Dr Gavin K Ballenden co-founder APIAA

Gavin Ballenden is an Occupational Physician and has been in medical practice for 40 years.

He is an accredited permanent impairment assessor (PIA) in Australia and is certified in AMA 4, 5, 6.

He is trained in the ‘Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment’ (GEPI) QLD and also provides training in those Guides on behalf of the Workers Compensation Regulator (QLD).

He is an Author, co-author and joint Editor of the training programme for the new “Guidelines for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” to be released in 2016 and commissioned by ‘Safe Work Australia’ for use in Australian PI assessment.

He is an Independent Medical Examiner (IME) and a member of the Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) WorkCover QLD and the Medical Assessment Tribunal (MAT) QLD.

He has championed the concept, inception and formation of the Australasian Permanent Impairment Assessors Association for the last two years.

Dr John Cross co-founder APIAA

John has been practicing medicine in urban and rural areas since graduating from Sydney University in 1970. His clinical work in General Practice has involved ED work in remote and indigenous communities whilst his Specialist Physician work has involved consulting to the regulating workers compensation authorities in both SA and NSW.

He has been Federal President of ANZSOM, State Chair of ANZSOM SA, State Chair of FAFOEM, Treasurer of the NE Division of General Practice, Treasurer of SA FAFOEM & ANZSOM, Chair of a Pneumoconiosis Board in NSW, Chair of a Lead Board in NSW, a medical referee in NSW, an eligible panellist in SA and a prescribed presiding member for panels in SA.

He has worked as a Consultant to both the NSW and SA workers compensation regulators and has presented papers at State, Federal and International conferences. John has been, and still is, a tertiary level teacher at both Flinders and Adelaide University on Occupational Diseases having taught Epidemiology at TAFE for some 8 years.

He has enormous experience in reviewing permanent impairment assessment reports across all body systems in AMA5 and in the general auditing of these. He initiated the first National PIA forum in Adelaide in 2010 under the auspices of ANZSOM and is integrally involved in the education and training within the PIA arena in SA.


It is not at all surprising that John would formally team up with Gavin to become a founding member of APIAA as he has been involved in SA in a ‘PIA club’ whereby 4 interested professionals use to meet casually to discuss PIA issues and generally ‘chew the fat’.

John has served on the committees in both NSW and SA with their revision of the State Guides over the last 2 years. The National PIA Guide has emerged from these revisions.

Dr Chris Cunneen MSt.J


Dr Chris Cunneen is an Occupational & Environmental Physician and Director of OccPhyz Consulting in Brisbane.  He is one of Australia’s leading Occupational & Environmental Physicians with expertise in the area of providing independent medical opinion to the corporate and government sectors. He consults in Brisbane, Southport, Mackay and Townsville.


Dr Cunneen is a recognized expert in the area of Permanent Impairment Assessments using AMA Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment 4th, 5th and 6th Editions.  He was an international reviewer for the AMA Guides 6th Edition. He continues as an Australian member of International Board of Advisors to ABIME, consulting with various jurisdictions both within Australia and internationally.

Dr Cunneen is an approved independent Assessor for WorkCover QLD, NSW, SA, WA, NT; SIRA, ComCare and DVA.

Colonel Cunneen is an active serving member of Australian Defence Force, having served as a Medical Officer for 30+ years.  He has served on multiple overseas deployments including Iraq, East Timor and Bougainville Island.

Dr Cunneen is a St. John Ambulance Australia volunteer providing his medical skills and leadership to community service and during times of emergencies, including 2009 Victorian Bushfires and 2011 Brisbane floods.

Cunneen, CJ photo 2016
Dr Alan Home – Occupational Physician

M.B., B.S. (W.A.), C.I.H., A.F.O.M., F.A.F.O.E.M., C.I.M.E.

Dr Home has extensive experience as a clinical Occupational Physician. This specialty field of medical practice includes the assessment of injuries, illness and disease and how these impact upon function, both in the workplace and in daily activities.

Some of Dr Home’s key interests include the assessment and management of patients with musculoskeletal injuries, including spinal injury; fitness for work and impairment assessment.


Dr Home has extensive experience in the peer review of independent medical examination reports.


Dr Home is involved in the training of approved medical specialists (impairment) in Western Australia.  He is a member of the WorkCover WA Medical Committee.


Dr Home is available to conduct clinical assessments in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

Dr Alan Home headshot - left colour crop
Dr Josephine Sundin

MBBS (University of Queensland) 1983


Foundation Fellow, Faculty of Forensic Psychiatry, RANZCP.

Dr Sundin is a forensic psychiatrist, working in both civil and criminal spheres.

She undertook her initial PIRS accreditation in April, 2004.

Subsequently she has undertaken training in the American Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment 4th, 5th and 6th edition in 2000, 2004, 2007and 2008.

Picture of Josie

Dr Sundin was GEPI accredited in Queensland in 2014 and has been a GEPI trainer thereafter. She has run many courses for psychiatrists, psychologists, return to work co-ordinators and case managers on psychiatric injuries in the work place and on successful return to work strategies.

She has a long association since 2002 with the Queensland Workers Compensation Regulatory Authority and is currently a Deputy-Chairman and Member of the General Medical Assessment Tribunals, Psychiatric.

She has been performing Workcover assessments for both government and private insurers for the past two decades and is frequently engaged to provide second opinions on complex claims relating to work based injuries.

Dr Sundin was invited by the Australasian Permanent Assessors Association in 2015 to help develop and write the psychiatric component of the AMA V training package for Safe Work Australia.

Dr John Sowby


Dr John Sowby is a consultant occupational physician in private practice in Brisbane. He has extensive experience undertaking permanent impairment assessments under various compensation schemes since the early 2000’s. He is also the consultant medical advisor for the Office of Industrial Relations (Workers’ Compensation Regulator), which oversees the Queensland scheme.


As part of this role he provides quality assurance assistance to the medical assessment tribunals and undertakes education of doctors and audiologists in the workers’ compensation scheme, including facilitating/training in permanent impairment assessment via lectures, workshops and webinars.

Dr John Sowby
Dr Beata (Beatrice) Byok


Dr Beata (Beatrice) Byok, Occupational & Environmental Physician is a graduate of the University of Adelaide Medical School. She has worked in occupational health for 30 years in a wide range of settings from the uranium/copper mine and processing plant at Olympic Dam FIFO for over 8 years, Mitshubishi Motors and Holdens, to the Public Service sector.


Currently she is in private practice and is also a contracted medical consultant to ReturnToWork SA.    She is a past chair of the South Australian AFOEM and ANZSOM committees, AFOEM State Councillor and is the incoming President-Elect of the Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. She has extensive experience in workplace injury management and rehabilitation, health monitoring and surveillance, development of systems and policies, and liaising with colleagues and allied health providers to facilitate the implementation of achievable and sustainable return to work outcomes.


In 2009, when the new permanent impairment assessment process was introduced she was one of two peer reviewers of permanent impairment reports working with WorkCover SA to provide support, education and feedback to doctors conducting permanent impairment assessments. She continues to sit on the ReturnToWork permanent impairment review panel; she was a member of the PIA Review Workshop Panel that undertook a review of the ReturnToWork (formerly WorkCover) guidelines for the assessment of permanent impairment and has been involved in the delivery of the Refresher Training for Accredited Assessors in the revised Guidelines as well as providing training to case managers. She was a member of the working party that developed the Training Manual for ISV medical Assessment for the Motor Accident Injury Assessment Scheme (MAIAS) in South Australia.

Dr Beata (Beatrice) Byok

Current Appointments: Approved Medical Specialist in Workers Compensation; Medical Referee for the District Court (NSW)

Non-Current: Chief Medical Officer – NSW Workers Compensation  Commission, NSW State Compensation Board, WorkCover Authority of NSW, and Compensation Court, seriatim.


Adjudication and Statutory Assessment

Boilermakers Deafness 50,000 disputed matters.


Hearing Loss Prevention: Role in government and industry initiatives

Practical Hearing Test Development – National Transport Standard – 2004

Member – WorkCover NSW – Working Group on Permanent Impairment: Hearing – for WorkCover Guides for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.

Australian Standard 1269   Occupational Noise Management   AV3 member

Occupational Hearing Conservation Committee NSW OSHR Council

Workers Compensation Act.   Chairman Expert Medical Committee 1986.


Graduation, Degrees, Memberships, Fellowships and Registration

Honours and Distinction medical graduate respectively of the Universities of Sydney and London unconditionally registered for medical practice in Australia.

Fellowships in Occupational Medicine, Public Health and Medical Administration

Masters in Audiological Medicine with Distinction   University of London

Member International Association of Physicians in Audiology (IAPA

Member Australian Acoustical Society


Most recent publication:

Niall PD (2016)

Compensation Assessments of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)

In: Woolford DH et al, Hearing and the Perception of Sound

Chapter 69: Freckelton I and Selby H, Expert Evidence

Publisher: Thomson Reuters

niall pd
Christopher R. Brigham

Christopher R. Brigham, MD (www.cbrigham.com) is internationally recognised as a thought leader on human potential, impairment, and disability. He has a strong professional background, is board-certified in occupational medicine, has edited and co-authored several books (including Living Abled & Healthy: Your Guides to Injury & Illness Recover (www.livingabled.com) and the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment), written over two hundred and fifty peer-reviewed articles, and an inspirational speaker.


  • Thought leader on human potential and dis/ability. Committed to working with others in the application of evidence-based medicine and best practices to promote function. Goal is to have us all, including those who are injured and ill, experience joyful and productive lives.
  • Strong clinical and academic credentials, including board certification in occupational medicine, fellowship status in occupational medicine (Fellow American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) and disability evaluation (Fellow American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians); Certification in Evaluation of Disability and Impairment Rating; Certified Impairment Rater; Master Fellow, Academy of Independent Medical Examiners of Hawaii; and certification as an independent medical examiner (Founding Director of American Board of Independent Medical Examiners).
  • Respected author, editor and producer of educational media, including several texts, newsletters, computer-based resources, video and audio programs; over two hundred and fifty publications. Author of Living Abled and Healthy: Your Guide to Injury and Illness Recovery; Editor Guides Newsletter and Guides Casebook and Senior Contributing Editor, AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Sixth Edition.
  • Internationally recognised expert in impairment and disability assessment (with focus on musculoskeletal, mental and behavioural disorders); use of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment and independent medical evaluations, with experience in workers’ compensation, automobile casualty, Longshore and Harbor Workers Act and long terms disability conferences.
  • Distinguished professional speaker and trainer who has developed and implemented many successful seminars and conferences focusing on workers’ compensation, impairment and disability issues throughout the United States and internationally (including Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Australia, Hong Kong, and China).
Christopher R Brigham
Dr. Dwight Dowda

Pre-eminent Australian authority on AMA5 and AMA4 application in Australia.


Dr Dwight Dowda BSc(Med) MB BS MPH FAFOEM(RACP) FACOEM FAADEP is a consultant occupational physician based in Sydney. During the 1990s he was trained and qualified in USA by the American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the use of the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.


His specialty practice has focused on disability assessment, impairment evaluation and occupational rehabilitation since 1992.


Since 1999 he has been actively involved in the development of impairment guidelines for a variety of jurisdictions including MAA (NSW), NSW WorkCover (now SIRA), SA WorkCover (now RTW SA), Tasmania WorkCover, Comcare and SA MAIAS and has actively assisted the Fijian Ministry of Labor in development of their impairment guidelines.


He was an invited contributor to the first edition of the “AMA Guides Casebook”, and an invited international reviewer of AMA6. He currently is on the editorial advisory board of the Guides newsletter.


Over the last 17 years he has formally and regularly taught and lectured on the various AMA Guides and relevant Guideline usage in a variety of jurisdictions both locally and overseas to medical practitioners, lawyers and insurers. He has an ongoing role as a consultant to various jurisdictions advising on impairment guideline development, updates and use.

Dwight Dowda
Dr. Alison Drewry

Alison currently works for mlcoa in Australia, and is Senior Medical Advisor at ACC (the national, no-fault injury insurer) in New Zealand, where her portfolio includes training, peer review and oversight for Impairment assessments.


She originally graduated from Auckland medical school in 1986, and completed her fellowship in occupational medicine in 1994 initially sub-specialising in diving and aviation medicine, but spent two years post-fellowship working as a senior registrar in anaesthesia, intensive care, psychiatry and emergency medicine in Adelaide.


In 1998 Alison was appointed Surgeon Commander and the head of Naval Medicine (RNZN) and subsequently combined that role with private medicolegal practice and a ministerial appointment as the Medical Convener for civil aviation. She completed a MBA in 2002 (with the Dean’s award for excellence in business studies, and prizes for organisational strategy and human resource management). Alison spent 10 years as Surgeon Captain in the senior medical positions in the NZDF (operational and corporate headquarters) before leaving to join ACC and mlcoa in 2013.


Throughout her specialist career, Alison has been involved with the RACP and the occupational medicine faculty in the areas of physician training and assessment, initiating the Communications Portfolio for advanced training, and currently examining competence in medico-legal report writing (including Permanent Impairment assessments).

Alison Drewry