SPSLM Conference Speakers, 10th to 12th March 2020

Further speakers to be announced!

Prof Garry Egger

AM, MPH, PhD, MAPS, FASLM

Prof Garry Egger is known around the world as one of the pioneers of Lifestyle Medicine. He is a Professor of Health and Human Sciences at Southern Cross University and an Advisor to the World Health Organisation and several Government and corporate bodies in chronic disease prevention. He has qualifications in behavioural biology and epidemiology. He has worked in public, corporate and clinical health for over 4 decades. He is the author of 30 books (including five texts) over 160 peer-reviewed scientific and research articles and numerous popular media articles on health and fitness. In the 1990s Dr Egger initiated the GutBusters, men’s waist loss program, the first of its kind in the world. He started training programs for Fitness Leaders in Australia in 1982, was one of the initiators of the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA) in 2008 and runs training programs in Lifestyle Medicine for doctors and allied health professionals around Australia and the Pacific. He recently received an Australia Medal for his services to medical education and health promotion. His recent interests and publications concern the link between obesity, climate change and economic growth.

A/Professor Darren Morton

BEd (Hons), MAppSci, PhD, DipIBLM, FASLM

Dr Darren Morton is an internationally recognised Lifestyle Medicine Educator. He is a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine and Certified Diplomate of the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine. Presently he is the Course Convenor for Postgraduate Studies in Lifestyle Medicine at Avondale where he also supervises several doctoral students.

Dr Morton is the author of four books and approximately 50 publications in scientific and medical journals. He has presented to corporate, education and community groups around the world and is an invited speaker at international academic conferences. He has also been awarded a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in the Australian university sector.

Dr Morton’s specialty is in the creation of evidence-based lifestyle interventions. He was a key developer of, and is a presenter in, the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) which is a premier Lifestyle Medicine intervention targeting chronic diseases that now operates in over 10 countries around the world. Most recently, Dr Morton has created The Lift Project which incorporates evidence-based strategies from Lifestyle Medicine and Positive Psychology for improving emotional health and wellbeing.

In his spare time, Darren loves being active outdoors and spending time with family and friends.

A/Prof Wayne Dysinger

MD, MPH, FACLM

Dr Wayne S. Dysinger, is a lifestyle, preventive and family medicine physician who currently serves as Chief Executive Officer for Lifestyle Medicine Solutions, a new model primary care concept that is built around Lifestyle Medicine principles. He is also Chair of both the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine and the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine, and former Medical Director of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP). He is an active faculty at Loma Linda University, a past President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and consults, teaches and participates in research on Lifestyle Medicine issues around the world.

Dr. Dysinger has worked in various capacities with the American Medical Association and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. Dr. Dysinger earned his M.D. degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine (1986), and his MPH from Loma Linda University School of Public Health (1990).  He has previously worked in Guam, Atlanta and Dartmouth.

A/Prof Renee Bittoun

Renee Bittoun has over 30 years experience within the smoking cessation field. Renee has been invited to be a keynote speaker at many international conferences and also to conduct ‘Master-classes’ in Smoking Cessation around the world. She was awarded the prestigious Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand President’s Award in 2009 for her contribution to tobacco control.

Renee is the author of numerous books on smoking and quitting both for the public and for practitioners, and has published many research articles on tobacco dependence and cessation. She has conducted clinical trials of many treatments for tobacco dependence, including both pharmacotherapies and behavioural interventions.

Renee’s initiatives include starting one of the world’s first Smokers’ Clinics at St. Vincent’s Hospital (Sydney), founding the Journal of Smoking Cessation (where she is the Editor-in-Chief) and establishing the first Australian University course on Nicotine Addiction and Smoking Cessation at the University of Sydney (which she continues to teach). She is Director of the Smokers’ Clinics in the SW Sydney Area Health Service, President of the Australian Association of Smoking Cessation Professionals, Head of the Smoking Research Program at the Brain and Mind Centre (University of Sydney) and an inaugural member of the international Society for Research in Nicotine and Tobacco.

Dr Bradley Townend

BSc(Med), MBBS, MPH(Hons), MMed, FRANZCO

Dr Brad Townend enjoys living and working on the Central Coast with his wife and children. He completed his medical degree with honours at the University of NSW and went on to subsequently complete a master’s degree in Public Health at UNSW. Following this Brad completed a master’s degree in Ophthalmic science at the University of Sydney. He worked for several years at Gosford, Wyong and John Hunter Hospitals before completing 5 years of extensive eye training through Sydney Eye Hospital. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, and a member of the Australian Cataract and Refractive Surgery Association.

Brad is a clinical associate lecturer in Ophthalmology at the University of Sydney and has done extensive research into various aspects of ophthalmology, including the identification of number of risk factors for cataract formation. This research has been published in number of international ophthalmology journals. Brad also has an interest in how nutrition can play a role in the development and prevention of eye disease. He has recently written a book entitled Eye Nutrition in order to give patients useful and practical information on how to eat their way to good eye health.

Brad participates in regular work for the Fred Hollows Foundation and previously took 6 months ‘off work’ and worked for the Fred Hollows Foundation in Nepal, the Pacific islands and Alice Springs. This work has enabled him to contribute to the eye health of thousands of patients in under-privileged areas, and as a result Brad has learned a lot about the world, ophthalmology and himself during these adventures!

Brad is currently in private practice at Coastwide Eye Surgery and serves as an ophthalmologist. He operates at Central Coast Day Hospital, Berkeley Vale Private Hospital and both Gosford and Wyong public hospitals where he acts as the head of department for ophthalmology. Brad plays on the Gosford Hospital basketball team and enjoys the saxophone, cricket and cycling.

A/Prof Ross Grant

PhD (NeuroPharmacology), MAppSc (Clin Chemistry), BEd (Sc) (Biochemistry/Chemistry)

Dr Grant is a Biochemical Pharmacologist in the School of Medical Sciences UNSW, Clinical Associate Professor at the Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical School, University of Sydney and Head of the Australasian Research Institute.

Dr Grant’s research focusses on characterizing, at the molecular level, how lifestyle and environment (eg emotional stress, diet and exercise) produce changes in the body’s biochemistry that lead toward either health or disease; including oxidative stress, inflammation and changes in metabolism. A practical goal of this research is identification of early subclinical disease (often linked to accelerated aging) enabling effective intervention before irreparable damage to tissue occurs.

Dr John Kelly

MD, MPH

“Dr. John,” as he is affectionately called by patients and staff, is passionate about Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Kelly completed his undergraduate education in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, graduating Summa Cum Laude as a McMurran Scholar. He then completed the Dual Degree Program at Loma Linda University, receiving his MD in 2000 and his MPH in Epidemiology in 2002 with honors. He completed residency training in Preventive Medicine in 2003 and received ABPM Board certification in 2004. Dr. Kelly received the AMA Excellence in Medicine Award in 2004 as a Young Physician for his work in establishing the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), the medical specialty society for clinicians who specialize in the use of therapeutic lifestyle interventions in the treatment and management of disease. He served as founding President for ACLM. Dr. Kelly accepted an appointment as Assistant Research Professor in the Nutrition Department at Loma Linda University with the Lifestyle Research Initiative where he conducted a multi-center outcomes analysis of lifestyle centers in the U.S. and served as Co-PI for a multi-$million diabetes research project in the Marshall Islands. He continues to work with ongoing studies investigating the use of therapeutic lifestyle interventions in the treatment and management of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and related chronic diseases. He is presently Director of Medical Education & Research at the Black Hills Lifestyle Medicine Center (www.BHLMC.org). He was Medical Director for outpatient lifestyle programs. Dr. Kelly enjoys sharing the scientific evidence for the use of lifestyle to treat, prevent and reverse disease with his patients and with other practitioners, researchers and the public. He gives invited expert presentations on Lifestyle Medicine, Epigenetics and other topics internationally. He also serves as a Lifestyle Medicine expert consultant.

Dr Lillian Kent

PhD, M.Appl.Epi, MPH, RPHNutr, FASLM

Dr Lillian Kent is a senior researcher in the Lifestyle Research Centre at Avondale College of Higher Education. She also lectures in Postgraduate studies in Lifestyle Medicine at Avondale and supervises several doctoral students. Lillian has presented at various academic and community events around the world.

Lillian is a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine and a Registered Public Health Nutritionist with the Australian Society of Nutrition. She has more than 25 publications in scientific peer review journals. Since joining Avondale her research has focused on outcomes following the CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program) program. More recently, her research interests have centred on delivering CHIP messages to illiterate, rural communities in third world countries using a community development and empowerment methodology (REFLECT). In addition, her research has diversified to using Positive Psychology for improving emotional health and wellbeing.

Dr Paul Rankin

RN, BA, MPH, PhD

Dr Paul Rankin trained hundereds of individuals as facilitators for the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) while working as the Area Manager (Australasia, Asia and Africa), for the Lifestyle Medicine Institute, a Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing company, which runs the Complete Health Improvement Program. Dr Rankin has worked as a nurse, pastor, missionary pilot, health educator, administrator and academic. He is passionate about his family, wife Sonia and three adult children. He enjoys hang gliding, woodwork and hiking.

Having personally experienced the benefits of lifestyle change when he adopted a plant-based whole-food diet over 10 years ago and started exercising. He lost 35kg in weight and saw dramatic reductions in his cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar. He was amazed at how much extra energy this simple change in lifestyle gave him and he has committed his life to sharing the benefits of the whole-food plant-based diet with moderate exercise for improving heath and reducing and even reversing many chronic diseases.

Dr Rankin trained as a registered nurse when he first left school. He then trained as a SDA Pastor in the early 1980’s. He completed a Masters in Public Heath in 1998 and a PhD in Lifestyle Medicine in 2014. Dr Rankin is a conjoint lecture in Lifestyle Medicine at Avondale College of Higher Education in Australia and has published 14 articles in relation to lifestyle medicine in peer reviewed academic journals.

Elisiva Na'ati

SPC Public Health Nutrition Adviser

Dr Isimeli Tukana

National NCD Adviser to Ministry of Health, Fiji Government 

Dr Geoffrey Kenilorea

National NCD Adviser to Ministry of Health, Solomon Islands Government

Dr Luke Wilson

MBChB, BA, MSc

Dr Luke Wilson is from Wellington, New Zealand, and is Board Certified by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine. In his final year of medical school, he studied and worked in Santa Rosa, California, as an intern for Dr John McDougall at the McDougall Health and Medical Center and also alongside Dr Michael Klaper and Dr Alan Goldhamer at the True North Health Center. After graduation, he worked at Gisborne Hospital and subsequently was co-lead researcher and creator of a community-based lifestyle intervention using whole foods plant-based nutrition. Luke founded Two Zesty Bananas with colleague Dr Matthew Hobbs in 2014. Since then he has co-authored The 21st Century Food Course, completed the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, worked part-time as a general practitioner, and spoken at events in New Zealand and Australia. He has experience helping hundreds of people transform their lives by adopting a whole foods plant-based lifestyle. Luke is a current Board Member of Doctors for Nutrition.

Stephen Penman

MAppSci (Res), GC (Tert Teach Learn)

Stephen is a Board member and also Executive Director (CEO) of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine (ASLM) and the Lifestyle Medicine Foundation. He is also project lead for Open Health, a social enterprise developing a world first online comprehensive lifestyle change program. Previously, Stephen was CEO of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) from 2008 to 2013. Prior to that between 2004 and 2008, while a Masters by Research candidate at RMIT University, Stephen conducted the widely regarded ‘Yoga in Australia’ study, assisted with research into the attitudes of General Practitioners and Nurses to complementary therapies and was also appointed inaugural Course Co-ordinator of ‘Wellness, Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Management’, an online course he delivered for three years both as an undergraduate elective and as a core unit in the Master of Wellness at RMIT. During this time he also served as Vice President and then President of Yoga Australia.

Simon Matthews

MHlthSci, MAPS, DipIBLM, FASLM

Simon is the CEO of Wellcoaches® Australia, New Zealand, Pacific and Asia. The premier school of evidence based health coaching, Wellcoaches® trains health professionals to assist their clients to achieve long lasting health behaviour change.

He is an AHPRA Registered Psychologist, Board Certified Lifestyle Medicine Professional and Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine. He’s also a Fitness Trainer and Nutritionist.

He’s helped thousands of people achieve their goals of living healthier, more purposeful lives and has worked with government, banking, retail, education, not-for-profit and charitable organisations to help their staff to understand the value of healthy lifestyle and to practice the principles of living well. He writes frequently about health coaching and health care.

Simon is a passionate advocate for universal health care, the right of access to high quality evidence based health care and good health and wellbeing as a public health goal and human right.

When not working, Simon also loves talking about his other passions as a Pilot, Barista and self-taught cook.

Dr Mechelle Palma

MD, MMHA, DipIBLM, FACLM

Dr. Mechelle Acero Palma is the Director of Education of the Asian Society of Lifestyle Medicine and the President of Remnant Institute Inc., a Center for Health and Education. She is also a Lifestyle Medicine Consultant and Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) facilitator at Bacolod Adventist Medical Center and Lifestyle Center of Southern Oklahoma. She is a founding director of the Lifestyle Medicine department of Antique Medical Center and pioneered the development of Lifestyle Medicine Education curriculum in two universities in the Philippines. Dr. Palma earned her Medical Education at Iloilo Doctors College of Medicine and gained residential training on Family and Community Medicine at Antique Medical Center. She had her post-doctoral degree in Master of Management in Hospital Administration at the Philippine Christian University. Dr. Palma was among the first six certified Lifestyle Medicine Physicians in Asia who successfully passed the Inaugural Diplomate Exam conducted by the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine. She actively conducts training programs and seminars in Wellness and Lifestyle Medicine, Culinary Medicine and Medicinal farming under several programs of the Philippines government. She is an active resource person of different government agencies, local government units, peoples organization, religious groups, schools and universities in several regions of the country.

Dr Margaret Cornelius

DSM and Diabetes Specialist

Dr Margaret Cornelius worked with the Ministry of Health in Fiji for 34 years in the fields of diabetes, public health, health promotion, health information systems, health planning, health research, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and wellness. She is a founding member of the National Diabetes Center and Foundation as well as the National Center for Health Promotion and the National Health Promotion Council.

Dr Cornelius has also served in technical and national advisory roles for AusAID funded health programs for 6 years. She is currently promoting wellness through lifestyle changes and is a short-term advisor on NCDs for the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development  (FRIEND) Fiji. 

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