About Us

We are a not-for-profit organisation, a charity promoting excellence, safety and leadership in plastic and reconstructive surgery. 

Plastic and reconstructive surgery touches the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand every year. It restores, rebuilds and transforms the lives of patients affected by injury, birth anomalies, cancers and other diseases.

Our focus on clinical excellence and the best possible care for patients, underpins our mission to tackle community-wide health issues.

We rely on the latest evidence to inform our work. We are proud of our leadership in plastic and reconstructive surgery in Australasia and beyond our shores through our lead role in international bodies.

Wounds

Wounds place a significant burden on the Australian healthcare system and affect the patient’s quality of life.

  • Caring for acute and chronic wounds imposes annually an approximate AU$2.85 billion burden on Australia’s health system.
  • Almost half a million Australians suffer from chronic wounds – and it has been claimed that up to 70 per cent of those wounds may be misdiagnosed.
  • If not treated correctly, a chronic wound can take years to heal or may lead to amputation.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to have a greater burden of ill health, with a lower life expectancy and higher incidence of chronic diseases.
  • Indigenous Australians experienced a burden of disease that was 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians in 2011.
  • The remote environment contributes significantly to poor health outcomes.

Our program harnesses the philanthropic spirit of Specialist Plastic Surgeons. Our innovation is to deliver a program whereby volunteer Specialist Plastic Surgeons will, for the first time, travel to remote settings to provide hands-on practical training on wound care in remote settings to Remote Medical Practitioners, Remote Area Nurses and Aboriginal Health Practitioners.

Body Image

The prevalence of body dissatisfaction is increasing yearly. Poor body image is not benign. It has been shown to predict depression, low self-esteem, unhealthy weight control and exercise behaviours, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviours and suicidal ideation.

A 24-country study found 25-61% of adolescents are dissatisfied with their bodies and many young people now turn to cosmetic surgery as a “quick fix”. There are circumstances from which young people benefit both physically and psychologically from well considered Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. The right procedure, for the right person, at the right time can yield positive results that can be life changing. However, cosmetic surgery is not a “quick fix” for young people experiencing mental health effects associated with body dissatisfaction, appearance anxiety and low self-esteem.

We worked with Australian leading social researcher Rebecca Huntley to inform our work on body image and help understand the drivers and motivators for people in the target audience.

Scientific Research and Innovation

All surgery, whether reconstructive or cosmetic, carries risk. Scientific research based on validated data collection is critical to increase medical knowledge and support efforts to deliver better surgical outcomes for patients. We led the world with the establishment of the ABDR and ICOBRA. which tracks individual implants matched with individual patients.

Through our ICOBRA network we can extend scientific cooperation and information sharing between other national registries and so improve patient safety and health outcomes at a global level.

The Foundation is also proud to partner with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to create the Australian Hand Differences Register (AHDR) – a world first – which aims to establish the prevalence of various types of congenital hand / arm differences in children in Australia and provide research infrastructure. The AHDR will help focus the management teams of these children so that presenting data and treatment outcomes from multiple centres can be collated and analysed, thus providing meaningful cohort data on many uncommon conditions.

Significant burn injury is a distinct and important component of the overall burden of injury in Australia. There are approximately 50,000 burns related hospital admissions per year. Good critical care and surgical management means there are more survivors of serious burns. There is the need to monitor the incidence, management and outcomes of burns patients. The Foundation provided a funding grant, over 3 years, to Monash University to support the development of the Burns Registry Australian and New Zealand (BRANZ).

People

Our CEO

Gaye Phillips

Gaye Phillips spent a number of years in the corporate sector and the NSW public service before working for UNICEF as Country Representative in Malaysia and the UNICEF Special Representative to the Republic of Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. She was also the Chief Executive of UNICEF Australia where she oversaw the implementation of a range of programs dedicated to improving the lives of children and young people, especially in areas of disadvantage. Prior to taking up her role with the Foundation in 2015, she was the Chief Executive of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Our Board

Chairman
Dr Richard Barnett AM MBBS (Sydney) FRACS FACS

Dr Barnett is a Sydney plastic surgeon (retired) with over 40 years’ experience. He graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from the University of Sydney in 1966. He became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1973.

He has held many executive positions in Plastic Surgery at both state and national levels including:  President Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Senior Examiner of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Chairman of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Member of the Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Councillor of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Director
Dr Garry Buckland, B Med (Hons) FRACS

Dr Garry Buckland graduated from the University of Newcastle in 1987 with first class honours and the University Medal. He initially obtained a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) in general surgery. He then undertook further post fellowship training in the subspecialty of plastic and reconstructive surgery, obtaining his second FRACS. Garry is a former Councillor of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons and former Chairman of the Ethics Committee.

Director
Mr David Nathan LLB

Mr David Nathan holds dual degrees in Law and Science and has held a number of senior corporate leadership positions. He is Chairman of CHA SMG Australia, a Director of Campbell Page, a Director of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (Vic) and former Treasurer of the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research foundation, he is a fellow of the Australian institute of company Directors.

Director
Dr Howard Klein MD FRACS FRCSC FACS

Dr Howard Klein is a specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New Zealand. Dr Klein graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in the United States and received training in general surgery at McGill University in Canada. He completed plastic surgery training at Duke University. Dr Klein is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has served as the President of the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons.

Director
Dr John Kenealy MBChB FRCS FRACS

Dr John Kenealy is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon in New Zealand. He graduated from the University of Otago 1982, undertaking his training in plastic and reconstructive surgery in New Zealand and becoming a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1990. 

He is the Immediate Past President of the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons.

Director
Dr Jonathan Wheeler FRACS

Dr Jonathan Wheeler is a specialist plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New Zealandis a Plastic Surgeon. He is the current president of the New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons. He is a Co-Director at the NZ Institute of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. He completed training in New Zealand. He completed a year-long Plastic and Craniofacial Fellowship at the internationally renowned Hospital for Sick Children. He is currently appointed as a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Middlemore Hospital and a visiting Surgeon to Starship Hospital.

He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland and have an educational role supervising academic activities. He works with the charity organisation Operation Smile, who provide Plastic Surgical care for children with congenital birth anomalies in developing countries.

Director
Air Vice-Marshal Dr Hugh Bartholomeusz OAM RFDS MBBS FRACS

Dr Bartholomeusz is an Associate Professor University of Queensland.He attended the University of Queensland where he obtained his medical degrees in 1976. He was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1985 and has been in private plastic surgery practice in Brisbane and the West Moreton Region since then. He is currently the Senior Plastic Surgeon at Greenslopes Private Hospital. At an International level, he has been World President of the International Air Cadet Exchange Association and has also been the Representative of the Australian Day Surgery Council on the International Association of Ambulatory Surgery. In that role, he was elected to the Executive of the Association. At a National level, Dr Bartholomeusz has been Chairman of the Australian Day Surgery Council and he is a Past President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Our Partners

Specialist Plastic Surgeons

  • Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons
  • International Confederation of Plastic Surgery Societies (ICOPLAST)

Government

  • Australian Government Department of Health
  • Top End Health Services (NT)
  • Remote Area Health Corps

Indigenous Health Organisations

  • Malala Cooperation
  • AMSANT
  • Laynhapuy Health Cooperation
  • Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation

Research Institutions 

  • Centre for Appearance Research, UWE Bristol
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Community Organisations

  • The Aussie Hands Foundation Inc (Aussie Hands)