Community Fundraising

A big thank you to Natalie for her tireless fundraising

An amazing $9000 was raised at the James Wadland Night of Hearts!

The latest James Wadland Night of Hearts (JWNOH) event, was held on April 2, 2018.  This celebration, held annually on James’ birthday, was bigger than usual, due to the fact that this year, James would have celebrated his 40th birthday.

James’ wife Natalie, put on an amazing Arabian Nights’ themed event in her lovely home. While the event keeps James’ memory alive, it also raises money for The Baird Institute’s continuing important research.  There was a beautiful spread of Lebanese food and throughout the night belly dancers and drummers entertained us all.

Dr Michael Seco updated those present on research at The Institute particularly in the area of  Aortic Aneurysms, a condition that can take loved ones from us out of the blue.  Michael explained how some researchers with The Baird Institute are looking into the gene responsible for building our blood vessels, because understanding how genes influence aortic aneurysm development, will help identify a cure for this devastating blood vessel anomaly.

A big thank you to Natalie for her tireless fundraising for The Baird Institute.

An extraordinary $9000 was raised at the JWNOH event this year.  We are ever so grateful not only for Natalie’s efforts but also for the all the attendees on the night who have contributed so much to life-saving heart research.   We thank you all for your generosity.

Dick Shaw’s fundraiser a great success

Dick Shaw’s Mollymook Fundraiser was a great success, raising the amazing sum of $14,000.

A wonderful night was had by all at Dick Shaw’s fundraiser for the Baird Institute down at Mollymook on the South Coast on February 24.  120 people attended, with the majority coming from the Shoalhaven area but also, a number of people made the journey down from Sydney.

Dick had organised a wonderful array of prizes for both the silent auction and the raffle, including a signed All Blacks rugby jersey, a week for two on a barge on the canals in the South of France, several paintings and a bottle of Grange Hermitage.  The Mayor of Shoalhaven, Amanda Findlay,  opened the evening with a welcome to country, while Dick spoke of his desire to give back, following his life saving heart surgery performed by the Chair of our Institute, Professor Paul Bannon.  Paul also talked to the group,  providing updates on current research at The Baird Institute.

Then it was time for the Dave Price Rock and Roll band to play – everyone got up on the dance floor and showed their moves. All in all, the night was a great success with the amazing sum of $14,000 being raised. Thank you Dick – what a fantastic effort!

Thank you to Dick for his wonderful effort to help The Baird Institute continue their life saving work.

A big thank you once again to Carol and Gale Radford

Carol & Gale Radford Managed to raise close to $1000 from sales at their annual Christmas stall.

Carol Radford has been busy all year making gifts for her annual Christmas stall.  This year she held two stalls; one in Terrigal and one in Bateau Bay on the Central Coast, NSW.  At the stalls, Carol and her husband Gale had all sorts of items up for sale – assorted Christmas decorations, door stops, hand knitted dolls, butterfly wands, drink coasters, money socks, to mention just a few.  They managed to raise close to $1000 from sales – what a great effort.  A big thanks to both Gale and Carol.

In 2009, Carol Radford underwent a successful operation at Strathfield Private Hospital to repair a mitral valve. Her surgeon was Professor Michael Wilson from the Baird Institute.  From the time of her operation, Carol decided she wanted to ‘give back’ to The Baird Institute to help fund  further cardiothoracic research.

Since then, she has been making gifts to sell at a variety of pop-up stores held at community fairs all over Sydney, and now also on the Central Coast.

Over the past 8 years, Carol (ably assisted by her husband Gale) has raised close to $9000. 

Carol works for months prior to the various events, ensuring that her stall is well stocked on the day.  She makes a variety of items that clearly appeal to the community, but particularly loves making Christmas gifts. Gale is Carol’s “fetcher and carrier” and so pivotal in enabling Carol to continue operating her wonderful stalls.

Thank you to both Carol and Gale for all they do to help The Baird Institute continue their life saving work.

Creative Generosity

Carol & Gale Radford find a creative way to ‘give back’ to The Baird Institute.

In 2009, Carol Radford underwent a successful operation at Strathfield Private Hospital to repair a mitral valve. Her surgeon was Professor Michael Wilson from the Baird Institute.

From the time of her operation, Carol decided she wanted to ‘give back’ to The Baird Institute to help fund  further cardiothoracic research.

Since then, she has been making gifts to sell at a variety of pop-up stores held at community fairs all over Sydney, including the annual Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Christmas Stall each November.

Over the past 7 years, Carol (ably assisted by her husband Gale) has raised close to $8000. 

Carol works for months prior to the various events, ensuring that her stall is well stocked on the day.  She makes a variety of items that clearly appeal to the community, but particularly loves making Christmas gifts. Gale is Carol’s “fetcher and carrier” and so pivotal in enabling Carol to continue operating her wonderful stalls.

Pictured: Carol & Gale at the Burwood Fair

Thank you to both Carol and Gale for all they do to help The Baird Institute continue our life saving work.

Fantastic achievement from the legacy of a “Gentle Giant”

On Sunday night, 2 April 2017, the 4th Annual James Wadland Night of Hearts was held to honour the memory of the late James William Howard Wadland.

James passed away suddenly on 13th August, 2013 of an Aortic Aneurysm. His wife Natalie, has held an event each year on James’ birthday raising in excess of $92,000 for The Baird Institute – a fantastic achievement!  James was a larger than life ‘Gentle Giant’ loved by all, a phenomenal man who achieved great success with anything he put his mind to.

The annual James Wadland Night of Hearts, aims to raise awareness of heart related diseases. Professor Paul Bannon,  Chairman of The Baird Institute, attended the Night of Hearts and spoke of the work that the Institute is doing to improve the lives of patients facing heart surgery, with particular reference to the research being done in the field of aortic diseases.  These improvements include less intrusive procedures, as well as techniques that improve the survival rate of patients having surgery.

All proceeds from this event go towards supporting The Baird Institute, the only institute in Australia, dedicated to improving clinical and surgical techniques for heart and lung conditions.

Pat Johnson shows a lot of heart … again

On Sunday the 27th November, Pat Johnson hosted her Baird Institute Fundraising Christmas Ball at the Gulgong Bowling Club.

Pat is one of our most hardworking supporters and has worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Baird Institute.  Her goal is to raise $40,000 and she has almost reached that milestone.

Since having heart surgery 10 years ago, Pat is well and very active and has been hosting monthly old time dances  at Gulgong in order to raise funds for us. Pat has dancers that come locally from Gulgong and Mudgee and also from as far away as Dubbo, Wellington and Scone. The majority of the dancers that attend would be over the age of 70 and certainly left our recent Baird Institute attendees (Lisa Turner, Lorna Beattie, Andrea Scholes and Anita Law) looking a little unfit and slightly breathless!!  As well as being a great way to keep fit, the dancers also have a lot of fun, with varied types of old time dances including the progressive barn dance which all levels of dancers can join in (including the non-dancing youngsters from the Baird Institute!). Pat also organises raffles, lucky door prizes and a lovely afternoon tea on the day. Lisa, Lorna and the team look forward to heading back out to Gulgong to attend Pat’s fundraising balls again in 2017.

Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival 2016

Blackmore’s Bridge Run – Part of the Sydney Running Festival 2016

Our regular readers may remember when we wrote some years ago about Steve Suttor and his amazing determination to walk the Kokoda Track in PNG for The Baird Institute. Steve achieved his goal back in June 2011 – he walked the Track and raised almost $10,000 for the Baird Institute! Not only do we appreciate Steve’s generosity and willingness to do this for us but we were also very grateful to his wife Sam, who willingly let him go, despite the fact that their second child was due to be born only a few days after his scheduled return date home!

Recently, Steve achieved another inspiring personal goal – He competed in the 9 kilometre Blackmore’s Bridge Run, as part of the Sydney Running Festival 2016. He completed the run in just over 50 minutes (50.30) in the 40-49 age group! This is an amazing achievement considering that In 1989, when Steve was only 15, he was diagnosed with a spontaneous pneumothorax. The operation to deal with this condition – a pleurodesis – causes the membranes around the lung to stick together and prevents the build-up of fluid in the space between the membranes. The operation was conducted at St George Hospital. He had further surgery in 1991 at Strathfield Hospital where they inserted liquid into his lung cavity. This was intended to make the lung stick to the side, therefore preventing it from collapsing. So his lungs are now permanently stuck together at the top on both sides.   Many people have expressed their amazement at Steve’s willingness to take on such an enormous challenge as the Kokoda Trek. When we asked Steve about why he was prepared to do this, this is his response:

“I was only 15 when I got sick. I owe my life to the cardiothoracic doctors, surgeons and nurses who worked to save my life. For me, the choice to support The Baird Institute and to help them fundraise for their research work is obvious. I would never want others to experience what I experienced. I want to help others in the same situation – perhaps even through the money I raise to help save someone else’s life. I really want to give something back – to support those who helped to save my life.”

Our most sincere thanks go to Steve and to Sam for supporting us in this amazing way – for being prepared to disrupt their lives to help us raise money for our surgical research and training – you have both been amazing!

Tony Cincotta’s Charity Variety Show – Raises Over $9,000 for The Baird Institute

My name is Tony Cincotta. Many years ago I was diagnosed with HOCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease). This was controlled for a time with medication, however unfortunately, the time came for me to have a major heart operation. I was referred to Prof. Paul Bannon (Chairman of The Baird Institute), by my cardiologist Dr. T. Chung. When I met Paul, he explained the whole procedure to me. I knew there would be risks involved with the operation, but I also knew that I would be in good hands. Without hesitation, I told him to “book me in”.

Two months after the operation, I went to see Professor Bannon for my post-operation check-up and was told that it was a success. I will never be 100%, but I have been given a second chance at life. I was so grateful and as a result I offered to organise a variety charity concert with all funds raised going to The Baird Institute. Prof. Paul Bannon informed me that The Baird Institute does not receive any funding from the Government for their research into heart and lung diseases and this amazed me. I immediately contacted many of my friends in the entertainment business who donated their time to appear in the concert. I also approached Burwood RSL Club and they waived all the costs for the use of the room for the event. The concert was held on the 17 July, 2016. I also approached local businesses to sponsor us in some way and managed to gain some sponsorship from Club Five Dock RSL and the Canada Bay Club.

On the night, we had a successful raffle and the total money raised from the sale of tickets and the raffle was over $9,000. A cheque was handed over to the representatives of The Baird Institute for this amount.

I am so thankful to the doctors and staff of The Baird Institute for giving me this second chance at life.

Tony Cincotta

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Dr Sean Lal

BMedSci(Hons), MBBS(Hons), MPhil(Med), PhD(Med), FRACP

Dr Sean Lal is an Academic in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney and a Consultant Cardiologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, sub-specialising in heart failure and cardiac MRI. He is also the Chair of the Heart Failure Council for the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Sean completed his undergraduate degree in Medical Science with first class honours at the University of Sydney, receiving full academic scholarship. He pursued his graduate Medical Degree (MBBS) and a Master of Medicine by research (MPhil) at the University of Sydney, where he was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship, the Medical Foundation Scholarship and the University of Sydney Bercovici Medal. As a medical doctor, Sean completed all of his general and specialty clinical training at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. During his cardiology training, he was awarded a National Churchill Fellowship to study mechanisms of cardiac regeneration at Harvard Medical School.

Sean has a clinical and research interest in heart failure. For his PhD in this field, he was awarded a combined National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and National Heart Foundation (NHF) Scholarship, as well as the NHMRC and Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) scholarship for research excellence.

He was also awarded a Commonwealth Endeavour Postgraduate Fellowship to Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he undertook proof of concept studies demonstrating the intrinsic regenerative capacity of the human heart following myocardial infarction; whilst also gaining clinical experience in acute heart failure management in the cardiac ICU at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Sean is the Director of the Sydney Heart Bank at the University of Sydney, which is one of the largest biorepositories of cryopreserved human heart tissue in the world. He is the Head of the Cardiac Research Laboratory in the School of Medical Sciences at the Charles Perkins Centre, which focuses on basic science and translational research into human heart failure.

Dr Brian Plunkett

This content is currently being updated.

Dr Benjamin Robinson

Mr Benjamin Robinson is an adult cardiothoracic surgeon with a long association with The Baird Institute. Whilst a medical student, he completed honours research with the Baird on outcomes in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer, under the supervision of Professor Brian McCaughan. He was awarded a Baird Institute Fellowship for this work. He subsequently trained in cardiothoracic surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and was the inaugural Baird Institute – Stanford University exchange scholar. Mr Robinson later completed a cardiac surgery clinical fellowship at Bart’s Heart Centre in London. He then worked as a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at St. James’s Hospital in Dublin, before returning to Sydney to take up appointments at Royal Prince Alfred, Concord Repatriation General and Strathfield Private Hospitals.

Mr Robinson has experience in the spectrum of adult cardiac surgery, including coronary, valvular and aortic disease, as well as in general thoracic surgery. He has specific clinical interest in minimal access aortic valve surgery, arterial coronary grafting and aortic surgery. He has completed postgraduate study at Cambridge University and has academic interests in surgical outcomes research and epidemiology.

Professor Tristan Yan

Dr Tristan Yan is the Head of Department of Thoracic Surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Professor Yan graduated from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) with Bachelor of Science (Medicine), Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. He also completed three postgraduate higher degrees, Master of Surgery (USyd), Doctor of Medicine (UNSW) and Doctor of Philosophy (UNSW). He was trained at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and then obtained Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Following advanced specialty fellowships in the United States, England, Scotland and Germany, he specializes in minimally invasive cardiovascular surgery, and minimally invasive thoracic surgery.

Professor Tristan Yan is dedicated to surgical innovations. He applies the latest pioneering techniques to minimize surgical trauma and access sites and thus achieves a more rapid and comfortable recovery for his patients. He first completed his general surgical fellowship with Paul Sugarbaker in the United States, one of the most prominent surgeons in the world. He was then closely trained by the pioneer of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery, Mr. William Walker, in Edinburgh, where he mastered the technical expertise of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) to perform complex lung resections, such as lobectomy and segmentectomy.

Associate Professor Chris Cao

After completing his medical degree at the University of New South Wales with First Class Honours, Christopher attended his pre-internship at Yale University, USA. He scored 99/99 for his United States Medical Licensing Exam, and completed his Cardiothoracic surgical training in Sydney. Concurrently, Christopher completed his PhD degree with Sydney University, focusing on the surgical management of lung and pleural diseases.

After completing his surgical training with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Christopher was invited to a Fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York City, one of the largest cancer centres in the world. This was followed by a Fellowship in New York University, where he was asked to join the Faculty in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. His fellowship was focused on robotic and minimally invasive thoracic surgery, treating lung cancers, mediastinal tumours, mesothelioma, and other lung-related diseases. During his 18-month Fellowship at MSKCC and NYU, Christopher was fortunate to work with some of the leading international surgeons, gaining invaluable clinical and academic experience.

With over 100 publications in international peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, A/Prof Cao has a keen interest in thoracic surgery, particularly the treatment of lung cancers through minimally invasive surgery. He has made more than 50 presentations in international meetings as a Faculty Member in Paris, New York, Edinburgh, Taipei, Sydney, and Guangzhou. Christopher has personally supervised students and residents from Sydney University, University of New South Wales, Cornell University and New York University.

He is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, and works as a Consultant Surgeon at Lifehouse, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Hospital, Sydney Adventist Hospital, and Macquarie University Hospital.

Dr Mike Byrom

Dr Michael Byrom is a modern, innovative cardiothoracic surgeon with training and experience in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Particular areas of expertise include:

  • Truly minimally-invasive surgery to the aortic valve that avoids complete division of the breast bone (hemi-sternotomy, right anterior mini-thoracotomy); allowing faster recovery and return to normal activities
  • Mitral valve repair with excellent repair rates and outcomes – resulting from diverse training in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom
  • Avoidance of the need for anticoagulation through valve selection, valve repair, and surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation
  • Minimally-invasive lung resection, avoiding a large thoracotomy wound and enabling faster recovery and return to normal activities with reduced pain and discomfort
  • Sternal and rib titanium plate fixation of chronic non-united fractures
  • Performing these procedures while minimising risk of complications, allowing Dr Byrom to achieve world-class results for his patients

Dr Matthew Bayfield

Dr Matthew Bayfield is an extremely experienced cardiothoracic surgeon with a broad range of skills and special interests within his field. He has performed more than 6000 heart and lung procedures. Dr Bayfield has hospital appointments at Strathfield Private Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Concord Hospital. His surgical interests include:

  • Coronary artery surgery: Dr Bayfield is one of Australia’s busiest coronary surgeons; with particular focus on minimal access incisions, and use of in-situ bilateral internal mammary artery grafts for enhanced longevity of the benefit of coronary revascularization.
  • Aortic root and arch surgery: Dr Bayfield has been performing aortic root and arch surgery since 1995, when he completed a Cardiovascular Fellowship at the University of Virginia in the USA. His focus is on o minimal access incisions, short cardiopulmonary bypass times, and for arch surgery antegrade cerebral perfusion with cerebral oxygen saturation monitoring.
  • Surgery for emphysema / CAL: Dr Bayfield was trained in open lung reduction surgery whilst doing a fellowship at the University of Virginia in 1995. Since that time he has developed thoracoscopic techniques for the procedure, and since 2003 been an implanter of endobronchial valves as a minimally invasive alternative to surgery. With over 100 endobronchial valve case experience, and long term follow-up of these patients, he is one of Australia’s most experienced endobronchial valve proceduralist.
  • Correction of pectus defects: Dr Bayfield has a special interest in correction of both pectus and carinatum defects, with techniques including implantation of Nuss bar under video-assisted control, and open radical sternochondroplasty.Lung cancer surgery: Dr Bayfield has been in surgical partnershio with Professor Brian McCaughan since 1996, and was trained by him as a registrar. Prof McCaughan is Australia’s most experienced and prolific lung cancer surgeon, has published widely on many aspects of its treatment, and has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to health in respect to his work on malignant mesothelioma.
  • Pacemaker and defibrillator implantation: Dr Bayfield was trained in device implantation as a young surgeon in the 1980’s and has developed skills to ensure that a device can be safely and reliably implanted even in the most difficult case with minimal risk. He was trained in cardiac resynchronzation therapy techniques at the introduction of that technology. He has regular pacemaker and defibrillator implantation lists at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Strathfield Private Hospital, and Concord Hospital.
  • Surgical treatment for ischaemic cardiomyopathy: Dr Bayfield trained in heart and lung transplantation whilst at the University of Virginia. With this skill base he has been able to develop a multi-faceted approach to treat patients whose hearts have been damaged by coronary artery disease (heart attack). These therapies include coronary artery bypass, mitral valve repair, and implantation of CRT defibrillators.

Professor Paul Bannon

Professor Paul Bannon is an adult cardiothoracic surgeon of international standing with clinical appointments at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord and Strathfield Private Hospital. At Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Professor Bannon is the Head of Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Co-Chair of the Institute for Academic Surgery, Director of the Robotic Training Institute and the current President of the Medical Officers Association. At the University of Sydney, he holds the inaugural Professorial Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Bosch Chair of Surgery. He is also the current Head of the Discipline of Surgery for the Sydney Medical School and the Academic Director of the newly opened Translational Research Facility or Hybrid Theatre at the Charles Perkins Centre. He is the Chair of The Baird Institute for Applied Heart and Lung Surgical Research. Professionally he is the Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) and in that role serves on the steering Committee for the ANZSCTS National Cardiac Surgical Database, the National TAVI Accreditation Committee and is the Cardiac Surgical Chair of the Medical Benefits Schedule review program. For the Ministry of Health NSW he has been in the role of Co-Chair of the Cardiac Devices Committee for the Agency of Clinical Innovation.

Professor Bannon graduated from the University of Sydney in 1987, completed a PhD from the same institution in 1998 and was awarded a FRACS (CTh) in 1998. He has a particular passion for translational research in the areas of congenital aortic and mitral valve disease, biomaterials and biocompatibility, limitation of blood product usage in cardiac surgery, the inflammatory response to bypass and the development of academic surgical careers. He has authored or co-authored more than 120 scientific papers, published in peer-reviewed journals. He is co-editor-in-chief of the Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery, a Medline listed multimedia journal of cardiothoracic surgery. Professor Bannon has a reputation as the ‘surgeons surgeon’ and has particular expertise in surgery of the aortic root and arch, high-risk re-do surgery, total-arterial coronary artery bypass grafting and surgery for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Professor Richmond W. Jeremy


Professor Richmond Jeremy’s medical and cardiology training were at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

His clinical research career includes a PhD on coronary physiology and a post doctoral research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore before returning to the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

University of Sydney responsibilities have included service as Associate Dean Sydney, Medical School, Head of Central Clinical School and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Campus Infrastructure and Services.

Professional responsibilities have included service as Editor-in-Chief of Heart Lung and Circulation, membership of Boards on National Heart Foundation (NSW), Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Adult Medicine Division) and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Mr. Shaun Clyne

MA LLM (Syd)

Shaun is a corporate lawyer based in Sydney. He is the Australian Head of the Mergers & Acquisitions practice. He regularly advises on a wide range of corporate and securities law issues for public listed companies including takeovers, schemes of arrangement and capital raisings. He advises on Australian Stock Exchange compliance matters and regularly acts for both bidders and targets in connection with takeover bids and schemes of arrangement (hostile and friendly) for ASX-listed companies.

A leading practitioner in equity capital markets, Shaun has also advised numerous companies on their initial public offerings and capital raisings (rights issues, AREO’s, placements, employee share and options plans).

Shaun has presented at a variety of seminars and conferences and published several papers in his areas of specialisation.

His areas of expertise are mergers and acquisitions, corporate advisory and capital markets.

Ms. Joanne Wade


Joanne Wade has been a plaintiff lawyer since her admission to the Supreme Court of NSW in 1996 and has worked in asbestos litigation for well over 18 years. Joanne is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law and prides herself on her communication with her clients and, on many occasions, her clients’ families. She understands the importance and need to handle all her cases with the utmost diligence and compassion. Joanne has acted for hundreds of people suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and asbestos related pleural disease. Her clients are everyday people who have worked hard all their lives and deserve justice. Joanne acted for Steven Dunning in his claim against BHP Billiton Limited in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW (Dunning vBHP Billiton Limited [2014] NSWDDT 3). Mr Dunning suffered from malignant pleural mesothelioma and in a landmark decision; the court awarded Mr Dunning the highest amount for damages for pain and suffering in NSW. Joanne went on to represent Mr Dunning in the Appeal before the NSW Court ofAppeal where BHP’s appeal was unanimously dismissed (BHPBilliton Limited v Dunning [2015] NSWCA 55). Joanne has also successfully acted for the late Bevan McGrath in his claim against Allianz Australia Insurance Limited, for his condition of asbestos related pleural disease and ensured that case was resolved on a provisional damages basis. Mr McGrath went on to develop mesothelioma, one of only a small number of cases where he then brought a second claim for further damages because his first claim was resolved on a provisional basis. Joanne successfully acted for Mr McGrath in both his claims and the late Mr McGrath successfully received further damages in a judgment by the court (McGrath v Allianz AustraliaInsurance Limited [2011] NSWDDT). The judgement was upheld on appeal (Allianz Australia Insurance Limited v McGrath [2011]NSWCA 153).

“It is with great privilege to work with people suffering from asbestos illnesses, and the greatest satisfaction formed is securing a result for those people to help ease their suffering, and to know their families will be looked after.”Joanne takes great pride in the work Slater and Gordon have undertaken in representing victims of asbestos disease, unions and asbestos support groups, including the work of Ken Fowlie in 2004 who acted for the ACTU and asbestos support groups in negotiations with James Hardie to secure an agreement which will ensure current and future victims of asbestos –related diseases would be fully compensated for years to come.Joanne is a passionate advocate and one thing that separatesJoanne from other lawyers is perspective, with her own father being exposed to asbestos working at Cockatoo IslandDockyard, she is in the unique position of seeing it from both angles.“My clients are generally people who have worked hard all their lives, and are lovely people who deserve justice. I am glad to fight for that justice and to make a difference to their lives.”


  • Asbestos Claims
  • Dust Disease Board Appeals
  • Dust Diseases Claims
  • Compensation Claims

Career History

  • Slater and Gordon since 2008 (practice group leader)
  • 2000-2007 Watkins Tapsell (partner)
  • 1996-2000 Watkins Tapsell (lawyer)
  • 1992-1995 NSW Crown Solicitors Office (paralegal clerk)

Professor Clifford F. Hughes


Professor Cliff Hughes is President of the International Society for Quality in Health Care. Until March 2015 he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Clinical Excellence Commission, a statutory health corporation established in 2004 to build capacity and design programs to promote and support improvement in quality and safety for health services across NSW. He has been chairman or member of numerous Australian state and federal committees associated with quality, safety and research in clinical practice for health care services. He has held various positions in the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, including Senior Examiner in Cardiothoracic Surgery and member of the College Council. In November 2015 the College bestowed upon him the highest award given to a Fellow in his lifetime, the Sir Hugh Devine Medal. He has received awards for his national and international work including an Alumni Award from the University of NSW. He has led five medical teams to China and has performed cardiac surgery in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh. In 1998, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of his contributions and “service to cardiac surgery, international relationships and the community”. In June 2014, the University of NSW conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Science, its peak academic award.

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite


Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, BA, MIR (Hons), MBA, DipLR, PhD, FIML, FCHSM, FFPHRCP (UK), FAcSS (UK), Hon FRACMA, FAHMS is Founding Director, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Director, Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, and Professor of Health Systems Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University. His research examines the changing nature of health systems, attracting funding of more than AUD$131 million (EUR€81.8 million, GBP£70.8 million).

He has contributed over 470 peer-reviewed publications presented at international and national conferences on more than 915 occasions, including 97 keynote addresses. His research appears in journals such as JAMA, British Medical Journal, The Lancet, BMC Medicine, BMJ Quality & Safety, and International Journal for Quality in Health Care. He has received numerous national and international awards for his teaching and research.

He is interested in the Anthropocene and the impact of human activity on human and species’ health, population and climate. He blogs at

Further details are available at his Wikipedia entry:

Ms. Michelle Sloane


Michelle’s background is in psychology and human resources working for many years in senior executive positions at Westpac, IBM and Unilever. Twenty years ago she established a human resources management consulting practice, Diversity Management, and led that organisation for 16 years. Michelle has worked extensively in the areas of change management, organisational analysis and design, human resource management, program management, stakeholder engagement as well as leadership development and training.

Michelle has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Technology, a Master of Arts (Psychology) from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales. In addition Michelle is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Michelle has also been a Councillor for the City of Willoughby in Sydney. During her time as Councillor and Deputy Mayor, she has worked tirelessly with the local community advocating across a range of local and state-wide issues. Her interest in local government was developed over many years as a very active volunteer in her local community.

Professor Paul G. Bannon


Professor Paul Bannon is the Chair of The Baird Institute for Applied Heart and Lung Surgical Research, a not-for-profit medical research institute established in 2001, to improve the outcomes and better the lives of those undergoing heart and lung surgery.

He is Head of Department, Cardiothoracic Surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney and holds the Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Bosch Chair of Surgery, University of Sydney. He has performed over 2500 adult cardiac surgical procedures ranging from coronary artery bypass to complex aortic root and arch reconstructions. He is President of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons and is the Society representative to the Cardiac Surgery National Database. He is the Co-Chair of the Institute of Academic Surgery at RPAH where he also oversees the robotic surgical program. He heads the National MBS Taskforce Review for Cardiac Surgery and has held various positions in the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Professor Bannon’s teaching responsibilities are currently to all years of the Graduate Medical Program at Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. He supervises local and international Doctorate, Masters and Honours students as well as international elective students. He is the Co Editor-in-Chief of The Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery and a Director of the CORE Group for International Collaborative Research. Professor Bannon has published widely in books, journals and conference proceedings on cardiothoracic surgery, basic science and evidence based medicine.

He has a particular passion for translational research in the areas of congenital aortic and mitral valve disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, biomaterials and biocompatibility, limitation of blood product usage in cardiac surgery, the inflammatory response to bypass and the development of academic surgical careers. He is a current Chief Investigator on NHMRC and NHF grants for biomaterials and congenital heart disease research as well as a current NHMRC CRE grant on mechanical circulatory support. His role in the CRE is to produce NHMRC Clinical Practice Guidelines and measure their dissemination, adoption and outcomes. He personally oversees more than $500,000 worth of research funding annually. His Department currently runs 16 clinical trials amongst many other laboratory and clinically based projects.