Key Speakers

Dr Carrie Bourassa


Plenary: Hunter-Gatherer from the Wisdom-Water – Indigenous Health Scholarship

Carrie Bourassa is a Chair in Indigenous & Northern Health and Senior Scientist at Health Sciences North Research Institute in Sudbury, Ontario and the Scientific Director of the Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  Prior to taking the Chair position in October 2016 and the Scientific Director Position in February 2017, she served her communities as a Professor of Indigenous Health Studies at First Nations University of Canada for fifteen years. Dr. Bourassa is an Indigenous community-based researcher and is proud to be the successful Nominated Principal Investigator on two Canada Foundation for Innovation Grants that funded the Indigenous Community-based Health Research Lab in 2010 (re-named Morningstar Lodge) and most recently in April 2016 the Cultural Safety Evaluation, Training and Research Lab at FNUniv. She is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada and is a public member of the College Council, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Carrie’s research interests include the impacts of colonization on the health of Indigenous people; creating culturally safe care in health service delivery; Indigenous community-based health research methodology; HIV/AIDS, HCV among Indigenous people; end-of-life care among Indigenous people; dementia among Indigenous people, Indigenous Water Governance and Indigenous women’s health. Carrie is Métis, belonging to the Regina Riel Métis Council #34. 

Dr Walter G Flores


Plenary: Empowering Communities

Walter Flores (Guatemala) is the director of the Center for the Study of Equity and Governance in Health Systems (CEGSS), a Guatemalan civil society organization specializing in applied research, capacity building and advocacy around issues affecting indigenous population health rights and other marginalized populations. He is also a steering committee member of the Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health (COPASAH), a global network of CSOs working towards improving healthcare services for marginalized populations through human rights, accountability and social mobilization. He is also a member of the People’s Health Movement. He holds a PhD and a MCommH from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK. Walter has carried-out research, teaching and consultancy work in more than 30 countries of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe.


Dr Michael Karpa

Plenary: The Indigenous Diabetes Eyes and Screening (IDEAS) Van Project

Doctor Michael Karpa is a comprehensive ophthalmologist with subspecialty training in oculoplastics, glaucoma and developing world ophthalmology. He received a Bachelor of Science with honours from James Cook University, double majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry. He began research in molecular recognition chemistry, working in Australia at both James Cook and Monash Universities, as well as the United States of America at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He was trained in the Royal Australian Army as a Specialist Service Officer pilot, where he flew both fixed and rotary wing military aircraft. He completed Medical School at Flinders University, underwent registrar training at the Sydney Eye Hospital and completed two ophthalmology fellowship’s, the first with the Fred Hollows Foundation in remote Australia, Fiji and Vanuatu and the second in Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, United Kingdom.

Dr Karpa is actively involved in basic science and clinical research with publications in molecular recognition chemistry and ophthalmology. He was awarded a PhD in Medicine for research into visual and other sensory impairments performed at the University of Sydney. In wider healthcare activities, Doctor Karpa works with the IDEAS Van delivering first world ophthalmology care to indigenous communities in rural and remote Queensland.

Dr Jill Konkin

Plenary: Connection, courage and care: transforming medical education

Dr. Konkin is Associate Dean and Division Director, Community Engagement and Professor, Family Medicine, in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry (FoMD) of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She practiced as a comprehensive rural generalist family physician until 2003 when she took an academic position, first at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and, since 2005, in the FoMD. Her current portfolio includes responsibilities for global, Indigenous, inner city, rural & regional health and community engaged research. Dr. Konkin developed and implemented the University of Alberta’s longitudinal integrated clerkship and the Preclinical Networked Medical Education Initiative, programs that are now contributing to increasing the number of physician graduates who choose to practice in rural and remote urban communities. She has worked with Indigenous communities and their physicians to develop educational experiences for medical learners and has developed a field station program with partner institutions in low & middle-income countries. Her current clinical practice is as a locum for comprehensive rural family physicians. Research interests include social accountability, rural medical education, professional identity formation and rural health care delivery.

Dr Andre-Jacques (AJ) Neusy


Plenary: A life long journey through the landscape of social accountability

André-Jacques Neusy is the co-founder and Senior Director of the Training for Health Equity Network:THEnet. He is also an honorary associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine, where he co-founded and directed a cross-disciplinary Center for Global Health. He is a past president of the Global Health Education Consortium, a consortium of American universities with global health programs, now named the Consortium of Universities in Global Health. He served as a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences’ Board of Global Health’s Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education and as scientific advisor for the Lancet Commission on Health Professional Education for the 21st Century. A leader in health workforce education, Dr. Neusy has also consulted on health-workforce development for academic institutions, governments, bilateral agencies and international organizations. He has authored and co-authored numerous journal articles and book chapters. He is a visiting professor at several universities around the world and serves on scientific and health committees of various organizations.

Dr Paul Worley

Plenary: In search of meaning: the perils, privileges and possibilities of being a buzzword

Emeritus Professor Paul Worley was appointed as Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner on 11 November 2017.

Professor Worley has had a distinguished career in rural health, both as a practitioner and an academic. He studied medicine at the University of Adelaide, graduating in 1984 and has worked as a General Practitioner in rural South Australia; first at Lameroo, and then in Clare.

From 2007 – 2017 he was Dean of Medicine at Flinders University in South Australia, where he established the Flinders Rural Clinical School and the Centre for Remote Health. While at Flinders University, Professor Worley developed programs which are now recognised globally as models for the establishment of rural medical education. During his academic career, he continued to work part-time as a Rural Generalist in Barmera and currently at Yankalilla.

Professor Worley has long been a leading figure in the rural health sector, and has held senior positions in the Rural Doctors Association of South Australia and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

As National Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Worley is passionate about improving Australia’s rural health system, ensuring we have the right health professionals in the right place at the right time.