The 4th International Physical Employment Standards Conference is honoured to have the following experts serve as keynote speakers:
Commissioner Georgeina Whelan, ACT Emergency Services Agency (Australia)
Topic: Understanding Physical Employment Standards in an Emergency Services Context’?
Bio: Georgeina Whelan graduated from Officer Training in June 1988. She has extensive experience in the command and management of Defence health systems, and military and civilian disaster and emergency response. As an Army Officer, Brigadier Whelan deployed to East Timor in 1999 and to Banda Aceh, Indonesia on Operation Sumatra Assist in command of the ANZAC Field Hospital in 2005. She has completed several leadership, management, and tertiary programs over the past two decades.
Georgeina joined the ACT Emergency Services Agency as the Chief Officer of the State Emergency Service in late October 2017. She was subsequently appointed as the Commissioner of the ACT Emergency Services Agency in September 2019. She was appointed as the ACT Emergency Controller and led the ACT response to the 2019 Black Summer Fires. She remains engaged with Defence through Reserve Services as a project officer within the Directorate of Army Health.
Georgeina was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) in 2004 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2006 and awarded a Bar to her Conspicuous Service Cross in the 2016.
She was named ACT Telstra Businesswoman of the year in 2015 and awarded the ACT Public Service Award for Leadership in 2019.
Georgeina is the patron of the ACT Down Syndrome Association and sits on several research and advisory boards that focus on the provision of health and wellness programs to both ADF and Australian Emergency Service First Responders. She is also a member of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Male Champions of Change Coalition.
Georgeina is married to Gary a retired Army Officer and Fire Fighter and they have four children. Georgeina’s interests include coaching netball, following the NRL, cooking and watching Gary gardening.
Dr Michael Drew, Director of Health Research, Department of Defence (Australia)
Bio: Dr Michael Drew is the Director of Health Research within Joint Health Command at Defence. In this role he oversees the strategy, governance and partnerships relating to health research as well as undertaking and commissioning research that preserves and optimises the health of the Australian Defence Force. Prior to this role, he worked at the Australian Institute of Sport for over a decade in various roles including Senior Sports Physiotherapist, research manager, team physiotherapist including many overseas competition trips and managing an innovations program to improve Australian Olympians’ health and performance. Prior to his AIS role, he worked in Private Practice in Newcastle and worked as a Physiotherapist and Data Analyst for the Newcastle Knights. Dr Drew has a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours), Master of Clinical Epidemiology, PhD in Physiotherapy. Dr Drew holds an Adjunct Associate Professor appointment at University of Canberra, is a Fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapy (by Original Contribution), Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Digital Health, and a Fellow of the Australian Sports Medicine Federation. In 2018, his team received an Australia Day Award for their work in improving athlete health.
Rachel Blacklock / Leslie Frei, Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services, (Canada)
Bio: Rachel Blacklock represents the Human Performance Research, Development and Evaluation team, residing under Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services. The Human Performance team seeks to optimize physical performance through researching, developing and evaluating tests and programs related to physical employment standards, assessment centres, physical preparation programs, injury prevention, nutrition and mental performance. Rachel has spent 17 years as part of the Human Performance Research team working with the Royal Canadian Navy, general Canadian Armed Forces, and Protective Services, in addition to spending 2 years as the Delivery Manager for the Canadian Armed Forces Health Promotion Program. Over the last 5 years Rachel and team have been leading physical employment standard development research with other national organizations, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Fitness and Health Branch. She also serves as an Instructor-Examiner with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.
Bio: Leslie Frei represents the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) National Fitness and Health Promotion Program. She began her career as an Exercise Physiologist with the Canadian Armed Forces managing fitness training & occupational testing for pilots, police, & firefighters. In 1999 Leslie transferred to the RCMP Police Training Academy and has since worked as a fitness coach in Cadet Training, a Fitness Advisor to general duty and speciality Law Enforcement Officers, and as a police fitness unit manager . She now serves in a National role providing leadership in Fitness and Health Promotion to 19,000 serving members and 11,000 support service employees. Since 2016, Leslie has been working in partnership with the Canadian Forces Human Research to modernize the physical employment standard for police duty.
COL Anne Fieldhouse, OBE, HQ Defence Medical Services, (United Kingdom)
Colonel Anne Fieldhouse is the British Defence Consultant Advisor for Occupational Medicine and the medical team lead within the British Army Recruitment and Initial Training Command Headquarters. Between 2018 and 2020 she was the project lead developing new entry and in-service Physical Employment Standards for all Army and all British Armed Forces Ground Close Combat roles. This work enabled the employment of women in all roles across defence.
Anne began her military career specialising in General Practice and pre-hospital care, serving as a Regimental Medical Officer with infantry and armoured units in Canada, Germany, Iraq and Northern Ireland. More recently, since qualifying as a Consultant in Occupational Medicine, she has worked in clinical policy roles seeking to improve Armed Forces health and deployability, and delivered the current UK Defence Health and Wellbeing Strategy. Anne has a special interest in women’s health issues and was a key member of the UK’s Servicewomen’s Health Improvement Focus Team (SHIFT). In addition to medical qualifications and an MSc in Occupational Health, she has an MA in Defence Studies.