Our Team

Executive Director

Bronwyn Chalker MNCCI

Director Allied Health & Integrated Care

Bronwyn Chalker

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Bronwyn is the Director of Allied Health and Integrated Care for the Mid North Coast Local Health District. She holds a Master of Business Administration and has extensive experience in senior leadership roles across a variety of health settings. These include the General Manager, Port Macquarie Base Hospital & Coordinator Hastings Macleay Network, Manager, Hastings Macleay Community & Allied Health Services; and Area Manager, Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Commencing in health as an allied health clinician Bronwyn has undertaken senior leadership and led numerous change processes across acute and community settings. In her current position, she leads Mid North Coast Cancer Institute, provides strategic direction across the region for Integrated Aged Care and Chronic Disease, Palliative Care, Renal Services, Integrated Children and Family Services, Integration with Primary Care, Transport integration with as well as undertaking carriage of Planning and Allied Health for the region.

While in the General Manager Role at Port Macquarie Base Hospital & Coordinator Hastings Macleay Network, Bronwyn was instrumental in securing and developing the facility refurbishments at PMBH ($110M) and Kempsey District Hospital ($80M), allowing new and improved facilities for the patients and staff of those areas.

Bronwyn has a strong focus on Health Service development and integration. To this end she is one of the team undertaking the Diagnosing Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations (DaPPHne) Project, the study protocol was recently published in the British Medical Journal.


Director of Area Cancer Services

AProf. Tom Shakespeare

Radiation Oncologist

Associate Professor Tom Shakespeare

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A/Prof. Tom Shakespeare is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists and is the Director and Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist at the Mid North Coast Cancer Institute at Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. He is also the Director of Cancer Services for the Northern NSW and Mid-North Coast Local Health Districts. He is a Conjoint Associate Professor at the University of NSW.

A/Prof Shakespeare has a particular subspecialist interest in managing prostate and breast cancer, and is one of Australia’s leading prostate cancer specialists. Over the last 10 years he has treated thousands of patients with prostate and breast cancer, with a particular interest in image-guided intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). He has presented his treatment results at oncology meetings in Australia, Europe and the United States, and has over 50 publications in national and international medical journals.

He has received a number of prizes for cancer research, and was awarded the New South Wales Premier’s Gold Public Service Award for his role in building and staffing the cancer centres at Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.

He co-wrote the most recent Cancer Council Australia guidelines for localised and locally advanced prostate cancer, and was the inaugural chair of the NSW Cancer Institute National Radiotherapy Protocols Committee, co-writing the www.EviQ.org.au prostate and breast cancer protocols.

He is particularly passionate about quality care and patient involvement in decision-making. He has audited patient care in South America and Asia for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and designed the Australian Peer Review Audit Tool which oncologists use to audit each other’s care. He is also a public health advocate, and for the last 15 years has educated specialists in Vietnam and advised them about cancer service development. This has improved the care of tens of thousands of Vietnamese cancer patients.


Administration

Glenn Paulus MNCCI

Office and Business Manager

Glenn Paulus

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Glenn has worked for the Mid North Coast Local Health District for 8 years, 6 years in this role and 2 years in Finance. Glenn’s career includes a variety of roles in the Commonwealth Public Service, the Queensland Public Service and in the Private Sector, for both small business and multinational companies. Glenn has successfully completed an Associate Diploma in Business and a Graduate Certificate in Management. Glenn is a current member of the Australian Association of Practice Managers.


Cancer Registry

Christine Stanford MNCCI

Cancer Information Program Manager

Christine Stanford

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Chris Stanford is the Cancer Information Program Manager for MNCLHD and NNSWLHD and is based at Coffs Harbour. Chris and the cancer registry team deliver services across the four sites of Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Lismore, and Tweed Heads and are responsible for ensuring that all new cases of cancer are notified to the NSW Cancer Registry to enable accurate reporting of cancer treatment outcomes, and work towards improvements in patient care and survival. Chris has 18 years’ experience as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in Medical Oncology including all aspects of cancer nursing, project management, and clinical leadership for the implementation and maintenance of Mosaiq – the cancer information system for MNCCI.


Cancer and Palliative Care Development

J Kilmurray

Manager

Janice Kilmurray

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Janice (“Jani”) Kilmurray is the MNCLHD/ MNCCI Cancer & Palliative Care Development Manager.

Jani is a Nurse/Midwife and had worked in Health in NSW, Tasmania and in the UK for 44 years. Her career has traversed Cardiac Nursing in all aspects from Nurse Specialist to Nurse Manager and Nurse Educator. Jani has also worked as the Hunter region Heart Foundation Educator and has run Federal Funded Cardiac Rehabilitation programs. Her “second” nursing career took her to Oncology where she has worked for many years as a Clinical Trials Coordinator/Department Manager in Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology and more recently was Trials Development Coordinator for the collaborative trials group TROG (Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group). Prior to moving to her current role Jani was employed as “Connecting Care Coordinator” in the Chronic Disease Management team at Port Macquarie Community Health campus.


Medical Specialists

Dr Noel Aherne

Radiation Oncologist

Dr Noel Aherne

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Dr. Noel Aherne MB BCh. AFRCSI FRANZCR is a Staff Specialist Radiation Oncologist, Conjoint Lecturer at University of New South Wales and Director of Radiation Research at MNCCI. He is clinical lead for upper gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary cancers, thoracic cancers, and stereotactic ablative radiation techniques. His research interests include academic radiation oncology and clinical trials, mentoring and evaluation of new techniques. He is the convenor of the State of the Art Radiation Therapy Conference STARTX www.startxconference.com , @startxconf, and tweets @ozradonc.


Dr Jolanta Benson MNCCI

Haematologist

Dr Jolanta Benson

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Dr. Jolanta Benson is a clinical and laboratory haematologist whose medical experience spans three countries (Poland, UK, Australia). She has trained, worked and taught in some of the most respected teaching hospitals in these countries.

Dr. Benson is liked and respected by her professional peers. She is a highly educated and accomplished haematologist with leadership skills. She was appointed a Head of the Haematology Department for NSW/ACT at Healthscope Pathology (2009 – 2012).

Dr. Benson has comprehensive experience in adult and paediatric Haematology. During her career, she has been involved in various research projects in haematological malignancies, haemostasis and thrombosis as well as haemoglobinopathies. She was the Principal Investigator for an inter-departmental project in Paediatric Haematology and Clinical Genetics at The Children’s Hospital Westmead, Sydney (2012-2013).

Dr. Benson has delivered many oral and poster presentations at various national and international conferences. Her research papers have been published in medical journals around the world.

Dr. Benson enjoys sharing knowledge and has been involved in teaching of medical students and junior doctors for many years.

She has worked as a Lecturer in Haematology at UNSW since 2005 and was the Coordinator for Haematology Teaching Block at UNSW, Sydney (2009-2010).

In 2013 she decided to do a sea change and took up her current position as a Clinical Haematologist at Coffs Harbour Health Campus.


Karen Briscoe MNCCI

Medical Oncologist

Dr Karen Briscoe

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Dr Briscoe is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians with a specialty in medical oncology. She has worked in the Coffs Harbour region since 2004. While practising as a general medical oncologist, she has a special interest in Melanoma, GU, lung, GIT and neuroendocrine tumours. She has been participating in clinical trials research since starting the clinical trials unit in 2005 and hopes to continue to expand the available trials in our region, especially in the exciting field of immunotherapy.

Dr Briscoe is currently on the governing council of the Sydney Catalyst Translational Cancer Research Group and is a member of many collaborative trial groups. She has been an active member of the EVIQ medical oncology reference group, holding the position of chair for a number of years until recently.

Dr Briscoe is active on the board of the Coffs Coast/Clarence Valley Cando Cancer trust, which raises funds to support our local patients.


Martin Browne

Haematologist

Dr Martin Browne

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enter info here


Dr Ankit Jain MNCCI

Medical Oncologist

Dr Ankit Jain

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Dr Ankit Jain: MBBS MD DM DNB FRACP ECMO

Dr Ankit Jain has worked at the Mid North Coast Cancer Institute since March 2012 and has seven years experience as a full time medical oncologist. Dr Ankit Jain trained in India and initially worked as Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology at JIPMER Puducherry, India. This is one of the top five academic centres in India. Dr Ankit Jain decided to move to Australia due to keen interest in solid tumours. His areas of interest are Breast cancer, Lung Cancer, Prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Dr Ankit Jain is a full time member of American Society of Clinical Oncology, European Society of Medical Oncology and Medical Oncology group of Australia and is also involved with multiple clinical trials as sub investigator


 

Radiation Oncologist

Dr Rahim Tahir

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Dr Rahim Tahir is a consultant radiation oncologist at the Mid North Coast Cancer Institute, Coffs Harbour and Visiting Medical Officer at Grafton Base Hospital, Oncology and Haematology Unit, Grafton NSW.

Dr Tahir completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Tasmania in 1999. He undertook Radiation Oncology training initially at Mid Central Health, Palmerston North, New Zealand, and then at Townsville Cancer Centre, The Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Queensland. He completed his radiation oncology training at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne and in 2010 was awarded fellowship to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologist (FRANZCR).

Dr Tahir was a senior registrar of medical oncology at Townsville Cancer Centre. He completed a six month course of Diploma in Palliative Medicine at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and is a member of The Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine.

Dr Tahir is the Director of Training at the Mid North Coast Cancer Institute Coffs Harbour, and is also affiliated as a Clinical Lecturer at UNSW Rural Medical School. He is actively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. He is also involved in clinical trials.

Dr Tahir has special interests in head and neck, skin, lower gastrointestinal, gynaecological cancers and brain tumours. Other scopes of his practice include lymphoma and sarcoma and benign conditions. Dr Tahir is an active participant in multi-disciplinary tumour meeting in these areas.

Dr Tahir is also passionate about Palliative Radiation Oncology, Geriatric Radiation Oncology, implementation of new technology and innovation in radiation oncology such as spinal and paraspinal stereotactic radiotherapy.


Nursing

Carolyn Heise MNCCI

Manager Nursing and Service Development

Carolyn Heise

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Carolyn Heise holds the position of Manager Nursing and Service Development at the MNCCI. Carolyn started her career with the MNCLHD as a Registered Nurse in 2004. Before that time she worked in Health Promotion in Tamworth and Alice Springs. Carolyn has multiple years’ experience in healthcare management and has continued to further her career in a variety of health portfolios.

Her experience in the health sector includes being a Registered Nurse, Quality Project Manager, Nursing Unit Manager, Nurse Manager and HR Advisor (Workplace Behaviour and Culture Consultant for the MNCLHD).

Carolyn holds a Bachelor of Nursing, Post Graduate Diploma of Public Health (Leadership) and a Master of Business Administration (HR Management).

Carolyn is based at the MNCCI at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus.


Jill Harrington MNCCI

Nursing Unit Manager

Gillian Harrington

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Jill completed her registered nurse training in 1986 graduating with a degree in Advanced Nursing. While working in coronary care, she completed a Diploma of Nursing Education. Moving to Burns and Plastics at RNSH, she became a Clinical Nurse Specialist then the Nurse Unit Manager. Changing direction, she then was the After Hours Nurse Manager at RNSH and Manly Hospital. A sea change move to Coffs Harbour in 2000 changed direction again and Jill was employed as a registered nurse working in Palliative Care before commencing in the oncology unit 2002. In 2008, Jill completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Nursing. The integration of medical oncology and haematology with radiation therapy in 2007 resulted in the Jill becoming the Nurse Unit Manger of the MNCCI.

Jill has a particular interest in patient and family education and also wrote and presents the Oncology Nursing component for student nurses at Southern Cross University.


Physics

Andy Kovendy MNCCI

Chief Physicist | Coffs Harbour | Port Macquarie

Andrew Kovendy

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Andrew graduated from Adelaide University with a BSc (Hons) in theoretical and applied physics in 1984 and worked as a technical application and embedded systems software developer before moving to medical physics and becoming a member of the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine (ACPSEM) in 1986. Andrew originally specialised in diagnostic imaging and was employed by the Radiation Control Branch of the South Australian Health Commission (now EPA) to establish a Breast Screen imaging QA and dosimetry program in 1988-90. In 1989 Andrew became involved with radiation oncology and worked in the newly-established radiotherapy department in Dunedin Hospital, New Zealand from 1990-1991 and then in private radiotherapy practice during which Andrew attained a MSc (App Sci) in Medical Physics from the University of South Australia in 1993. Andrew moved to the NSW North Coast in 2005 as Director of Medical Physics for the three NCCI centres to help establish and manage these institutions to their current level of international best practice. Andrew is accredited as a Radiation Oncology Medical Physicist since 1998 and his main interests are in mathematical modelling of radiation dosimetry and 3D/4D computational methods.


Radiation Therapy

Stuart Greenham MNCCI

Chief Radiotherapist | Coffs Harbour | Port Macquarie

Stuart Greenham

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Stuart trained as a Cadet Therapeutic Radiographer in Brisbane at the Queensland Radium Institute (QRI) in the 80’s. After graduating he continued working at QRI before moving to the Wesley Cancer Care Centre, Queensland’s first private Radiotherapy treatment facility. While at the Wesley, Stuart completed a Computer Science degree and applied this to information management and computer related issues in radiation therapy as well as developing specialised skills as part of the team that established Queensland’s first Stereotactic Radiosurgery service. A desire to travel led to a move to New Zealand in 2000 as the Stereotactic Planning RT in Dunedin’s National Stereotactic Radiosurgery program. This role provided a great opportunity to refine and learn new skills, contribute to research and training and ultimately move into a management role.

A move into a corporate role followed as an Applications Specialist /Customer support Engineer with the radiotherapy planning software company Computerised Medical Systems Inc. (CMS). Based in Sydney this role supported Radiotherapy planning systems and staff in departments throughout India, Asia, Australia and New Zealand and broadened Stuart’s RT horizons. Stuart returned to Dunedin to the role of Chief RT to oversee the installation of a new CT simulator, assist with going paperless, and for fun started learning to fly.

The challenge to set up 3 new departments in friendly small communities in the idyllic North Coast of NSW was an opportunity not to be missed, leading to a move to Coffs Harbour in 2005. To lead that project with the team that was awarded the NSW Premier’s Public Service Gold Award in 2008 is a highlight.

The ongoing management of the Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie facilities along with strategic support of the Lismore centre is focused at developing all of the units into world class facilities.

Along with the development of NNSWCI (Lismore) and MNCCI (Port Macquarie & Coffs Harbour) Stuart has also contributed to the development of NSW Cancer Institute evidence based protocols, been appointed as an auditor for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has conducted audits in radiation oncology departments in Indonesia.

Stuart has contributed to the wider profession through many conference presentations and as primary and co-author of a number of peer reviewed papers.


Kirsty Turnbull MNCCI

Deputy Chief Radiotherapist

Kirsty Turnbull

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Kirsty Turnbull is the Deputy Chief Radiation Therapist at Coffs Harbour MNCCI. Kirsty has been with MNCCI since 2010 and previously held a number of senior positions in QLD Health including State Manager of Education for Medical Radiation Professionals, Senior Educator and Senior Radiation Therapist. Kirsty has post graduate qualifications in Health Management and has a strong interest in dosimetry, leading the implementation of Monaco IMRT and VMAT which have improved outcomes for cancer patients in the Mid North Coast.