About us

Solaris Cancer Care is governed by a Board of Directors and led by CEO, Francis Lynch.

Clinical Professor David Joske

MBBS FRACP FRACPA, Chairperson, Independent Non-Executive Director

Graduating from UWA in 1983 with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery, Dr Joske, now a Clinical Haematologist and Medical Co-Director at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital has dedicated his career to cancer care and helping those with the disease.

In 2001 he established Solaris Cancer Care, a dedicated service offering support to cancer patients and in 2016 was named EY’s (WA) Social Entrepreneur award for this work.

Professor David Joske was Head of Haematology at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital from 1994 to 2012 and remains very active in clinical practice and research. Dr David Joske is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Western Australia and senior Haematologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. His research and clinical work focus on the role of supportive care in the management of cancer.

Dr Joske is a leading expert in the field of integrative cancer care, influencing its mainstream development across Australia. He is dedicated to the exploring the value of complementary integrated therapies in counteracting adverse side effects experienced by people living with cancer. His clinical and research interests include the treatment of lymphomas; palliative care in Haematology; and supportive care in cancer.

He is a UWA Clinical Professor of Medicine; was the Haematology sub-editor for the Internal Medicine Journal 2002-2009 and has published 75 peer-reviewed publications plus three book chapters. He launched the SolarisCare Foundation in September 2001 and is currently its Chairman and Chief Medical Officer. He is the Lead Clinician for the WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network Survivorship Collaborative Network. He was awarded the John Curtin Medal in 2005 and has been a finalist four times for Western Australian of the Year. He plays guitar in a blues band and sometimes busking for Solaris Cancer Care.

Mr Francis Lynch

Chief Executive Officer

Mr Francis Lynch was appointed to the position of Solaris Cancer Care CEO in December 2020. Francis is a social worker who has worked in a wide range of roles in the community support sector across Australia. He has worked at an executive level with several organisations and was the CEO of Ruah Community Services for 8 years.

Francis has experience supporting the development of service delivery systems so that they focus on the needs of people and grow accordingly. He has worked to renew organisational structures so that they deliver great outcomes for the community.

Francis has worked collaboratively with partner organisations at state and national levels including having led the boards of the WA Council of Social Service (WACOSS) and the Australian Council of Social Service. (ACOSS). He has achieved the qualifications of Master of Business Administration and Master of Social Work and is a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (WA), and a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Ms Patricia Williams

Non-Executive Director

Patricia Williams has been in the medical industry since 1977. She has a Bachelor of Nursing Degree and currently works as a Registered Nurse at Royal Perth. Patricia also has a Diploma in Yoga Teaching and was the Director for Pranic Healing in UK, Ireland and Western Australia. She is a Senior International Instructor and currently the Vice President for the Pranic Healers Association of WA.

Patricia’s extensive experience in orthodox medicine encompasses; burns, plastics and surgical nursing, renal, respiratory, acute medical, neurology and more recently oncology and palliative care.

Patricia has been a volunteer therapist and member of the research committee at Solaris Cancer Care since February 2002. She is the Manager of Special Projects & Education and Carers Course for the foundation. Patricia wrote the Solaris Cancer Care Mentoring Program and co-authored the Volunteer Orientation Guidelines, Standards and Protocols for therapists and the Carers Course Training Manual.

Patricia brings a broad knowledge base of orthodox and complementary therapies to Solaris Cancer Care and is an advocate for complementary integrative therapy provided by qualified therapists in a safe and nurturing environment.

Ms Kirsty Danby

Non-Executive Director

Kirsty has 20 years’ experience in the corporate communications and public relations arenas. Kirsty has worked as an in-house consultant for BHP, Woodside Energy and Alcoa.

Kirsty is currently the Director of Platform Communications, a vibrant strategic communications and graphic design firm specialising in the global resources sector. She is the CEO of the Port Hedland Industries Council, Curtin University’s Humanities Faculty Advisory Council Chair, former President of the WA Mining Club, former Chair of the Australasian Oil and Gas Diversity & Inclusion Committee and a former Board Member of Petroleum Club of WA and Perth Centre for Photography.

Kirsty brings with her diverse skills in many areas including communication, management and public relations. Under Kirsty’s guidance, Solaris Cancer Care will increase our media exposure, build new connections, streamline our communications, and develop robust brand development.

Dr Rebecca Howman

Clinical Haematologist

Dr Rebecca Howman is a clinical haematologist with expertise in treating a range of benign and malignant haematological conditions and autologous stem cell transplants. She is a graduate from the University of Western Australia and undertook haematology training at Fremantle Hospital and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne. She holds dual fellowships in haematology (FRACP) and haematopathology (FRCPA). During her training she completed at Masters of Clinical Research and was involved in a number of clinical trials and research projects in the areas of lymphoma, myeloma, acute leukaemia and congenital bleeding disorders.

Dr Howman has an ongoing role as principal investigator and co-investigator on numerous clinical trials of novel cancer treatments. Her particular interests include the pathobiology of myeloproliferative neoplasms and myelodysplasia. She is the chair of the Blood Transfusion Committee and was the clinical lead for the introduction of Patient Blood Management at the hospital, which lead to a 20 per cent reduction in the use of red cells hospital-wide. She continues to be involved in a number of projects to continually improve the patient experience at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Cancer Centre.

Dr Chris Whitaker

Non-Executive Director

Chris was born in Manchester and studied at Cambridge before coming to the Australian National University in 1970 to undertake his PhD. He has worked in academia, the public sector, and the private sector, principally in the areas of geology, environmental management, and transport and logistics. Among the positions he has held are Commissioner of Fair Trading (WA), Director General of Transport (WA), and Managing Director of the Melbourne Port Corporation.

He has held professorships at Curtin University, RMIT University and Inha University (South Korea). At RMIT he was in charge of the Business school with over 20,000 onshore and overseas students. He has delivered courses overseas on behalf of the World Health Organisation, the UN Development Program and the UN Environment Program.

Chris has extensive experience as a Board Member including the Medical Board of WA, the WA Legal Aid Commission, and as Deputy Chairman of the WA Environmental Protection Authority. He was Chairperson of the Uniting Church Homes Board (now known as Juniper) from 1989 to 1996.

During his time working in the public sector Chris was President of the WA Division of the Institute of Public Administration (Australia), and was the National Vice President.

He first learned about Solaris through his wife, who has been a volunteer for several years, and was delighted to be asked to join the Solaris Board.

Ms Diane Porteous

Non-Executive Director

Diane is Head of Global Marketing for ASX company IMDEX Limited, responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of the global marketing plan across its world-wide footprint.

She has previously held positions for a range of technology and telecommunications companies globally, ranging from MICROSOFT UK, Telefonica (O2), British Telecom, HTC Europe to local Australian based organisations including Tourism WA and MICROMINE.

Diane is an experienced executive manager with 20 years’ experience in senior management and marketing positions in Australia and Europe. Her roles have focused on strategic planning and execution, brand development, integrated campaign development and execution.

Diane has a Bachelor of Commerce from Curtin University, with a double major in marketing and public relations, also a Graduate Diploma in marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) London.

Neil Cooke

Non-Executive Director

Neil Cooke is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) with over 25 years’ experience in financial and commercial leadership roles. His skills and experience include strategy, transformation, governance, compliance, financial and commercial support with a keen interest in leadership and developing others.

Neil is currently the Deputy Group CFO of the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC WA) where he has worked in financial and commercial leadership roles in operating businesses and corporate functions since 2011.

Prior to joining the RAC WA, Neil held a variety of senior financial and commercial roles at Unisys, a global technology company over 10 years in Sydney and Perth supporting the Asia Pacific region. Neil also has experience in the mining industry in corporate accounting roles.