Distinguished Service Awards

The Health Specialist Community of Simulation Australasia, the Australian Society for Simulation in Healthcare (ASSH) is a young society, having only been formed in 2007, although work was undertaken over several years prior to that time to help with the establishment of the Society.

We have reached a point in the history of ASSH where some of the individuals who were pivotal in the
establishment of the Society are moving on to other endeavours. That being the case, the ASSH Executive has deemed it appropriate to consider the establishment of the ASSH Distinguished Service Awards to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the field of healthcare simulation in Australia over a prolonged period of time.

It is our pleasure to highlight the following recipients of the ASSH Distinguished Service Award.


Adjunct Associate Professor Brendan Flanagan    

Adjunct Associate Professor Brendan Flanagan  


Brendan was an inaugural member of the ASSH Executive since its inception in 2007 until February 2012.

ASSH will always be indebted for Brendan’s dedication and hard work in establishing the healthcare chapter within the Simulation Industry Association of Australia. Brendan made an invaluable contribution to ASSH in the Society’s formative period and subsequent to its inception in 2007. Significant contributions include: being a founding member of the society, Co-Convenor at SimTecT Health and Medical Simulation Symposium in 2004, Co-Convenor of SimTecT Health conference in 2005, SimHealth Conference Convenor in 2009 and Chair of the ASSH Executive in 2010 along with many and varied contributions to every SimHealth conference scientific program since 2004. Brendan also was the recipient of the Simulation Australia Achievement award in 2007.

After Brendan’s time spent with Professor David Gaba, he earned the respect and high regard from within the international Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) and this has brought significant benefits to ASSH in linking the two societies together in a global capacity.

ASSH has also benefited from Brendan being the principal figure in the development of the medical simulation movement in Australia and his heavy involvement in several patient safety initiatives, instructor training and in simulation centre design both nationally and overseas.

The activities of ASSH are made possible through volunteers such as Brendan who contribute their time and efforts. Brendan greatly assisted ASSH with his valuable insight, knowledge and connections made within the healthcare simulation community at a state, national and international level.

ASSH thanks Brendan for his invaluable contribution to the society and mentorship in the healthcare simulation arena within Australia and overseas.

In 2009 the ASSH Distinguished Service Awards were awarded to:
Patrick Cregan, Graham Beaumont and Katie Walker

Dr Patrick Cregan FRACS

ASSH Chair Brendan Flanagan
Presents the Award to Dr Patrick Cregan

Pat Cregan is a Visiting Surgeon at Nepean Hospital, Penrith in Western Sydney, with a special interest in
endocrine and laparoscopic surgery. Pat has served on the ASSH Executive from the time ASSH was formally established in 2007 until the present day. In fact Pat has been a part of the Australian medical simulation
community since the very beginning, being the first person to propose the idea of an Australian Medical
Simulation Society, and being the co-founder of what was known as the Australian Medical Simulation Society back in 2000. Pat has had a longstanding interest in surgical robotics - he was the first surgeon in Australia and the sixth surgeon in the world to perform a tele-surgical procedure back in 1998. Pat is also very involved in projects relating to the use of hapto-visual environments - he is an active participant with the eHealth Group of CSIRO.

Pat has had to step down from his role with ASSH due to other work commitments - he holds several other appointments as follows:

  • Clinical Program Director of Surgery, Sydney West Area Health Service
  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Western Sydney
  • Chair Surgical Services Taskforce NSW Dept of Health
  • Chair of the Virtual Critical Care Unit (ViCCU) Project
  • Member Scientific Advisory and governance committees RACS Simulated Surgical Skills
  • Programme Member Board of Directors NSW Cancer Institute and NSW Cancer Council
  • Member NSW Health Care Advisory Council

ASSH has been very well served by Pat's specialty interests in simulation, his broad understanding of the healthcare system and the surgical perspective he has brought to the Society's activities.

Dr Graham Beaumont PhD

ASSH Chair Brendan Flanagan
Presents the Award to Dr Graham Beaumont

Graham Beaumont has been the Treasurer of the Australian Society for Simulation in Healthcare since its
inception in 2007 - in fact since before ASSH's inception, as he began his role in what was to become ASSH as early as 2005.

Graham has a long and impressive history in the aviation and business worlds, with some of his achievements summarised here to give a sense of the corporate and Human Factors wisdom he has brought into the
healthcare simulation community. Graham has been involved in the airline industry since 1969, starting with a variety of pilot and Captain roles in Qantas, including a progressively increasing role in pilot training.
He developed and implemented the initial Human Factors training in Qantas in the late 80's, undertook a number of training development projects at Qantas during the 90's and was a simulator and line training captain from 2000-2003.

From 1997 - 2002, he completed his PhD on An Investigation into the Management of Flight Aspects of Airline Captain Performance at the University of Western Sydney.

Since 2003 Graham has worked in a Human Factors and Operational consultancy capacity to the Aviation, Power, & Healthcare sectors. Graham's work in the healthcare sector has included being a Board Member of the Institute for Clinical Excellence, NSW Health from 2001-2004, and a Board Member of the Clinical Excellence Commission of NSW from 2005-2008.

ASSH has benefited enormously from his wealth of business knowledge and his corporate wisdom. As the ASSH Treasurer he has been instrumental in ensuring the financial success of ASSH and each year delivered a profitable budget. His cost effective ideas and financial business acumen have proven to be a valuable asset to the ASSH Executive.

Ms Katie Walker RN, RM

ASSH Chair Brendan Flanagan
Presents the Award to Katie Walker

Katie Walker was the Project Manager for the Simulated Learning Environments project for Health Workforce Australia (HWA), a position she held from March 2009 to October 2011.

Katie was the inaugural Secretary of the Australian Society for Simulation in Healthcare from the time of ASSH's establishment in 2007 until September 2009. She then became the Chair-Elect of ASSH, with the expectation of becoming the incoming ASSH Chair at this meeting, a position she has had to forego in association with taking up her new role with HWA.

After initially working as a Clinical Nurse Educator and then Acting Director of Nursing, Katie undertook a variety of roles at the Queensland Skills Development Centre from 2003-2009, namely:

  • Acting CEO (as required)
  • Project Manager, Curriculum Development
  • Simulation Development Manager
  • In 2006 Katie was the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship to study Clinical Simulation Centres in the USA,   UK, and Europe, visiting 35 simulation centres during her travels.

Katie has been an outstanding international ambassador for healthcare simulation in Australia helping forge ASSH's strong links with the international Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) through a variety of roles, including:
Executive Committee member of the SSH Instructor Certification committee

  • Co-Chair of SSH international Affiliations Committee
  • Co-convenor of the 2010 International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Co-Chair of the first Asia-Pacific Healthcare Simulation Meeting to be held in Hong Kong in May 2011.
  • Member of the International Society for Simulation in Healthcare's (SSH) Oversight Committee

ASSH has been fortunate to benefit from Katie's strong commitment and her enduring passion to spread the word about simulation in a global capacity. Her wealth of knowledge, experience and strong networking links has greatly benefited not only the SimTecT Health conferences but also all activities relating to ASSH.