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Dr Mark O’Brien
Mr Matthew O'Brien
Dr Bronwyn Hartwig
Dr Josephine Burnand
Dr Nicholas Chew
Dr Lyn Edwards
Dr Geof Hirst
Dr Mohamed Khadra
Dr Anne Kolbe
Dr Buff Maycock
Dr Paul Nisselle
Dr Natalie Old
Dr Kathryn Robertson
Dr Carolyn Russell
Dr Alan Sandford
Dr Steve Trumble
Dr Mark Woodrow

April 2008
Dr Mark O’Brien
Co-founder and Medical Director


Dr Mark O‟Brien is the Founder and Medical Director
of the Cognitive Institute.

Dr O‟Brien is a regular national and international
speaker on risk management, managing adverse
outcomes, the relationship between litigation and
interpersonal skills and leading clinical teams.

He is a dynamic and entertaining presenter with
extensive experience as a trainer, delivering train
the trainer programs throughout the world.

He is a published author who has a long history of
involvement in Healthcare Education. He consults to
Australian and International healthcare organisations
on change management, improving culture and
patient experience.
Matthew O’Brien
Co-Founder and Managing Director

B Bus Comm

Matthew O‟Brien co-founded the Cognitive Institute
and has been its Managing Director since its
inception in 1998.

He leads the Institute‟s development and provision
of education services in 5 countries delivering more
than 500 workshops.

He has more than 17 years experience as a
Managing Director, specialising in healthcare
management, communication and marketing. He
consults to healthcare organisations throughout the
world designing education strategies and
implementation programs.

Before the Cognitive Institute, Mr O'Brien was the
founder and Managing Director for 10 years of one
of Australia‟s largest marketing firms, specialising in
healthcare and consulting to national organisations.
Dr Bronwyn Hartwig

MBBS, Dip GP Psych, Dip Fam Med

Dr Hartwig is a senior full time consultant with the
Cognitive Institute. She leads the Institute‟s
remediation Clinical Communication Program and
also specialises in organisational consulting and

She is a General Practitioner with 18 years
experience working in regional and metropolitan

Her special interests are GP psychiatry, counselling
and doctor‟s health.

She has completed post graduate courses in Family
medicine, GP psychiatry, as well as an internship in
stress management at the University of
Massachusetts Medical School.

She currently tutors medical students in
communication skills and is the Queensland
Secretary of the Doctor‟s Health Advisory Service.
Dr Josephine Burnand


In addition to her medical training, Dr Josephine
Burnand has formal communication skills training.
She currently works as a senior medical advisor in a
large rural area health service in NSW and holds an
adjunct senior lecturer post with the Australian
National University Medical School. She was
recently appointed Deputy Chair of the ANUMS
Professional and Leadership theme.

Jo has a longstanding interest in medical education
and training, is a member of the NSW Institute of
Medical Education and Training (IMET)
Prevocational Accreditation Committee and is the
editor of a multi-authored book for Australian and
New Zealand junior doctors titled Becoming a
Doctor - surviving and thriving in the early
postgraduate years.
Dr Nicholas Chew

MBBS, M Med (Psychiatry), Grad Dip

Dr Chew is the Deputy Head of Department and
Consultant Psychiatrist in the Department of
Psychological Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital
Singapore. His work involves Consultation Liaison
Psychiatry and General Psychiatry. His special
interests include psychotherapy and psychiatry

He has completed specialist training and Graduate
Diploma in Psychotherapy in the National University
of Singapore and worked in McGill University and
Montreal General Hospital in Psychotherapy and
Consultation Liaison Psychiatry as a Clinical Fellow.
Dr Lyn Edwards


Dr Edwards has been a senior educator with the
Cognitive Institute since its inception in 1998.

She has personally presented more than 350
Cognitive Institute workshops and training

She has held the positions of training advisor and
medical educator with The RACGPs Family
Medicine Programme.

She is a past chairman of The RACGPs Quality
Assurance and Continuing Education Committee
and faculty board member of The RACGP.

She has been a lecturer at the University of WA and
Flinders University, and is a senior examiner for The

Dr Edwards is a general practice principal with 25
years experience and interests in counselling,
cognitive behavioural therapy and women‟s health.
Dr Geof Hirst


Dr Hirst is a urologist with a national profile for his
advocacy regarding issues involving prostate
disease and specifically prostate cancer. He led the
development of the NHMRC‟s clinical practice
guidelines for managing urinary symptoms in men.

He is also co-author of „Your Prostate, Your
Choices‟, an acclaimed book about prostate
problems, written for men and their partners.

He has a long-standing interest in communication
skills and clinical risk management and now
combines his role as a urologist with his position as
Senior Consultant in Clinical Risk Management and
Director of Surgery at the Mater Hospitals in

These roles allow him to bring a uniquely surgical
perspective to the development of and education
about risk minimisation strategies. The Mater
Hospitals have developed and implemented a
comprehensive range of such programs, many in
conjunction with, and supported by Cognitive
Institute (Clinical Incident Management System for
Sentinel Events; Speaking up for Safety).
Dr Mohamed Khadra

B Med, Grad Dip Comp, M Ed, PhD, FAICD, FRACS

Professor Khadra is Co-founder, Chairman and
President of the Institute of Technology Australia
(IOTA), an accredited Higher Education Provider.
IOTA‟s mission is to contribute to social justice
through the delivery of accessible and affordable
degrees to students in developing countries.

Other roles have included:
      Inaugural Chair of Surgery at the Australian
       National University
      Pro Vice Chancellor for Health, Design and
       Science at the University of Canberra
       Professor of Surgery and Head of the
       School of Rural Health for the University of
       New South Wales

He has been the principal in several large grants
over the last 10 years and has won several
research prizes as well as accolades including the
Alumni Medal, University of Newcastle; the Noel
Newton Prize for Surgical Research; and the Alban
Gee Prize in Urology.

He has several dozen publications to his name and
is a regular invited speaker at national and
international conferences in Surgery and Education.
Dr Anne Kolbe

FCSHK (Hon), FRCSEd (Hon)

As a paediatric surgeon, Deputy Chief Medical
Officer, Waitemata District Health and Councillor and
senior Office Bearer, Royal Australasian College of
Surgeons, Dr Kolbe has had the privilege of serving
many communities especially in the healthcare

Over the last twenty years Dr Kolbe has built and
maintained an international reputation as an
excellent clinician. She initiated the Paediatric
Trauma Service at the Starship, which became a
model for other hospitals in Australasia. She played
a significant part in raising the profile of paediatric
injury in New Zealand and in the establishment of
Safekids, New Zealand. For the last fifteen years Dr
Kolbe has run a successful private paediatric
surgical practice that is appreciated both by patients
and by her general practitioner colleagues.

Dr Kolbe has also been closely involved in the
activities of the Royal Australasian College of
Surgeons for many years, holding increasingly
senior and strategic portfolios, particularly in
education and governance. In 2003, Dr Kolbe was
elected President of the College, becoming the first
woman in the world to be elected as president of a
surgical college.
Dr Buff Maycock


Dr Maycock is an anaesthetist with 28 years
experience in major public hospitals throughout
Australia and New Zealand. She has been at the
forefront of education within her profession on
Anaphylaxis and Awareness during Anaesthesia,
and runs an Anaesthetic Adverse Drug Reaction
Clinic, which she has done for 20 years.

Dr Maycock is a specialist in interpersonal skills, in
particular preanaesthetic assessment and consent.

She is currently Medical Coordinator of the
Preadmission Clinic at Princess Alexandra Hospital
where she has developed assessment guidelines.
She has also worked as a consultant for the Clinical
Safety and Quality Unit at the Mater Hospital,

Dr Maycock is an active member of the Personal
Issues Advisory Committee (PIAC) of the
Australian Society of Anaesthetists and is still
involved in addressing risk management issues and
interpersonal skills training for anaesthetists.
Dr Paul Nisselle – AM


Dr Nisselle was a general practitioner in suburban
Melbourne for eighteen years before entering the
indemnity industry in 1989. He is now General
Manager, Clinical Risk Management for the Avant
Mutual Group Ltd.

He is recognised in Australia and New Zealand as
an authority on medico-legal and medical indemnity
matters and writes and presents widely on these

He introduced the Bayer Institute communication
workshops to Australia in 1994 and has been a
senior consultant to the Cognitive Institute since its
inception in 1998. He advocates effective Doctor-
patient communication as a tool to improve
healthcare outcomes - and both patient and doctor

Dr Nisselle was made a Member of the Order of
Australia (AM) on Australia Day, 2003, “For service
to medicine and the medical profession through
contributions to a range of government and
professional organisations and to the community
through youth welfare and cultural groups”. He was
also awarded the Commonwealth‟s Centenary
Medal in April 2003 “For service to health and safety
in the workplace”.
Dr Natalie Old


Dr Old is an experienced General Practitioner of 20
years, having worked in both urban and rural areas
of Australia and in the South Pacific.

Natalie has had an interest in medical education
since early in her career and has developed
significant expertise in the areas of Communication,
General Practice Standards and Assessment. She
has held a number of positions in medical education
both in Australia and overseas (New York School of
Medicine, Manhattan).

In 2000, Natalie commenced as a presenter with the
Cognitive Institute and also took up the position as
RACGP Censor for Queensland. She left the role of
Censor in March 2005 and commenced as a
Medical Educator for the Central and Southern Qld
Training Consortium (CSQTC), responsible for
General Practice vocational training in the south
east Queensland.

Over this time, Natalie has worked extensively with
international medical graduates (IMG). She is an
Educator for the RACGP AMC Bridging Course, a
visiting GP assessor for the Medical Board of Qld
and has been a consultant to the Qld Health Quality
and Complaints Commission.
Dr Kathryn Robertson


Dr Kathryn Robertson is a senior lecturer in the
Department of General Practice, University of
Melbourne and Acting co-Director of the Joint
University Centre for Education and Training in
General Practice, a joint venture with Monash
University. She is also a member of the RACGP
Vocational Training Sub-Committee and the
RACGP Curriculum Review Writing Group.

Kathryn has 20 years experience in medical
education including undergraduate, vocational
training and continuing professional development.
She has a Masters of Education, and is in active
general practice in outer suburban Melbourne.

In 2004 she was a joint winner of the University of
Melbourne‟s Norman Curry Award for Innovation
and Excellence in Support of and Service to
Teaching and Learning and the 2004 Royal
Women‟s Hospital Award in Excellence in
Education. In 2006 her team was also a University
of Melbourne Nomination for the Australian
University Teaching Awards for Programs that
Enhance Learning, and they were short-listed for
the Victorian Public Health Awards for Public Health
Dr Carolyn Russell

MBBS, Dip RACOG, RACGP, M Counselling

Dr Russell has been a senior educator with the
Cognitive Institute since inception in 1998. She has
personally presented more than 130 Cognitive
Institute workshops and training programs.

Carolyn is an accredited small group facilitator for
the Divisions of General Practice, and tutor/lecturer
with the Department of General Practice, University
of Queensland.

Carolyn holds Masters in Counselling and
completed the UQ/Harvard Intensive Medical
Educators Course in 2006.

Carolyn is a practicing GP with 28 years
experience. She previously was principal of the
Carseldine Medical Centre, and worked in a
Complex Conditions Clinic with a local private
hospital. She works now with GPs, psychiatrists,
psychologists, social work therapists and
counsellors in a multidisciplinary model in a
counselling centre collocated with the medical
Dr Alan S C Sandford

MB BS, B Med Sc (Hons), MHA, FRACMA, Dip

Dr Sandford has broad clinical experience as an
advanced trainee in O&G and Emergency Medicine;
this was later coupled with an extensive 20 year
career in medical management as a Medical
Director and General Manager of large teaching
hospitals as well as smaller rural hospital as a
regional Area Chief Medical Officer. He has also
consulted in a variety of international sites including
Asia and the Middle East in health system
development and quality.

Particular interests have included medical
workforce, medical education and research. As
Chair of a working group for the Commonwealth‟s
Medical Training Review Panel (MTRP) he oversaw
the establishment of Postgraduate Medical Councils
(however styled and named) in all Australian

He is a contributing author to a book which focuses
on the early postgraduate years and has also
contributed to the literature on models of medical
professional review and development.

He has an ongoing role as CEO of the Australia &
New Zealand Children‟s Heart Research Centre and
memberships of postgraduate workforce
committees and is an active coordinating surveyor
of the ACHS.
A/Prof Stephen Trumble


Dr Stephen Trumble has been a senior educator
with the Cognitive Institute since 2000. He has
personally presented more than 100 Cognitive
Institute workshops and training programs, and
leads the Institute‟s TTT program for medical

Stephen is currently Associate Professor and acting
Director of the Medical Education Unit at the
University of Melbourne. He is also co-director of
the Joint University Centre for Education and
Training in General Practice, a joint venture with
Monash University. He is a senior examiner with the
Australian Medical Council and Chair of The
RACGP Curriculum Review Committee.

Stephen has a strong background in undergraduate
medical education, vocational training and
continuing professional development

He was formally C.E.O. of GP Education Australia
Ltd and State Director of The RACGP Training

He is currently Editor in Chief of Australian Family
Dr Mark Woodrow


Mark has over 16 years‟ experience as a clinical
doctor. He has an in-depth and current knowledge
of medical, management, medicolegal and
communications practices. Mark‟s relevant
experience has been gained in both the public and
private health system, including extensive
experience in private emergency medicine.

He has a unique blend of medical, management,
legal and postgraduate qualifications combined with
relevant and current experience in business
management, medico-legal and risk management
practices, and excellent skills in communication,
team building, risk management and medicine
proven over fifteen years in clinical practice.

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