Keynotes & Speakers 2019

Keynote Address & Special Guests


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Ross Ihaka

Ross Ihaka is a recovering academic with interests in statistical computing, graphics and time series analysis. He has held positions at UC Berkeley, Yale University, MIT and The University of Auckland. He is best known as the co-creator of the R statistical computing system.

Ross is the recipient of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Pickering Medal and was the inaugural winner (jointly with Robert Gentleman) of the American Statistical Association’s John Chamber’s Award for Statistical Software. He is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

At present he runs a small consulting company and is preparing for a life of off-grid subsistence farming and fishing. He is of Ngati Kahungunu, Rangitane and Ngati Pakeha descent.

View selected works of Ross

Professor Papaarangi Reid

Professor Papaarangi Reid is Tumuaki (Deputy Dean Māori) at the Facility of Medical and Health Sciences and Head of Te Kupenga Hauora Māori at the University of Auckland. She holds science and medical degrees from the University of Auckland and is a specialist in public health medicine. Her research interests include analysing disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous citizens as a means of monitoring government commitment to indigenous rights. She has tribal affiliations to Te Rarawa in the far North of Aotearoa and has been influential in Indigenous health education development.

Professor Elizabeth Broadbent

Dr Elizabeth Broadbent is a Professor of Health Psychology in the Dept of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Elizabeth has an honours degree in electrical and electronic engineering, and a Masters degree and PhD in health psychology. Her research interests include the effects of psychological stress and stress-reduction interventions on wound healing, patients’ perceptions of illness, embodied cognition, and the relationships people form with robots. Elizabeth is a Vice Chair of the multidisciplinary CARES robotics group at the University of Auckland, and an Associate Editor of the journal IEEE Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction. In 2010, Elizabeth a visiting academic at the school of psychology at Harvard University and at the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2017, she obtained a Fulbright award to return to Boston to conduct further research on companion robots.

Professor Eric Topol

Eric Topol is the Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, Professor, Molecular Medicine, and Executive Vice-President of Scripps Research, As a researcher, he has published over 1200 peer-reviewed articles, with more than 200,000 citations, elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine. His principal scientific focus has been on the genomic and digital tools to individualize medicine—and the power that brings to individuals to drive the future of medicine.

In 2016, Topol was awarded a $207M grant from the NIH to lead a significant part of the Precision Medicine (All of Us) Initiative, a prospective research program is enrolling 1 million participants in the US. Prior to coming to lead Scripps STSI in 2007, for which he is the principal investigator of a flagship $35M NIH grant, he led the Cleveland Clinic to become the #1 center for heart care and was the founder of a new medical school there. He has been voted as the #1 most Influential physician leader in the United States in a national poll conducted by Modern Healthcare. Besides editing several textbooks, he has published 2 bestseller books on the future of medicine: The Creative Destruction of Medicine and The Patient Will See You Now. His new book Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again will be published in early 2019.

Leo Anthony Celi MD

Leo Anthony Celi MD is clinical research director and principal research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computational Physiology (LCP), and an attending physician at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). He  has practiced medicine in three continents (including New Zealand), giving him broad perspectives in healthcare delivery. As he brings together clinicians and data scientists to support research using data routinely collected in the process of care. His group built and maintains the public-access Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care (MIMIC) database, which holds clinical data from over 60,000 stays in BIDMC intensive care units (ICU). It is an unparalleled research resource; close to 10,000 investigators from more than 70 countries have free access to the clinical data under a data use agreement. In 2016, LCP partnered with Philips eICU Research Institute to host the eICU database with more than 2 million ICU patients admitted across the United States.

Leo also founded and co-directs Sana, a cross-disciplinary organization based at the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science at MIT, whose objective is to leverage information technology to improve health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. He is one of the course directors for HST.936 – global health informatics to improve quality of care, and HST.953 – collaborative data science in medicine, both at MIT. He is an editor of the textbook for each course, both released under an open access license. The textbook “Secondary Analysis of Electronic Health Records” came out in October 2016 and was downloaded more the 100,000 times in the first year of publication. The massive open online course HST.936x “Global Health Informatics to Improve Quality of Care” was launched under edX in February 2017. Finally, Leo has spoken in 25 countries about the value of data in improving health outcomes.

Kylie Reiri

Kylie is of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tahu decent. She is interested in using data and technology to improve outcomes for people through effective service delivery, with a particular focus on Māori well-being.

She brings 10 years’ experience working as a statistician in the public and private sectors, and manages a team of statisticians and data scientists from Nicholson Consulting who specialise in predictive analytics and automation.

Kylie is also an accomplished public speaker and is regularly invited to give key note presentations at conferences both in NZ and overseas. Her speaking topics include ethics for algorithms, creating efficient, reusable, and transparent analytics, and statistical communication.

Kylie holds a Master of Science (Applied Statistics) and a Bachelor of Science (Applied Statistics and Marine Biology).

Andrew Sporle

Andrew Sporle is a Maori (indigenous) researcher based part-time in the Statistics Department at the University of Auckland, where he teaches in courses on survey methods, official statistics and statistical literacy. He works primarily as a consultant designing as well as reviewing research and big data projects. He has over two decades experience developing initiatives in social and health research, indigenous research workforce development as well as official statistics research in the public, private and academic sectors. He has been involved with official data innovations since 1998, including being part of a team that were joint winners of the IASE Best Cooperative Project Award in Statistical Literacy in 2011.

Professor Mihaela van der Schaar

Professor van der Schaar is John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Machine Learning, Artificial intelligence and Medicine at University of Cambridge, a Turing Faculty Fellow of The Alan Turing Institute (UK’s National Data Science Institute), and a Chancellor’s Professor at UCLA. She is an IEEE Fellow. She has received the Oon Prize on Preventative Medicine from the University of Cambridge (2018). She has also been the recipient of an NSF Career Award, 3 IBM Faculty Awards, the IBM Exploratory Stream Analytics Innovation Award, the Philips Make a Difference Award and several best paper awards, including the IEEE Darlington Award. She holds 33 granted USA patents. Her research focus is on developing cutting-edge machine learning and AI methods for medicine.

Ernestynne Walsh

Ernestynne is an experienced, Māori, senior data scientist from the East coast (Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Her speciality areas include: creating transparency in analytics via open data and open source code, creating frontline operational analytical models in Government, focussing on the privacy and ethics around predictive modelling and explainable algorithms.

This wāhine toa has been a busy bee in the past year having been invited to speak at the signing of the Open Data Charter, creating an open source series to demonstrate how to combine Python R and SAS, providing feedback on the Data Protection and Use Policy (DPUP) and the Privacy and Human Rights Ethics Framework (PHRaE).

She has extensive experience in looking at front line models in Government with her latest work being automating cover decision making at ACC.

Jenna Wiens

Jenna Wiens is a Morris Wellman Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning, data mining, and healthcare. She is particularly interested in time-series analysis and transfer/multitask learning. The overarching goal of her research agenda is to develop the computational methods needed to help organize, process, and transform patient data into actionable knowledge. Jenna received her PhD from MIT in 2014. In 2015 she was named Forbes 30 under 30 in Science and Healthcare; she received an NSF CAREER Award in 2016; and recently she was named to the MIT Tech Review’s list of Innovators Under 35.


Chris Bullen

Professor Chris Bullen is a graduate of the University of Auckland’s School of Medicine, and has postgraduate qualifications in obstetrics, child health and public health, and a PhD in Community Medicine from the University of Auckland. Chris joined NIHI in 2003 as a Senior Research Fellow.

His research interests focus primarily on tobacco control and innovative smoking cessation interventions research but he also has wider interests in research on other addictions (alcohol, gambling), global health, housing and health, heart disease prevention and treatment and health technologies. He is an active member of the Centre for Addiction Research.

In addition to his leadership of NIHI, Chris is Director of the University’s postgraduate education programme in public health. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), a Fellow of the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine, and a member of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. He has wide international connections and was appointed an Academic Icon at the University of Malaya in 2017.

Des Gorman

Professor Des Gorman (Ngati Kuri and Ngapuhi) is an Associate Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland. From 2005 to 2010, he was the Head of the Universi-ty’s School of Medicine.

He has a BSc, MBChB and MD degrees from the University of Auckland, as well as a PhD from the University of Sydney. The two doctorates were awarded for in-vivo brain injury research. Professor Gorman’s non-clinical interests include health system design and funding, and health workforce plan-ning and development. He has more than 300 publications.

He is the Chairman of the Orangi Mahi Governance Group (the Ministry of Social Development’s health initiatives) and a member of the Ministry of Health’s Capital Investment Committee. His past roles include being a Director of the New Zealand Accident Compensation and Rehabilitation Corpo-ration (2012-2018), the Executive Chairman of Health Workforce New Zealand (2009-2019), a mem-ber of the National Health Board (2009-2014) and of the Government’s welfare reform group (2009-2010).

Professor Gorman is currently involved in health reforms in a number of different jurisdictions.

During his service in the Royal Australian Navy, he trained as both a submariner and as a diver.

Jon Herries

Jon has recently returned to NZ from four years in Ireland where he was working in Healthcare and Technology consulting for EY. Jon’s group at the Ministry of Health has been established to bring innovation and new technology to the system faster and more effectively. This includes leading strategic thinking around uses of biological, materials, information, genetics and hardware innovations.The team aims to connect and advise people in the sector about safe and effective new technology, and work with partners to accelerate bringing new technology to health care professionals and consumers. Previously Jon established the Integrated Care Collaborative for CCDHB and was involved in project management, technology development and analytics at CCDHB. He originally trained and practiced as a Physiotherapist.

Rawiri Jansen

FRNZCGP, MBChB, BHB, BA, Dip Tchg, Grad Cert Clinical Teaching
Ngāti Raukawa

Formerly a resource teacher of Māori language, Rawiri completed his medical training at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland in 2000. That was actually his second attempt at Medical School having interrupted his studies to be an activist and protestor (Maori land, Maori language, Nuclear Free Independent Pacific and 1981 Springbok Tour). He provided clinical teaching, Te Reo and Tikanga Māori programmes for Māori health professionals throughout the country for several years. Rawiri has been Chairman of Te Ataarangi Trust (a national Maori language organisation), and Chairperson of Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa (Maori Medical Practitioners Association). He self-published a Māori medical phrase book in 2006.

Rawiri’s main focus now is providing clinical leadership towards Maori health equity as a General Practitioner and Clinical Director for a Primary Healthcare Organisation.

Eru Lyndon

Eru is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Whatua, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Kahu and Ngati Toa descent. He is the Regional Commissioner for Social Development, Northland, at the Ministry of Social Development, and also holds several governance roles in the tertiary education, sport and recreation, and tourism sectors. Eru was also appointed Independent Chair of the recently formed single primary health care entity for Northland that is a partnership between Maori providers, Iwi, health practitioners, and the two existing Northland Primary Health Organisations.

Since 2013, Eru has overseen many programmes and initiatives that have contributed to reductions in unemployment, Maori unemployment, and the lowest NEET rate (young people not in education, employment or training) for Northland since the time series began. Eru will discuss the Ministry of Social Development approach that made the difference, and what opportunities he sees for human centred design and data science to contribute further to health, well-being and social outcomes in Northland.

Eru holds a Bachelor of Laws degree, an MBA (dist.) and has completed executive programmes at IMD, Stanford and MIT, and was a recipient of the 2018 State Services Commission and Leadership Development Centre Fellowship.

Rochelle Style

Rochelle holds an Honours Degree in Law (University of Canterbury, 1985) and a Masters of Bioethics & Health Law (Distinction) (University of Otago, 2017).

She was a partner in one of New Zealand’s leading law firms, Bell Gully, and acted as Litigation Counsel on behalf of PHARMAC during challenges to its reference pricing model and competition issues, as well as opposing patent extensions.

Rochelle now consults in the bioethics space. She is a current Ministerial appointee on the Northern A Health and Disability Ethics Committee and was a member of an expert Working Party appointed by the Ministry of Health to update the National Ethical Health Research guidelines (September 2017-March 2018). She was also a member of the Capital & Coast DHB’s Clinical Ethics Advisory Group for 5 years.

Rochelle is also an independent researcher and has published on the governance of health data research in New Zealand. She has given presentations on data ethics and Artificial Intelligence & Ethics for the Ministry of Health, the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation and Precision Driven Health as well as at the 2017 NZ Bioethics Conference and the 2017 and 2018 Health Informatics NZ conferences.

Robyn Whittaker

Dr Robyn Whittaker (MBChB, MPH, PhD, FNZCPHM) is the Clinical Director of Innovation at Waitemata District Health Board’s Institute of Innovation and Improvement (i3). She is also Associate Professor and co-lead of health informatics & technology research at the National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI), University of Auckland. Robyn’s research interests are in mobile health and digital health – using ICT to increase access to health services, including diabetes and pulmonary rehabilitation. At the DHB, Dr Whittaker leads innovative initiatives including the Leapfrog Programme of strategic DHB-wide projects. She is a member of the National Telehealth Forum Leadership Group, Clinical & Technical Advisory Group for HINZ, Associate Editor of Digital Medicine, and an invited expert to the World Health Organisation/International Telecommunication Union’s global mHealth programme.

MIT Faculty for Hack Aotearoa

Christina Chen

Christina Chen is a physician scientist who is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School, staff nephrologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical, and a research scientist at the MIT Laboratory for Computational Physiology.   She currently attends on the nephrology consult service at BIDMC and has an outpatient renal clinic where she works with medical students, residents, and fellows.  With her background in engineering and medicine, she hopes to help bridge the gap between data scientists and clinicians to answer innovative questions.  Her research interests include studying acute kidney injury as well as using echocardiography to determine effects of cardiac dysfunction on outcomes.

Chen Xie

Chen Xie is a programmer at MIT’s Laboratory for Computational Physiology, with an MEng from Imperial College London. He works to advance the tools and content of the ‘PhysioNet’ data and software distribution platform. He is the lead developer of the Python based ‘Waveform Database’ physiological signal processing toolbox, and the new PhysioNet web platform.


Tom Pollard PhD

Tom Pollard PhD is a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Laboratory for Computational Physiology. Most recently he has been working with colleagues to release the [eICU Collaborative Research Database] (, a freely-accessible database comprising patient data collected from critical care units across the US. Prior to joining MIT in 2015, Tom completed his PhD at University College London, UK, where he explored models of health in critical care patients. He has a broad interest in how we can improve the way that health data is collected and reused for the benefit of patients, and he is a Fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute in the UK.

Dr Shawn Sturland

Dr Shawn Sturland is trained in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine in Australasia. He has practiced as a Specialist Intensivist at Wellington Regional Hospital ICU for twelve years, with six years as Medical Director. Alongside clinical practice, he is also the Clinical Executive Director for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at Capital and Coast District Health Board.

Shawn is currently a visiting research scientist at the Laboratory of Computational Physiology in the Institute of Engineering and Medical Science at MIT. His interests include the secondary analysis of electronic health records and data science in Health Services research.

Jesse Raffa, PhD

Jesse Raffa, PhD, is a biostatistician research scientist at MIT and provides statistical and epidemiological expertise to the MIT Laboratory of Computational Physiology (LCP).  His primary interest in methodological research has been the analysis of complex longitudinal data, in particular, using different types of latent variable structures.  This is highly relevant in the critical care setting, where most data is both longitudinal and complex in nature. He provides study design and analytical support for the LCP collaborations both as a consultant and data analyst.


International Faculty

Omar Badawi, PharmD, MPH, FCCM

Omar Badawi, PharmD, MPH, FCCM is the Head of Health Data Science and AI in the Philips Patient Care Analytics business and leads the research for developing and validating product-related predictive algorithms and decision support tools.  He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a Master in Public Health degree with a focus in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is currently the Program Manager for the Philips eICU Research Institute which supports collaborative research between industry, academia and clinicians using de-identified clinical data representing over 3.5 million ICU patients. Dr. Badawi is also a Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine.

Dr Mengling Feng

Dr. Mengling Feng ( is currently an Assistant Professor at Institute for Data Science, National University of Singapore, and the Senior Assistant Director of National University Hospital championing the big data analytics efforts. Dr Feng is also an affiliated scientist with the Lab of Computational Physiology, Harvard-MIT Health Science Technology Division. His research is to develop machine learning algorithms to extract actionable knowledge from large amount of data to enable better quality of healthcare. His research brings together concepts and tools across deep learning, optimization, signal processing, statistical causal inference and big data management. Dr. Feng’s work was recognized by both well-established journals, such as Science Translational Medicine, JAMA and top international conferences, such as KDD, AAAI, MICCAI and AMIA. His team recently ranked number 2 in an international challenge on AI tools for medical image analysis. Dr. Feng works closely with clinicians aiming to develop and deploy the right AI solutions for more effective and cost-efficient care.

Cheryl Hiddleson MSN, RN, CCRN-E

Cheryl is the Director of the Emory eICU Center. She has been a registered nurse in Georgia for 34 years. She practiced at the bedside for 20 years with a primary focus on critical care. She also has a background in patient logistics and flow management. She is a member of The Society of Critical Care Medicine (and is an active member of their Tele ICU committee), The American Association of Critical Care Nurses, American Telemedicine Association, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives.

Cheryl was directly responsible for the development of the Emory eICU Center and continues to have clinical and operational oversight of the program. Over the last 5 years she has also become involved in research and development of various remote monitoring and predictive analytic applications focused on reducing serious complications for critical care patients.

Cheryl lead the development and implementation of an international program involving intercontinental delivery of tele critical care services for Emory eICU patients. She is committed to advancing innovative care delivery methods related to tele-ICU and telehealth locally, nationally and internationally, to promote quality care for all patients regardless of location or local resources.

Jonathan Rubin, PhD

Jonathan Rubin, PhD is Senior Scientist at Philips Research North America and a Research Affiliate of the ALFA Group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Jonathan received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Auckland in 2013. His PhD focused on the use of artificial intelligence in computer games. After his PhD, Jonathan worked as a researcher at Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto Research Center before joining Philips Research in 2016.

In his current work, he develops algorithms using deep learning to automatically analyze medical data, including physiological waveforms and medical images.



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