Can local networks make a difference to primary health care?

Date & time

29 April 2010


The Finkel Lecture Theatre
The John Curtin School of Medical Research
The Australian National University

The panel


Mr Robert Wells is the Director of the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute and Menzies Centre for Health Policy at ANU. He is a former first assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Ageing where he was involved in research policy, Commonwealth/State relations, health workforce, rural health programs, safety and quality and programs for better management of major diseases such as cancer, diabetes and mental health. He managed the Commonwealth's health workforce programs from the early 1990s. He chaired the Medical Training Review Panel and represented the Commonwealth on the Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee (AMWAC), the Australian Health Workforce Officials Committee (AHWOC) and the Australian Medical Council (AMC). Mr Wells has chaired a number of workforce committees established under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers Council, including working parties on national medical registration and specialist medical training and has represented Australia internationally on medical workforce matters.


Professor Philip Davies joined the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland as a Professor of Health Systems and Policy in 2009. Professor Davies background as the Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing means he is intimately familiar with the issues and opportunities for health system strengthening, as well as the organisation and management of health systems. He has several years of practical experience in overseeing the Commonwealth Government’s policies and programs in primary care, coupled with my more recent experience as a Director of GPpartners, one of the largest Divisions of General Practice in Australia. He also recently presented at the annual Australian General Practice Network Forum on the challenges that the proposed establishment of Primary Health Care Organisations (as envisaged by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission) might present for Divisions.

Associate Professor Jackie Cumming became Director of the Health Services Research Centre at the Victoria University of Wellington in 2001. She originally joined the Centre as a Research Fellow in 1993. Professor Cumming has qualifications in both economics and public policy. Her PhD in Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington focused on the theory and practice of defining core health services. Professor Cumming has many years of experience in leading research into health policy in New Zealand. She has also recently completed a wide-ranging review of that country’s Primary Care Strategy. Professor Cumming is the current President of the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand and, in that capacity, is a strong advocate for productive dialogue among researchers, policymakers and health care practitioners.

Dr Emil Djakic is a Tasmanian graduate working for the past 13 years in the North West Region of Tasmania as a partner in a 10 doctor practice in Ulverstone. He has actively taken an interest in the structure of the health care system and become involved in the Divisions of General Practice Network. He is board member of the Australian General Practice Network, presently the Chair, and has for the last ten years been a participant in his local Division- General Practice North West, four years as chair. He has a strong interest in governance issues and has taken a proactive role in health policy planning. Dr Djakic also works closely with the state RACGP office and is on the state faculty board.

Dr Andrew Pesce was elected Federal President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) in May 2009. The AMA represents the interests of more than 27,000 medical practitioners from all specialties and locations across Australia. Dr Pesce is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who works both in private and public practice. He has been Clinical Director of Women’s Health for Sydney West Area Health Service since 2006. Dr Pesce’s priorities as AMA President include engaging with government to influence national health policy debate for the benefit of patients, the medical profession and the broader community. In 2006, he was awarded the AMA President’s Award for his work representing the profession during the medical indemnity crisis. Dr Pesce was AMA Executive Councillor from 2005 to 2007. He was Chair of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on Pregnancy Counselling from 2007-2009 and Chair of the National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists from 2006 to July 2009.

Updated:  24 September 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, APHCRI/Page Contact:  Web Admin, APHCRI