Speaker biographies 2020

Dr Nicholas Child

After completing his undergraduate training in medicine from the University of Otago in 2003, Nicholas initially worked in Wellington and Melbourne as a house officer before moving to Auckland to complete his neurology training.  In 2012 he was awarded the ANZAN Clinical Neurology Fellowship to the Mayo Clinic in the USA, then completing 2 further years of specialist training in Epilepsy and Deep Brain Stimulation.  In 2015 he returned to Auckland becoming a member of the Department of Neurology at Auckland City Hospital and Clinical Lead for Stroke at WDHB.

Associate Professor Rod Duncan

After graduating in medicine from Aberdeen University in 1978, Rod travelled extensively whilst conducting diverse clinical work and research. He entered neurological training in 1986, in Glasgow, remaining there till 1992, during which time he obtained a neurosciences PhD in cerebral blood flow in epilepsy. He then worked for just over a year in Rennes, France, at the leading French epilepsy surgery service and was appointed consultant neurologist at the Institute of Neurological Sciences, Glasgow, working as an epilepsy specialist neurologist. He was clinical director of neurosciences for the west of Scotland for 3 years, was lead clinician for a multi-regional managed clinical network for epilepsy, chaired the Scottish managed service network for epilepsy surgery and was clinical director of the Scottish Epilepsy Centre. Throughout his consultant career in Glasgow, he led the West of Scotland epilepsy surgery programme. His main research interest was in pseudoseizures (psychogenic seizures) and led a research team in that area. He has published over 60 research articles, in addition to reviews, book chapters, abstracts etc., the majority being on epilepsy, pseudoseizures or medically unexplained symptoms in general. Currently, Rod is a consultant neurologist in Christchurch and has a university appointment as Associate Professor of Neurology.

Dr Ajay Kumar

Ajay has worked with Counties Manukau District Health Board as clinical Stroke Physician, Geriatrician for the past 7 years. He is a Senior Clinical Lecturer with Auckland University Medical School. His research interest includes Acute Stroke Therapies, primary, secondary and tertiary therapies / prevention, especially TIA, investigation /prevention and treatment of early cognitive impairment and Dementia. He has been involved in International Multicenter Acute Stroke Therapies and PI at local sites.

Dr Tony Fernando

Tony is a psychiatrist, sleep specialist and a senior lecturer in Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland. He has published in local and international research journals in sleep medicine and medical compassion. He has been awarded multiple teaching awards by medical students and the faculty of medicine in Auckland. In 2012, he was awarded by President Aquino of the Philippines for his services to sleep medicine and medical education. In 2015, he received the Chair’s award by the New Zealand Medical Association, the highest recognition given by the association to any doctor in New Zealand for his work on doctor’s wellbeing. In January of 2017, he received temporary ordination as a Buddhist monk in Myanmar. He is in the final stages of his PhD at the University of Auckland, studying compassion in medicine. In 2017, he started a weekly mindfulness and emotional balance programme for inmates at Mt Eden Correctional Facility in Auckland. 

Dr Mayanna Lund 

Mayanna is a heart failure specialist at Counties Manukau Health and the current Chair of the NZ Heart Failure Working Group. After training in Cardiology at Green Lane Hospital, she undertook fellowships in cardiac transplantation at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, and echocardiography and heart failure at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She has worked as a consultant cardiologist at Middlemore Hospital since 2001, and is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer for the University of Auckland. Her current interests include the use of big data for quality improvement, the multidisciplinary care of heart failure patients, and cardiac disease in women. Mayanna was on the founding steering group for the NZ Heart Failure Registry, is a former Go Red for Women Ambassador for the NZ Heart Foundation, and is a member of the Heart Foundation Heart Healthcare Specialist Advisory Group.

Dr Budresh Joshi

After Budresh obtained his MMed in Radiology (cum laude) at the University of Cape Town, he worked in a private practice until moving to New Zealand in 2019. Budresh is a general radiologist,  currently working at Counties Manukau. In his close onto 15 years as a consultant Budresh has developed his interests in Neuroradiology, Cardiac imaging and PET-CT. He has a keen interest in all aspects of advanced imaging including PET-CT and was in the process of initiating a brain PET service in South Africa before he left. In his previous role he was responsible for establishing and running the cardiac CT and MRI services at a private practice in South Africa. Since emigrating, he has been pursuing his interests in Cardiac MRI along with the Imaging cardiologists at Middlemore hospital and is helping to establish the service there.

Professor Steve Kisely

Steve is a psychiatrist, addiction and public health physician.  He works as a professor at the Southern Clinical School, the University of Queensland (UQ) and Adjunct Professor in Psychiatry, Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University in Canada. He was formerly a professor at UQ’s Rural School in Toowoomba. He is also Director of Research for Addiction & Mental Health Services, Metro South Health. Steve is the author of over 420 publications, 246 being peer-reviewed full-length papers, on physical/psychiatric co-morbidity, psychiatric epidemiology, pharmaco-epidemiology & health services research. He was the winner of a Special Judges Award for the Best Use of IT in Clinical Care in Britain for the National Health Care IT Effectiveness Awards (1998), and the Canadian Psychiatric Association‘s R.O. Jones  and Leighton Awards (2008 & 2015). In 2015, he received the Senior Research Award of the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and was made a Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (DFCPA).

Dr Brandon Orr-Walker

Brandon is an Auckland-trained Endocrinologist who has been working at Middlemore Hospital since 2001 when he was recruited to set up an Endocrinology Service and is the Clinical Head of Endocrinology and Diabetes.

He has extensive experience with a wide range of endocrine disorders, and for several years (since 2005) has been offering clinical use of thyroid ultrasound in his rooms after becoming AACE (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists) board accredited in 2004.

Dr John Perry

John has an interest in both upper and lower gastrointestinal disease, including irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, along with liver disease. He is a graduate of the Auckland Medical School who completed specialist training in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine in Auckland and the UK. He did fellowships in liver disease at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and in inflammatory bowel disease at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, UK.

Dr Paul Vroegop

Paul Vroegop is a Consultant Child & Adolescent Liaison Psychiatrist and Pain Medicine Specialist who works in Counties-Manukau Health in Auckland. He is the Clinical Head of Psychological Medicine, Clinical Lead of the Chronic Pain Service and works as the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist with the Paediatric Consult Liaison Team. Paul has had a long-standing passion for working with adolescents, children and adults with chronic pain, and the psychological aspects of health care. He is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer with the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland, is involved in advocating for the development of pain services nationally and regionally, and is regularly involved in lecturing and teaching about pain medicine to students, patients and families, and health professionals.

Professor Rob Walker

Mary Glendenning Chair of Medicine, Professor in Medicine & Head of Department of Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago. Consultant Nephrologist and Head of Nephrology, Southern District Health Board.

Prof Walker is a clinical and academic nephrologist with extensive experience in the areas of clinical and experimental nephrology research with a particular emphasis on cardiovascular risk factors in chronic kidney disease and hypertension. Areas of research interest include dialysis outcomes in the elderly; cardiovascular risk factors associated with renal disease; hypertension, obesity and inflammation; the impact of insulin resistance on cardiovascular risk factors; drug induced nephrotoxicity; the impact of drugs and exercise on kidney function; mechanisms of chronic kidney fibrosis; and genetics in renal disease. This research has resulted in over 210 refereed journal papers. He is the director of ‘The Kidney in Health and Disease’ Research group based at the University of Otago. He has over 210 peer-reviewed publications.

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