About AMEN Australia

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The Australian chapter of the Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN) was formed by a group of doctors, dentists, medical and dental students who felt the need to experience a personal revival of medical evangelism in life and practice, and were inspired by the vision and mission of AMEN in the US.

It all began when a few like-minded attendees at an AYC convention in Sydney in 2010 met over lunch discussing ways of improved networking to support and encourage one another. The following year, in April 2011, contact was made with AMEN in the US to enquire about resources for forming an Australian chapter, which was met with favourable and most encouraging support. In August 2011, at the Adventist Health Professionals’ Conference at the Sydney Adventist Hospital, a group of attendees interested in the formation of this chapter met over an evening meal. Out of this meeting stemmed a vision for a formal conference, and a group of like minded health professionals collaborated to arrange the inaugural AMEN Australia conference in Melbourne, December 2012. From this inspirational conference with certain evidence of God’s blessing, a formal board was elected and AMEN Australia was born.

Our mission and objectives remain similar to the parent organisation, and we are grateful for the support and encouragement we have received from the Adventist Health Department in our Division; we look forward to working together collaboratively to see the fulfilment of our shared vision.

The Lord’s blessing on AMEN globally is being manifested in the following tangible ways:

  • AMEN members continue to be involved in overseas mission work in many places.

  • AMEN journal, “The Medical Evangelist” continues to provide practical, potent reports of medical evangelism from the field.

  • A group of AMEN members in the US launched Life and Health Network – a cutting-edge, internet-based television network which broadcasts the best of Adventist health programming 24/7.

  • AMEN’s international influence is growing – originally in the US (see amensda.org for details), it now includes chapters in Nigeria and the UK as well as Australia.

  • Despite its growth and development, AMEN remains dedicated to its original goals – to inspire, equip, and motivate health professionals to become effective medical evangelists at home, in the clinic, and in the community.

Current Board Members

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Dr Antoinette Mowbray

President

Antoinette graduated from medical school at the University of Newcastle in 2009. She recently completed her dual fellowship training towards FRACGP and FACRRM and is currently working as a GP obstetrician in regional Victoria. She has a passion for mission and networking amongst similarly minded health professionals and ministers, with a particular focus on mentorship of students and those in postgraduate training, and is keen to see this vision realised through the goals of AMEN Australia.

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Dr Aaron Koh

Secretary

Aaron graduated from Monash University in 2009 and obtained his fellowship from Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners in 2017. Driven by Christ’s ministry of health and gospel, Aaron has been actively involved in various community health programs over the years evangelising evidence-based lifestyle and preventative medicine, combining the health message and the gospel of Christ. He is married to Jessalynn who shares the same passion for health ministry.

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Dr Justin Jackson

Treasurer

Justin graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2003. As a specialist in internal medicine, he is passionate about the immense gift of the Seventh-day Adventist health message. He also holds qualifications as an infectious diseases specialist, a path inspired by time spent at Atoifi Adventist Hospital in the Solomon Islands. In his life and work, he shares the vision of AMEN Australia in displaying the unselfish love of Christ to all in our sphere of influence. Other interests include camping, hiking and outdoor photography and enjoying spending time in the beauty of God’s creation with his wife and two children.

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Dr Nathaniel Nowicki

Board Member

Nathaniel graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2008 as an Oral Health Therapist and then again in 2016 as a Dentist and has been working ever since to create South Australia’s first biological dental clinic. He has a passion for outreach, especially in medical evangelism. Nathaniel loves his job because it allows him to meet people’s needs in a way few others can and gives him a unique opportunity to witness and share.

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Dr Wayne Lee

Board Member

Wayne is a junior doctor with a broad range of interests and experiences throughout his career. Outside of work, he enjoys experimenting with exercise, eating and cooking. As a part of the AMEN board, Wayne enjoys hearing and learning from the personal experiences and challenges of other Adventist health professionals as everyone’s perspective has an important role to play in the ongoing journey and development of AMEN Australia.

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Dr Joy Akrawi

Board Member

Joy is passionate about medical ministry and bringing God into the centre of her profession in all opportunities with patients and peers. Her interests include exploring nature, playing soccer and socialising.

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Dr Jessalyn Chia

Board Member

Jessalynn completed her undergraduate degree in neuroscience and psychology before going on to study postgraduate medicine. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2016 and she is currently working as a GP registrar in Melbourne. Her passion lies in combining personal ministry with medical missionary work, reaching the hearts of people through "Christ's method alone".

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Pr David Haupt

Pastoral Representative

Director – Adventist Community Services, ADRA and Director and Trainer for Nedley Depression and Anxiety Recovery Program
Qualification: B.Th, MA. Couns.
After pastoring for 11 years in South Africa, David and his wife Constance and two children, Danielle and David Jnr. immigrated to Australia in 1999. Since then, David has been working in NSW and Australia in various community, departmental and pastoral roles. Part of his work entailed setting up the ADRA Drug Intervention Centre at Cabramatta (1999) and the Blacktown ADRA Community Centre (2004). David was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for the development of a unique approach to drug intervention.

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Shenani Koren

Student Representative

Shenani is a medical student studying at the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about incorporating God’s health message into medical study and practice and using health ministry to draw people to Christ. In her spare time, Shenani enjoys playing musical instruments and singing, learning languages, rock climbing, playing basketball, bushwalking and loves meeting new people!

Past Board Members

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Dr David Fatt

Past Board Member

David graduated from a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (Sydney University) degree in 1980. He worked in solo dental practice for 37 years at Cherrybrook and retired recently. David completed a graduate certificate in lifestyle medicine in 2018 and is interested in health ministry. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper and be in health, just as your soul prospers” 3 John 2. David is married to Doedie who is also interested in heath ministry. David enjoys tennis, soccer, snow skiing and water skiing.

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Dr Glen Hughes

Past Board Member

Glen Hughes is a practicing dentist in Northern NSW. He is also the volunteer lay pastor of Byron Bay SDA Church. Glen has had a long career in social justice dentistry – having worked in many developing countries as well as 20 years with the Justice system and the Aboriginal community. He is passionate about the Adventist Health message and prays that he can be an effective witness.

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Dr Trevor Hurlow

Past Board Member & Treasurer

Trevor is a passionate GP in family practice with a special interest in lifestyle management of disease both physically and mentally. He is committed to making church a blended ministry and along with a dedicated health team runs regular CHIP programs and men’s health evenings.
Claim to fame: My lovely wife Lenora and I were blessed with triplets +1 (4 boys) and will soon have 9 grandkids to spoil and enjoy.
AMEN: I believe that connecting with fellow SDA professionals through AMEN has great potential to encourage and give a clearer vision and support to doctors in the challenges of their work environments.

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Dr Tash Ching

Past Board Member & Secretary

Tash graduated from Monash University in 2011 and has recently obtained her FRACP in general paediatrics in 2018. She is currently completing her fellowship in paediatric infectious diseases. Having grown up in a non-Christian environment she has a deep love and appreciation for God and what he’s done in her life. She has a passion for people, and to share the love Christ has shown her to all those she encounters. Some of her other interests include scuba-diving, snowboarding and hiking.

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Dr Carina Cotaru

Past Board Member

Carina is a qualified obstetrician and gynaecologist, obtaining her FRANZCOG in early 2015. While completing her specialty training she also obtained a Master of International Public Health from The University of Sydney. She is passionate about women’s health in low resource settings and has undertaken several volunteer placements in Nepal and Kenya. She is currently working on integrating everyday clinical practice with her interest in public health, and Biblical lifestyle principles. Outside of medicine she enjoys travelling, discovering new culinary experiences and spending time with friends.

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Dr Berenice Cheng

Past Board Member

Berenice currently practices as a general dentist, having graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2013. Since then she has had the opportunity to work in both public and private dentistry; rurally and in metropolitan Melbourne. Berenice is passionate about public health, but also seeing every avenue of health ministry engaged in helping others appreciate God’s love. Having run several Australia-wide youth initiatives in recent years and as a young health professional, Berenice is particularly passionate about engaging the next generation of health professionals to be active in service for others as an extension of their deep love for Jesus. She has also led several international medical/dental aid initiatives and her journey in dentistry continues to grow by God’s grace. Outside of dentistry, she enjoys music and the odd spot of globe-trotting.

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Dr Errol Thrift

Past Board Member

Errol graduated with an MB,BS from the University of Queensland in 1956, and worked at SAH 1958 and 1988-1993 as well as Warburton Healthcare Centre and Hospital 1959-1988. During this time he specialised in Rehabilitation and Rheumatology (FRCP and FAFRM) as well as commencing live-in lifestyle programs at Warburton 1968-1988 while medical director. Current interests in retirement include fostering a blending of spiritual and health ministries.

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Pr Geoffrey

Youlden

Past Board Member & Pastoral Advisor

Geoffrey has spent over 40 years lecturing on Biblical and Health issues. He has just featured in an award winning series of DVD’s entitled” Beyond the Search” which explores these themes in a contemporary modern way. He believes strongly that body and soul are closely related, and for optimum living need vibrant health in both the physical and spiritual parts of our being.

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Dr Andrew Pennington

Past Board Member

Andrew is a GP interested in lifestyle medicine, preventive care, obstetrics and most aspects of general practice. He believes that the best care comes from acknowledging that we function best in health when we are healthy in mind, body and spirit. He believes that spirituality is a component of health and that Jesus Christ is the great physician that can make us totally whole. He is very mindful of the need not to impose religion on others, but is keen wherever possible to use lifestyle-based therapies to improve people’s health and introduce people to Jesus as the source of wholistic healing. Andrew is committed to the principles of AMEN and believes that we need many more Christian doctors, dentists, nurses and allied health personnel involved in genuinely caring for the whole person so that they understand how much God loves them and wants them to be whole.

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Dr Denisa Selagea

Past Board Member

Denisa is currently working as a general dentist in the private sector in Melbourne. She is originally from Romania and came to Australia when she was 19 years old. She completed her dental studies in 2005 at the University of Sydney. Since then, she had opportunity to travel a bit around Australia and sample dentistry in different contexts: private clinics, Department of Defence, public hospitals, tertiary teaching.

Denisa always felt that her dental skills and knowledge were a gift from God to be shared with others, to restore smiles and souls to health and life. She participated in a few international medical projects. Now she is receiving special training in patience, discipline, time management and Bible studies with her two children, which proves to be a more strenuous exercise than any of the previous projects undertaken. She loves the challenge and there are negotiations to increase the number of students in her class from two to three in the near future.

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Dr Henry To

Past Board Member

Henry is a surgical trainee in Victoria. He completed his MBBS in 2003 at the University of Melbourne. He is currently completing a research degree through the University of Melbourne in Cancer Genetics. He has volunteered at Adventist hospitals in the Solomon Islands, Nepal and Ethiopia. He is passionate about education and networking Adventist doctors for mission. He is currently attending Gateway Adventist Centre.

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Dr Robert Granger

Past Board Member

Robert received his MBBS from the University of Tasmania, and is concluding specialty training (Dermatology) in South Australia. He has a strong interest in public health (preventive care/lifestyle medicine), having earned masters and doctoral degrees in this discipline from Montemorelos University (Mexico) and Loma Linda University (USA) respectively. He assisted the World Health Organization in developing non-communicable disease surveillance systems for a number of Asian and South Pacific island nations. His desire to see unity between medical and gospel ministries had its inception when he was studying Theology at Avondale College. He is married to Darlene, and enjoys fine woodworking, gardening, travel and reading.

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Dr Nicholas Tsang

Past Board Member

Nic is a GP working in Sydney. He graduated from the University of Sydney and completed his Fellowship in General Practice in 2012. He loves working with children and has a keen interest in surgical procedures. He is the Project Coordinator of 3am church, a church plant at Macquarie University, and has a passion for soul winning. He is desirous to see ministry mingled with clinical practice and is excited about the aims of AMEN Australia and how it hopes to achieve this.
The other loves of his life are his wife and son and hopefully more!

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Dr Joy Akrawi

Past Student Representative

Joy is passionate about medical ministry and bringing God into the centre of her profession in all opportunities with patients and peers. Her interests include exploring nature, playing soccer and socialising.

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Mitchell Sonter

Past Student Representative

Mitchell is a medical student studying in Newcastle. He is on a learning process discovering how God can be involved in day-to-day life, and how He can help with and work through work and study. He enjoys making new friends and spending time with them on bush or beach walks, playing board games, and learning more about their life experiences.