MEET OUR SPEAKERS
Prof Alun Jackson
Professor Alun Jackson MSc PhD FCSANZ FESC has been Director of the Australian Centre for Heart Health since 2013. He holds appointments as Honorary Professor at the Centre on Behavioral Health, University of Hong Kong; Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne; and Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.
In addition to his interest and expertise in psychocardiology and cardiac disease secondary prevention, Alun has extensive experience in the prevention and treatment of problematic gambling as a behavioural addiction; the management of chronic conditions in adult and paediatric populations; and primary prevention and psychosocial aspects of survival of HIV/AIDS.
Dr Rosemary Higgins
Dr Rosemary Higgins is Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society College of Health Psychologists and Chair of the Victorian College of Health Psychologists. She works as a Cardiac Health Psychologist and a Family Therapist in private practice and with the Australian Centre for Heart Health. In this work, Rosemary specializes in delivering psychological treatment to patients after a cardiac event.
In 2020 Rosemary was awarded the ACRA Alan Goble distinguished service award for extraordinary service to cardiac rehabilitation, the only psychologist to be awarded this honour. Rosemary holds position of Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, and is a Guest Lecturer at Deakin University, Federation University, The University of Melbourne and the Institute of Social Neurosciences.
For more than twenty years, Rosemary has been involved in developing cardiac rehabilitation services, delivering cardiac rehabilitation content to patients, supporting cardiac rehabilitation clinicians to develop best practice programs and representing the field on state and national executive councils. She is past President of the VACR and has served on the ACRA executive for many years. Rosemary also works as a researcher and with over 60 peer reviewed publications including a book chapter and has been awarded almost 2 million dollars in research funding.
Dr Barbara Murphy
Dr Barbara Murphy is Associate Director at the Australian Centre for Heart Health, where she has worked for over 20 years. Her research work focusses on patients’ psychological recovery after heart attack or heart surgery, with a focus on anxiety and depression. She has led the Cardiac Blues Project since 2015, which has been incorporated into cardiac rehabilitation practice across Australia. She has a strong interest in translational research, with findings from her research used to develop face-to-face and online programs to support cardiac patients and health professionals.
Dr Murphy has over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and several book chapter. She is an advisor to the Mental Health Professional Network (MHPN); Honorary Senior Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Melbourne; and Honorary Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health at Deakin University.
Dr Susie Cartledge
Dr Susie Cartledge is a Heart Foundation and Senior Research Fellow in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. Susie is a Registered Nurse with a background in cardiac and emergency nursing, including ten years on the cardiac and thoracic ward of the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Using this nursing experience, Susie is passionate about educating and empowering patients and families to manage cardiovascular disease long term.
Susie completed her PhD in 2018, investigating targeted approaches to teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to family members of high-risk cardiac patients. This research determined that cardiac rehabilitation was the right time and place for family CPR training and led Susie towards more cardiac rehabilitation research.
Susie has been heavily involved in progressing cardiac rehabilitation in Australia, including being the lead academic co-author of the most recent cardiac rehabilitation standardised program content guidelines, leading the investigation of the impact of COVID on cardiac rehab at a state and national level and serving on state and national level committees for the Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association (ACRA) for which she was recently awarded the distinguished service award.
Ms Vicki Wade
Vicki Wade is a Noongar woman from the Goreng, Minang, Bibelmen and Wadjari tribes in the south west of Western Australia.
Vicki has worked for over 40 years in health and during that time has held many senior positions at state and national levels. Vicki has spent many of these years working in improving the heart health of her people. For her efforts Vicki has received two prestigious awards the CSANZ achievement award for working with First Nations people in heart health. Second the Sidney Sax medal for her outstanding contribution to the health system in Australia.
Mr Adam Livori
Adam is the lead pharmacist in medical specialties and ambulatory care at Grampians Health in Victoria, Australia. Adam is also chair of the Cardiology Specialty Practice Group for the Society of Hospital Pharmacists (SHPA) of Australia, and a faculty member for the Cardiac Clinical Network for Safer Care Victoria. He is a published clinician-researcher within cardiology and has an interest in pharmacoepidemiology and arrythmias. He is contributed to the Cardiac Society of Australian and New Zealand (CSANZ) and National Heart Foundation of Australia (NHFA) guidelines for acute coronary syndromes, as well as co-led the development of Cardiology Pharmacy Standards of Practice with SHPA.
Adam has reviewer roles on the Australian Injectable Drugs Handbook (cardiology) and the Australian Medicines Handbook. His role as an educator extends to Monash University, as well as the Royal Australian College of Physicians, with a focus on medication optimisation and therapeutics. His PhD thesis through the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety is titled “Patterns and predictors of clinical outcome following acute myocardial infarction”, and is a big data study utilising registry data.
Dr Alistair Begg
Dr Alistair Begg is an experienced cardiologist with expertise in cardiac imaging including exercise stress echocardiography, CT coronary angiography, coronary intervention and general cardiology.
Alistair trained in cardiology specialising in cardiac imaging, and in 1996 was awarded his Fellowship to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Alistair continued on to obtain his Diploma of Diagnostic Ultrasound in 1997 and, in 2006, he was awarded his Fellowship of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.
Alistair has many years of private practice experience in Sydney and Adelaide. His focus is on exercise testing and cardiac imaging. Alistair is particularly interested in patients with chest pain, heart failure, and significant risk factors—as well as the benefits of diet and exercise in preventing cardiac illness. He is actively involved in cardiac rehabilitation.
Dr Barveen Abu Baker
Dr Abu Baker completed her basic medical training and subsequently undertook cardiology training at renowned National Heart Institute of Malaysia. The National Heart Institute (IJN) is an advanced cardiovascular and thoracic health center which mainly services adult and paediatric heart patients. The IJN works jointly with leading international medical establishments that innovates new clinical techniques into the system of this heart institution.
In 2017, Dr Abu Baker commenced her two-year Electrophysiology and cardiac device fellowship at Northern Health, Victoria under the mentorship of Dr Uwais (Wes) Mohamed and gained an insightful knowledge of His bundle pacing (HBP), which has recently emerged as a technique for achieving physiological pacing.
Dr Abu Baker’s area of interests includes Diagnosis and Management of arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation, Supraventricular tachycardia and ventricular tachycardia. In addition to that she has demonstrated her expert implantation skills and follow up of cardiac implantable electronic devices including pacemakers, defibrillators and monitoring devices.
Dr Ronen Gurvitch
Dr Ronen Gurvitch is a general and Interventional Cardiologist whose main interests are managing patients with ischaemic heart disease and all forms of valvular and structural heart disease.
Dr. Gurvitch completed his medical training at the University of Melbourne followed by specialist cardiology and interventional training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. After winning the inaugural CSANZ travelling fellowship award he spent two years training in Vancouver Canada with Professor John Webb, the pioneer of percutaneous heart valve technologies.
He performs a high number of complex coronary interventions including the use of advanced imaging techniques and is regularly oncall for the acute infarct angioplasty service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He has specific expertise in structural heart disease intervention and is recognized internationally for his work in the field of transcatheter aortic valve intervention. He currently leads the transcatheter valve implantation program at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and is actively involved in proctoring and teaching other cardiologists setting up their own percutaneous valve replacement programs both nationally and overseas. He has published extensively with over 60 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals including as first author in JACC and Circulation as well as authoring several book chapters.
Dr. Gurvitch has appointments at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne Private, John Fawkner and Cabrini private hospitals. He consults regularly at OneHeart Cardiology in Flemington/Niddrie as well as a number of regional centers including Woodend, Gisborne, and Seymour/Euroa.
Dr Barbara Murphy PhD
Assoc Prof Alison Beauchamp
Alison Beauchamp is Associate Professor in the School of Rural Health at Monash University. She has a background as a Registered Nurse, with over 10 years’ experience in cardiac rehabilitation. In 2011 she completed her PhD in social epidemiology at Monash University.
Alison is currently a NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellow (commenced 2021), with this grant exploring the role of health literacy in cardiac secondary prevention. She has previously held an Australian Research Council Fellowship at Deakin University, where she managed the large Optimising Health Literacy (Ophelia) study in which she supported clinicians to implement health literacy interventions.
In 2018, Alison was awarded a Medical Research Future Fund NHMRC Translational Research into Practice (TRIP) Fellow at the University of Melbourne to implement health literacy communication approaches in clinical settings. Alison has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles and has been lead or co-investigator on grants totalling over $7 million AUD.
Assoc Prof Monique Watts
Associate Professor Monique Watts is a Cardiologist and Heart Failure Specialist at Epworth Freemasons and the Alfred Hospital.
After graduating from the University of Melbourne, A/Prof Watts trained at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. She completed Advanced Training in Cardiology with a Fellowship in Heart Failure at the Alfred Hospital, Victoria’s only combined heart failure and cardiac transplantation service.
A/Prof Watts continues her interest in the management of all types of heart failure and is actively involved in researching novel therapies for this condition.
A/Prof Watts recently extended her cardiology practice by developing East Wimmera Health’s inaugural rural cardiac clinic in Charlton and by establishing the Women’s Cardiology Clinic at the Alfred Hospital.
Mr Michael Le Grande
Michael has 30 years of experience in public health and psychological research and is a trained epidemiologist and data analyst. Michael has many research interests related to his work at the Australian Centre for Heart Health which primarily focuses on psychosocial aspects of recovery from heart disease. Some areas of interest related to this work have included sleep disordered breathing, physical activity, cognitive functioning, quality of life, illness perceptions, trajectories of anxiety and depression, health literacy, heart failure and co-morbidities, and Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing.
Michael has authored over 60 refereed papers and is the lead author on the position statement from the Australian Centre for Heart Health and the Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association concerning screening for obstructive sleep apnoea in cardiac rehabilitation. Michael also works at the Centre for Behaviour Change, Department of Psychology at The University of Melbourne with research interests including determinants of smoking cessation, effects of e-cigarettes on mood, and developing accurate measures of tobacco dependence.
Ms Melissa Raval
Melissa is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with more than 20 years experience. She currently works as a community dietitian at cohealth community health service, as well working as a dietitian in the HARP (Hospital admission reduction program) for the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Melissa has a particular interest in chronic disease prevention and management, specifically diabetes and heart health, assisting clients to self-manage their health.
Mr Craig Cheetham
Craig is the Principal and founder of Cardiovascular Care WA the first private, multi-disciplinary cardiac rehabilitation / secondary prevention program in Western Australia at Hollywood Private Hospital founded in 1999. He has broad experience in chronic disease management, in particular cardiovascular health and its related conditions, and holds a number of positions in the delivery, policy and planning of services in Western Australia.
He has received a number of esteemed awards including the Dr Alan Goble Distinguished Service Award, the nationally accredited Exercise Physiologist of the Year and from 2005-2007 was the President of the Australia Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association (ACRA).
Craig holds an invited seat on the Nation Heart Foundation of Australia – WA Division’s board for Cardiovascular Health Management and the Health Department of WA’s Cardiovascular Health Network, and in collaboration with Royal Perth Hospital and the National Heart Foundation, Craig established a highly successful and the first Cardiovascular Prevention and rehabilitation service within an Aboriginal Medical Service in Australia in 2009
He is also a lead author, speaker and representative on many committees, guidelines, policy and conference schedules.
Prof Doa El-Ansary
Doa El-Ansary is a Professor of Cardiorespiratory Rehabilitation Sciences and the Foundational Disciplinary Head of Physiotherapy at RMIT. She has more than 30 years of clinical, academic and leadership experience across public and private health care settings and universities. She is a Professorial fellow in the Department of Surgery, Medicine School at the University of Melbourne and at Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Doa pioneered ultrasound diagnosis of sternal non-union and instability following cardiac surgery as part of her doctoral studies.
Doa is a member of CSANZ, EACTS, ACRA, ANZSCTS and a foundation member of the committee that established Heart Online, a toolkit for cardiovascular rehabilitation. Collectively her postdoctoral studies have informed recovery; clinical and exercise guidelines in the cardiac population and have led to a paradigm shift that targets secondary prevention and better patient outcomes.
Doa has received national and international awards for her research. Her research interests include: exercise and rehabilitation, ultrasound imaging, innovations in sternal closure, postoperative recovery, and digital solutions in healthcare
Ms Sheree Burgess
Sheree Burgess – Senior Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Project Lead for the Cardiac Digital Project, at the Community Rehabilitation Centre at Albury Hospital, Albury Wodonga Health.
Dr Robert Grenfell
Initially trained as a rural General Practitioner. Developed skills in Public Health with extensive experience in Government, Not-For-Profit and Private sectors.
This includes; Physician in charge Travel Health BHP, National Health and Medical Research Council, Member Victorian Quality Council, Chair General Practice Victoria, National Director Cardiovascular Health Heart Foundation.
Expertise in health system analysis, strategic planning, governance, health risk management, equity focussed care.
Specialties: Public Health Physician, General Practice.