Conference Keynote Speakers
Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM
Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM, a doctor, lawyer, disability advocate, and researcher, is the only quadriplegic to graduate medical school in Queensland and the second person from Australia to have quadriplegia graduate from medical school. Dinesh works at the Gold Coast University Hospital’s emergency department.
He is a senior lecturer at Griffith University and an adjunct research fellow at the Menzies Health Institute of Queensland, a research fellow at the Jamieson Trauma Institute, a spinal cord injury researcher, and is involved in a range of other organisations. Dinesh was named the 2021 Queensland Australian of the Year, has been awarded Junior Doctor of the Year at the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, and in 2019, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
Dr Cherrell Hirst AO
Dr Hirst practised medicine for 30 years with a focus breast cancer diagnosis and support. Dr Hirst has held multiple positions as chair or director
at various private companies, government agencies and not-for-profit organisations across health, education, insurance, and biotechnology. In 1994, she was appointed QUT Chancellor, the first woman appointed to such a role in QLD, leading the university through 10 years of growth. Her interest in life science research was a catalyst for a long career in Queensland’s biotech industry, with one of her most notable successes coming through her leadership at Peplin Biotech, a company sold for over $300 million.
Dr Hirst has been awarded multiple honorary doctorates, an Australian Government Centenary Medal, the title of Officer of the Order of Australia, is a former Queenslander of the Year, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is a recent inductee to the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame.
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