Keynote speakers

We are proud to introduce our keynote speakers.



Professor Ian Couper

Ian has been Director of the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health and Professor of Rural Health in the Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, since 2016. This follows more than thirteen years at the University of the Witwatersrand and the North West Provincial Department of Health.

He was a founding member of the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa, and is past chair of the Wonca Working Party on Rural Practice. He has been involved in educational support in a number of African universities, including in Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Tanzania, and was a member of the national task team that developed clinical associate (PA) training in South Africa. He is the African section editor of Rural and Remote Health, and an associate editor of BMC Medical Education.

His research focuses on rural health and health professions education.


Gilbert Enoka

Gilbert has a long history of success as a mental skills coach with New Zealand's corporate and sporting elite. He is internationally renowned for his 16-year history with the All Blacks, first as their mental skills coach and now as manager.

He has been with the All Blacks for over 200 tests and during that time the team has won back-to-back Rugby World Cups, one Laureus Award (for the best team in the world), 13 Bledisloe Cups, three Grand Slams, seven Tri Nations and four Rugby Championships.

Gilbert's reputation has also seen him work with the Black Caps, Silver Ferns, Crusaders and most recently with WRC Champion Haydon Paddon. However, his expertise is not limited to the sports field but was also integral to his 12 years as general manager for New Zealand's largest real estate firm, Harcourts International.

Gilbert gives insight into the psychology behind individual and team success in world-level sport and how this can be applied to any walk of life. He talks about leadership, performing under pressure, mental management, strategic planning, effective business management and building thriving cultures.

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Professor Trish Greenhalgh

Trish is an internationally recognised academic in primary health care and trained as a GP.  She joined the Department in January 2015 after previously holding professorships at University College London and Queen Mary University of London.

As co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Research In Health Sciences (IRIHS) unit, Trish leads a programme of research at the interface between social sciences and medicine, with strong emphasis on the organisation and delivery of health services. Her research seeks to celebrate and retain the traditional and humanistic aspects of medicine while also embracing the unparalleled opportunities of contemporary science and technology to improve health outcomes and relieve suffering.

Trish is joint module coordinator on the Knowledge Into Action (KIA) module of the MSc in Evidence Based Health Care.

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Elizabeth Iro

Elizabeth is the World Health Organisation Chief Nursing Officer. She commenced in this role in January 2018 and is a member of the WHO Headquarters leadership team.

Elizabeth is from the Cook Islands, and she has served as the country's Secretary of Health since 2012- 2017. In this role, she has implemented legislative reforms to strengthen the country's health system and developed the National Health Strategic plans (2012-2016, 2017-2021)and a National Health Road Map 2017-2036, among other National policy and strategic documents. She was the first nurse/midwife and woman to be appointed in this role in the Cook Islands.

She was trained as a nurse and a midwife in New Zealand and holds a MHSc in Nursing and a MBA. She held various nursing roles such as Chief Nursing Officer (2011-2012), Registrar of the Nursing Council (2000-2007) as well was the President of the Cook Islands Nurses Association (2002-2010).

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Associate Professor Alex Ng

Alex's personal mission is to support the under-privileged, the under-served and make this world a more equitable place. He has been and is still experimenting with different approaches to achieve this mission.

He is currently leading Tencent's healthcare business and is redefining Tencent's long term strategic direction. Tencent has already developed multiple products such as the wechat embedded apps like "Tencent Healthcare", Miying (AI enabled clinical decision support system for medical images), Oncology Assistant (AI enabled triaging system to better match cancer patients to oncologists), the question now is how best to apply these tools in the clinical settings and how we can better tap in to the potential of AI to support healthcare.

Alex first started his career as a medical doctor where he was the chief resident at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland before completing his MPH at Harvard. Instead of returning to New Zealand, he joined McKinsey & Company and later became an associate partner advising governments and healthcare corporates on their strategy and operations. After nine years at McKinsey between US and China, he joined the Gates Foundation as the deputy director of the China Country Office, responsible for the health and innovation portfolio. 

Although he no longer practices clinical medicine, he continues to engage with students through a master level course "strategies in healthcare" that he teaches at the University of Hong Kong as an honorary associate professor.      


Professor Papaarangi Reid

Papaarangi is Tumuaki and Head of Department of Māori Health at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand. 

She holds science and medical degrees from the University of Auckland and is a specialist in public health medicine. She has tribal affiliations to Te Rarawa in the Far North of Aotearoa and her research interests include analysing disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous citizens as a means of monitoring government commitment to indigenous rights.


Professor James Renwick

James has nearly four decades' experience in weather and climate research. His main field is large-scale climate variability and climate change, including such things as El Niño, the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds, and the impacts of climate variability and change on New Zealand and the Antarctic.

James was a lead author for the last two Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and is a Convening Lead Author for the new 6th IPCC Assessment.

He was recently awarded the Prime Minister's 2018 prize for Science Communication.


Dr David Tipene-Leach

Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Kere, MBChB, MCCM (NZ), FRNZCGP, Te Panekiritanga o Te Reo

Dr David Tipene-Leach, or DTL as he is known by many is from Pōrangahau and of Ngāti Kere and Ngāti Manuhiri descent.

Formerly a Hawke's Bay doctor, David was appointed Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research at EIT in early 2017. DTL is known for his innovative public health projects on prevention of long term conditions such as diabetes and sudden unexplained death in infancy (SUDI). 

When he talks about SUDI he often describes this as his "best piece of work" which was to develop and champion the wahakura, a woven flax bassinet that allows Māori mums to share a bed safely with their newborns.  The "safe sleep" programme that has flourished around the wahakura – the pepi-pod – is credited with decreasing SUDI deaths by 30 per cent in just six years. 

The subsequent Safe Sleep programme has been credited with saving the lives of many babies. The Ministry of Health announced in 2017 that the infant safe sleep programme would run the wahakura project nationwide.

He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and health in 2018. Other worthy mentions was DTL's appointment to a new group who advised Health Minister David Clark on the health system, and, at Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa, Māori Medical Practitioners Association (TE ORA) Hui a-Tau 2017 in Porirua he was elected to the Te ORA Kaihautū/Chairperson.

David continues to advance his research interests at EIT, where he also teaches a postgraduate programme in Māori health.
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