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Board members

The NBPSA Board consists of eight members. Each member serves a two-year term with half of the positions being available for nominations each year. 

The Board consists of four specific roles, the President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary along with four positions aimed at ensuring the voices of key membership groups are heard; New Zealand members, Early Career Consultants and Trainees.  One position has also been established to focus on liaison with the Royal Australian College of Physicians and the Community Child Health advanced training program for paediatricians.  

Current board members

Dr Gehan Roberts

Professional history

Associate Professor Gehan Roberts is a developmental-behavioural paediatrician and holds appointments with The Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and The University of Melbourne. Gehan completed his clinical fellowship in child development at the Boston Children’s Hospital. He has a Master of Public Health from Harvard University and a PhD in the field of child development from The University of Melbourne. His clinical interests are in the fields of developmental evaluation, behavioural consultation, learning disabilities, psychopharmacology and medical education.

NBPSA Board positions

President, 2016 - present

Vice-President, 2012 - 2016

“It's wonderful to get to know and work with talented and inspirational paediatricians across Australia and New Zealand.  I enjoy being a part of 'big picture' projects and activities that aim to make meaningful changes for developmental paediatricians and the children and families we work with”.

Dr Jane Lesslie

Professional history

Newly elected - coming soon!

NBPSA Board positions

Vice-President, 2019 - present

Secretary, 2012 - 2016

Dr Katie Heathershaw

Professional history

Dr Katie Heathershaw is a developmental behavioural paediatrician. She trained at the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Centre for Community Child Health, later undertaking research and completing a thesis for a doctorate of medicine. Katie founded the Melbourne Children’s Clinic in 2001, the first private, multidisciplinary paediatric clinic of its kind in Melbourne. Katie’s clinical interests include child behaviour problems, developmental and learning disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD, sleep problems of infants and children, and infant distress.

NBPSA Board positions

Secretary, 2017 - present

“Being on the Board of NBPSA has been a great experience. It’s rewarding to be involved in the workings of the society, developing new skills in leadership and advocacy as well as forming close links with like-minded paediatricians”.

Dr Karina Chaves

Professional history

Newly elected - coming soon!

NBPSA Board positions

Treasurer, 2019 - present

Dr Mick O'Keeffe

Professional history

Mick is a Developmental-Behavioural Paediatrician, based in Brisbane, and a NBPSA Foundation Committee member. He has particular interests in medical education, postgraduate specialty training, and clinical supervision. Mick has completed a Master’s degree in Medical Education.

Mick was a member of the RACP Advanced Training Committee in Community Child Health for several years (2010 - 2018) and is a current member of the RACP Curriculum Advisory Group.

Mick has an ongoing interest in the introduction of a competency-based training framework in Paediatric Advanced Training.  In 2015, he chaired the Pilot of a CCH training curriculum based around Entrustable Professional Activities.

Mick also has a strong interest in mechanisms for maintaining the wellbeing of our paediatric workforce. He has been involved in trialling, and advocating for, various forms of professional supervision for paediatricians.

NBPSA Board positions

RACP Liaison representative, 2016 - present

“It is a privilege to serve on the board of the NBPSA, as our society continues to grow in size, scope, support for members, and influence over the practice of developmental-behavioural paediatrics.”

Dr Yvette Vella

Professional history

Dr Yvette Vella is developmental and general paediatrician working in Sydney. Yvette completed her medical training at the University of Sydney in 2002. She is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. She also holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) and a Master of Public Health. She undertook her paediatric training through the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.  Yvette works with the Centre for Disability Studies providing care for school aged children with an intellectual disability and other complex diagnoses. She also works in private practice.

Yvette has a special interest in supporting complex behaviour difficulties, developmental trauma and attachment disruption for children placed in out-of-home care. 

NBPSA Board positions

Early career consultant (ECC) representative, 2016 - present

"I really enjoy working with such an enthusiastic and caring group of professionals who want to improve the experience of neurodevelopmental paediatric care, for families and clinicians. I have loved the opportunity to be part of valuable work with our trainee and early career consultant colleagues, building skills in professional resilience and peer support. It is a privilege to be able to learn the extent of NBSPA activities and impact, outside of our day-to-day member discussion. "

Dr Jessica Allen

Professional history

Newly elected - coming soon!

NBPSA Board positions

New Zealand representative, 2019 - present

Dr Nadia Coscini

Professional history

Newly elected - coming soon!

NBPSA Board positions

Trainee representative, 2019 - present

Recently retired board members

Dr Con Papadopoulos

Professional history

Dr Con Papadopoulos has worked as a Staff Specialist Developmental Paediatrician since the start of his career and maintained a role in general / acute paediatrics. He is currently the director of the RNSH Child Development Service, senior paediatrician at St George Hospital Sydney, and Conjoint Lecturer at the University of NSW. Con has a Masters Degree in Applied Management (Health) and undertook a sabbatical investigating models of care in tertiary Child Development Services across the UK, USA and Canada. Con’s interests revolve around quality measures for the improvement of clinical services for children with developmental disabilities as well as support for trainees and peers working in this field. Con jumped at the opportunity to start up NBPSA with other foundational leaders, and has been on the NBPSA board since inception. He maintains the role of treasurer of NBPSA and the NSW state contact.

NBPSA Board positions

Treasurer, 2012 - 2019

“Being a NBPSA board member has helped me understand issues at a deeper level and it has been a privilege working alongside skilled colleagues tackling problems that were otherwise insurmountable”.

Dr Heidi Webster

Professional history

Dr Heidi Webster is a consultant paediatrician specialising in developmental and behavioural disorders. She is the Clinical Services Director at the Sunshine Coast Child Development Service (CDS) in Maroochydore, QLD. Heidi is a member of the Australian FASD Clinical Network and set up the Sunshine Coast FASD Clinic within the CDS in 2015. Heidi also works in a private paediatric practice on the Sunshine Coast, focussing on diagnosis and management of childhood autism spectrum disorders and the many childhood learning, behaviour and mental health conditions seen in community paediatric practice.

Heidi is passionate about improving the childhood and long-term life course outcomes for children with developmental disorders, and those from at-risk groups, including children in out-of-home-care, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

NBPSA Board positions

Vice-President, 2017 - 2019

Secretary - 2016 - 2017

“I have learnt about the governance structures of our society and helped to shape a professional body with the lofty vision and aims to better our profession, with the support of wonderful colleagues and staff. It has enabled me to be part of government department communications, make valuable contributions to working groups for diagnostic guidelines and advocacy statements, and be part of something greater than my individual clinical practice”.

Dr Phillipa Clark

Professional history

Phillipa Clark went to Southampton University.  She trained in Comminity and Developmental Paediatrics the UK and New Zealand and undertook an MD in Paediatric Epidemiology at the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, Southampton.  She works in Developmental Paediatrics and CAMHS at Auckland District Health Board and is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland.  In her private practice she is developing an interested in ADHD across the age range. 

NBPSA Board positions

New Zealand representative, 2017 - 2019

Dr Suzi Riess

Professional history

Dr Suzi Riess completed her MBBS (Hons) and BMedSc (Hons) at Monash University, Melbourne. She undertook specialist paediatric training through the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne and became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) within the specialty of General Paediatrics in December 2017. She is also completing Advanced Training in Community Child Health. Suzi has experience in general and neurodevelopmental-behavioural paediatrics, including sleep and settling problems across the age range, continence and toileting issues, child protection and general management of children with complex, chronic health concerns. She has a special interest in helping children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, developmental differences, learning difficulties, emotional/behavioural challenges and physical disability including cerebral palsy.

Suzi is an Honorary Fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI). Her research interests include understanding and improving low value health care practices, health systems research and health economics.

NBPSA Board positions

Trainee representative, 2017 - 2019

“Being an NBPSA Board member has brought a wonderful and enriching dimension to my professional identity and practice. I have a greater appreciation of the ‘bigger picture’ for our scope of practice and feel very connected to the growing community of trainees and paediatricians working in this space”.