Our Patron and ambassadors

Our patron and ambassadors are passionate and strong advocates who actively promote and support our mission, research, events, and vision of the future in which dignity is a driving principle for all interactions that involve people with disabilities. They are all dedicated and influential members of the community who are experts in managing the impact of disability and sharing their experience about the process of recovery and living with disability.
 
In their roles, they will be working with The Hopkins Centre to contribute to research and explore the needs of those who use disability and rehabilitation services. They will address topics of relevance and importance to the community and will encourage others living with disability to join in the effort. We are honored to have the support of the following patron and ambassadors, who are committed to leading the change in engagement, by embedding people with disability into the fabric of research and practice.
 

Our Patron

Kevin Cocks AM 

Champion of human rights
Advocate for people living with disability and inclusive society

Kevin Cocks AM is a well-respected champion of human rights. He has dedicated himself to pushing for an inclusive, accessible and diverse Queensland through legislative and policy reform and State-wide advocacy. Until recently, he was the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. In February 2018, his term of appointment came to an end as Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, but he will now continue to push for evidence-based reform through his important role as Patron of The Hopkins Centre.

Kevin has pursued a lifelong fight for the rights of people with a disability, and has always been an inspiring advocate and role model. As a young man, Kevin sustained a C6 complete quadriplegia in a sporting accident. Through his personal experiences, he brought a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to the role of Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, where he focused on protecting the principles of dignity and equality for everyone.

Before he was appointed as Commissioner in February 2011, he used his passion to advance the work of Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, a legal advocacy organisation dedicated to protecting the human rights and fundamental needs of people with a disability in Queensland. One of his most notable achievements was in 1993 when Kevin successfully fought the State Government in court to have an accessible lift installed at the front of the Brisbane Convention Centre. Kevin also worked with Spinal Life Australia in launching the annual Robert Jones Oration event in memory of the late disability advocate. This event continues to drive important conversation around accessibility, a topic that must never fall off the national agenda.

Kevin's outstanding contribution to the reform and development of professional disability services in Queensland and nationally was recognised in 2003 with the award of a Centenary Medal for service to the Australian community. In 2005 he received an Australian Human Rights medal from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for his dedication to disability rights. Then in 2010, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contribution to making Queensland a better place for people with a disability, as an advocate for the promotion and protection of individual human rights, and as a contributor to the reform and development of disability services.

 

Our Ambassadors

Alan ‘Hammer’ Bloore

Global Ambassador for Richemont Group 1999-2018
Fundraising ambassador for “Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association”
Patient educator, Advocate and Presenter representing Qld Health and PAH Spinal UnitSpinal Injury Association Presenter

Leaving Brisbane at 14 to accept a scholarship at Hopmans tennis academy in Florida turning 16 he then entered the ATP circuit, 7 years a Pro Tennis Player on the ATP tour. After retirement from the
tour Alan went on to develop the largest chain of Health and Fitness centres in the Southern Hemisphere at that time with staff of over 350. The business was franchised resulting in a successful sale of the operation. The Author of published books and manuals, 6 years as a professional speaker, President of the Industry Association for 10 years also representing Sport Rec and Racing on a National & State level for 7 years. Has been a great supporter of the Variety Club of Queensland as a board member in 2000 hammer was runner up on the National Endurance Jet Ski Tour and also campaigned & chartered his maxi yacht "Hammer of Queensland" in numerous blue water classics. 

Currently he has a Property Development firm and is an Angel investor. Alan (otherwise known as Hammer) holds a portfolio of companies and investments and is the trustee of 2 trusts which keeps him more than busy. In 2006 hammer suffered a complete spinal cord injury just below the neck from a freak maritime accident rendering him an Asia A high thoracic paraplegic. However, that has not stopped him making use of his new injury and in fact has allowed him to use his public speaking skills helping both government and the private sector as a presenter for QLD health, allied health professionals, clinical practitioners, spinal injuries association and the Brisbane spinal unit which he values dearly as a way to help the community!

After his injury, Hammer has travelled the world in his wheelchair keeping a promise he made after the accident to never let his injury stop him from doing what he wants! Most recently, Hammer has returned from the university of California Berkeley where he became one of the world’s first ever Test Pilots for a new Ekso Skeleton. He is an avid advocate for safe regulated non-invasive treatments and rehabilitation! As well he has been involved with FDA clinical trials and the journey from conception to completion for 4 stages.

 

Dr. Dinesh Palipana

Emergency Doctor and Researcher, Spinal Cord Injury Project

Dinesh was the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland, and the second person to graduate medical school with quadriplegia in Australia. He earned a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), prior to
completing his Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the Griffith University. Halfway through medical school, he was involved in a catastrophic motor vehicle accident that caused a cervical spinal cord injury.

After graduating from medical school Dinesh faced significant challenges in gaining an internship. As a result of the barriers medical students and doctors with disabilities face, he has advocated for
an inclusive medical profession. Dinesh became a founding member of Doctors with Disabilities Australia.

Dinesh is currently a resident in emergency medicine at the Gold Coast University Hospital. He is an Associate Lecturer at the Griffith University. Dinesh was the Gold Coast University Hospital’s representative in the Australian Medical Association Queensland’s Council of Doctors in Training in 2017 & 2018. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation; and the QUT Alumni Board. 

 

Dr. Gary Allen 

Senior Policy Officer, Research Ethics & Integrity, Office for Research, Griffith University 

Gary has worked in the human research ethics area since 1997, working with a number of research institutions, state and federal departments, private companies and research ethics committees in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. He has a degree in education and a professional doctorate in social sciences. His doctoral thesis on the establishment of positive institutional research ethics arrangements was recognised with an Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award from the Queensland University of Technology. Gary has a full-time and ongoing position as a Senior Policy Officer at the Office for Research, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

His knowledge and expertise in regards to the national and international governance of ethical conduct in research has resulted in him serving on numerous national committees, on four separate occasions as a training facilitator for the NHMRC and to advise the committee working on the 2007 review of the National Statement with regards to the conduct of proportional review. Gary is a current member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee and is serving on a number of NHMRC working groups.

Gary is a frequent presenter at conferences and has been invited by a number of Australian universities to conduct workshops on the National Statement and the Australian Code. In 2007, he co-presented a workshop with the then CEO of the NHMRC about the National Statement and the Australian Code. In 2007, his work in contributing to the learning of students in the human research ethics was recognised with a national teaching Citation from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

Gary’s work in producing useful, clear, thoughtful and quality resource documents is nationally recognised. He is principal author of the Griffith University Research Ethics Manual, which is a booklet based resource for researchers, ethics reviewers and educators. In 2014 Griffith University commercialised the GUREM and licenses have been purchased by 7 universities, 2 more are signing the paperwork, and two government departments and two more universities are considering purchasing a license. He is a member of the sub-committee responsible for research ethics of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology. He is also one of the founding members of the Australasian Human Research Ethics Association.


Stephen Dale

Speaker, Trainer, Mentor, Published Author 

Stephen has faced extreme obstacles and been forced to make difficult choices. Instead of being broken by these difficulties, he studies, practices and teaches practical development systems in mental health, resilience, transformation and leadership. Stephen presents relevant solutions to enlighten and guide corporations, business leaders, community groups and todays’ youth.

 No-one understands the challenging consequences of traumatic brain injury better than keynote speaker, trainer in resilience  and transformation and successful author, Stephen Dale. After years of managing his own recovery, Stephen now speaks professionally to students, business owners and the public about resilience and strategies for taking control of one’s own life.

 Click here to read his story

 

Tiffany Middleton 

Administration Officer and HDR student 

Tiffany Middleton was an active sports journalist and communication professional who, after a life changing cycling accident, completed her Masters of Public Health on the experience of women with disabilities. She is interested in how we can promote consumer engagement in research and improve the delivery of services for people with orthopaedic injuries and amputations.

 

Tim McCallum 

International singer
A
dvocate for people living with disability

After twenty-five years of diverse performance experience, Timothy McCallum is one of Australia’s most exciting and loved local performers and is fast becoming an international phenomenon. But it almost wasn’t to be. At the age of 18, he was well on his way to commencing a successful career in the music & theatre industry when a diving accident changed his life forever and potentially shattering his dreams of treading the boards ever again. After breaking his neck, leaving him a quadriplegic, doctors and specialists told him that he would never sing again the way he used to. But his resilient character and extraordinary spirit have touched the hearts of the arts community, as they have watched him defy the odds, rehabilitate and return to the stage to continue his performing career. Altering his singing technique to compensate for the physical challenges he faces because of his disability, he now sings better than ever, and with the voice of an angel he is able to soar to the heights of some of the great tenor arias written. His achievements and experiences speak for themselves, but it’s his voice that tells his story the best.

After his nation stopping performance on The Voice on Channel 9 in 2015, Tim has been touring much of Australia performing and speaking about his incredible journey, the barriers and challenges he has had to face and overcome to now be one of Australia’s most sought after entertainers. Recently Tim has appeared at the Sydney Opera House, Crown Palladium, The Queenslands Children’s Telethon, and at the Nations Capitol, Parliament House, for esteemed events and functions. But more importantly, these have been opportunities for Tim to represent the disability community and showcase the talents of those who strive through adversity. 

His advocacy work is his equal passion to performing, and it’s his attitude to spread a positive message about disability that have recently earned the following honors and performances at National Ambassador of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week, National Disability Awards Guest Artist and International Day for People With A Disability Ambassador. Tim has truly become the voice of Australian’s living with a disability and his music touches the souls of all those he performs to. 

Ambassador Council

The Ambassador council was launched in January 2018 with the focus on the importance of valuing the voice of people with disabilities in all decision making and discovery. In their roles as Ambassadors, they will be working with THC members to ensure research conducted in the Centre is in line with the needs of those who use disability and rehabilitation services, and addresses topics of relevance and importance to the community. The council is led by Dr Mandy Neilsen, as chair and well-known local social worker. She completed her PhD in chronic pain after sustaining a crippling back injury and has worked tirelessly for many years to improve services for people with chronic pain. She is a board member of Chronic Pain Australia, and served as Vice President for 10 years.

The council met recently in May to welcome new Ambassadors, confirm terms of reference and discuss and formulate an engagement strategy based on inclusion and embedding people with disability into The Centre's research, practice and design of services. Through partnerships between people with disabilities, researchers, policy-makers, clinicians, industry and community, the Centre is focused on exploring bold ideas and better solutions for the future.

More information coming soon on research opportunities, engagement, impact and experience hub. If you have a story or experience you wish to share, contact us hopkinscentre@griffith.edu.au.

Stay tuned to hear more about The Hopkins Centre Ambassador Council throughout 2018