About Us


Dr. Nicola Cunningham B.Med, MForensMed, MHlth&MedLaw, FFCFM (RCPA), FACEM

Nicola is a Senior Forensic Physician at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, and an Emergency Physician at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne. She also works as an Academy Member with the Patient Safety Review Team for Safer Care Victoria. She has a Fellowship of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, a Fellowship of the Faculty of Clinical Forensic Medicine with the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, a Master of Forensic Medicine (Monash University), and a Master of Health and Medical Law (University of Melbourne). Her clinical roles provide insight into community and hospital medicine, and the interface between these areas, as well as a unique perspective on the medico-legal aspects of clinical practice gained by managing a wide variety of emergency and forensic cases. Her Academy role utilises her expertise in safety systems, cognitive interviewing, human factors in clinical settings, and incident review methodologies, to increase the capacity of the Victorian health system to apply and share lessons from clinical incidents to improve the quality and safety of care.


Nicola is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, and an Adjunct Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne. She is an appointed Member of the Quality and Patient Safety Committee, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, and sits on an Expert Advisory Group for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.


Nicola co-led the establishment of the Clinical Communiqué in 2014, and the Future Leaders Communiqué in 2016. She is a current editor for the Clinical Communiqué, the Future Leaders Communiqué, and the Residential Aged Care Communiqué (established in 2006).

Nicola is responsible for the Forensic Medicine Registrar Program at the VIFM and has a keen interest in improving the management of forensic cases, having presented and published nationally and internationally on this topic. She has also published widely in areas relating to patient safety in leading health and law journals. She is the current medico-legal editor of Emergency Medicine Australasia, and a section editor for Textbook of Emergency Medicine.


Nicola is frequently called upon to give expert witness testimony in court on forensic matters, and to provide expert medicolegal opinion for interstate jurisdictions on matters relating to forensic and/or emergency medicine. She teaches medical and nursing professionals across a number of health services on how to apply expertise (and recognise its limits), write medicolegal reports, and give evidence in court.


Nicola continues to combine active clinical work with leadership, teaching, research and advocacy in the fields of clinical forensic medicine, emergency medicine, medical ethics and law, and patient safety.


Professor Joseph Ibrahim MBBS, GradCHE, PhD FAFPHM, FRACP

Joseph is a Professor at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine where he is head of the Health Law and Ageing Research Unit. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care, La Trobe University, and a practising Senior Consultant Specialist in Geriatric Medicine with over 30 years experience.

Joseph has a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (1994), a Doctorate of Philosophy in Epidemiology and Health Services Research (investigating the relationship between quality of care and performance indicators, Monash University, 1999), Fellowship of the Australian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (2000) and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (2001 Monash University).

In 2006, Joseph founded and continues as the editor of the Residential Aged Care Communiqué. Joseph co-led the establishment of the Clinical Communiqué in 2014 (formerly known as the Coronial Communiqué, 2003-2010), and the Future Leaders Communiqué in 2016.

Joseph’s ongoing research is investigating approaches to reducing harm to older persons and improving quality of life. He is the lead author of the report “Recommendations for prevention of injury-related deaths in residential aged care services.” This work has informed approaches [nc1] for protecting residents from abuse and poor practices, and ensuring proper clinical and medical care standards are maintained and practiced. The report followed the first comprehensive national study of injury-related deaths among nursing home residents in the world, and is considered one of the Top 10 influential research studies in 2017 published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Joseph has been called as an expert witness for criminal and coronial hearings as well as the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Joseph was one of three people recognized by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend's ‘People Who Mattered 2019: Health’.


Brendan Morrissey MB BCh BAO FACEM

Brendan is an Emergency Physician at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. He is committed to improving patient and clinician safety. He has been the Supervisor of Intern Training at St Vincent’s since 2019, working with a team of medical educators to support and train junior doctors. He a faculty member for the Ethos Program at St Vincent’s, a peer-led intervention program designed to promote a culture of safety for patients and staff within the hospital.


Brendan has a passion for medical education, with a focus on the education and training of junior doctors. He regularly facilitates educational sessions for junior doctors, and assists in curriculum oversight and supervision for a number of junior doctor cohorts with St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. He works as a course facilitator on a number of educational simulation courses, including Advanced & Complex Medical Emergencies, Advanced Paediatric Life Support, and Emergency Trauma Management. He is a faculty member of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine OSCE Examination Preparation Program. He has previously worked as a Visiting Clinical Lecturer at Divine Word University & Modilon General Hospital, Papua New Guinea (2013).


Brendan has experience in forensic medicine, having previously worked for a number of years as Forensic Medical Officer with the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (2015 – 2020). Brendan has been involved with the Communiqués since 2019 and is a consultant editor of the Future Leaders Communiqué.