Thursday, 12 Feb 2015

Our Ambassadors

Frontline Ambassadors

  • Emergency Services Leaders:

Stephen Fontana APM

Assistant Commissioner Victoria Police

Stephen Fontana has been a member of Victoria Police since 1975 and has spent the majority of his career as a criminal investigator; working at busy metropolitan Criminal Investigation Units, in the Crime Squads and on a number of high profile task force investigations. He also spent a number of years working at the Ethical Standards Department leading investigations into complaints against police and police corruption.

Mr Fontana was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner in charge of the State Emergencies and Security Department in early 2008. In June 2011, he took charge of the North West Metropolitan Region which delivers frontline police services for the largest region in the state (1.71 million Victorians living in 14 local government areas)

Mr Fontana commenced his current role as the Assistant Commissioner Crime Command on 1 July 2012. This role manages the portfolios of Sexual & Family Violence, Specialist Support, Serious Crime (including Homicide and Sex Crimes), Finance & Cybercrime, the State Anti-Gangs Division and Organised Crime across the state.

Jim Higgins ASM

Jim Higgins ASM was appointed as the CEO of the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB) in Melbourne (Victoria) in March 2014.

Jim has an extensive background in emergency management and human services and a strong record of achievement in the financial, employee, political and stakeholder management of health and emergency services sector organizations.

Prior to joining the MFB, Jim was with the Department of Human Services for Victoria as Deputy Secretary of Corporate Services. In that role he led more than 12,000 employees across a complex political, social and geographically dispersed network, with a multi-billion dollar budget to support the delivery of critical social services across the State. Earlier, as a Regional Director, he was responsible for the delivery of an extensive range of services including Health and Aged Care, Mental Health and Drugs, Community Health, Disability, Child Protection, Youth Justice, Housing, Homelessness and Emergency Management relief and recovery.

Jim’s impressive background also includes 13 years with the Queensland Ambulance Service - the fourth largest ambulance service in the world – progressing ultimately to head the QAS as its Commissioner. He has also served as Director and Chairman of the Council of Ambulance Authorities, Australasia. In recognition of his significant contributions to research and education in the sector, Jim was also appointed Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology and was recognised in the Australia Day Honours in 2004 with the Ambulance Service Medal (ASM) for his distinguished service to the community.

Craig Lapsley

Victoria’s first and only Emergency Management Commissioner (EMC) Craig Lapsley has worked in emergency management for 30 years. Starting out as a volunteer fire fighter with the Victorian Country Fire Authority, he has led and transformed NSW Fire and the Victoria State Emergency Service. As Director Emergency Management – Health and Human Services, Craig’s work included the state coordination and management of recovery arrangements after the 2009 Black Saturday fires.

Ass Prof Tony Walker ASM

Assoc Prof Tony Walker is a qualified Intensive Care Paramedic and has an extensive career in ambulance working in a range of senior clinical governance, education and operational roles in rural and metropolitan Victoria.

Tony is Acting Chief Executive of Ambulance Victoria and an adjunct Associate Professor, Paramedic Sciences in the College of Health and Biomedicine at Victoria University.

He is a Fellow of Paramedics Australasia and holds a Bachelor of Paramedic Studies, Graduate Diploma of Emergency Health (MICA) and Master of Education. Tony is Chairman of Australian Resuscitation Council (Victorian Branch), an Ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and a member of the PCFA Victorian / Tasmanian Chapter Council.

In 2005, Tony was awarded the Ambulance Service Medal (ASM) in the Australia Day Honours list and in 2012 was awarded the Heart Foundation’s President’s Award in recognition of his significant contributions to their work in improving cardiovascular health.

  • Emergency Medicine Directors:

Prof. George Braitberg

 Prof. George Braitberg is an Emergency Physician and Medical Toxicologist who graduated Medical School,  University of Melbourne in 1981. After completing training in Emergency Medicine with the Australasian  College for Emergency Medicine 1988, he has a long career in Emergency Medicine including as Director of  Emergency Medicine, Moorabbin, Campus, Monash Medical Centre; Deputy Director, Emergency Medicine  and Consultant Medical Toxicologist, St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne; Deputy Director of Emergency  Medicine and Consultant Medical Toxicologist St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne; Director of Emergency Medicine,  Department of Emergency Medicine and Co-Director (and Founder) Medical Toxicology Service Austin Health, and inaugural Professor of Emergency Medicine, Southern Clinical School, Monash University. Director of Emergency Medicine, Monash Health.

He is currently Professor of Emergency Medicine, Melbourne University and Director of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne Health and is active in the areas of research relating to toxicology, emergency medicine and substance abuse

Prof. Braitberg is a very keen advocate of preventative education and a strong supporter of early intervention. He has joined the life Education team to assist in any capacity in empowering and positively influencing children.

Dr. Fergus Kerr

MBBS (1987), FACEM (1996), MPH (1997) , FRACMA (2014)

Through my many years as an Emergency Physician and a Clinical Toxicologist I have seen firsthand the impact of alcohol and drugs on children and their families. I am passionate about reducing the harm of these agents, and giving children the strength and knowledge to make better health choices. I would love to think that we can develop the awareness amongst clinicians too, so that every interaction is seen as an opportunity to teach and empower children and their parents to be informed and take control of their health.

Dr. Ed Oakley

Ed Oakley is a paediatric emergency physician and Director of Emergency Medicine at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. He has an interest in research and incorporating best care into clinical practice in emergency departments. He is the lead researcher in the Paediatric Emergency Medicine Centre of Research Excellence in Australia, and involved in research through the Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative.

The opportunity to help every Australian child, young person and their families to benefit from education about safe and healthy choices is something I could not resist. Supporting Life Education will empower generations of Australians to live to their full potential.

Dr. De Villiers Smit 

De Villiers Smit is an Emergency Physician who has been working at The Alfred for 13 years. He is currently the Director of the Emergency & Trauma Centre at The Alfred Hospital and Director of Emergency Services for Alfred Health (which includes Sandringham ED). Apart from an active interest in research and education, he is also heavily involved with improving patient flow and safety within the ED setting.

Following graduation from medical school in South Africa, he worked for a number of years in the UK and New Zealand before settling in Australia in 1999. He completed his training as emergency physician at The Royal Melbourne Hospital in 2001. Since then he has worked at The Northern Hospital (Director of Research), Bendigo Hospital (Director of Emergency Medicine Training) and as Senior Lecturer in Emergency Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2002-2003).

His personal interests include long distance running, skiing and kickboxing. He is an advocate of education to prevent poor choices and has joined the Life Education team to assist in the goal of educating every child to enable them to meet their full health potential. His personal motto is "life is good....don't mess it up!"

Celebrity Ambassadors

Alex Fevola

Alex Fevola, professional photographer and former model, is the owner/director of Runway Room. Alex and her team specialise in shooting Portraiture Modelling, grooming & Personal development for kids and professional make-up for weddings & special occasions.

Andrew Gaze AM

Andrew Gaze, one of the greatest basketball players Australia has produced, competed in five Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000) - and led the Boomers to their best performance, fourth at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Andrew has played more than 280 matches for Australia. For the Sydney Games in 2000 he was selected as flag-bearer for the Australian team.

Cameron Ling

Cameron Lingis a former Australian rules footballer for the Geelong Football Club in the Australian Football League. In 2013 he joined the 3AW broadcasting team as football commentator.

Neil Mitchell AO

Neil Mitchell AO is an Australian radio presenter on Melbourne AM talk-back station 3AW.

Steve Moneghetti AM

Steve Moneghetti represented Australia at four Commonwealth Games winning the complete set of marathon medals with gold in 1994 in Canada. He was appointed Mayor of the 2006 Commonwealth Games Village and Chef de Mission in New Delhi. In 2014 Steve was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for 'significant service to athletics as a marathon runner, administrator and mentor to young athletes’.

Russell Robertson

Russell Robertson, media personality and former AFL player for the Melbourne Football Club, is now the Club Development Manager for Melbourne FC.

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