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Australasian College for Emergency Medicine is proud to announce our Keynote Speakers for the 2023 Winter Symposium.

Dr Martin Than
With a career in medicine spanning 30 years, Dr Than has been an Emergency Medicine Specialist in Christchurch, New Zealand since 2001. For the past 15 years he has undertaken significant research projects, with a focus on knowledge translation that makes meaningful clinical impact. He is Director of Emergency Medicine Research in Christchurch Hospital and has been awarded multiple grants by the New Zealand Health Research Council including a 5-year Clinical Practitioner Research Fellowship.

Dr Than has participated in many committees and advisory boards including the IFCC Committee on the Clinical Application of Cardiac Biomarkers that created the definition of high sensitivity troponin.

Dr Than’s profound interest in supporting and monitoring research that improves patient care safely and ethically drives him to participate in any forums with aligned aims. He has extensive international collaborative links and experience in undertaking and overseeing large research projects.

Dr Than has led the Christchurch-based research team that has undertaken a series of projects since 2007 that have  changed practice across NZ hospitals and many others world-wide. The team’s projects have involved 6 major studies which have been recognised with local and international awards, including the 2020 International UNIVANTS of Healthcare Excellence award.

He has published 179 papers and 3 book chapters to date.

Adjunct Associate Professor Nicola Cunningham
Adjunct Associate Professor Nicola Cunningham is widely recognised and respected as one of Australia’s leading clinicians, educators, and researchers in the fields of forensic medicine, emergency medicine, and patient safety. She holds dual specialist Fellowships in Emergency Medicine and Clinical Forensic Medicine, along with a Master of Forensic Medicine from Monash University and a Master of Health and Medical Law from the University of Melbourne, and has worked in Melbourne as both an Emergency Physician and a Forensic Physician for over 16 years.

An expert in the interface of medicine and the law, she has a deep understanding of the role and duty of clinicians to provide ethical and equitable medical care for both complainants and alleged offenders. As the coordinator of a Forensic Medicine Registrar program, she has taught and mentored over 100 registrars from ACEM and other speciality medical colleges, with education also extended to police, nurses and counsellors involved in patient assessment in forensic scenarios. She is sought by both clinicians and lawyers to provide teaching on the medico-legal processes that ensue from emergency and forensic medical assessments. She is the Assistant Chief Examiner of the Faculty of Clinical Forensic Medicine; an Academy Member with the Patient Safety Review Team at Safer Care Victoria; a Practitioner Member with the Victorian Medical Board of Australia; and sits on the Quality and Patient Safety Committee with the ACEM.  These roles require a practical and empathic understanding of the challenges of maintaining patient safety within complex, imperfect systems.

While maintaining her commitment to clinical practice, A/Prof Cunningham has presented and published on forensic medicine, emergency medicine, patient safety, and occupational hazards, and was the medico-legal editor of the Emergency Medicine Australasia journal (EMA), and section editor for an international textbook on emergency medicine. She has harnessed her diverse medical skills to forge an impactful career as a patient safety expert, working to improve safety and promote excellence in her professions, nationally and internationally. One of her most notable achievements is her work as co-founder of The Communiqués – a not-for-profit group that produces and distributes the Clinical Communiqué, the Future Leaders Communiqué, and the Residential Aged Care Communiqué – three highly innovative, unique publications that use medico-legal death investigations from the coroners’ courts to improve patient safety. The Communiqués have an estimated readership of more than 300,000 readers across the globe. All their featured cases and commentaries from experts in the worlds of medicine, law, human factors, and patient safety are included on The Communiqués website and are accompanied by a podcast series that was ranked fourth most popular by Apple Podcast in the category of medicine for Australia.