She believed she could so she did

Kerryn Harvey



I will be presenting my personal journey, from becoming an amputee 6 years ago and almost losing my life, through a long recovery and rehabilitation and then successfully rebuilding myself, and talking about the strategies adopted to overcome incredible odds.


Kerryn Harvey is a medical miracle, a story of survival, and never giving up.

In 2000, aged 35, Kerryn was diagnosed with stage III Bowel Cancer requiring a bowel resection and 6 months of chemotherapy.

In 2013, aged 47, Kerryn contracted a life threatening flesh-eating bacteria, as a result of a seemingly minor cycling accident, in Adelaide. Radical surgery was required to save Kerryn’s life and a right forequarter amputation (arm and shoulder) was performed at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. After the operation, Kerryn repeatedly battled against the odds and survived.

6 years on and Kerryn has rebuilt her world and is living an active, busy and fulfilling life. Her achievements include:

  • Owner/operator of her own Personal Training/Presenter business aptly named Nine Lives Training
  • Founding Director of charity START Foundation – Empowering Amputees in Life Through Sport
  • Member of the Australian Elite Paratriathlon Team

Kerryn has a passion for sport, particularly the sport of triathlon, and attributes her incredible recovery from her life threatening battles back to good health to her fitness.

“Regaining my fitness and returning to the sports I love gave me the confidence to believe that anything is possible”.

Driving Change – a reflective conversation

Donna Markham

Chief Allied Health Officer


Donna Markham will provide a thought provoking key note about driving change and invite delegates to consider the impact they want to make.


Donna Markham is the Chief Allied Health Officer for Victoria and the Chief Allied Health Officer for the State-wide Equipment Program. As a qualified Occupational Therapist, she has worked in the healthcare sector for approximately 15 years.

Donna is recognised as one of Victoria’s leaders in allied health and has led many significant allied health reforms, workforce development changes and research projects and publications. Donna also led the implementation of the Allied Health Credentialing, Competency and Capability Framework.

Donna was formerly the Chief Allied Health Officer at Monash Health. She has worked in both public and private health in a variety of senior management and leadership roles and was honoured to become a finalist for the Telstra Victorian Young Business Women’s Award in 2014.

Donna is a graduate of the Leadership Victoria Williamson Community Leadership Program and the Australia Institute of Company Directors.

From the ashes …… the place of research in high quality healthcare

Professor Euan Wallace1

1 Safer Care Victoria

Victorian health care is undergoing rapid, government driven change to effect improvements in health outcomes. One component of this health reform is the establishment of two new agencies, Safer Care Victoria (the office for quality and safety improvement) and the Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI – a new dedicated data agency). Working with the Department of Health and Human Services, these two agencies are charged with responsibilities for supporting better, safer health care. No small task. In this presentation, the origins of the Victorian health reform will be summarised, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the Victorian health care system to date, and the road to reform will be signposted. Fundamental to improved patient outcomes will be the timely delivery of accurate data into the hands of clinicians. Clinicians will drive change if informed. Indeed, better and more meaningful clinician engagement will be a hallmark of Victoria’s health reform. How this can be achieved – and measured – will be discussed. The “new” data must include a louder patient voice. Worldwide, there is increasing recognition that the health sector has paid less attention to patient outcomes and experiences than other service sectors. This is changing and Victoria is committed to better collection and reporting of patient reported outcomes. Against this backdrop of the need for and delivery of better data will be a greater need for research to inform practice. Opportunities for research-driven reform in allied health will be highlighted, including opportunities for partnerships with Safer Care Victoria.

Getting Heard by the Herd: The Art & Science of Knowledge Translation

Professor Iona Novak1

1 The University of Sydney

Clinical practice lags as much as 10-20 years behind research. Traditional research dissemination strategies, such as lectures and printed materials, are not enough to help professionals’ or policy-makers stay up-to-date, nor to guide families about how to choose the best care for their family members. Systematic reviews indicate that up to 40% of patients worldwide do not receive proven effective treatments and more than 20% receive ineffective or harmful treatments. The McKeon Review in Australia confirmed the same finding. Yet, we all want to help and provide excellent clinical care. The purpose of this keynote is to provide the latest knowledge translation research summarising how to increase the uptake and use of evidence within clinical decision-making, patient communication, and policy development. New evidence shows that active exchange of information, ideas and experience between researchers and research-users is necessary for designing and delivering cutting edge services. Grounded in the speaker’s original research using randomised controlled trials and cohort studies, this keynote will help you: (a) choose evidence-based knowledge translation strategies to evaluate possible supports, challenges and opportunities within your own clinical environments; (b) guide you in how to choose strategies that will accelerate the uptake of evidence into clinical practice, and (c) guide you in how to share evidence-based information with patients, clients and families to inform their decisions.

Leading Change: The power of collaboration and thinking big

Professor Julie Bernhardt1

The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Melbourne

Australian has many leaders who trained as Allied Health practitioners. A significant number are global leaders in their own fields and more broadly. Why makes Australians so successful on the international stage? In this presentation, Julie will talk about her experience of growing influence and leading change initiatives in stroke research and practice. She will focus on the power of collaboration and taking a possibility-focused approach, which have been central to her success.