Chairs and Panellists

Associate Professor Sonia Allan, holds an LLB (Hons), BA(Psych)(Hons), MPH (Merit), LLM (Global Health Law) (Dist), and PhD in law. Her work examines the ethical, legal, and social issues raised by health matters, the regulation of emerging and existing health technologies, and public and global health law.

Sonia was a 2011 Global Health Law Fellow (Georgetown University), where in 2012 she won the Cali Award for Health and Human Rights. She is also a Churchill Fellow. She has published and presented in national and international forums, and has been influential in health law reform.


Dr Maria Antonio is Division Chief, Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau at the Philippine Ministry of Health. She is also a Griffith University PhD candidate investigating International Trade in Health Services in the Philippines, focusing on organ donation and transplant services, and commercial gestational surrogacy.

Dr Antonio completed her Doctor of Medicine with clinical specialisation on Family Medicine in the Philippines, and a Master Degree in International Public Health at The Hebrew-Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel


Dr Toby Coates is a full time clinician-scientist and renal transplant nephrologist in the Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Clinical Professor in Medicine at the University of Adelaide, where he completed his PhD in Transplant Immunology. He undertook Post-Doctoral studies with Angus Thomson at the Thomas E Starzl Transplantation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the sole Australian Associate Editor for the International Society of Nephrology’s journal, Kidney International.

He is currently the director of South Australia’s first (and only) Nationally Funded Centre for Islet Transplantation and is Head of Kidney and Pancreas Islet Transplantation at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He has 110 peer-reviewed publications and has supervised 16 Honours and PhD students to completion within the University of Adelaide. He is a consultant to the National Transplant Service and a member of the Renal Transplant Advisory Committee of the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand.

He is married with 2 children, restores classic / vintage cars and collects antiquarian books.


Lisa Coleman has been in law enforcement for over 32 years. She commenced in Victoria Police at the age of 19 in 2005, before moving across to the Australian Federal Police. Lisa has a passion for international capacity development and has undertaken peace keeping missions and capacity development deployments to East Timor, Cyprus, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Lisa is currently working in Melbourne with the Australian Federal Police.

In April 2016, Lisa was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure. This was a complete shock to Lisa and her partner. There is no history of Kidney Failure in her family and a biopsy didn’t reveal why kidney failure had occurred. Lisa had 5% kidney function when diagnosed. As Lisa told family and friends what was happening with her health she had 3 people offer kidneys. One of her friends Coleen was tested and found to be an excellent match.

On December 15, 2016, Lisa underwent a pre-emptive kidney transplant at Monash hospital, with Coleen donating this incredible gift. Lisa is 10 months post- transplant and is making good progress.

Lisa enjoys going to the gym, four-wheel driving, and going to the football to watch her magnificent Saints. Lisa still has a passion for travel but is limited with travel destinations, in order to avoid infection and risk losing the new kidney.


Mr Eccles is Director, Program Delivery at the Organ and Tissue Authority.

Having originally graduated from the Royal Melbourne Hospital as a Registered Nurse, he worked in aged care assessment and rehabilitation management roles in both the public and not-for-profit sectors, before becoming Director of Nursing, Port Adelaide Central Mission. From aged care he then moved to management and education and training roles at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

He has been involved in organ and tissue donation since 2005, firstly as Program Director, Blood, Organ and Tissue Programs, Victorian Department of Health and then with the Organ and Tissue Authority since its inception in 2009. He was a member of the Australian Government’s National Clinical Taskforce on Organ and Tissue Donation 2006-2008.

He contributes to numerous committees and working groups and also volunteers as a Board Director for a Victorian regional health service.


Mr Michael Fink is a hepato-pancreato-biliary and liver transplant surgeon at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne and is a senior lecturer in the University of Melbourne. He trained at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK and Westmead Hospital, Sydney. His research interests include liver transplant waiting list mortality risk, organ allocation, complications of liver transplantation and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. He has active roles in teaching and assessment of medical students and surgical trainees.

He is chair of the Transplantation Section of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, chair of the Donor Surgeons and Donor Coordinators Advisory Committee of the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand, chair of the Written Assessment Committee of the Melbourne Medical School, chair of the General Surgeons Australia Transplant Training Committee, a Fellowship examiner for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of the Transplant Liaison Reference Group of the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority. He is a member of the Transplantation Society, the European Society for Organ Transplantation, the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand, the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, the Australian and New Zealand Hepatic, Pancreatic and Biliary Association and General Surgeons Australia.


17-year-old Louis Hehir was born with Chronic Kidney Disease, has had two kidney transplants, and has spent 4 years on dialysis between these transplants.

He recently became an active campaigner on for the opt out policy for organ and tissue donation. Through his campaign he has met with the Federal aged care minister and been interviewed by ABC and Triple J. His most recent accomplishment is that he has started working with the organ donation and tissue authority to assist in increasing organ donation rate. His first transplant was from his maternal grandmother at age five. His most recent transplant was through the Paired Exchange Program.

His participation in the Australian Army cadets has enhanced his leadership skills giving him the confidence to do things within the community including his biggest achievement petitioning the Australian Government to change the organ donation policy. This increased confidence also lead Louis to organise a sleep out at school to raise money for the homeless and to volunteer for Transplant Australia. In the past, he has also been Youth ambassador for Barwon Health Foundation (2010), which influenced him in year seven to Fundraise for Kidney Health Australia (2013).

In his spare time, he enjoys Indoor cricket and tenpin bowling with friends.


Tina Hosseini is the recent outgoing Victorian Multicultural Youth Commissioner and Chair of the Red Cross Victorian Youth Advisory Committee. She currently works at Deakin University, conducting research that promotes positive health and behavioural outcomes in adolescents.

Tina is an active member of the Iranian Women’s Association, the former Youth Chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, and a Multicultural Youth Network alumni. She is passionate about supporting and empowering young people from multicultural backgrounds, challenging and replacing negative stereotypes with a more accurate and positive portrayal of their contributions to society.


Julian Koplin holds a PhD in bioethics. He has published on topics including organ transplantation, blood donation, the methods of applied ethics, and the ethics of commodification.


Dr Paul Lawton is a kidney specialist who has been working as a clinician across the Northern Territory since 1999, including four years as Director of Northern Territory Renal Services.

In his research, he addresses questions about kidney disease care disparities and outcomes among Indigenous Australians, using larger already existing datasets, including some data linkage. How can we do better for disadvantaged populations, and why aren’t we?

Dr Lawton also works clinically as a kidney specialist in Darwin, including at Aboriginal Medical Services. His main clinical interests are chronic kidney disease (particularly in Indigenous Australians) and the management of complex conditions in remote and disadvantaged environments.


Dr Ashani Lecamwasam is a specialist physician in Nephrology. She undertook her undergraduate medical degree at the University of Adelaide and did her internship at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. This was followed by Basic Physician Training at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne with subsequent Nephrology speciality training at Box Hill Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital and the Northern Hospital. Ashani was awarded her fellowship in 2015 and currently practices at Northern Health and Cabrini.

She has an interest in research, specifically in Diabetic Chronic Kidney Disease and is undertaking her PhD, through Deakin University in collaboration with the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Austin Health. She has publications in World Journal of Urology and Nephrology, Pathology and Internal Medicine Journal.


Mrs Robyn McCanna is a 59 year old administration officer, wife to Paul and mother to Sally and Steven. She lives in Griffith, NSW.

Robyn and Paul lost Sally in May 2014 after she suffered a catastrophic brain injury following a stroke. She had been involved in a single car accident. Sally had registered to become an organ donor, and had spoken to her family about her wishes. Robyn and Paul consented to the organ donation and Sally gifted 4 people a second chance at life. Her heart went to a “middle-aged” woman, 1 kidney to a “middle aged man”, her liver to a gravely ill “middle aged woman”, who unfortunately passed away about 9 months after her transplant, and a 51 year old woman received her other kidney and pancreas. Robyn has written to all recipients and has received a letter and card from the heart recipient. She was also lucky enough to find Helen, the double organ recipient, and meet with her in Sydney earlier this year.

Since losing Sally, Robyn has become very outspoken about her belief that if donor families and recipients agree, they should have the right know and meet each other. She is also very involved in education and raising awareness about organ donation and actively encourages people to register and have the discussion with their families.


Dr Lauren Notini has recently returned to Melbourne following completion of a two-year postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical and Organizational Bioethics at the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. Prior to beginning her Fellowship, Lauren completed her PhD in paediatric bioethics at the University of Melbourne and a Master of Bioethics at Monash University. Lauren currently works as a Teaching Associate and Research Assistant at Deakin University.


Miss Amanda Robertson is a Renal Transplant and General Surgeon at Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH). Having trained in Melbourne she completed her post Fellowship training in London and Oxford.

Miss Robertson is Head Nephrology Surgery (NEPS) at RMH, the NEPS Unit performs the majority of surgeries for the Renal Unit including live donor nephrectomies, living and deceased donor renal transplants, vascular access surgery (AV fistulae) for haemodialysis, Tenckhoff catheters for peritoneal dialysis, and tunnelled central lines for dialysis and plasma exchange.

Miss Robinson also performs General Surgery, including endocrine surgery, such as thyroidectomy, parathyroidectomy, adrenalectomy and many laparoscopic cholecystectomies, open hernia repairs, carpal tunnel releases. She is also part of the Emergency General Surgery Team at RMH.


Adam is a nephrology registrar at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne who graduated from Monash University with the Chris Silagy Prize for the Community Partnership Program and the Queen Victoria Centre Prize for Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Adam’s commitment to medical education has been recognised with the Flinders University’s Burns-Alpers Prize for Clinical Teaching and St Vincent’s Keith Henderson Award for best registrar teacher and supervisor.

Prior to nephrology training Adam worked in Indigenous health in the Northern Territory, community development in Ghana, disaster recovery in the Philippines and youth work in Eastern Europe.


Dr Lucy Sullivan completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) and PhD at the University of Adelaide. Following her PhD in 2002, she joined the University of Melbourne and was awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Peter Doherty Research Fellowship, followed by an NHMRC Career Development Award in 2009. Her studies have focused on understanding the interactions between major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules and receptors of the innate and adaptive immune systems, with a particular focus on transplant immunology.

She is currently located in the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and is an honorary Research Fellow at The Alfred Hospital. Her current projects include understanding the immunological processes behind antibody-mediated transplant rejection and investigating how viruses shape immune responses following lung transplantation.


Sam is a practicing Civil Engineer for AECOM with 5 years of experience. He is part of the ‘Dams’ team and has been involved on various water infrastructure projects in Victoria, Australia and internationally.

At the age of 3 years old, Sam was diagnosed with Viral Dilated Cardiomyopathy (an infection of the heart). He remained healthy until the age of 16 where his health quickly declined. At this time, Sam was placed on the heart transplant waiting list and underwent lifesaving surgery to implant a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD). After 4 months in hospital, he received a heart transplant.

In 2015 after a significant deterioration in Sam’s health, he was once again placed on the heart transplant waiting list. In April 2015 he received his second heart transplant after waiting two months.

In his spare time, Sam enjoys playing indoor soccer and watching his beloved AFL team, Melbourne.


Maeghan Toews is a Lecturer at the University of Adelaide Law School. She teaches Tort Law, Medical Law and Ethics, and Evidence Law.

Her research interests include examining the legal and ethical issues associated with genetics and genomics, organ donation and transplantation, rare diseases, and biomedical research.

Prior to entering academia, Maeghan completed her BA, JD, and LLM degrees, and spent several years in private practice as a commercial litigator.

Alan White is a consumer health advocate with a special focus on men’s health and wellbeing. Having been through his own journey of discovery dealing with prostate cancer, Alan penned a book, ‘We’ve lost my prostate, mate!… and life goes on‘, to help other men going through similar experiences.

Alan has worked with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as a Men’s Health Peer Educator for nearly 15 years, is a Welfare Officer with the Victorian Air Force Associate and works with both the Bayside-Kingston Prostate Cancer Support Group as a Group Leader and Peter MacCallam Cancer Centre as a Consumer Advocate.

Outside of his health advocacy work, Alan has a keen interest in airplanes (having previously served in the Air Force) and is a huge fan of Hawaiian shirts.


Coleen works at Australia Post, and prior to that she was a chef. She is passionate about equal rights and is a big animal lover. She likes to travel Australia in a off road caravan getting off the beaten track. She donated her kidney 9 months ago to a close friend.

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