Conference was held on 2nd & 3rd of May 2013
Novotel Forest Resort Creswick
Hope, humour and color at end of life

Ms Odette Waanders, Associate Professor Charlie Corke, Professor David Kissane, Dr Wendy Penney, Bronwyn Roberts, Dr Angus McLachlan, Associate Professor Jane Turner


Bronwyn Roberts

For over a decade Bron Roberts has been sharing simple, effective and clinically proven strategies for improving health and well-being, increasing productivity, creating meaningful relationships and finding the fun with groups around Australia and in the USA.

In workshops that combine the latest research in positive psychology, emotional intelligence and human emotion / behaviour with an atmosphere of fun and laughter that engages, educates and entertains Bron takes her audiences on an action packed ride designed to assist individuals and organisations re-connect with the important things in life.

Beginning her happiness journey over 30 years ago as a stress management consultant and meditation teacher in the post trauma rehabilitation setting Bron was introduced to the power of laughter by her clients. While her early focus was on the benefits of laughter as they relate to positive health, well-being and healing she quickly discovered that our ability to ‘find the fun’ also has a positive and proven effect on productivity, creativity, performance, leadership and innovation.

Bron is currently completing her second year of the ‘Humor Academy’ through the University of Portland (Oregon), – a serious adventure into the clinical side of humour and laughter as they effect health, well-being, learning and engagement, and is in her final year of under-graduate degree in Psychology.

In 2011 she received a 2012 Kraft Australia ‘Toast of a Nation Award’ for her work in promoting the benefits of laughter around Australia and is delighted to be able to say that she is officially ‘a happy little Vegemite’.

Bron’s website can be found at
Her email is or she’s always happy to talk – 0421 335 197


Dr Angus McLachlan

Angus McLachlan obtained his BA in psychology from the University of Durham, England, in 1974, and then completed research into group polarisation at Birkbeck College, University of London, receiving his PhD in 1980, and also lecturing there for a year.  A period of travel and diverse jobs ensued before settling into teaching in 1984, first for three years at what is now Glasgow Caledonian University, and then for over twenty years at the University of Ballarat in its various guises.  His general field of interest is social psychology and he has published very sporadically in the areas of nonverbal communication and humour.  He greatly enjoys his occasional forays into philosophy, where Wittgenstein, Charles Taylor and Richard Rorty would be heroes if he could, or possibly because he cannot, understand them.


Associate Professor Jane Turner

Jane Turner is an Associate Professor in the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Queensland with responsibility for teaching of Psychiatry in the medical program.  She provides a consultation-liaison service to the Division of Oncology at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and has a strong interest education and skill development for health professionals working in oncology. Her clinical and research interests are the promotion of wellness following the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and the impact of advanced cancer, in particular the issues facing families when a parent has advanced cancer. She has recently completed a randomised trial of a brief psychosocial intervention for depressed cancer patients, delivered by health professionals such as oncology nurses, physiotherapists and radiation therapists. She is currently leading a randomised trial of a survivorship intervention for patients who have completed treatment for head and neck cancer.


Dr Wendy Penney

Wendy is Head of Nursing in the School of Health Science at the University of Ballarat. Her current research interests focus on improving quality of life for older people who live in residential aged care homes. This passion for improving quality of life is connected to palliative and end of life care and has developed from both a personal and professional involvement in palliative care. Wendy has been working with health professionals from Hepburn Health Service using Action Learning and Action Research to facilitate change in residential aged care practice.  Wendy is keen to share her experiences as she believes that Action Learning and Action Research provide hope for the future.


Associate Professor Charlie Corke

Charlie undertook medical training at St Bartholomew’s hospital in London.

After training as a physician he converted to anaesthesia and finally settled on becoming an intensive care specialist.

Charlie moved to work in Hong Kong and then on to Australia, initially working as Director of Intensive Care at the Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne. In 1991 he moved to become Director of Intensive Care in Geelong and has been very happily working there ever since.

Currently Charlie is on the Board of the College of Intensive Care Medicine, national education officer for the College and is regional clinical lead for the respecting choices program.

Charlie has published a number of papers and books on medicine, anaesthesia and intensive care.

Charlie has many and diverse medical interests beside a passion for clinical medicine, communication and advance care planning.


Professor David Kissane

David W. Kissane, MD is an academic psychiatrist, psycho-oncology researcher and author. He is currently the Head of Psychiatry for Monash University in Australia, recently the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and previously the Foundation Chair of Palliative Medicine at the University of Melbourne.

His academic interests include group, couples and family psychotherapy trials, communication skills training, studies of existential distress, and the ethics of end-of-life care. He developed a cognitive-existential model of group therapy for women with early stage breast cancer, which ameliorated fear of recurrence, and his trial of supportive-expressive group therapy for advanced breast cancer showed the prevention of depression alongside improved quality of life. He is best known for his model of family therapy delivered to ‘at risk’ families during palliative care, which prevents complicated grief and depression in bereavement. His work on demoralization as a variation of depression in the medically ill has preceded interventions to promote meaning-based coping.

At MSKCC, Prof Kissane established a Communication Skills Training and Research Laboratory, which developed an applied curriculum for oncology, training over 700 clinicians. His books include the Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care with Oxford University Press, Handbook of Psychotherapy in Cancer Care with Wiley-Blackwell, Cancer and Depression for the World Psychiatric Association and Family Focused Grief Therapy with Open University Press. Prof. Kissane was awarded the Jimmie C. Holland Chair in Psycho-oncology at MSKCC and was recognized by the International Psycho-Oncology Society in 2008 with their Arthur Sutherland Award for lifetime achievement.


Dr Sonia Fullerton

Dr Sonia Fullerton is director of palliative care services at Eastern Health.
Her interests include end of life care pathways, decision making at
the end of life, and doing quirky therapeutic things with drugs.
Ironically for a person who is fairly untalented with computers, she
has recently developed an interest in the impact of IT on health
service management, to the amusement of her husband who still has to
help her with the WiFI.
Deborah  Wardle

Deborah Wardle is a freelance writer, completing her Masters in Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing at University of Melbourne in 2013. She has stories published by Spinifex Press, The Big Issue, and Palliative Care Australia where the story ‘Washing Mum’ appeared. Deborah was the first Business Manager at Castlemaine Steiner School.  In the early 1990s she was the inaugural coordinator of the Loddon Mallee Women’s Health Service, based in Bendigo. She lives in Castlemaine with her partner and a perfectly behaved chocolate lab. Her son is studying science in Melbourne. Her mother died in Newcastle in April 1997, her father died in the August of the same year. She spoke the eulogies at their funerals with great pride and love.


Ms Odette Waanders

Odette became the CEO of Palliative Care Victoria in February 2010. She has held leadership roles in policy, advocacy and service management with government and not for profit organisations focused on improving quality of life through health, aged care and community services. Her tertiary qualifications include a Bachelor of Social Science, Masters of Business Administration and GAICD.

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Be sure to attend our next Conference in 2015.
Sex, Drugs & Dying Well.
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