Doreen Akkerman, AM, Patron and Board Member of the Think Pink Foundation, recently retired from the position of Director, Cancer Information and Support Service at the Cancer Council Victoria, a position she had held for 20 years.
During this time, Doreen was responsible for cancer support programs for people experiencing cancer and their carers including: the Cancer Helpline, the Cancer Connect program, the Cancer Support Groups Program, the Living with Cancer Education Program, and the When Cancer Won't Go Away Program.
Doreen was also responsible for two innovative health professional education programs that were a first in Australia and both are a huge success: the Breast Care Nurse Distance Education Program, a tertiary level education program for breast nurses, and the Victorian Cancer Clinicians Communication Program, a unique communication program for oncologists. In addition to this, Doreen established the first Sexuality and Cancer seminars and workshops for health professionals and patients and their partners.
Doreen was the inaugural President and current serving Board Member of the International Cancer Information Services Group, and has published many articles and presented workshops and seminars by invitation in Australia, Europe, United Kingdom and the USA. Doreen was inducted to the Victorian Women's Honour Roll on 4th March 2010.
Dr Amanda Hordern, PhD was until August 2012 the Director of the Cancer Council’s Cancer Information and Support Service (CISS) and brings more than 20 years national and international experience across oncology and palliative care.
A dynamic leader in cancer education, information and support, Dr Hordern developed the first tertiary-based Breast Care Nurse education program in Victoria. Delivered by Latrobe University in collaboration with Cancer Council Victoria, the program has grown from a single unit of study in 1997 to a pathway for higher education. More than 900 Australian nurses are now accredited breast care nurses providing specialised information and care to people affected by breast cancer.
Dr Hordern has completed a PhD focused on cancer and palliative care and is also the author of many published journal articles on cancer information services, communication and sexuality issues.
As Director of CISS, Dr Hordern had overall responsibility for a wide range of support programs for people affected by cancer.
Alan was born and educated in Scotland and studied physiology and medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Early post-graduate training focused on surgery and he was able to spend a year in the unit established by Professor Sir Patrick Forrest that was centred on breast cancer.
After becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Alan commenced training in radiotherapy in Edinburgh. His training was completed with a year at the M D Anderson Hospital and Cancer Institute in Houston Texas. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists.
In 1981, Alan returned to Edinburgh as a consultant clinical oncologist specialising in breast cancer. Once more he was a member of the multidisciplinary team in Sir Patrick Forrest's Breast Unit. Over the next eleven years, Alan was involved in clinical trials in breast cancer and his busy practice involved chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiotherapy. At various times he was also department and divisional head.
In 1992, Alan accepted the post of Professor Director at the Alfred Hospital's new William Buckland Radiotherapy Centre in Melbourne with a chair in Monash University. Once more he specialised in breast cancer patient care. In the following eleven years he built up his department, was a member and subsequent chair of the Victorian Cooperative Oncology Group, chair of the board of BreastScreen Victoria, a member of the Executive Committee of Cancer Council Victoria and various national and international clinical trial groups.
Alan was specialty advisor on radiation oncology to the National Breast Cancer Centre in Sydney and chaired its radiation oncology advisory group. Subsequently he was a member of its board and he remains one of the (now) National Breast and Ovary Cancer Centre's international advisors.
In 2003 Alan returned to the UK to take up the post of Medical Director of the UK's second largest cancer centre, the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow where he oversaw the development and building of and move into its large new centre which became the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.
Throughout his career Alan has enjoyed and encouraged patient involvement in health care changes and delivery and has promoted the improvement of communication skills for clinicians and the role of specialist nurses in care delivery.
Alan retired in March 2010 from a career as an oncologist specialising predominantly in breast cancer patient care. He is honoured to be an Ambassador for The Think Pink Foundation and its unique Living Centre.