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GCF announces new Scientific Advisory Committee members

The Gut Cancer Foundation are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Deborah Wright BMedSc(Hons), MBChB, PhD, FRACS and Professor Jonathan Koea MBChB, FRACS (Ngati mutunga, Ngati tama) to our Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).

Dr Wright and Professor Koea have joined the team following the departure of our long-standing Chair, Professor Bridget Robinson, and long-time committee member Professor John McCall. Both Professor Robinson and Professor McCall had been members of the committee since it was first formed. Their wisdom and expertise have helped guide the organisation for many years and we are deeply grateful for their significant contribution.

Dr Wright is a Colorectal Surgeon and Senior Lecturer, Department of Surgical Sciences (Dunedin) – University of Otago. Dr. Wright is also a member Lower GI Working Party at the Australasia Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group and an Executive Committee Member New Zealand Association of General Surgeons.

On her appointment to the committee, Dr. Wright said, “I am honoured to join the scientific advisory committee of GCF. I welcome the opportunity to contribute my experience as a surgeon and a researcher to improving the outcomes for patients and their families with a gut cancer. It is so important that we ensure that we address inequity in health outcomes and ensure the availability of the best possible care.”

Jonathan Koea (Ngati mutunga, Ngati tama) is a graduate of, and Clinical Professor of Surgery, at the University of Auckland School of Medicine. Jonathan undertook general surgical training in New Zealand and post-fellowship training in surgical oncology and hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York City. He is head of the upper gastrointestinal unit at Waitemata District Health Board. He is a member of American Society of Clinical Oncology, CommNETS and the NETWORK! Collaborations, a board member of the Australian and New Zealand Hepatopancreaticobiliary Association, and the Hepatobiliary and Surgical Oncology Sections of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) as well as being an examiner in surgery for RACSs. Jonathan’s research interests include surgical and ablative treatment for upper gastrointestinal cancers and neuroendocrine tumours, quality in surgery and indigenous health.

GCF Executive Officer Liam Willis said, “I would first like to pay tribute to the immense contribution both Professor Robinson and Professor McCall have made to the Gut Cancer Foundation over many years. As long-serving members of our SAC, and in Bridget’s case Chair for many years, their experience and wisdom has been invaluable. The Scientific Advisory Committee is in place to guide our team on issues like research funding applications, advocacy, awareness-raising and much more. Both Bridget and John have provided wisdom and sage guidance over many years and their impact cannot be understated.

“We are grateful to be able to replace John and Bridget with the appointments of Dr Wright and Professor Koea. Both Deborah and Jonathan are vastly experienced leaders in their own fields and we are delighted that they have agreed to join the GCF team. I look forward to working closely with them and the rest of our SAC members as we move into this exciting next phase of the Gut Cancer Foundations’ evolution”.