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Appointment of new Cancer Australia Advisory Council Members

I am delighted to announce that six new members have been appointed to the Cancer Australia Advisory Council, making it almost two thirds female representation on the council.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The new Advisory Council members appointed for three years include:

  • Distinguished research scientist Professor Joanne Aitken
  • Gynaecological oncologist Associate Professor Penny Blomfield
  • Leading Indigenous Otolaryngologist Associate Professor Kelvin Kong
  • Consumer advocate Lillian Leigh
  • Radiation oncologist Dr Serena Sia
  • Former NSW Minister for Health the Honourable Jillian Skinner

I am proud of the majority female representation on the Advisory Council with eight of 13 members being women.

I warmly welcome to the new members and look forward to working with them in the unrelenting fight against cancer.

I’m confident that all members will bring their expertise in helping our country combat cancer.

The Cancer Australia Advisory Council provides strategic advice to support Cancer Australia in the performance of its functions.

This includes providing national leadership to reduce the impact of cancer, addressing disparities and improving outcomes for people affected by cancer.

I am also delighted to announce that Professor Bob Thomas OAM has been reappointed as chair of the Cancer Australia Advisory Council, along with other Council members Dr William Glasson AO, Professor Dorothy Keefe PSM, and Perry Sperling PSM.

I want to thank the outgoing members of the Advisory Council Michelle Ace, Keri Huxley OAM, Dianne Rule, Dr Judith Soper and Professor George Yeoh for their highly valued contribution.

The full membership includes:

Professor Joanne Aitken – A distinguished research scientist who has worked in the field of cancer epidemiology for the past 25 years, Professor Aitken is Head of Research and Director of the Queensland Cancer Registry and the Australian Paediatric Cancer Registry at Cancer Council Queensland. She holds academic appointments in the School of Public Health at the Queensland University of Technology and the Menzies Health Institute, Queensland.

Associate Professor Penny Blomfield – Trained in the United Kingdom, , Associate Professor Blomfield completed a fellowship in gynaecological oncology in Australia and Canada, worked as a gynaecological oncologist in Melbourne and Hobart, and is currently Staff Specialist Gynaecologic Oncology Services at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Tasmania.

Associate Professor Kelvin Kong– A Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and an expert in ear, nose and throat conditions, Associate Professor Kong practises in Newcastle, specialising in paediatric and adult otolaryngology, and head and neck surgery. He has special interests in paediatric airway, adult and paediatric cochlear implantation, voice and swallow disorders and head and neck cancer management. He is a board member of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence.

Ms Lillian Leigh– For over a decade as a consumer advocate, Ms Leigh, a lawyer, has provided legal services to disadvantaged people in Australia. Advocacy for people with lung and rare cancers became her passion when she was diagnosed in her early 30s with a rare lung cancer, She is a consumer member of Cancer Australia's Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme Grant Review Committee, the Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group and Lung Foundation Australia's Patient Advisory Committee.

Dr Serena Sia – A radiation oncologist, Dr Sia has held clinical fellowships at the Alfred Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital and King Edward Memorial Hospital. Her areas of subspecialisation are in the management of prostate, gynaecological and breast cancers. She has been a consultant specialist in the Genesis Cancer Care Practice since 2002, presently heads the gynaecology radiation oncology unit in WA and has vast experience in managing cervical and endometrial cancers, as well as rarer gynaecological cancers.

The Honourable Jillian Skinner - A former NSW Minister for Health and a Member of Parliament for 23 years, Mrs Skinner has extensive experience in health policy, including redevelopment of hospitals throughout NSW, improving integration between primary and tertiary health care, and investing in health and medical research and social policy programs. Since retiring from politics, she has been conferred by Macquarie University as an honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of her contribution to health care and health policy in NSW.

Dr Benjamin Brady – Dr Brady is a Medical Oncologist in the Skin and Melanoma Service at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, and Craft Group Leader in Cancer Services at Cabrini Health. He completed his Medical Oncology training at the Alfred, Royal Melbourne and Box Hill hospitals. Dr Brady spent many years in laboratory molecular biology at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Melbourne and subsequently at the University of Colorado Health and Science Centre in Denver, USA. Upon his return to Melbourne in 2002, he has been principal investigator and sub-investigator in many melanoma trials at Cabrini Health and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute. Dr Brady has a large melanoma practice in the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne through to far East Gippsland.

Dr Bill Glasson AO – Dr Glasson has been active in ophthalmological practice and training in urban, rural, indigenous and international settings for many years, as well as holding several senior medical representative positions since the late 1990s. His practice extends from Brisbane to central western Queensland and East Timor, where he is responsible for overseeing the St John Eye Services and education in Oecuzzi. Dr Glasson is past President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, AMA Queensland President .He has also held the chair of the Cancer Australia Advisory Council in the past for several terms (2005 to 2012). In May 2017 Dr Glasson received the highest honour of being awarded the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Gold Award.

Professor Dorothy Keefe PSM, SA - Professor Dorothy Keefe is Clinical Director and a Senior Medical Oncologist of the Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre, and the Cancer Council SA (CCSA) Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Adelaide. She is head of the Mucositis Research Group in the Hanson Institute, and Chair of the Mucositis Study Group of the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC). Dorothy is a Board member of the CCSA and MASCC. Her other roles include Deputy Chair of the SA Cancer Network Steering Committee, and Chair of the MBBS Curriculum Committee Operations. Professor Keefe is also a member of the National Cancer Expert Reference Group (NCERG).

Dr Elizabeth Marles, – Dr Liz Marles is President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) 2012 – 2014. Dr Marles is a practising GP in Hornsby NSW and at the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service. Her roles as Medical Educator include lecturer at University of Sydney, consultant GP Educator on Aboriginal health training, clinical training of medical students, prevocational doctors and registrars. Dr Marles is former Chair of the NSW and ACT RACGP Faculty Board. She holds roles on many state and national boards and committees including General Practice Education and Training (GPET) and General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA). Deputy Director at the Hornsby GP Unit.

Professor Chris Milross– Professor Chris Milross is Associate Professor of Medicine at University of Sydney. He is a former President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) 2014-2016. Professor Milross is a member of the New Zealand College of Radiologist (RANZCR) and the Trans-Tasman Radiation on Oncology Group (TROG) He is Head of Radiation Oncology and Medical Services at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Professor Milross has a clinical focus in the disciplines of head and neck oncology and gynaecological oncology, and his research activity includes an interest in basic and translation sciences, cancer support and communication and health services planning.

Ms Perry Sperling PSM – Ms Perry Sperling is former Chief of Staff to Vice Chancellor Latrobe University, a former senior federal public servant and policy advisor to the Prime Minister and Premier of Victoria. She was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2005 for contributing to the development of innovative health care policies, in particular the Medicare Safety Net and health workforce policies.

Professor Bob Thomas OAM (Chair) – Professor Bob Thomas is Chief Cancer advisor for the Victorian Government, Chair of the Victorian Cancer Agency, and Co-Chair of the National Cancer Expert Reference Group (NCERG). Professor Thomas has been heavily involved in the development of cancer reforms within Australia, is the past President of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, Chair of the National Committee creating the Colorectal Cancer Guidelines, and was a member of the Ministerial Taskforce on Cancer in Victoria. Professor Thomas is the former Professor and Director of Surgical oncology at the Peter MacCalllum Cancer Centre and was instrumental in the development of the discipline of Surgical Oncology in Australasia and was responsible for the creation of the Surgical Oncology Group within the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.


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