal journey into the field of musical care at the end of life was featured on an ABC TV Australia Story programme entitled “ Heaven Sent”. He has received awards for his pioneering work in his field and has released several CDs appropriate for use in medical care settings. More recently Peter co-authored a book with Emeritus Professor Helen Cox  released through Michelle Anderson Publishing entitled “The Harp and The Ferryman”.