Rotary District 9630 Conference 2018

Friday, 9 March 2018 to Sunday, 11 March 2018 from 6:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Redlands Performing Arts Centre, Cleveland, Australia



Organisation: School of St Jude

Position: Founder

Gemma Sisia

Gemma was raised on a wool sheep property in   Armidale,    Australia.  She was the only daughter of eight children. Her parents were Sue and Basil Rice. As a child, she competed in show jumping.  She attended St Vincent's College. Growing up, her family heavily emphasized education.

Gemma studied biochemistry, genetics, and education at Melbourne University. At age 22, she moved to Uganda to work in a convent school. A few months later, she met Richard Sisia, a Tanzanian safari driver, in Tanzania. They later married and had four children.

In January 2002, Gmma established the School of St Jude in Tanzania. The school has expanded to about 2,000 students,[9] over 95% of which whom "receive a free, high-quality education at the primary and secondary levels.



Organisation: Griffith University

Position: Research Scientist

Brisbane-born Professor Good originally trained as a medical doctor, with a double degree in medicine and medical science. The director of QIMR at the time, Professor Chev Kidson, supervised his medical science year and suggested Good think about doing research.

Good's dilemma about whether to be a physician or a scientist was settled in his second year as a doctor, when he worked in a leukaemia ward where many of the patients died.

"I realised that medical research could prevent many people being in hospital in the first place," says Good, whose two passions in his degrees were immunology and parasitology.

After doing his PhD in Melbourne at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, he spent almost four years in the US at the National Institutes of Health.

It was there that his malaria vaccine quest began. He was in a lab that was one of the first to clone the malaria genes, while a nearby lab had a team of immunologists mapping the different immune responses to the parasite's life cycle.

"I was like a dog in a butcher's shop," he says. "I was in the middle of these two amazing groups."

His studies in the US, plus a trip to Africa, convinced Good that the key to developing a malaria vaccine was to understand the host's immune response to the parasite.

In 1988, he returned to Australia and joined QIMR's molecular immunology lab to pursue his theory that a vaccine had to generate an immunity response to the whole parasite.

Good hopes for success within the next five years, after 30 years of research. "It's always been apparent this is an important area because malaria kills so many, especially children under five. To give up is unthinkable."

Organisation: Purple House - Western Desert Dialysis

Position: Chief Executive Officer

The remote area nurse, who reshaped ‘on country’ dialysis services for Aboriginal people in central Australia was awarded the top honour at the 2017 Hesta Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards, held in Brisbane in May. Sarah Brown is the founder of the Alice Springs-based Western Desert Dialysis, known as Purple House.

The Aboriginal community-controlled venture has 24 dialysis machines at 11 places, from Wanarn and Warburton in Western Australia to Yirrkala in Arnhem Land. It also has a mobile dialysis unit, the Purple Truck,  which rolls  out to visit other remote communities.