About us

Board and leadership

Solaris Cancer Care is governed by a Board of Directors and led by Managing Director and CEO, David Edwards.

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.

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 Danby has 18 years’ experience in the corporate communications and public relations arenas. She has worked as an in-house consultant for BHP Billiton, Woodside Energy and Alcoa. 

Kirsty is currently the Director for Platform Communications, a vibrant strategic communications and graphic design firm specialising in the global resources sector. She is the Chair of Curtin University’s Faculty of Humanities Advisory Board, the President of the WA Mining Club, a Board Member of the Petroleum Club of WA and is on the AOG Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

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.

Mr David Edwards

Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer

Mr David Edwards was appointed to the position of Solaris Cancer Care CEO in November 2009, and in 2017 was promoted to the position of Managing Director/CEO. 

David has extensive business and management experience across the private, government, and community sectors including a National Board Member of the Australia Indonesia Business Council, General Manager of Clinical Training and Education Centre and Director, Western Australian Trade and Investment Office, Indonesia.

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 Clare McNeill

Non-Executive Director

Clare McNeill has 14 years legal, risk management and commercial experience across a range of industries, having worked at Macquarie and law firm, Allens. Clare draws on her previous experience as a director of a London-based health and social care charity, legal adviser to boards and participation in the 2019 Emerging Leaders in Governance Program run by Southcare Inc. Clare is currently commercial legal counsel at Wesfarmers.

Clare is inspired by Solaris’ creation of community and fostering of well- being and support around those affected by cancer.

Clare brings her passion and experience in governance best practice to Solaris Cancer Care and creates impact through her ability to enhance risk, legal and strategic frameworks.

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.