Keynote Speakers for the 2013 LIME Connection conference presented inspriational, forward thinking and unique perspectives on Indigenous health and medical education.

Professor Dennis McDermottDirector of The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Well-Being, Flinders University

Prof. McDermott is the Associate Head of Faculty, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, within the Faculty of Health Sciences at Flinders University.  He is also the Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Well-Being, Adelaide.   A Koori man, his mother’s family are from Gadigal land (inner Sydney) with connections to Gamilaroi country (north-west NSW).  Dennis has worked in such diverse fields as alcohol and other drug education and counselling, private therapeutic practice, community health and men’s health research.  He has trained Aboriginal foster carers, supervised counsellors to the ‘stolen generations’ and worked with families dealing with a death in custody.  

Dennis’s teaching and research interests encompass early childhood, social determinants of Indigenous health, racism, incarceration, Indigenous social, spiritual and emotional well-being, workforce development, Indigenous health pedagogy, and the nexus of culture and context in service delivery.

Dr Martina KamakaAssociate Professor, Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH), John A. Burns School of Medicine

Dr Kamaka, MD, is a Native Hawaiian physician who received her undergraduate degree (BA) from the University of Norte Dame, Indiana and MD degree from the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at the University of Hawaii.  She is board certified in Family Practice. She has been in private practice both in Pennsylvania and Hawaii. 

Currently she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH) at JABSOM where she is the Director for the DnHH Cultural Competency Curriculum Development Project. The Project, whose primary focus is addressing Native Hawaiian health disparities, is looking at innovative ways to teach cultural competency including the use of a variety of teaching methodologies. 

Dr. Kamaka serves on the Institutional Review Board and scientific advisory council for the Native Hawaiian Health Systems ‘Imi Hale Native Hawaiian Cancer Network. She is extremely honored to be a founding member as well as international steering committee representative on the board of the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress (PRIDoC).

Dr Elana CurtisSenior Lecturer Medical, Director Vision 20:20, Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, Faculty Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland

Dr Elana Taipapaki Curtis (Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa) is a Public Health Physician currently working as Senior Lecturer Medical at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, University of Auckland. She is Director Vision 20:20 at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori – Department of Māori Health that has leadership responsibility for the Whakapiki Ake Project (Māori recruitment), the CertHSc (a pre-degree programme aimed at increasing the number of Māori and Pacific students entering into Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences), and MAPAS (Māori and Pacific Admission Scheme).  

In 2004-2005, Elana was a Harkness Fellow in Healthcare Policy based at the University of California (San Francisco) – investigating ethnic disparities in breast cancer mortality and survival.  Prior to this, Elana worked at the National Screening Unit, Ministry of Health in Wellington where she investigated Māori/non-Māori disparities in breast cancer epidemiology, and at Te Ropu Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pomare – Māori Health Research Centre at the University of Otago investigating ethnic disparities in access to invasive cardiovascular procedures/caesarean sections and the relationship between disparities and deprivation. 

Her research interests include investigating ethnic inequalities in health using a Kaupapa Māori Research framework in order to eliminate existing disparities. She has more recently focused on education and health workforce research exploring what helps and hinders Māori student success within tertiary health professional study.

Professor Chan Li Chong (LC)Co- director of the Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit, LKS Faculty of Medicine; Co-director, Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, The University of Hong Kong

Prof. Chan’s teaching philosophy is driven by the recognition that “The student of today is the teacher of tomorrow”. Implicit in this statement is the responsibility to nurture students to develop not only self-directed learning and critical thinking skills but also a spirit of inquisitiveness and the courage to challenge scientific and medical dogma. 

The Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine introduced medical humanities as part of the core curriculum for medical students from 2012. The practice of medicine, a science as well as an art, will also require students to understand the limits of medicine, the nature of human suffering and the dangers of the medicalisation of life in terms of its social, ethical and economic impact. Through the teaching and learning of medical humanities, students can generate new inquiries and reflections which will enable them to understand illness and health in the wider context of the lives of people. They should become aware of the complexities and ambiguities of issues involved in medical care and practice; and explore the nature of suffering & healing so as to enable patients to live a life of meaning despite their illness.