#SPAIC2018 is jam packed with many different aspects revolving around pre-hospital care and growing as a clinician well within your university studies. Below, you can read about whom you will not only be hearing from, but learning from at this year's SPAIC (in no particular order - speakers added as information arises).


Jake Carlson - Paramedic - London Ambulance Service NHS

Jake began his career with Wellington Free Ambulance before joining the London Ambulance service in 2015, spending the majority of his Paramedic career in a specialist response team. In this role, he has operated as a solo rapid response unit with a specialist skill set that includes working in collaboration with London’s Metropolitan Police. Jake has responded to a number of specialist operations, attended pre-planned and spontaneous incidents at a number of secured locations including Buckingham Palace and Whitehall and became familiar with ballistic and penetrating trauma. 

"During my career I've worked hard to prepare for the uncertainties we, as Paramedics, frequently encounter and have found immense benefit in learning from my colleague's experiences. My own experience includes a foundation in control services, a clinical portfolio as a Paramedic, comprehensive experience in Tactical Medicine and subsequent attendance at some of the major incidents that have occurred in London over the past few years. I place immense value on preparedness and personal resilience and it is my hope that my colleagues will benefit from the lessons I have learned along the way".

Jake's presentation will offer an insight into the into some of the challenges faced as a Paramedic during the response to the London Bridge & Borough Market Terror Attacks in June 2017. He will discuss the challenges of a rapidly developing scene, the importance of situational awareness and the difficulties of managing expectations as well as difficult decisions. Jake will cover how specialist responders must work cohesively with colleagues from a range of backgrounds in order to do the best, for the most and how establishing command structure can often take longer than anticipated. Lastly, he will discuss the importance of self care in the days following such an event and how colleagues can act as support through this often uncharted territory.


Professor Renuka Visvanathan - PhD, FRACP, FANZSGM, G.Cert. Ed (Higher Education), MBBS, ATCL


Professor Visvanathan is a graduate of the University of Adelaide, having completed her medical degree in 1996. Her basic physician training years (1998-2000) saw her teach and train at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide, specialising in geriatric medicine. Professor Visvanathan is a Clinical Director of the Aged & Extended Care Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Basil Hetzel Institute, Central Adelaide Local Health Network since 2005. She is also the Director of the Adelaide Geriatrics Training and Research with Aged Care Centre which include an innovation partnership projects between the University of Adelaide and Resthaven. She is interested in providing quality health care in order to prevent the impact of frailty (e.g. falls and fracture). This includes the improvement of wellbeing, function and quality of life of frail, older people and consumers with dementia. She is also interested in the research that is likely to translate into improved clinical practice. In recognition of her contribution to academic geriatric medicine, she was academically promoted to Associate Professor in 2008 and Professor in 2014. She lead the development and establishment of the Adelaide G-TRAC Centre, which was officially opened in February 2013 by the Federal Minister of Ageing.

Professor Visvanathan will be speaking about geriatric syndromes (Assessment and Special Consideration). A focus on the care provision for older people with geriatric syndromes as well as assessment and special considerations.

Steve Whitfield - Paramedic - The Wild Medic Project


Steve is an experienced paramedic, humanitarian medical team leader and expedition medicine facilitator whose humble beginnings started as a soldier in the Australian Army where he deployed to East Timor (03), Iraq (05) and Timor Leste (06). Steve gained significant experience working in humanitarian operations and expeditions in Nepal, Mongolia, Sinai, Botswana, Vanuatu and the Arctic. In 2015 Steve cofounded The Wild Medic Project in response to the devastation that occurred in the Himalayan foothills as a way of bringing primary health care access to communities with limited access. Steve is now a clinical educator, lecturer and clinical advisor to a number of emergency prehospital organisations, and recently assisted in the implementation of the first flight paramedic program in Fijis only dedicated air ambulance where he currently serves as the paramedical flight director.

Steve holds a Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership, a Bachelor’s Degree of Paramedic Practice, a Diploma of Journalism, a Certificate of Health in Humanitarian Crisis and Leaders in Global Development and a Certificate in Marine and Antarctic Science. He is currently completing a Masters of Public Health (Remote and Polar Medicine) with research interest in human behaviour in extreme environments and austere medicine. Steve is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, a Fellow candidate for the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS), and Member of Paramedics Australasia. He lives at the Gold Coast with his wife and two children.

The Wild Medic: http://thewildmedicproject.com/
Earth Trails: http://earthtrails.com.au/
Planet Medic: http://planetmedic.com.au/

Dr Elizabeth Asbury - BSc Psychology (Hons), MSc Occupational Psychology, PhD Psychology Allied to Medicine


Dr Elizabeth Asbury received her Ph. D in 2005 from Imperial College London. She has published in the field of psychological morbidity, wellbeing and quality of life. Dr Asbury was an Occupational Psychologist before moving into health research, and was a Chartered Psychologist in the United Kingdom before relocating to New Zealand. She has been working with the Bachelor Health Science (Paramedicine) team at Whitireia New Zealand for three years, with a number of paramedicine specific publications currently under review. In the present time she has done research into Paramedic mental wellbeing and job satisfaction, paramedic student resilience training.

Dr Elizabeth Asbury is currently running an International Paramedic Anxiety Wellbeing and Stress (IPAWS) study, a 5 year international multicentre longitudinal study of paramedic mental health and wellbeing. She is presenting this study at SPAIC this year in the hopes of looking to recruit students in their final year of paramedic study, while following up on their progression for the duration of the first 5 years as a paramedic on road.

Ryan Lovett - Director of Operations, State Wide Services - SA Ambulance Service


Ryan is the Director of Operations, State Wide Services at SA Ambulance Service. This position is responsible to the Chief Executive Officer intended for providing strategic leadership and direction and is responsible for the operational management and governance of the service area of responsibility to ensure that it meets agreed performance, quality and clinical standards in the delivery of high quality Ambulance Services. He is accountable for the delivery of leadership, development and continuous improvement of the Emergency Operations Centre, Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response including major events planning, Rescue, Retrieval and Aviation, Operations systems (EOC infrastructure and CAD support) and State Duty Managers. Ryan has been in many roles that do not include on road work. He was the Zone Manager at NSW Ambulance Service (2016-2018), Lead, Operational Digital Engagement Strategy at NSW Ambulance Service (2015-2017), Executive Staff Officer to the Chief Executive (Commissioner) at NSW Ambulance Service (2013-2015), Operational Support Manager at NSW Ambulance (2011-2013), Director and Vice Chair at Australian and New Zealand College of Paramedicine (2005-2012), Manger, Sydney Control Centre at NSW Ambulance (2010-2011), Director and National IT Manager at Paramedics Australasia (2006-2011),  Senior Control Centre Officer at NSW Ambulance (2008-2010), World Youth Day Project Coordinator at NSW Ambulance (2007-2008) and a Paramedic, Station Manager, Control Centre Officer (2001-2007). He has studied at University of Sydney for Executive Master of Public Administration in 2015, Charles Sturt University for Associate Degree in Emergency Management in 2013 and at NSW Ambulance for Diploma of Paramedical Science in 2003.

No doubt you have heard much said about the “patient journey”, but often the story about this journey starts from the ambulance arrival, or even later at ED arrival. The SA Ambulance Service is an Australian leader in the application of triple zero telephone triage with its ongoing recognition as an accredited centre of excellence. These critical minutes from the phone call to the ambulance arrival in expert hands can make a real difference to patient outcome. Several organisations across the country are now taking the next step and exploring “hear and treat” pathways where targeted and safe advice and referral means that an ambulance attendance or ED visit are no longer the default option.  He will be presenting the patient journey that normally paramedics do not get a chance to see. The title is 1/5th the bandwidth, all of the outcomes.

Skye Coote - Nurse Practitioner & Nursing Co-ordinator - Melbourne Mobile Stroke Unit


Skye is a Nurse Practitioner and the Nursing Coordinator of the Melbourne Mobile Stroke Unit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Victoria. She holds a Master’s degree in nursing and has a widespread background in critical care nursing. She has won international nursing awards for clinical excellence and leadership in stroke and is the first person that is Board Certified in Advanced Neurovascular Practitioner in Australia. Skye is the co-chair of the Acute Stroke Nurses Education Network (ASNEN) and has a passion for improving hyperacute stroke care, stroke research and stroke education.


She will be presenting on the Mobile Stroke Unit, which is Australia’s first stroke ambulance. It has a CT scanner in the back and carries acute stroke personnel in addition to the paramedic crew. She will be giving a brief history of the development of the Mobile Stroke Unit, the benefits of the units to the patient care, the importance they play in the health care setting, as well as addressing some of the key learnings so far. Lastly, she will show some of the preliminary data from the service.

SPA is a representative group of the Australasian College of Paramedicine

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