Integrity in Health Information Public Lecture

This session is open to the public

Public Lecture Topic:

The primary and secondary use of confidential health data/information – what are the benefits and risks?

Health data is the most sensitive data and there is currently strong public interest in relation to the Australian Government’s My Health Record data collection software. Therefore, the lecture will traverse the way in which this health data can better inform health professionals and guide beneficial policy, as well as the need for data security due to the privacy risks which exist, particularly in this technological age and with the ever expanding use of AI. For instance, the panel will consider questions, such as:

  • ‘what level of anonymity exists in health data?’
  • ‘what does anonymity actually mean?’
  • ‘how important is consent?’

The Integrity Commissioner, Dr Nikola Stepanov will be chairing the panel and the lecture will address key questions being put to the panel for their reflection in light of their areas of expertise. There will be a strong focus on audience participation and the ability to put questions to the panel.


  • Dr Nikola Stepanov, Queensland Integrity Commission (Chair)
  • Mr Philip Green, Queensland Privacy Commissioner
  • Professor Richard Murray, Dean of the College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University
  • Dr Vicki Xafis, Senior Research Fellow, National University of Singapore, Centre for Biomedical Ethics

Panel Bio’s:

Dr Nikola Stepanov was appointed by the Governor in Council on 1 July 2017 as Queensland’s fifth Integrity Commissioner. Her appointment is for a three-year term, which expires on 30 June 2020.

Dr Stepanov has spent much of her career in service to the public sector and community. Her background is in professional ethics and governance, research and research regulation, mediation and dispute resolution, and board governance. She has expertise in resolving complex and contentious conflicts where there are grave personal or governance risks.

She holds five degrees, including a Juris Doctor (JD) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). She completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne with the School of Global and Population Health and the Melbourne Medical School.

Her professional accreditation and memberships include: as a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia (FGIA); accreditation as a Mediator under the National Mediator Accreditation System; accreditation by the Federal Attorney General’s Department as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner; and registration as a Professional member with the Resolution Institute (PRI). In the mediation space, she has a strong interest in children’s rights, elder advocacy, cross-jurisdictional property matters, and cross-border treaty matters involving children with complex health needs.

Dr Stepanov is published in various fields including as a co-author on a book chapter with renowned Canadian physician, Professor Gordan Guyatt OC, founder of the concept of evidence-based medicine. As part of various collaborative partnerships, she has been involved in securing significant funding and grants. She continues to be involved in research and to publish, mainly in the areas of: human genomics law and ethics; corruption prevention and public administration; medical law and ethics; and dispute resolution, as well as supervising PhD students.

Over the course of her career she has dabbled in most things as well as the working in ‘the office’ such as rearing calves, fencing and drenching, running a herringbone dairy (in pink flannel shirt of course), rescuing koala communities post-bush-fires, and can even can ride gallopers for track-work (slowly and only as a last resort for the horse’s sake).

On a more personal note, Dr Stepanov was born in Townsville, Queensland, and adopted into the rather nomadic Stepanov family. She started primary school in Fairbanks, Alaska, before moving back to Queensland via San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a few other stops in between. In Queensland she attended schools in Mt Isa, Hervey Bay, and Cloncurry, before completing high school in Maryborough and then working her way through several university degrees. She has three adult sons, and is co-located in Townsville and Brisbane.

In her spare time, Dr Stepanov is a keen traveller, section/ distance hiker, snow skier, book-lover, and chocolate devotee.  She barracks for the Cowboys and the Normanby Hounds.

Mr Philip Green was appointed to the position of Privacy Commissioner, Office of the Information Commissioner in December 2015.

Philip has worked in many different Queensland Government roles and in private practice throughout his career.  Prior to his appointment as Privacy Commissioner, he was Executive Director, Small Business – Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games and has held this role since 2008.  He was responsible for leading Innovation Policy and Innovation Partnerships and Services and Office of Small Business Teams in the delivery of high level policy development, program management, service delivery and advice.

Philip has also held high level policy roles with the Department of Transport and Department of Premier and Cabinet. He has worked as in house solicitor and investigations manager for the Residential Tenancies Authority and in private practice with Allen Allen and Hemsley (formerly Feez Ruthning).

Philip holds degrees in law and arts (with economic minor) and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia in February 1992. Further to this he completed a Masters degree in law, majoring in technology law and focusing on policy development surrounding intellectual property, privacy and commercialisation, information technology and regulation of the internet and media. Mr Green has also volunteered as a solicitor at Caxton Legal Centre.

As the Privacy Commissioner Philip actively promotes and champions privacy rights and responsibilities in Queensland. In his role as Privacy Commissioner, Philip leads the staff in OIC responsible for mediating privacy complaints which have not been resolved with the Queensland Government agency involved; conducting reviews and audits of privacy compliance; giving compliance notices for serious, flagrant or recurring breaches of the privacy principles; and waiving or modifying an agency’s privacy obligations for a particular purpose or project.

Philip is appointed as Privacy Commissioner to 10 December 2018.

Professor Richard Murray is the Dean of the College of Medicine and Dentistry at James Cook University (JCU). At JCU he leads Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and related research and service. He is also responsible for general practice training for 90% of Queensland under the Australian General Practice Training Program. Professor Murray’s career focus has been in rural generalist medicine, Aboriginal health, public health, tropical medicine, medical and health professional education and the healthcare needs of underserved populations. He has a national and international profile in rural medical education and rural medicine and has held a range of leadership positions.

Professor Murray is acting President of Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand, a Director on the Board of the Mackay Hospital and Health Service and a past President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. Prior to joining JCU as Planning Director of the Rural Clinical School in 2005, Professor Murray spent 14 years in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, including 12 years as the Medical Director of the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council.

Areas of professional interest and leadership include:

  • Rural health systems strengthening, including supply of rural medical and health workforce, promotion of generalist models of clinical care, appropriate use of technology and the development of new and extended health professional roles;
  • Shaping national policy on health systems and health professional education reform with an emphasis on rural health, primary care and generalist medical care and the JCU experience;
  • Socially accountable health professional education that seeks to align teaching research and service to the priority healthcare needs of communities.
  • Building international alliances to promote Rural Generalist Medicine as a means of strengthening access to quality, safe and affordable health care in rural and remote communities.
  • Professor Murray has participated in the national policy arena in rural and remote medicine and health, health professional education and Aboriginal health for over 20 years and has had a key role in many initiatives, including a recent appointment by the Prime Minister to the National Ice Taskforce.

Dr Vicki Xafis is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore, leading the NMRC-funded SHAPES (Science, Health and Policy-relevant Ethics in Singapore) initiative. She has a background in bioethics, linguistics, education and research. Vicki has considerable professional expertise in research & clinical ethics and has recently moved to Singapore to join the SHAPES Team. In addition to interests in areas of clinical ethics, Vicki has an interest in big data ethics, privacy, consent, and research ethics.

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