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Care of the Critically Ill Obstetric Symposium - Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Assistant Professor Sarah Rae Easter

Sarah Rae Easter is the Director of Obstetric Critical Care at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. She is a board-certified maternal-fetal medicine specialist and intensivist and holds joint appointments in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine and the Division of Critical Care Medicine in the Department Anaesthesia at BWH. Her clinical and academic interests centre around the prevention of maternal morbidity and mortality through collaborative multidisciplinary care. Sarah Rae received her undergraduate degree in Art History at the University of Virginia and completed her medical school training at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. She then matriculated to Boston to complete her OB-GYN residency and two fellowships within the Mass General Brigham program.

Associate Professor Wendy Pollock 

Dr Wendy Pollock is a critical care nurse and midwife who examined the characteristics, severity of illness, and provision of acute health services to critically ill pregnant and postnatal women for her PhD thesis. Wendy has vast clinical and education experience and has researched and published extensively on topics related to maternal critical illness and severe maternal morbidity. Wendy chaired the Massive Transfusion Registry Obstetric Special Interest Group and the ACCCN ICU nursing workforce standards working group resulting in the development of the ACCCN 2016 Workforce Standards for Intensive Care Nursing. She contributed to the Obstetric chapter for the Emergency Triage Education Kit, the chapter on pregnancy and postpartum considerations in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions of ‘ACCCN Critical Care Nursing’, and the chapter on nursing and midwifery considerations in the book ‘Maternal Critical Care’.

Dr Liz Crowe

Dr Liz Crowe is a staff wellbeing specialist who is currently employed at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetics. Liz worked as an advanced clinical social worker for over 20 years in paediatric intensive care specialising in crisis, trauma, grief and end-of-life care with children and families. In the last decade Liz has expanded her expertise to include research and clinical work on the wellbeing of health care professionals, which was the focus of her PhD. In 2021 Liz published an extensive resource for the ANZ College of Anaesthetists on ‘how to respond to a critical incident and conduct debriefing and support for staff’.  Liz is a passionate and humorous educator and podcaster who regularly speaks internationally. Liz is the successful author of ‘The Little Book of Loss and Grief You Can Read While You Cry’ and the co-host of the podcast ‘Five Things Nursing’.

Symposium Speakers

Dr Andrew Swayne

Dr Andrew Swayne is the Director of Neurology at the Mater Centre for Neurosciences. Dr Swayne’s clinical interests include multiple sclerosis, neuroimmunology, stroke medicine and general neurology such as headache, movement disorders and epilepsy. He works in both the MS and stroke clinics at Mater. Dr Swayne combines his clinical work with a strong interest in research with a focus on improved patient outcomes in both multiple sclerosis and other neuroimmunological conditions such as autoimmune encephalitis and myasthenia gravis. The current focus of this research is utilising collaborative multimodal approaches including advanced magnetic resonance imaging and laboratory-based techniques to better study neurological disorders.

Dr Rebecca Jenkinson 

Dr Rebecca Jenkinson is a maternity consumer advocate-turned-researcher, with more than 10 years’ experience as a leader in the Australian maternity consumer movement, advocating for high quality, respectful, women-centred continuity of care. Bec completed her PhD at Mater Research in 2018, investigating refusal of recommended maternity care. She went on to serve as the consumer co-lead on the development of Queensland Health's Guideline: Partnering with the woman who declines recommended maternity care, which was implemented statewide in 2020. Bec is now a Research Fellow at the Australian Women and Girls Health Research Centre, in the University of Queensland's School of Public Health.

Dr Catherine Shannon

Dr Catherine Shannon is a Senior Medical Oncologist at Mater Cancer Care Centre and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland. She is a Director of the Oncology Clinical Trials Unit at Mater Research and is involved in several Phase I, II, and III clinical trials in breast and gynaecological cancers. Dr Shannon completed her fellowship at the Breast Cancer Unit of the Royal Marsden Hospital where she focused on pre-operative endocrine therapy for breast cancer and the use of biological markers to predict response to treatment. Her research interests include neoadjuvant therapies for breast cancer and the molecular genetics of gynaecological tumours. In addition, Catherine chaired the committee for the revision of the endocrine therapy guidelines for the management of advanced breast cancer. Catherine also has a special interest in managing breast cancer in young women and pregnant women and has published several articles in this field.

Dr Alison McDougall

Dr Alison McDougall is an Obstetrician Gynaecologist at Mater. With over five years of experience at Mater, she began as an advanced trainee and later completed a Simulation Fellowship in O&G before transitioning to her current role. In addition to her clinical work, Alison is also deeply committed to teaching and mentoring junior doctors as well as RANZCOG trainees. She has worked with teams to develop several courses for RANZCOG trainees, including the Foundations of Surgery course and the biannual RANZCOG education day for Queensland trainees. In her free time, Alison enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with her family. 

Dr Caroline Wilson 

Dr Caroline Wilson is an Obstetric Physician and Clinical Haematologist at Mater Hospital Brisbane. Accordingly, she has a keen interest in Obstetric Haematology during all phases of pregnancy including preconception, antenatal and post-natal care. She has a further sub-specialty interest in haemoglobinopathies both in the obstetric and non-obstetric setting. As the chair of the multi-disciplinary team managing complex pregnancies, she is passionate about coordinating high-risk obstetric care to facilitate optimal outcomes.

Dr Deborah Gilmour

Dr Deborah Gilmour (she/her) is a neonatologist at the Mater Mothers' Hospital Neonatal Critical Care Unit and is the clinical co-lead for the Cardiac and Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She is also a clinical ethics fellow at the Centre for Children’s Health Ethics and Law at Children’s Health Queensland, and co-chair of the PSANZ Perinatal Ethics Special Interest Group. Her clinical and research interests are perinatal palliative care and clinical ethics. 

Dr Mugur Nicolae

Dr Nicolae completed an undergraduate medical degree in Bucharest, Romania in 1990. He completed his RACP Cardiology training in 2006, working at a number of hospitals in South Africa and Brisbane. In 2007 he completed a one-year Fellowship in Adult Congenital Heart Disease in Brisbane at The Prince Charles Hospital with Dr Dorothy Radford, and in 2008 he completed his second Fellowship year in ACHD in Vancouver, at the University of British Columbia, St. Paul’s Hospital with Prof. Marla Kiess. Dr Nicolae was a staff specialist at The Prince Charles Hospital until December 2018. He commenced Private Practice at various private hospitals in Brisbane in 2009. In 2016, he joined the Cardiology Department at Mater Hospital Brisbane, and established the Mater Adult Congenital Heart Service (MACH Service). In 2015, he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Internal Medicine with a Subspecialty Certificate in Cardiology in 2017. Dr Nicolae practices equally in Adult Congenital Heart Disease and General cardiology, with a particular interest in Echocardiography, Pulmonary Hypertension and Obstetric Cardiology. He was the Cardiology Program Education Co-ordinator until recently at The Prince Charles Hospital and is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland, School of Medicine. Dr Nicolae is the current ACHD representative to the Paediatric and Congenital Executive Council of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. Dr Nicolae the chair for the ACHD group for development of National Standards of Care in CHD and is a member of the steering committee for the CHAANZ Registry.

Dr Robert Carroll

Dr Robert Carroll is a consultant Respiratory and Sleep Physician at Mater Health and a Researcher with Mater Research. Rob is also a Senior Lecturer at The University of Queensland. His current research interests include pulmonary vascular disease and exploring the impacts of sleep disordered breathing in First Nations’ Peoples. He is a founding researcher for the Pulmonary Embolism Registry in Queensland. Rob also has a strong interest in education and serves on the education subcommittees for TSANZ and PHSANZ, and Mater.

Dr Sarah Janssens

Dr Sarah Janssens is the clinical Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Mater Mothers’ Hospital. Prior to this role, Dr Janssens was the Clinical Simulation Director for Mater Group having developed significant expertise in simulation based training for maternity teams. Dr Janssens completed a fellowship at the Harvard Hospital Group’s centre for Medical Simulation in Boston, working with experts in the field of teamwork training. She has completed a PhD through Monash University focusing on Leadership in Healthcare Emergency response teams. Dr Janssens continues to work clinically and has ample opportunity to put her leadership and teamwork knowledge and skills into practice in Australia’s busiest birthing unit. 

Dr Shelley Wilkinson

Dr Shelley Wilkinson is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and also has a PhD in Psychology. Prior to her recent move to be a Project Officer in Mater Mothers’ Department of Obstetric Medicine, she was a Principal Research Fellow in UQ’s School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, and before that, a dietitian at Mater Mothers' for 12 years. She is also the Principal Dietitian at Lifestyle Maternity, a preconception-to-postnatal telehealth private practice.

Dr Jo Laurie

Dr Jo Laurie is the Director of Obstetric Medicine at Mater Mothers’ Hospital where she has practiced as an obstetric physician since 2006. Jo convened the high-risk obstetric multidisciplinary team and has a passion for collaborative care. She aims to maintain the joy of pregnancy for her patients, even in the face of complex disease. Jo is the proud mother of two young women (and two basset hounds).

Dr Luke Jardine

Luke is a full time Neonatologist with a busy private practice at Mater Mothers’ Hospital and is an Associate Professor in The University of Queensland School of Medicine. He completed his MBBS in 1997, his FRACP in Perinatal/Neonatal medicine in 2007, his Masters in Clinical Epidemiology in 2010 and his PhD in 2020. He has numerous peer reviewed publications, review articles and book chapters. He is currently the Chair of the Perinatal/Neonatal Specialist Advisory Committee. His professional interests include extreme prematurity at the borderlines of viability, non-invasive respiratory support and quality improvement. When not at work, he enjoys getting outside, and having a beer (or two). 

Associate Professor Nai An Lai

Nai An is the Director of Intensive Care at Mater Hospital Brisbane. His current clinical and research interests include advanced haemodynamic monitoring, safety and quality in healthcare, severe pneumonia, rapid molecular diagnostics, citrate regional anticoagulation in continuous renal replacement therapy as well as cognitive biases and decision making in critical care medicine. 

Rory Jackson

Rory is an experienced critical care paramedic (CCP) with over 15 years of experience in both Queensland and London ambulance services. He currently works within QAS in clinical education, clinical governance, and patient safety in the Darling Downs region. Throughout his career, Rory has taken on various roles, including CCP, flight CCP, rapid response paramedic, and worked in education and clinical governance units. He has also been a sessional academic in multiple universities and is a faculty member for LifeFlight, providing education to rotating registrars in obstetric care. Rory's passion for improving outcomes and patient experience led him to study as a midwife after attending numerous prehospital births. He has worked in several hospitals as a midwife, including Logan, the Royal Brisbane, Toowoomba Base Hospital, and Reykjavik University Hospital in Iceland. He strongly advocates for educating all prehospital clinicians on how to better support women during pregnancy, labour, and birth and is a passionate midwife continuing to develop in this new field.

Samantha Wade

Samantha Wade is a 29-year-old, who lives with adult congenital heart disease. Born with transposition of the great arteries, ventricle septal defect, and pulmonary atresia she underwent a Fontan palliation at five years of age. Samantha’s respect and admiration for the doctors and nurses who cared for her as a child propelled her into a career in healthcare, where she has become a Paediatric Nurse at the Queensland Children’s Hospital. Her greatest accomplishment in life is her two children Xavier, who she lost due to Sepsis at 25 weeks gestation, and Ziva, who is here today due to the hard work, dedication, and collaboration of an amazing group of doctors.

Dr Vishwas Raghunath

Vishwas Raghunath is a Nephrologist and Obstetric Physician at West Moreton Hospital & Health service and Mater Mothers' Hospital. He trained in nephrology across hospitals in Brisbane and Sydney and completed his obstetric medicine training at Mater Mothers' Hospital. He has a keen interest in the management of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, preeclampsia, and the interplay with chronic kidney disease. He is an active member of the Society of Obstetric Medicine Australia and New Zealand (SOMANZ) and the Australia and New Zealand Society of Nephrology (ANZSN). He has been a committee member of the Queensland Statewide Renal Clinical Network and West Moreton Maternity Shared Care Collaborative and is on the clinical council for the Darling Downs and West Moreton Primary Health Care Network. He is passionate about healthcare delivery and service improvement.

Dr Loki Johnk

Dr Loki Johnk (BMBS FCICM DipClinUS) is an ICU staff specialist at Mater Hospital Brisbane with special interests in medical simulation, echocardiography, and obstetric critical care. He is the clinical supervisor of the Critical Care Senior House Officer Program at Mater Hospital Brisbane and has developed a simulation program designed for time and resource limited environments. He hopes to extend this program in the future into joint ventures with obstetric, anaesthetic and emergency departments. He also has an active role in critical care research and departmental quality improvement projects. In his spare time, he critically appraises Bluey episodes and is conducting a comparative study of Brisbane playgrounds.

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