2019 Patient Experience Symposium


The Agency for Clinical Innovation, Clinical Excellence Commission, Bureau of Health Information, Cancer Institute NSW, Health Education & Training Institute, eHealth NSW, Healthshare, System Purchasing Branch and NSW Health Pathology are pleased to include the following Plenary Speakers at the 2019 Patient Experience Symposium.



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.
After successfully MC'ing the 2018 Patient Experience Symposium at the Hilton Hotel Sydney, Luke Escombes has been invited back to host the 2019 Patient Experience Symposium and looks forward to welcoming us all to the ICC Sydney soon!




Carrie is the Chief Executive of the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC). The CEC provides leadership in safety and quality to improve outcomes for patients. Since its establishment in 2004, the CEC has gained local, national and international recognition by developing and driving improvement initiatives in collaboration with consumers, clinicians, managers, and other health service partners.

Trained originally as a nurse, she has 37 years experience in healthcare, including oncology, end of life care, organisational development, patient safety and quality improvement.

Born and raised in Scotland, Carrie has worked extensively across the UK and Europe and is now in her fourth year in Australia – a place she now calls home, given the very mild winters!!

Carrie is on a mission to help all of us ignite our passion for safe and reliable care.



Dr Jean-Frédéric Levesque joined the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation as Chief Executive in June 2017. He was previously Chief Executive of the Bureau of Health Information for four years.

Dr Levesque brings to the ACI leadership in healthcare system analysis and improvement, combining experience in clinical practice in refugee health and tropical medicine, in clinical governance and in academic research. He is a member of the Strategic Analytic Advisory Committee of the Canadian Institute of Health Information and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada in Preventive Medicine and Public Health. He has held senior positions responsible for publicly reporting information about the Canadian health system at the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec and the Commissaire a la santé et au bien-etre du Québec.

Dr Levesque has a Doctorate in Public Health, a Masters in Community Health and a medical degree from the Université de Montréal, Canada. He is a Conjoint Professor at the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity of the University of New South Wales. His research focuses on how different models of care impact on patient outcomes and experiences of care. In 2011-12, he was a Visiting Academic at the University of Melbourne.




Professor Brian McCaughan is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney and cardiothoracic surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. 

Brian's major clinical interest is the management of lung cancer. He has held a number of positions with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and was President of the NSW Medical Board for five years.



Elizabeth has held a number of Senior Executive roles within the NSW health system, across operational and policy portfolios.

Elizabeth was appointed Secretary, NSW Health in 2016. As Secretary, Elizabeth is responsible for the management of the NSW health system and setting strategic direction to ensure NSW continues to provide exceptional healthcare, research and education.

Elizabeth is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).




Helen Sanderson was originally an Occupational Therapist, and has worked in health and social care for over 30 years. She has led the development of person-centred thinking and planning in the UK over the last twenty years. Helen was the Department of Health’s expert advisor on person-centred approaches for 10 years. She co-authored the first Department of Health Guidance on Person-Centred Planning, and the 2010 guidance ‘Personalisation through Person-Centred Planning’. Her PhD is on person-centred planning and organisational change and she has written over 20 books on person-centred thinking, planning and personalisation.

Helen leads the international social enterprise, Helen Sanderson Associates (H.S.A), working internationally to embed person-centred practices in the heart of organisations and communities - creating better lives together. H S A developed one-page profiles, person-centred reviews and Working Together for Change. They led the development of personalised care and support planning in individual budgets in the UK. In 2016 H S A started working towards becoming a ‘teal’ organisation. This mean working as a self-managed team, bringing your whole self to work and seeing their purpose as evolving. Helen is a certified Holacray Practitioner, a process used in self-management.

Helen’s purpose is to demonstrate new ways of working, where the wellbeing of people and colleagues’ matter, in ways where communities benefit. This has to start with compassion, for ourselves, each other and together in communities. Two years ago Helen founded a new organisation called Wellbeing Teams, to demonstrate how a provider can use person-centred practices in supporting people to live well at home. Wellbeing Teams are self-managed neighbourhood teams inspired by Buurtzorg.

She is one of 50 New Radicals in the UK, and has won multiple awards for innovation in health and care and value-based recruitment. Helen is a TedX speaker, on self-managing teams, the inside story.



Dr Diane Watson is the Chief Executive of the Bureau of Health Information. She has led the establishment of three reporting agencies in Australia that use big data to drive decisions on healthcare provision nationally and locally.

Prior to joining BHI, Dr Watson was the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Agency for Health Information, established in 2016 to monitor and report on public and private services that stimulate quality and safety improvements, increase transparency and accountability, and inform the community. She was also the inaugural Chief Executive of the National Health Performance Authority, established by the Australian Government to monitor, and report on, the performance of 1000+ public and private hospitals and 300+ health regions.

Dr Watson was the inaugural Chief Executive of the Bureau of Health Information from 2009 to 2012. She has held senior management positions for almost 20 years measuring, monitoring and reporting on the performance of healthcare systems to drive improvements in health, care and productivity. During this time, she has set the future direction of high profile, board governed agencies and inspired a strong sense of purpose among a highly talented and specialised workforce.



Ken Hillman is Professor of Intensive Care and Foundation Director of the Simpson Centre for Health Services Research at the SWS Clinical School, University of New South Wales which is affiliated with the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research.

He is an actively practising clinician in Intensive Care at Liverpool and Campbelltown Hospitals. He graduated from Sydney University and trained at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and St. Bartholomew’s hospital in London. He was the first candidate to pass the Australian intensive care examination in 1980 following which he became the Director of Intensive Care at Charing Cross Hospital in London before returning to Australia to become Director of Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Coronary Care at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney.

He has over 185 peer-reviewed publications; 65 chapters in textbooks; co-authored an intensive care textbook; co-edited several textbooks; and written two books – Vital Signs and A Good Life to the End.He has been awarded over $24 million in grants, has been an examiner for 12 years in intensive care and has held many professional positions related to health.

He is internationally recognised as a pioneer in the introduction of the Medical Emergency Team and is part of the Executive of the International Rapid Response Society.He has published extensively on the care of the elderly frail at the end-of-life and has a NHMRC Program grant to continue research in this area. In 2016 he was an invited presenter at TEDx which was held at the Sydney Opera House.

Ken's research now concentrates on Health Services Research, especially in relation to the potential inappropriate health management of the elderly frail.He is also the recipient of the Order of Australia for his work.



Emma Gee is an acclaimed International Inspirational Speaker & Author, offering her thoughts and solutions on person-centred care and resilience through her keynote presentations, workshops and consultancy.

With a background in Occupational Therapy and as a Stroke Survivor, Emma is a renowned expert and a living example of what it takes to step in another’s shoes and truly bounce back in life.

Through her inspiring presentations, Emma is able to both captivate and challenge her audiences to consider what IS possible in their own lives. Learning to speak again post-stroke, and realising the importance of sharing her story to help others, were the catalysts for Emma taking on speaking professionally.

Today, and thousands of presentations later, Emma as an Inspirational Speaker has incredibly broad client group: from healthcare (associations, hospitals and rehabilitation facilities); businesses & corporate events; community organisations; through to educational facilities. She has also just published her first book entitled Reinventing Emma.

Emma is passionate about enhancing person-centred service delivery and resilience in the lives of all she works with and promises to leave her audiences inspired to bounce back and step up.

Emma Gee’s signature phrase is “that it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you choose to deal with it!” will see her audiences moving past life’s hurdles to what’s possible.



Don is the Founding CEO of The Malpa Project which delivers innovative projects across Australia to assist Indigenous communities take control of their health futures.

As an academic Don has trained some of Australia’s foremost journalists and as an adjunct professor trained Indigenous business students from across Australia. He served on the NSW Clinical Excellence Advisory Board.

Don is a documentary film producer and journalist with programs aired on the ABC, SBS, NITV, BBC and commercial networks. He was awarded a United Nations Media Peace Prize and served on the ABC Advisory Board.

He is a Winston Churchill Fellow and has been adopted into the Warlpiri and Pintupi people of Central Australia.



Dr. Jordan Nguyen is a young man on a mission to change the world. He is an acclaimed thought leader on the intersection between technology and humanity.

At a moment of the most extraordinary breakthroughs in our understanding of the human brain, Jordan has a magical combination of technical brilliance with the unique ability to inspire people.

A truly inspirational communicator, Jordan presents on technology and the power of the mind at prestigious events internationally including Think Inc., Wired for Wonder, and the Engineering for Medicine and Biology Conference – the world’s largest annual biomedical conference.

Upon completing his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney, Jordan was accepted into the prestigious UTS Chancellor’s List. Now his mission is to improve the lives of as many people as possible. As founder of Psykinetic he designs life-changing technologies focusing on intelligent, futuristic and inclusive technology.

Drawing on his experience of almost breaking his own neck, Jordan developed a mind-controlled smart wheelchair for people with high-level physical disability.

A hot topic of discussion in the media, Jordan’s amazing work has been featured in a range of TV, radio, magazine and newspaper interviews, including ABC’s Catalyst and Channel TEN’s The Project.

Jordan is a NSW State Finalist for Australian of the Year 2017.

As a speaker Jordan has the ability to translate highly technical concepts and future trends into clear and concise content, relevant to any organisation looking to proactively embrace and adapt to technological change. His recent documentary, 'Becoming Superhuman' won the 2017 Eureka Prize for Science Journalism, adding to the list of numerous awards it has achieved so far:

*Winner ATOM Award Best Factual Television Series Australia 2016
*Winner ROCKIE Award Best Science and Technology, BANFF
*World Media Festival, Canada 2017
*Winner Gold award for NSW ACS awards Australia 2016
*Winner Best Documentary Picture This International Disability
*Film Festival, Canada. 2016
*Winner Gold REMI Award 50th Annual International Independent
*Film Festival, WorldFest, USA. 2016
*Finalist Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Eureka
*Prize for Science Journalism
*Official Selection SUPER GEEK Film Festival Florida Supercon USA
*Official Selection SCINEMA International Science Festival, Australia
*Official Selection ASSIM VIVEMOS International Disability Film Festival, Brazil
*NSW State Finalist for Australian of the Year           

More keynote speakers to be announced...