An exhilarating thought leadership series proudly hosted by UNSW Medicine & Health

Biggest global health threat of the 21st century

Here, MedConnect delves into some of the most pressing health challenges of today and the future, empowering our medical community to enrich us with their expertise and drive solutions.

Each year, we organise a series of events to address health challenges head-on.

Explore our MedConnect events from previous years, covering topics such as the future of AI, addressing gender disparities in health, elevating health in the climate change debate, and much more. Each event is recorded in either video or audio format.


MedConnect x Sci-Fi Series | Elevating health in the climate debate

10 April 2024

As we grapple with the increasing consequences of climate change, experts are warning that it’s not just an environmental issue, declaring it the ‘biggest global health threat of the 21st century’.

In the face of these warnings, where does Australia stand in its preparedness to address these health challenges, both locally and globally?

Speaker panel:

  • Dr Georgia Behrens MD MScPH, Assistant Director, National Health, Sustainability and Climate Unit
  • Scientia Professor Guy Marks AO, physician and epidemiologist, Woolcock and UNSW Medicine & Health
  • Professor Ben Newell, Director, Institute for Climate Risk and Response, UNSW Sydney
  • Dr Chloe Watfern, research fellow, Black Dog Institute
  • Host: Tegan Taylor, ABC health and science reporter and co-host of the ABC’s multi-award-winning Coronacast.
Listen now


MedConnect | Closing the gender health gap

13 September 2023

The gender health gap is real. Although women have a longer life expectancy than men, they often have poorer access to health care, and receive incorrect or delayed diagnoses and less effective treatments than men.

For decades, women’s health has been systematically under-researched, under-funded and under-valued.
So how do we close the many gender gaps in health care? Our experts will explore why there is a gender health gap and what changes and innovations need to be made to the way medicine is researched, funded and taught to ensure a fairer and healthier future for women.

Speaker panel:

  • Dr Rebecca Deans – specialist in paediatric and adolescent gynaecology at Sydney Children's Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Women, and senior lecturer at UNSW Medicine & Health. Lead surgeon on Australia's first uterus transplant.
  • Professor Clara Chow AM – Academic Director of the Westmead Applied Research Centre, University of Sydney, and cardiologogist at Westmead Hospital.
  • Professor Robyn Norton AO, Founding Director of The George Institute for Global Health and Professor of Public Health at UNSW Medicine & Health.
  • Host: Tegan Taylor, ABC health and science reporter and co-host of the ABC’s multi-award-winning coronacast.
Listen now

MedConnect | Greater Sydney health landscape

28 June 2023

Greater Sydney is growing at an exponential pace – both in terms of its powerhouse economy and diverse, aspirational population. This presents great opportunities, but also challenges – particularly in providing quality care to the expanding population, which is ageing and faces increasing rates of chronic diseases.

There are ongoing efforts to build and support healthcare infrastructure, education, and medical research and precincts in Greater Sydney. Close cooperation between communities, universities, government, and local healthcare districts (LHDs) is crucial to reap the benefits of these major investments.
Uncover the future of healthcare in Greater Sydney for an expert panel discussion that delves deep into the ever-changing landscape of this thriving region.

Speaker panel:

  • Professor Valsamma Eapen, academic and child psychiatrist at UNSW Medicine & Health and South West Sydney LHD
  • Dr Mike Freelander MP, Federal Member for Macarthur and local peadiatrician
  • Amanda Larkin, Chief Executive of the Southern Western Sydney Local Health District
  • Host: Tegan Taylor, ABC health and science reporter and co-host of the ABC’s multi-award winning Coronacast.
Listen now

MedConnect x Sci-Fi Series | AI and the future of health

17 May 2023

It's no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the way our world works, and its biggest impact will arguably be in health.

AI is reinventing – and reinvigorating – modern healthcare through machines that can predict, comprehend, learn, and act, as well as helping close the gap on a number of the inequities and pressures within the health system.

Hear from an expert panel on how AI is being used to simplify data for better patient, provider and industry outcomes, and the challenges the industry faces around data privacy and cyber security.

Speaker panel:

  • Associate Professor Fatemeh Vafee - Deputy Director of the UNSW Data Science Hub (uDASH), UNSW Science
  • Professor Louisa Jorm - Foundation Director of the Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW Medicine and Health
  • Dr. Aengus Tran - Co-Founder and CEO of
  • Host: Tegan Taylor, ABC health and science reporter and co-host of the ABC’s multi-award winning Coronacast.
Listen now


MedConnect | Uniting genetics and breakthrough medicine

16 November 2022

While individual diseases may be rare, the total number of Australians living with a life-threatening rare disease is not. Approximately two million Australians live with one of 7,000 known rare diseases, which include childhood cancer and cystic fibrosis.

Rare diseases are often serious, complex and progressive. The very fact that the diseases are rare means that access to research and funding is extremely limited, and treatment options can be prohibitively expensive and unequal.

However, there is hope. By raising the profile of rare diseases, we can give affected individuals and their families the opportunity to have a better quality of life.

Speaker panel:

  • Associate Professor Michelle Farrar, child neurologist and clinical academic at UNSW Medicine & Health and Sydney Children’s Hospital
  • Nicole Millis, CEO of Rare Voices Australia, the peak body for Australians living with rare diseases
  • Host: Tegan Taylor, ABC health and science reporter and co-host of the ABC’s multi-award winning Coronacast.
Watch now

MedConnect | Food on the front line of health

27 July 2022

Eat your greens. Five a day. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. We’ve heard them all. Yet more than 20,000 Australians die a preventable death each year caused by an unhealthy diet.

As the social and economic costs of Australia’s poor diet-related health continue to grow, it begs the question: what can be done?

Hear our experts' fascinating insights on how the power of nutrition can be harnessed to revolutionize health and wellbeing.

Speaker Panel:

  • Professor Jason Wu is a professor in the UNSW Faculty of Medicine & Health in the School of Population Health and the Head of the Nutrition Science Program at the George Institute for Global Health
  • Vanessa Matthijssen, Deloitte Asia Pacific ‘Future of Food’ lead
  • Host: Tegan Taylor is a health and science reporter for the ABC and co-host of the ABC’s multi-award-winning Coronacast.
Watch now
MedConnect | Putting brakes on dementia
27 April 2022

One in five of you who reach late middle age can expect to develop dementia. It’s the leading cause of death in women in Australia and the second leading cause of death overall. And currently there is no cure.
Hear from some of the world’s leading experts discussing what you and your loved ones can do to help put the brakes on this cruel and debilitating disease.

Speaker Panel:

  • Professor Graeme Samuel AC is a professor in Monash University’s Business School and School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine
  • Dr Stephanie Ward is a UNSW Senior Research Fellow from the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA)
  • Host: Tegan Taylor is a health and science reporter for the ABC and co-host of the ABC’s multi-award-winning Coronacast.
Watch now


MedConnect | COVID-normal: preparing for a new world

27 October 2021

Join experts and community leaders as they discuss what the future looks like as we all prepare to live with COVID-19.

Speaker Panel:

  • Laureate Professor Peter Doherty, Patron of the Doherty Institute, 1996 Nobel Medicine Prize & 1997 Australian of the Year
  • Daniel Hunter, Chief Executive Officer of Business NSW and Board Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Associate Professor Faye McMillan, Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner and A/Prof. in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at UNSW
  • Host: Associate Professor Adrienne Torda, Associate Dean, Education and Innovation at UNSW Medicine & Health


Watch now

MedConnect | Health leadership in challenging times: our future after COVID

33 July 2021

Over the last year or two, Australia has been buffeted by unparalleled crises impacting our physical and mental health, from bushfires and flooding to the global pandemic. These events not only brought immediate challenges in crisis management and impacted our day-to-day lives, but also changed how we function as a society.

We are starting to see a return to “normalcy” - but what does this mean for our health, for business and for society at large? How do we work to recover morale and counter the doubts and concerns that linger? How can we shape our healthcare systems for the future, leading the way in addressing inequities and futureproofing as best we can to support everyone in our communities? Can we use this crisis to accelerate improvements in our health and society?

Speaker panel:

  • Cathryn Cox, Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network
  • Professor Sir Edward Byrne, Chief Medical Officer of Ramsay Health Care
  • Professor Raina MacIntyre, NHMRC, Principal Research Fellow, Head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute, and Professor of Global Biosecurity at UNSW
  • Host: Professor Vlado Perkovic, Dean, UNSW Medicine & Health
Watch now


MedConnect | The future of healthcare
30 October 2020

The onset of COVID-19 has further highlighted questions around our health and wellbeing in terms of what we need to enable us to lead or best lives, both as individuals and as members of the communities around us. MedConnect is a proposed series of two webinars that explores key health issues that affect the community in a forum that brings together both medical leaders as well as expert industry viewpoints for a robust and meaningful discussion. The webinars also provide the opportunity to launch the Faculty’s new strategy with an external audience.

Speaker panel:

  • Elizabeth Koff - Secretary for NSW Health
  • Dr Parisa Glass - Director of Innovation and Enterprise at The George Institute for Global Health.
  • Tobi Wilson - Chief Executive Officer, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD)
  • Host: Professor Vlado Perkovic, Dean, UNSW Medicine & Health
Watch now

Stay in touch