2019 – Speakers

Susan Gallagher


Susan Gallagher is a wound ostomy continence nurse, certified bariatric nurse, health care risk manager and certified safe patient handling professional. Dr. Gallagher holds a masters degree in nursing, a masters degree in religion and social ethics, and a PhD is policy ethics. Susan has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, and contributed chapters on quality and safety in both the Handbook of Hospital Safety, and the 2012 book titled: Epidemic of Medical Errors and Hospital-Acquired Infections. Susan is author of the books titled, The Challenges of Caring for the Obese Patient, the American Nurses’ Association Implementation Guide to the Safe Patient Handling and Mobility Interprofessional National Standards and the all-new book titled: Bariatric Safe Patient Handling. She is a recognized expert in safety, outcomes and communication with an emphasis on bariatrics, skin and wound care, safe patient handling and mobility, and risk and loss control.

Wendy White

Wendy White Wound Care

In 2007, Wendy White founded Wendy White Wound Care, an independent wound consultancy service, with now over 27 years of wound & skin care expertise. Over the past decade, Wendy has delivered quality education, clinical and professional support services in local, national and international arenas including healthcare, residential, government, industry, insurance and legal.  Her mission & vision is to positively influence the person’s lived experience, to optimise practice & clinical outcomes and refocus the emphasis of care provision of both clinicians & organisations – changing lives for those at risk of or living with wounds.

Wendy is a past and current invited expert working with international advisory groups including wound related pain minimisation (2005 – 2008), improving wellbeing when living with a wound (2010 – 2012) & promoting advocacy in wound management (2014 – current).  Her areas of wound related clinical interest, research or publication include skin tear prevention and management, minimising wound related pain (including low resource setting), differentiation of neuropathic pain, wellbeing when living with a wound, clinicians as advocates, advanced skills acquisition programs including wound debridement and policy development. She is a past contributing author, invited reviewer and guest editor (2017) for the Wound Australia publication ‘Wound Practice & Research’.   Wendy is a recipient of a Wounds Australia Fellowship (previously known as the Australian Wound Management Association), in recognition of her contribution to clinical practice, education, research and leadership in wound management throughout Australia, and the Asia Pacific region.

Dr Philippe Fauque

Institute Polyclinique of Cannes

Dr Philippe Fauqué is a nutritionist doctor specialized in artificial nutrition. He leads the largest french clinical nutrition unit at the Institute Polyclinique of Cannes that welcomes patients with various digestive pathologies, hepatitis, pancreatitis, digestive cancers, hepatic transplant and digestive surgery.
With his team of 25 nurses, caretakers and dieticians they take care of patients during more or less long hospitalization in order to educate them to adapt food intake according to their pathologies and to manage enteral and parenteral nutrition. For ostomates a therapeutic educational program is also provided.
Dr Fauqué have been working for many years to optimize diet in pre and post surgical procedure and specifically for patients with wounded digestive tract to prevent risk of malnutrition and to improve the recovery and the quality of life throughout their pathologies.

Luke Escombe

Songwriter, musician and comedian

Luke Escombe is an award-winning songwriter, musician and comedian who has turned his 25 years of living with Crohn’s disease into inspiration for his art. 

Luke’s breakthrough as a writer/performer came in 2011 with his one-man show “Chronic”, which combined multiple music styles with candid stand-up comedy about his many hospital stays. It was Luke’s ticket to festivals all over Australia, and led to him becoming an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia.

The follow-up to “Chronic” was a show called “The Vegetable Plot”, which premiered at the 2014 Sydney Fringe. After years of speaking about illness, The Vegetable Plot was Luke’s way of making a fresh start – a roots music show for kids, families, and foodies with an emphasis on having fun and being healthy. It won the award for the Best Kid’s show at the festival and has since played at major events all around the country, including at the Sydney Opera House and Splendour in the Grass. 

Luke has spoken for three years in a row at Parliament House in Canberra, as well as at the New Zealand National Museum in Wellington, the 2012 and 2014 National Medicines Symposiums, the 2013 Pharmacy Australia Congress, and at conferences, workshops, support groups, Medicare Locals and training seminars across the country. 2017 saw him crossing the Pacific for the first time, speaking at events in Chicago and Miami and receiving standing ovations at both. His work was recognised at the end of the year by WEGO Health, who named him as the winner of their 2017 “Hilarious Patient Leader” award.

He was once described by John Shand in the Sydney Morning Herald as a “rock-soul singer, raconteur, blistering blues guitarist, comedian and songwriter…and very good at them all”, and is most often described by himself as the Mick Jagger of inflammatory bowel disease.  

Luke Escombe lives on Sydney’s northern beaches with his wife and son.

Dr Vicki Patton

Edith Cowan University

Vicki has a background in stoma wound and continence nursing and has a particular interest in pelvic floor dysfunction. She completed her masters in research on management of antegrade colonic enemas via caecostomy in 2009 and then worked as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in a pelvic floor unit in Sydney for many years where she developed her skills in anorectal physiology and biofeedback. Vicki has worked within a multi-disciplinary team which focussed on disorders of defaecation including constipation, faecal incontinence, obstructed emptying and low anterior resection syndrome.

Vicki was awarded her PhD in early 2018 which examined the cost, treatment efficacy and the role of colonic dysmotility in faecal incontinence and constipation. She is currently undertaking a three year clinical research fellowship jointly funded by Edith Cowan University and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, WA.

Dr Kim Phan-Thien

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Dr Kim Phan-Thien is a colorectal surgeon at Sydney’s St George Hospital. She graduated with honours in Medicine from the University of New South Wales, earned a Master of Surgery from the University of Sydney, is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and a member of the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand. Kim has a particular interest in minimally invasive (transanal, laparoscopic and robotic) techniques for the treatment of colorectal conditions. As an experienced robotic surgeon, she is a da Vinci accredited robotic proctor and helps with the training of surgeons in robotics.

Tracy Nowicki

The Prince Charles Hospital

Tracy is currently employed within a major metropolitan hospital in Brisbane as Clinical Nurse Consultant to manage the central equipment service.  A significant focus of her role within this department has been to bring innovation in the development of a central equipment service to ensure optimal patient outcomes through safe, equitable equipment management, education and maintenance. This service also specialises in pressure injury prevention, management of the Bariatric patient, Falls prevention, bed safety, Smart Pump Technology, skin integrity and risk management. Tracy is lead role in Queensland Bariatric Interest Group (QBIG). She has been on the development team for the Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Guidelines and is on the Review committee for the International Pressure Injury Guidelines. Tracy is a member of the Australian Pressure Injury Alliance Panel (APIAP) and the National Standards review committee.

Tracy has extensive experience in presenting innovative approaches to quality risk management topics both nationally and internationally.

A focus of her teaching is to ensure people have fun in learning.

A/Prof Celi Varol

Neapean and Macquarie Urology Centres

Associate Professor Celi Varol is a Urologist at the, Nepean Public Hospital, Nepean Private Hospital, Westmead Private Hospital and Sydney Private Hospital.  A/Professor Celi Varol is currently undertaking the  first University and Ethics board approved trial for Focal Laser Therapy for patients with Prostate Cancer in Australia. This trial has also been registered with the Government arm of Medical Devices and Trials – Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA).  MRI-guided focal laser ablation started to emerge as an intermediate modality between radical treatment and active surveillance in treating low & intermediate risk prostate cancer. FLA provides good balance between cancer control and minimum morbidity with reduced cost of treatment.

Personal Urology Achievements:

  • First Urologist ever to run workshops through the Urological Society
  • First Urologist to introduce to NSW:
    • Bilateral laparoscopic adrenalectomy
    • Laparoscopic Radical Cystectomy with orthotopic bladder substitution
    • High Powered CoreTherm Transurethral Microwave Therapy
    • High Powered Holmium LASER into the Public Hospital in NSW
  • Founding member of Australian Institute of Laparoscopic Urology est.2004

Dr Jemma Gilchrist

Macquarie University Hospital

Jemma has 20 years of experience in working with people who are facing a wide range of emotional and health challenges. She has a particular interest in helping people adjust to the challenges that illness brings and has unique experience in the care of those with cancer and their families. Having worked at Nepean Cancer Care Centre, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre and Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, Jemma has a strong background in clinical care, research and education, to support and assist patients, carers and families affected by cancer. She regularly contributes to conferences and training, including with well-known organisations such as the Cancer Council NSW and the McGrath Foundation. Most of all, Jemma has a real enthusiasm for working with those that are facing life’s challenges to live a life they find valuable and fulfilling.

Dr Teresa Towpik

Macquarie University Hospital

Dr Towpik has been a General Practitioner in Australia since 1993 and an advocate of medicinal cannabis since the law was amended and cannabis was legalised for medicinal use. Since then she has been studying the therapeutic properties of cannabis, how it works in the human body and the potential applications in General Practice, especially in the management of chronic debilitating pain.

We are now experiencing a global cannabis phenomenon, it is widely accepted by the general public and there is a growing need for Doctors to be able to provide the necessary information to safety prescribe medicinal cannabis.

In 2016, Dr Towpik founded MediHuanna, an organisation that provides science-based medicinal cannabis education for Health Professionals. Dr Towpik sees cannabis as a therapeutic agent that has huge potential in General Practice. Her goal is to change the stigma behind cannabis through education, enabling it to be seen as an important medicine that should be integrated into modern medicine.

A/Prof Stephen Smith

John Hunter Hospital

Steve is a colorectal surgeon at the John Hunter Hospital and a conjoint associate professor at the University of Newcastle. He is the director of surgical training for the Hunter New England Network, the director of the surgical clinical research unit at the John Hunter, a councillor on the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSSANZ) and on the foundation board of the CSSANZ.

He completed his PhD through the UoN in 2015 on the topic of ‘Enhancing Recovery after Colorectal Surgery’ and this followed on from a Masters of Surgery completed through Sydney University in 2005 on the topic of rectal prolapse. His primary field of research is in enhancing recovery for patients undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer and has been the principal investigator on over a dozen randomised clinical trials that have resulted in widespread change to clinical practice.

Essentially though he is a glorified plumber who is made to look good (sort of) by the stomal therapists who work with him.

Tina McEvoy


Tina McEvoy currently working as wound Nurse practitioner NBMLHD completed Masters wound Management 2003 and Masters as Nurse Practitioner at Sydney Uni 2013.

Since developing this new role as Wound Nurse Practitioner, Tina has identified an increased demand for outpatient wound management services to meet the needs of both a rural isolated population and a growing urban community. Epidermal skin grafting is a procedure that can be attended in an outpatients setting and potentially enhance wound healing.”

Previously wound CNC at Westmead hospital.

Also a reserve Nursing Officer in Royal Australian Air Force since 2006. The rank of Flight Lieutenant with 3 areo medical evacuation squadron based at Richmond.

Dr Torey Lawrence

The Children’s Hospital Westmead

Dr Torey Lawrence is a full time paediatric Surgeon at The Children’s Hospital Westmead.   She has a broad range of paediatric surgery clinical interests with a focus on colorectal conditions in childhood, paediatric burns, laparoscopic surgery and neonatal surgery.   She runs a long term follow up clinic for complex colorectal conditions in childhood and has a particular interest in anorectal malformations and Hirschsprung’s disease.  Torey undertook an observership in colorectal surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Ohio, in 2012. She has a passion for teaching, education and research.  She teaches undergraduate and post graduate students and is a Supervisor of Surgical Training at The Children’s Hospital Westmead.