International Keynote Presenter 

 Dr Anne v2

Dr Anne Alexandrov Professor of both Nursing and Neurology PhD, RN, AGACNP-BC, CCRN, ANVP-BC, NVRN-BC, FAAN.

Dr. Anne Alexandrov is a Professor of both Nursing and Neurology, as well as the Mobile Stroke Unit Chief Nurse Practitioner at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. 

She is also Professor and Program Director for NET SMART at the Health Outcomes Institute, LLC in Fountain Hills, Arizona.  Developed in 2007, NET SMART (Neurovascular Education & Training in Acute Stroke Management & Reperfusion Therapies) is the world’s first and only post-graduate fellowship training program for advanced practice nurses (APN) in acute stroke, and Dr. Alexandrov has mentored more than 100 APNs from across the U.S. and internationally in this program.

Conference Opening Address

Jenny Mikakos 

Jenny Mikakos MP Member for Northern Metropolitan Region, Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Service

Jenny Mikakos MP was elected to the Legislative Council in 1999. She was appointed the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services following the re-election of the Andrews Labor Government in November 2018. Jenny previously held the portfolios of Minister for Families, Early Childhood Education and Youth Affairs in the first term of the Andrews Government.

As Minister for Health, Jenny is committed to delivering world class health services by investing in, and reforming our health care system, to ensure that every Victorian can access the very best care, regardless of their background, location or stage in life.

As Minister for Ambulance Services, Jenny understands that Victorians deserve the highest quality ambulance services and they expect timely responses to emergencies.

As Minister for Early Childhood Education, Jenny oversaw a more than doubling in early childhood education and parenting investment, significant expansions of the Maternal and Child Health services and Supported Playgroups and the introduction of a number of Australian first initiatives such as School Readiness Funding and Languages in Kindergartens, setting the groundwork for Labor’s revolutionary commitment to implement universal three-year-old kindergarten from 2019.

As Minister for Families and Children, Jenny led the transformation of Victoria’s children and family services system through the Roadmap for Reform, moving from crisis response to prevention and early intervention. As Minister, Jenny oversaw a 69 per cent increase in investment for child and family services and the largest ever expansion of the child protection workforce in Victoria’s history, delivering funding for 610 new child protection workers.

As Minister for Youth Affairs, Jenny strengthened the government’s engagement with young people who face disadvantage by investing in initiatives that support and empower them to reach their full potential. This was underpinned by the development of the Youth Policy: Building Stronger Youth Engagement in Victoria and an investment of over $80 million to deliver programs that support youth engagement and participation in community and economic life.

Jenny grew up in Northcote, in her electorate, in a migrant working class family. Jenny holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and practised as a lawyer prior to entering parliament.

Keynote Presenters

Ann Maree Keenan 

Ann Maree Keenan Victorian Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer 

Adj. Associate Professor Ann Maree Keenan is the Deputy CEO of Safer Care Victoria and Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer for Victoria.

She is an accomplished healthcare executive who has combined senior nursing leadership with operational accountability. Her career includes 12 years as Executive Director of Ambulatory and Nursing Services at Austin Health.

Ann Maree believes nurses and midwives are in a key position to influence the safety and quality of healthcare as nurses and midwives are often the constant presence throughout a person’s healthcare experience. She is determined to continue to advance the professions of nursing and midwifery in the pursuit of outstanding care for all Victorians, always.

The role of the Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer is to provide leadership to the nursing and midwifery sector. Ann Maree provides a link between Safer Care Victoria, the Department of Health and Human Services, the private and public health sector and health education providers. Ann Maree also provides strategic advice to the Minister for Health on nursing, midwifery and clinical matters.

The Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer represents the interests of nursing and midwifery as a member of the Australian and New Zealand Council of Chief Nurses and Midwifery Officers.  She also develops policies and initiatives to support quality, safety and best practice within the Victorian health sector that are aligned with the objectives of Safer Care Victoria.

Malcolm Dobbin

Dr Malcolm Dobbin, Director Senior Medical Advisor, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Dr Malcolm Dobbin was recently awarded a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for service to medicine. He is a Public Health Physician who has been at the forefront of the development of SafeScript, supporting initiatives and governing policies.

He has worked in industrial medicine, hospital medicine, public health, alcohol and drug treatment, and emergency medicine, being the foundation Senior Registrar in Emergency Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He was a GP obstetrician and worked for 10 years in community controlled Aboriginal health services at inner suburban, rural and remote locations, including working for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in the Kimberley, Western Australia.

He has also consulted for and participated in a number of events about prescription drug misuse for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and was a member of a recent World Health Organisation cancer pain guideline development group.

Plenary Presenters 

Annie Butler

Annie Butler Federal Secretary for the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation

Annie was formally appointed to the role in June 2018, having served as the Assistant Federal Secretary since March 2014, and following years of experience in the clinical, professional and industrial areas of nursing.

Annie is a registered nurse with more than a decade’s experience working in public hospitals, the community and on health education projects, and a further decade working in research and education.

She worked for the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association, for a further decade, as a professional officer, organiser and lead organiser, prior to moving to the national position of Assistant Federal Secretary and now holding the position of Federal Secretary

Annie believes that we must fight to maintain the professions of nursing and midwifery in Australia and ensure their advancement. She is passionate about improving Australia’s system of health and aged care and the critical role nurses and midwives have to play in the future of our health system. Annie is particularly keen to see nurses drive change for improvements in Australia’s aged care sector.

Annie has a degree in Health Science, an Honour’s degree in Nursing and is currently completing a Bachelor of Economics

Amanda Davies

Amanda Davies Nurse Practitioner Acute and Emergency Care 

Amanda Davies was one of the first endorsed nurse practitioners in Queensland in 2007. Amanda’s specialty area of practice is acute and emergency care.

Amanda has played a significant part in the progression of the role at both state and national level and has a particular interest in the sustainability of nurse practitioner models of care.

In 2014, Amanda was awarded a Director-General Australia Day Achievement Award for leading, promoting and developing the role of the Nurse Practitioner in Queensland.

Amanda has held a number of senior leadership roles across the health sector including the inaugural CEO of the ACNP.  Amanda is currently the Director of Governance Risk & Assurance at Anglicare Southern Queensland and on the Board of Directors for the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners

Chris Helms

Dr Chris Helms Nurse Practitioner-led primary healthcare clinic

Dr Chris Helms is a registered nurse and endorsed nurse practitioner based in Canberra.  He works in private practice in a nurse practitioner-led primary healthcare clinic and also serves as Course Coordinator for Curtin University’s nurse practitioner program.  He received his formal qualifications as a nurse practitioner 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.  He currently holds a ministerial appointment with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, was a member of the nurse practitioner reference group for the MBS Review Taskforce, and is member of the Commonwealth Health Care Homes Implementation Advisory Group.  In 2018 he completed his PhD, which validated a specialist clinical learning and teaching framework for Australian NPs. In his spare time he works in a homelessness clinic and runs a consultancy that helps organisations better understand, plan and implement NP models of care.


Prof Jill White

Professor Jill White AM, RN, RM, MEd, PhD, MHPol.

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 recently formally retired and is now an independent consultant in the areas of health education, regulation and policy.

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.

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.

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

Leanne Boase

Leanne Boase Nurse Practitioner and ACNP President 

Leanne qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1995 and has worked in a wide variety of clinical and management roles, with experience in both metropolitan and rural health settings, and across several clinical specialties. With postgraduate qualifications in Emergency Nursing, Leanne went on to complete her Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) and was subsequently endorsed as a Nurse Practitioner in 2009. 

Leanne has specialised in the management of eczema since 2011, and asthma since 2013. She has worked in both the public and private sector as an NP and built and operated her own GP clinic. Now she works in Medical Property Development as well as business consulting for others wanting to start or improve their businesses

Liza Edwards

Liza Edwards Principal Nursing Adviser Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer

Liza Edwards is the Principal Nursing Adviser in the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer at the Australian Government Department of Health providing high-level health policy advice to the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Department of Health And Office of the Health Minister. She has over 20 years clinical experience primarily in emergency and paediatric nursing and over the last 10 years has been passionate about the role of the nursing profession in developing and analysing health policy at both the State and Federal level. Liza was a candidate in the initial Victorian Emergency Nurse Practitioner Project and subsequently practiced in the UK as a nurse practitioner in urgent care for the NHS. She holds a postgraduate diploma in advanced clinical practice, master’s degrees in nurse practitioner studies and health service planning and management and is an honorary lecturer at the University of Sydney. During 2019, Liza was the Project Lead for the Independent Review of Nursing Education undertaken by Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz.

Expert Panel - Breakfast Session - National Action Plan for Heart and Stroke

Sharon McGowan

Sharon McGowan Chief Executive Officer Stroke Foundation 

Sharon joined Stroke Foundation as Chief Executive Officer in 2016. 

Having spent her career in the health sector, Sharon has a wealth of experience and expertise that will take the Stroke Foundation forward on the next phase of its journey.

Sharon is an experienced communicator, with a background in management, community engagement, culture transformation, health promotion, fundraising and the volunteer service. Originally trained as a registered nurse, Sharon has worked in Australia and the UK with a range of government statutory authorities and not-for-profit organisations.

Sharon holds a Masters of Business Administration from Cranfield University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Acutely aware of the devastating impact that a stroke can have on survivors and their family members, Sharon is passionate about bringing government, health professionals and the broader community together to fight this terrible disease. Sharon aims to make a real difference by increasing awareness of stroke and support for it as a major health priority.

Kate Hayward

Dr Kate Hayward Senior Research Fellow in Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery at the University of Melbourne

Dr Kate Hayward is a Senior Research Fellow in Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery at the University of Melbourne, Research Fellow at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, and current NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow. Kate has undergone training in Australia and Canada to develop a diverse skillset: physiotherapist (JCU), rehabilitation scientist (UQ), clinical neuroscientist (UBC Canada) and stroke trialist (The Florey). Her research program is focused on optimising therapy-induced motor recovery post-stroke, using arm and hand function as the exemplar. In collaboration with international partners, Kate’s research spans clinical and preclinical stroke populations. The motivation behind Kate’s work is to improve arm and hand recovery to enable stroke survivors to return to meaningful activities, such as playing golf or drinking their morning cup of coffee.

Workshop Presenters 

Darren Dougan

Darren Dougan CEO & Founder Home Nurse Services

Darren is the Founder and CEO of Home Nurse Services (HNS).  HNS is now Australia’s largest private sector employer of NPs.

Darren also has residential property and retirement village interests via his private company Sarazin Property.  Prior to establishing HNS, Darren was CEO Hindmarsh, a national property and construction company.  Darren was also the co-founder and CFO of Rex Airlines, a regional airline based in Sydney.  Previously, Darren held senior positions at the strategy consulting firm Bain & Company, both in Australia and the United States.

Darren holds an MBA from Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University Chicago and has degrees in Mathematics and Engineering from the University of Queensland.

Elise Bryant

Elise Bryant Nurse Practitioner and surgical assistant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Elise Bryant is a Nurse Practitioner and surgical assistant working exclusively with Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Elise has spent the last 10 years honing her surgical assisting skills, within the operating theatre and private practice setting, and working in collaboration with some of Brisbane’s most reputable Specialist Plastic Surgeons.

Ongoing learning is a passion of Elise’s and she believes that ‘learning is a lifelong journey’. With this in mind Elise has dedicated herself to formal and informal education completing a Masters in Nurse Practitioner Studies, a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Science (PNSA), a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Nursing. She is an active member of the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners and looks forward to continuing her formal education in the future with her goal to begin a Professional Doctorate in the next few years.

Margaret Faux

Margaret Faux Founder and CEO, Synapse Medical Services

Margaret Faux is a Lawyer and Registered Nurse who has been involved in Medicare claiming for over 30 years. She is the Founder and CEO of an international medical administration company, Synapse Medical Services, which operates one of the largest medical billing services in Australia. Margaret is a published PhD researcher on the topic of Medicare claiming and compliance and is completing her doctorate at the University of Technology. Margaret’s company works in multiple health systems around the world and, as the CEO of a rapidly expanding global business, with over 100 staff in three countries, she travels the world extensively on business and has signed contracts in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Margaret is regularly asked to speak at various forums promoting 

India/Australia trade relations and in 2017, was appointed as an Honorary Advisor to the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in India, to map the legal and administrative framework of health insurance law in India, as part of India’s efforts to implement Universal Health Coverage. Margaret is also a regular contributor to peer review journals, public health blogs and radio forums, and is considered one of Australia’s leading experts on the legal and administrative structure and operation of Australia’s health system, Medicare. Margaret is passionate about technology and drives innovation in her business using disruptive technologies to streamline health service delivery and stay ahead of the curve and, as an entrepreneur, she is constantly looking for new ways to improve efficiencies in health administration around the world.