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Organising committee

Members’ biographies

Professor Diana Sarfati

Professor  Diana Sarfati July 2018Professor Diana Sarfati (MB ChB, MPH, PhD, FNZCPHM) is a public health physician, cancer epidemiologist and health services researcher.

She is Head of the Department of Public Health and the Director of the Cancer and Chronic Conditions (C3) Research Group at University of Otago, Wellington. She is currently a member of the New Zealand National Cancer Leadership Board (NZ), the Advisory Committee to International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) Pacific cancer hub, the Academic Advisory Committee to IARC on the International Cancer Benchmarking Project, and she is currently leading a Lancet Oncology series on cancer in small island developing states.

Dr Christopher Jackson

Christopher Jackson thumbnail 2018Dr Christopher Jackson is medical director of the Cancer Society of NZ, as well as a medical oncologist at Southern DHB and senior lecturer in medicine at the University of Otago. Clinically, his interests are in GI cancers and melanoma. He is currently chair of the Bowel Cancer tumour standards group, a member of the national bowel cancer work group, and clinical lead for oncology research at Southern DHB.

As medical director of the Cancer Society, Chris has been a vocal advocate for a joined-up national approach to cancer policy and for many changes in cancer policy across the cancer control continuum.

Dr Scott McFarlane

Scott Macfarlane July 2018Scott Macfarlane comes from a background of paediatrics and paediatric oncology and has served in leadership positions in both. He was a member of Cancer Control NZ and is currently a clinical advisor to Ministry of Health Cancer Services. His clinical practice is in paediatric oncology at Starship and he is National clinical leader: Child Cancer.

A national network for children’s cancer results in consistency of practice, equity of outcomes across ethnicity and domicile, and international standard survival of 83% at 5 years. While accepting that there are major logistic disparities between children’s cancer services and services for adult patients, Scott believes some of the principles which provide for these results in children are transferrable to the much larger adult cancer population. These include access to translational research, international collaborative trial participation, availability of appropriate data, nationally agreed guidelines and protocols for treatment and supportive care and cohesive survivorship follow-up.

He believes a clear cancer strategy addressing all parts of the cancer continuum, a well consulted action plan and well delineated governance of the cancer programme will allow improved outcomes for all cancer patients and close unacceptable gaps between Maori and non-Maori cancer survival.

Professor Ian Bissett

Professor Ian Bissett July 2018Ian Bissett is Professor and Head of Surgery at the University of Auckland and Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at Auckland City Hospital. He graduated in 1979 from the University of Auckland and completed his FRACS in 1987 and then worked as a general surgeon in Pokhara, Nepal until 1997. He then undertook his MD research in the anatomy and radiology of rectal cancer. In 2001 he spent a year in the Colorectal Unit in Concord Hospital in Sydney then returned to his present position. He served as President of the Coloectal Surgical Society of Australia and NZ from 2011-2013 and is the chair of the Narional Bowel Cancer Working Group and the adult clinical director of the National Intestinal Failure Service in NZ. His particular interests include rectal cancer, the assessment and management of defaecatory disorders, gut motility and Global Surgery. He has over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals and 5 book chapters published. He continues to visit Nepal on a yearly basis to perform outreach surgical clinics and teach. He is married to Johanna and has 3 children and 2 grandchildren.

Dr Roslyn Kemp

Roslyn Kemp thumbnail 2018Roslyn Kemp is an Associate Professor in Immunology at the University of Otago. Her primary research interest is the immune responses in the tumours of people with colorectal cancer. She is President of the New Zealand Society for Oncology and the Secretary-General for the International Union of Immunological Societies. She is a member of both the Centre for Translational Cancer Research and the Gut Health Network at the University of Otago

Roslyn’s research focuses on cells that promote anti-tumour immunity and inflammation. Her team are focussing on cancer and gut-specific immune responses and how immune cell subsets are involved in progression of cancer. Improved understanding of the role these cells play may lead to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

Associate Professor Bridget Robson

Bridget Robson thumbnail 2018Associate Professor Bridget Robson (Ngāti Raukawa) is the director of Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare at the University of Otago, Wellington.

Her research interests are in the areas of social and economic determinants of health, inequitable treatment in the health system, the impact of racism on health, and the development of kaupapa Māori epidemiology.

Natalie James

Natalie James thumbnail 2018Natalie James works part time as a Professional Teaching Fellow in the School of Nursing at the University of Auckland. Natalie is an experienced nurse with an extensive clinical background in cancer care, having worked in both paediatric and adult comprehensive cancer centres in New Zealand. Natalie is also experienced in leadership and management and is committed to developing cancer services at a local and national level. Most recently she worked as the National Nurse Lead for the New Zealand cancer nurse coordinator initiative and as a Clinical Advisor to the Ministry of Health’s National Cancer Programme. Natalie has a strong interest in developing the cancer nursing workforce and works with the University of Auckland to develop their postgraduate cancer nursing curriculum.

Dr Jason Gurney

Dr Jason Gurney July 2018Dr Jason Gurney is an epidemiologist and Māori health researcher from the Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington. He is the Deputy Director of the Cancer and Chronic Conditions (C3) Research Group, and a board member of Hei Āhuru Mōwai (the National Māori Cancer Leadership Group). Jason’s research focusses on understanding the drivers of health inequites between Māori and non-Māori New Zealanders, particularly in the context of cancer. Among other projects, he is leading a national case-control study which is trying to explain why Māori experience the greatest rates of testicular cancer in New Zealand. He has also recently been awarded a four-year HRC Māori Emerging Leader Fellowship, to complete a programme of work which aims to improve the quantity and quality of life for Māori with cancer.

Dr Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler thumbnail 2018Dr Jonathan Adler is a Palliative Medicine Physician who dual trained in the UK and Australasia. He is the Clinical Lead for Palliative Care at Wellington Regional Hospital CCDHB, and also a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Wellington School of Medicine, University of Otago. Jonathan’s areas of interest include patient centered communication, symptom control, ethics at the end of life, advance care planning and goals of care, and prognostication.