Governance Structure

Surgery People, Culture and Development

The Department of Surgery is comprised of paid academic surgeons, scientists, and professional staff, honorary staff appointments, with an Executive Committee encompassing representation from all hospital precincts. We are working to actively increase professional development opportunities to all of our members through strengthening our research focus and performance across the spectrum from discovery to translation, including basic and clinical sciences, hospital services and population health sciences; to encourage and support learning and teaching developments and innovation, and championing clinical leadership through advocacy of a greater leadership role for academic surgeons.

Vision Statement

In keeping with the vision of the Melbourne Medical School, the Department of Surgery is committed to becoming world-renown in:

  • Quality in patient care outcomes;
  • Leadership in the provision of  surgical education for medical students, and current and future surgeons;
  • Innovation and excellence in the conduct of basic sciences, clinical and translational research;
  • The establishment of linkages and partnerships with internal (inter-precinct, School, Faculty) and external stakeholders (Institutions, industry, government).

The Department of Surgery has established policies and continues to monitor their implementation through the basic committee structure, which underpins all activities within the department; this is done with the aim of harnessing the talents of members of the Department in developing and administering the protocols for research, education and training, mentorship, and appointments and promotions for senior honorary staff.

Research Committee

The Research Committee is chaired by Professor Peter Choong (the Hugh Devine Chair of Surgery) from St Vincent’s Hospital, and acts as a sub-committee of the Department Executive. Research has representation from all Department of Surgery precincts, and has not only overall responsibility for the development and translation of the Department Research Strategy, but also oversees and promotes the development and integration of the Department’s knowledge exchange and impact strategy with its commitment to research excellence. Since the committee’s inception in 2016, the Department has incrementally introduced several elements outlined in the Research Strategy to augment the research output and help create a ‘pipeline’ for further grant income such as:

Student support: - promotion of surgical student activities in the Clinical Schools through closer alignment with the Surgical Students’ Society, and annual prizes given for ‘best PhD candidate publication’ and Poster presentation by surgical research project students; these initiatives are aimed towards improving the Department’s research impact, to promote knowledge transfer and encourage our student researchers at the beginning of their careers.

Research support: - work with MDHS Research Development to identify what existing resources are available to support researchers, and provision of internal panel reviews facilitated by senior peer researchers to interrogate the underpinning science of each grant application, and a subsequent extensive external editing review by a contracted organisation to further refine and enhance the final applications.

An integral part of our research framework is to augment the research pipeline, and to put in place processes that will provide our researchers with greater access and participation in research such as the creation of five $20,000 seeding grants that have recently been awarded to Early Career Researchers (ECR) for 2017, to enable them to generate pilot data, that will facilitate subsequent grant applications.

Department of Surgery Research Committee - Terms of Reference

Members of the Department of Surgery Research Committee are:

  • Professor Peter Choong, Chair

    University of Melbourne

  • Associate Professor Michelle Dowsey, (St Vincent's Hospital)

    University of Melbourne

  • Professor Alice P├ębay (The Royal Melbourne Hospital)

    University of Melbourne

  • Dr Hongjian Zhu (the Royal Melbourne Hospital)

    University of Melbourne

  • Associate Professor Vijayaragavan Muralidharan (Austin Health)

    University of Melbourne

  • Dr Justin Tan (Otolaryngology)

    University of Melbourne

  • Dr Marcos Perini (Austin Health)

    University of Melbourne

  • Dr Russell Hodgson (Northern Health)

    University of Melbourne

  • Ms Denise Dwyer (Department Manager)

    University of Melbourne

Ms Toni Ardino (Executive Officer)

Contact Us: Ms Toni Ardino

Education Committee

The Education and Training Committee is chaired by Professor Chris Christophi from Austin Health, and operates under the same governance structure as our other Departmental Committees. This committee has only been in existence for part of 2017, and although the terms of reference have been developed and ratified by the Department Executive, it is still in the process of establishing a sub-committee structure (with a wider inclusive membership) for Education Research; Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Simulation in Education. The remit of the Education Committee applies to all education and training programs that have surgical elements, within the Melbourne Medical School and includes the MD program, CPD, course-work post graduate programs in Surgical Education and Surgical Science, and the HDR Master’s Degree in Surgery.

Department of Surgery Education and Training Committee - Terms of Reference

Members of the Department of Surgery Education Committee are:

  • Associate Professor Justin Yeung Chair

    University of Melbourne

  • Professor Paul Baird (Ophthalmology)

    University of Melbourne

  • Professor Debra Nestal (Austin Health)

    University of Melbourne

  • Dr Claudia Di Bella (St Vincent's Hospital)

    University of Melbourne

  • Ms Denise Dwyer (Department Manager)

    University of Melbourne

Associate Profressor Ehud Zamir (Ophthalmology)

Dr Elizabeth Rose (Otolaryngology)

Dr Kristie MacGill (Royal Melbourne Hospital)

Dr Sharon Lee (Royal Melbourne Hospital)

Dr Krinal Mori (Northern Health);

Ms Julie Miller (Executive Officer)

Contact Us: Ms Julie Miller:

Appointments and Promotions Committee

Academic Appointments and Promotions Committee is chaired by Professor Stephen O’Leary (the William Gibson Chair of Otolaryngology) at the Eye and Ear Hospital.  The remit for this Committee only relates to both new and re-appointments for Honoraries at levels D and E. The completed documentation (together with a letter of support from the relevant Precinct Lead) are reviewed by the Committee to ensure that a consistency and rigor (in the appointments criteria) is applied across the entire Department for the appointment and re-appointment of academic surgeons.

Melbourne Medical School Honorary Appointments Website

Members of the Department of Surgery Academic Appointments and Promotions Committee are:

  • Professor Stephen O'Leary Chair

    University of Melbourne

  • Professor Paul Baird (Ophthalmology)

    University of Melbourne

  • Professor Robyn Guymer

    University of Melbourne

  • Professor Tony Penington

    University of Melbourne

  • Professor Alistair Royse (Ophthalmology)

    University of Melbourne

Contact Us: Ms Cassandra Lewis:


Led by Professor Anthony Penington the Department of Surgery runs a focussed mentoring program which identifies and fosters young surgeons who are considering a career in academic surgery.  Each mentoring cycle lasts for one year and matches a younger surgeon with a suitable mentor.  Mentoring is directed towards developing a career path in academic surgery and solving the many problems which particularly affect surgeons in balancing busy clinical practice with research and teaching.  The program is only open to surgeons in the department who are close to completion of training or in the first few years of practice.

  • Professor Anthony Penington

    University of Melbourne

Professional Development Opportunities

Surgical Conference Finder was founded with the idea for the site arising from the difficulties encountered by surgeons in spending hours searching the internet for various conference locations and abstract deadlines. Today the Surgical Conference Finder houses a comprehensive database of over 500 surgical conferences and continues to grow. The aim is to help surgeons find interesting conferences to present their own research or to find out more about the latest research in their field.

The Surgical Conference Finder is regularly updated, free to use and you can keep up to date through the Surgical Conference Finder social media channels: