Creating Connections Stroke Conference 2022 – Guest speakers

Thank you to all of our guest speakers who have volunteered their time to present at the 25th annual Creating Connections Stroke Conference!

Dr Dawn Simpson

Dr Dawn Simpson is a lecturer in Physiotherapy with the University of Newcastle. Before her PhD, Dawn worked in public health for over 20 years in the UK and Australia. Her clinical experience is predominantly in Rehabilitation and Aged Care and her clinical research interest is Stroke rehabilitation and recovery. She is interested in factors that influence sedentary behaviour and physical activity for Stroke survivors, interventions that may improve post-Stroke fatigue and health service models that could support improved rehabilitation and recovery outcomes.


Chiara Pawela

Chiara is an endorsed Clinical Neuropsychologist currently working across inpatient and outpatient Medical Psychology services at Westmead Hospital. She has previously worked across a number of acute, subacute, and outpatient hospital settings within NSW Health, as well as in private practice, with her primary interests lying in acquired brain injury and rehabilitation. She is also affiliated with Macquarie University as an Adjunct Fellow, has research partnerships with Western Sydney University, and teaches postgraduate Clinical Neuropsychology and Adult Assessment subjects at Charles Sturt University. 


Jenny Nguyen

Jenny Nguyen is a Social Worker with over 2 years of clinical experience. She works at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, specialising in Neurology and Neurosurgery. Her work centres around supporting patients, families and carers in an inpatient acute hospital setting. Jenny has a particular interest in supporting carers and undertaking research.


Kate Adin

Kate graduated with a Bachelor of Social Studies at the University of Sydney. Upon graduating, she worked in the health system and child protection in London. Upon returning to Sydney, she worked in the field of adoption, palliative care and the NSW Trustee and Guardian before moving to Royal Rehabilitation Services five years ago. She works in the community based rehabilitation team, which covers the public outpatient department, the Home Based Program and the Transitional Package. In this context she has worked extensively with people that have experienced having a Stroke.


Deniz Gok

Deniz undertook the role of Social Worker on the Stroke Outreach Service SLHD, a community based in home Stroke rehabilitation service, as a new graduate. Her primary role on the service has been to emotionally support Stroke survivors, their carers, and families, as well as providing assistance in navigating complex systems such as the NDIS and My Aged Care. Deniz is also able to link community clients in with the appropriate services and supports to ensure they are able to engage meaningfully with ongoing therapy. The other half of her clinical hours are spent on the Stroke Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital as part of the Multidisciplinary Team, undertaking Post-Stroke Mood Screening with Stroke survivors. Her time in both inpatient and community-based Stroke has meant Deniz has developed a sound knowledge of the common issues and needs of Stroke survivors at varying stages of their journey.

During her time in both roles, Deniz has also collaborated with the St George Stroke Unit to establish a Peer Supervision group for Stroke Social Workers across New South Wales, and currently facilitates bi-monthly supervision sessions with a focus on sharing knowledge and identifying gaps in the social work service offered to Stroke survivors in the acute setting.


Mark Longworth AM

Mark Longworth completed his General Nurse training in 1978. Over the next twelve years he worked in numerous speciality areas including Aged Care, Developmental Disability, Psychiatry, Orthopaedics, Palliative and Coronary Care.

Mark then undertook several senior nursing administrative and health service executive roles before being appointed as the NSW Agency of Clinical Innovation Stroke Network Manager in 2003. He remained in this role for thirteen years. During this time there was an exponential growth in the establishment of acute and hyper acute Stroke units in NSW metropolitan, regional and rural hospitals.

Mark retired in 2016. In 2017 he received the Member of the Order of Australia award for leading the development of programs for the delivery of Stroke services throughout NSW and the engagement with Stroke services in all Australian jurisdictions.


Lynnette Heagney

Lynnette Heagney currently works as the Acting Nurse Educator in the NSW Ambulance Aeromedical Control Centre. For the past 12 years she has predominantly been with NSW Ambulance Aeromedical as a Flight Nurse and Clinical Coordinator at the control centre. Additional roles have included Acting as Educator Flight Nurse, member of the AUSMAT team with deployment to Timor and Samoa. Outside of work, Lynnette’s hobbies include bushwalking, swimming, skiing, camping and spending as much time as possible with her grandson and 3 daughters.


Fiona Ryan

After nearly three decades in Speech Pathology, including treatment of patients with communication and swallowing disorders following Stroke, Fiona took the opportunity to coordinate evidence-based Stroke management as Stroke Care Coordinator at Orange and Bathurst Hospitals. She is currently the Chair of the Rural Stroke Network and is very interested in NSW state level initiatives to improve Stroke management.


Dr Najwa Khalil

Dr Najwa Khalil is a neurologist with a special interest in neurovascular disease who initially trained as a pharmacist, then completed her medical degree in 2014. She completed her neurology training across St George and Liverpool Hospitals, with a fellowship at the University of Sydney Brain and Mind Centre. She is currently undertaking Post Graduate Fellowship in Neurointervention at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She has been involved in several Stroke Clinical Trials and maintains an active interest in research and ongoing medical education.


Kylie Tastula

Kylie Tastula is the Neuroscience Nurse Practitioner at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She has worked in the area of Neuro for 20+ years. Her current position involves coordinating hyperacute Stroke calls including RPAs state-wide Endovascular Clot Retrieval Service. Kylie has worked in Neuro intensive care units and Stroke units both in Australia and internationally. She is the current Nursing co-chair of the Stroke Network for the Agency of Clinical Innovation.


Gwen Korebrits

Gwen has always had a passion for empowering people to reach their full potential, especially when channelling that potential through dance. She had seen first hand the rejuvenating power of dance when her father suffered a Stroke at the age of 45. Gwen trained and performed as a professional dancer in the UK during her early career, then moved to Australia to pursue a professional dance teaching occupation. In the Netherlands, she studied the art of dance and health and introduced the therapeutic dance programme to Australia in 2015.

Gwen is CEO of the Dance Health Alliance, which facilitates therapeutic movement programmes in Australia. She also speaks and presents at forums and conferences all over the world. Her mission is to empower people to remain creative and active no matter their age or ability.

Gwen has provided the Dance Health Alliance refresh recordings that will be played throughout the conference.  


Error: