At ten years of age, Agadha emigrated from Sri Lanka with his parents and two younger brothers to Wellington and finished his secondary schooling at Scots College in 1980. He completed an MBChB at the University of Otago in 1986. He became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1998, specialising in Neurosurgery. He undertook his neurosurgical training in Auckland and Melbourne, and during the last 2 years of his neurosurgical training he completed a Doctor of Medicine in brain tumour biology investigating ErbB receptor protein signalling and was awarded an MD in 2005 by the University of Melbourne. He then completed post-fellowship training in skull base and paediatric neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Ohio. He has been a consultant neurosurgeon at the Wellington Regional Hospital since 1999, with special interests in craniofacial surgery, skull base surgery and brain tumours. He has been an invited faculty speaker at the Advanced Skull Base Meetings, at the Department of Surgery, University of Adelaide. He has been a senior lecturer at the Department of Surgery and Anaesthesia, Wellington School of Medicine, University of Otago and Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne. He is a member of the Department of Neurosurgery in Wellington, and involved in neurosurgery training at the Wellington Regional Hospital, teaching advanced and non trainee registrars. He has 39 publications in peer-reviewed journals and a one book chapter. With the team at the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute his research interests include cancer stem cells and the renin angiotensin system in brain tumours. He lives with his wife and has 2 children in their 20s, and has other interests in garden landscaping and sports.

Dr. Chris Jackson is a medical oncologist at Southern DHB, Senior Lecturer in Medicine, and medical director of the Cancer Society of New Zealand. An Otago Graduate, Chris was OUMSA and NZMSA president. During his time as president, he campaigned (and failed) against student fees, and for better student allowances. He also tried (unsuccessfully) to launch the first medical student conference, showing that today’s medical students are clearly of a much higher standard. One highlight however was the inception of the ACE scheme which has stood the test of time. Chris was also a stalwart of the Med School Review in the days before smart phones and You Tube, and is pleased no footage has survived. He trained in medical oncology, undertaking his fellowship at the Royal Marsden Hospital, which is the world’s first cancer hospital. Appointed as medical director of the Cancer Society in 2015, Chris has had a significant media presence, with stories about him running in the free mid-week Dunedin Star newspaper, and in the Southland times. His advocacy led to the inception of a new National Cancer Plan, the formation of Te Aho o Te Kahu (the National Cancer Agency), and New Zealand’s participation in the International Cancer Benchmarking Project for comparing and improving cancer outcomes. He lives in Dunedin with his family, and thinks that good heating and decent insulation in houses makes Dunedin a fantastic place to live.


The community panel consists of three panelists representing different groups in our communities and speaking about how their wants/needs in healthcare have been affected by their diverse backgrounds such as religion, ethnicity and socioeconomic status

Otago Medical School Dean

Professor Rathan M. Subramaniam is the Dean, Otago Medical School, University of Otago, New Zealand.  Previously he held the inaugural Robert W. Parkey MD Distinguished Professorship in Radiology at the University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX, USA.  


He completed his medical degree from the University of Melbourne, Australia, a Masters in Clinical Education from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, a PhD from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, a Masters in public health from the Harvard University, USA.  He undertook his advanced training in Nuclear Medicine and Neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic and was a faculty member at the Boston University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and University of Texas Southwestern.  


He is an international authority in molecular imaging, radionuclide therapy and PET/CT.  He has published over 220 peer reviewed articles, 7 books, 13 book chapters and received research grants worth more than $20 million from NIH, AHRQ, CPRIT, foundations and industry as a clinician-scientist.  He co-chairs five multicenter cancer clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, NIH, USA and the principal investigator for Biomarker, Imaging, Quality of Life studies for NRG HN006.  He delivered more than 150 CME lectures in the United States, Asia, Europe, Middle East and South America and held 13 visiting professorships and named lectures.  


He serves Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand, Medical Council of New Zealand Governance Group of Community attachments, a consultant to the international atomic energy agency, a member of the National Cancer Institute/NIH steering committee on Head and Neck cancer, and Imaging Chair of ECOG-ACRIN head and neck committee. He is a past President of the American College of Nuclear Medicine and the Vice chair of the American College of Radiology commission on Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. He received numerous awards including a Fulbright travel scholarship, Mayo Brothers Distinguished Fellowship award from the Mayo Clinic, Vice Chancellor’s prize for best doctoral thesis from the University of Auckland and Radiology Research Alliance Leadership and Innovation award from the Association of University Radiologists, USA.

Janine Penfield Winters, M.D. is a Palliative Medicine Specialist and bioethicist who immigrated to New Zealand from the USA in 2014. She currently works as a clinician at the Otago Community Hospice and as a Senior Lecturer at the Bioethics Centre at the University of Otago.  Within bioethics her interests are end-of-life ethical issues for adults and children, clinical ethics committees and high stakes decisions-making for children. Dr Winters earned a B.A. with High Honours in neuroscience and bio-psychiatry from Oberlin College and her medical degree from Wright State University School of Medicine. Dr Winters’ first worked in New Zealand for a year at the 15 bed Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa, Northland in 2005-06.  After returning to the USA, she was the founding director of the Paediatric Palliative Care program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a large tertiary care paediatric hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She was also a leading member of clinical ethics committee at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr Winters has had a diverse clinical career, she has worked in the fields of psychiatry, family medicine,hospital medicine, palliative care, paediatric palliative care and bioethics. She began teaching medical students in 2002 and was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and the Department of Family Medicine at the Ohio State University.  Her career is woven around her passions for clinical bioethics, teaching medical students and the interaction between mind and body in clinical medicine

Heath is the founder of STONZ and until July 2020 held the position of Chairman. Heath is a new Orthopaedic Surgeon currently undertaking a hand fellowship in Auckland with his wife and three kids. During training Heath was the representative of New Zealand surgical trainees to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeon’s for two years. Heath will be completing his Fellowship this year and plans to return to Canterbury to take up a position as an SMO next year.

Dr Kate van Harselaar Fertility Specialist FRANZCOG, PGDipOMG, MBChB, MSc (Distinction)

Kate graduated in Medicine from the University of Otago and did her specialist training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Prior to medicine she taught at the University of Otago for 8 years. She has done a Masters in Physiology, which had a focus on Reproductive Endocrinology. She is involved in all aspects of fertility care, but has a special interest in the management of recurrent miscarriage, high risk pregnancies, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and advanced laparoscopic surgery.

She is dedicated to helping those with fertility issues and finding an optimal management plan. Her ability to easily build rapport means that she can support couples in what is often a difficult and challenging time.

Kate is consulting at Fertility Associates Dunedin and undertakes her private Obstetrics and Gynaecology practice out of their facilities. She also practices as a Obstetrician / Gynaecologist in the public sector at Dunedin Hospital.

She does outreach clinics in the wider Otago region and performs private Gynaecological surgery at the Mercy Hospital in Dunedin and Southern Cross Hospital in Invercargill.

In her spare time Kate enjoys running, biking and skiing in New Zealand’s beautiful outdoors.