About the ARA

The ARA is an association of rheumatologists in Australia that is a specialty society of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).

Rheumatologists are specialist physicians with particular expertise in the diagnosis and holistic management of diseases that affect joints, muscles, and bones.

They treat all forms of arthritis, autoimmune connective tissue disease, spinal and soft tissue disorders and certain metabolic bone disorders, such as osteoporosis and chronic musculoskeletal pain syndromes.

The ARA Constitution and Strategic Plan


Constitution (ratified AGM 10 April 2019)       Strategic Plan 2018-2020


The ARA Board of Directors


President - Associate Professor David Nicholls
Vice-President - Professor Catherine Hill
Secretary - Dr Claire Barrett
Treasurer (Casual Vacancy)
- Associate Professor Jennifer Ng
Director - C/Associate Professor Ana Ananda
Director - A/Prof Indi Rasaratnam
Director - A/Prof Jennifer Walker
Director - Associate Professor Rob K Will
Director - Dr David Careless


Associate Professor Dave Nicholls BHB MBChB (Auckland), FRACP, DipSportsMed (London) FSDrA      



Associate Professor Dave Nicholls was born and raised in rural New Zealand. He has lived and worked on the Sunshine Coast since 2005. A University of Auckland graduate (1992), Professor Nicholls completed rheumatology advanced training in Wellington.  During his ARC Fellowship in Rheumatology and Sports Medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, Professor Nicholls completed his Diploma in Sports Medicine.  He is the owner and Director of Coast Joint Care and Co-Director of the Rheumatology Research Unit with Associate Professor Peter Nash, exploring their interests in new and novel therapeutics.  He is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the Clinical Trials Unit, University of the Sunshine Coast.


Professor Nicholls served on ARA Federal Council from 2009 to 2012, and as ARAQ President from 2013 until May 2016 when he was elected ARA Vice-President.



Professor Catherine Hill MBBS (Adelaide), MD MSc (Epi), FRACP 



Professor Catherine Hill works at both The Queen Elizabeth and Royal Adelaide Hospitals.  She graduated in 1989 from University of Adelaide.  Professor Hill completed her rheumatology training in Adelaide, followed by research training at Boston University with Professor David Felson on an AFA-ARA Heald Fellowship.  She has research interests in epidemiology of rheumatic diseases, osteoarthritis and vasculitis and is currently Chair of the ARAD Steering Committee.

Professor Hill has previously been Secretary and President of ARA (SA) and has been Honorary Secretary of ARA since 2016.  She currently serves on the Research Committee and Scientific Advisory Board of the ARA Research Trust, and the Biosimilars Working Group of ARA.  Professor Hill is also involved in drug regulatory work at state and national levels as Chair of South Australian Medicines Evaluation Panel and is a member of Drug Utilisation Subcommittee of PBAC.


Dr Claire Barrett BSc (1st Hons), MBBS (Lond), MRCP, FRACP 

Honorary Secretary

Dr Claire Barrett works in Redcliffe, 30km north of Brisbane. She graduated from University College London in 1987 and has been in Australia since 1991. In 1996 Dr Barrett initiated a public specialist rheumatology service at Redcliffe Hospital. In addition she works in private practice at Redcliffe and Northside Rheumatology and runs outreach clinics to Longreach and Mackay. She is a Senior Lecturer at University of Queensland.

Dr Barrett was a member of the ARA Therapeutics Committee from 2005-09 and chair 2009-2011. She is an active member of the ARAD Steering Committee and was Co-Convenor of the 2011 ARA Annual Scientific Meeting.
Dr Barrett has been involved with the ARA Regional Rheumatology Project since initiation by Dr McGuigan and was chair of the ARA Regional Rheumatology Committee until May 2017. She is a past Secretary, Vice President and President of ARAQ. Her special interests include the optimal management of pregnancy in RA and addressing the disadvantages that Australian regional rheumatology patients suffer including by the use of telehealth.

Associate Professor Jennifer Ng, MRCP, FRACP

Treasurer (Casual Vacancy)

Associate Professor Ng completed her medical degree at University of Melbourne with honours in 1996. She worked in UK, Australia and New Zealand with specialist qualifications in UK and Australasia for internal medicine and rheumatology (MRCP and FRACP, 1999 and 2005). She also completed diploma of dermatological sciences and musculoskeletal medicine (DDSC and DipMSM). 

In 2005, she worked at the Diamantina Institute in Professor Thomas' Unit (Pfizer articulum scholarship) doing research in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and also as a rheumatologist and general medicine physician in Princess Alexandra and Logan Hospitals.
In 2007, she started private practice in Gold Coast and in 2016 joined the Gold Coast University as staff specialist.


C/Associate Professor Ana Ananda, PhD, FRACP

Director - NSW

Dr Ana Ananda is a Senior Staff Specialist at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Sydney. She also works in Private Practice in Castle Hill. She graduated in 1998 from University of New South Wales. Dr Ananda completed her rheumatology training in Sydney. She undertook her PhD at Royal North Shore Hospital, with Prof Lyn March, the late Prof Phil Sambrook, and Prof Marlene Fransen.

She is a Conjoint Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, and Chair, Musculoskeletal Block, Medical Program, University of Sydney. She was previously the Network Director of Physicians’ Training, Concord Hospital Network.
Dr Ananda is currently President, Australian Rheumatology Association, NSW Branch. She has previously been involved with the NSW Rheumatology Advanced Trainee Educational Program.

Associate Professor Indi Rasaratnam MBBS (Hons) (Monash), FRACP 

Director - Victoria

Associate Professor Indi Rasaratnam graduated from Monash University with honours. He won the Fairfield Hospital Infectious Diseases Prize and was runner up in the Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Paediatrics prizes. He is now in his 31st year of service at The Alfred in Melbourne having undertaken his entire Rheumatology training there with Associate Professor Peter Ryan.  Indi is Director of Academic Programs at Epworth Clinical School, Monash University. He is very passionate about medical education and has been involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching for over 25 years. Over the last ten years, he has consistently won the “Lecturer of the Year” or “Tutor of the Year” award at The Central Clinical School, Monash University. He is an Examiner for Monash University and The Royal Australasian College of Physicians.  Associate Professor Rasaratnam is the current President of The Australian Rheumatology Association (Vic) having served as its Vice President for two years. He is in Rheumatology Private Practice at The Epworth Hospital in Richmond and also at “Waverley Rheumatology” in Mount Waverley.

He has a very special interest in Gout and was recently interviewed by ABC Broadcaster, Libbi Gorr on her popular Sunday morning program about this interesting arthropathy and its impact on society.

Associate Professor Jennifer Walker MBBS, PhD, FRACP 

Director - South Australia


Associate Professor Jennifer Walker completed her advanced training in rheumatology at the Flinders Medical Centre in 2003. Her PhD explored Jak-STAT signalling in rheumatoid arthritis under supervision of Professors Malcolm Smith, Peter Roberts-Thomson and Michael Ahern. She then completed a two year postdoctoral fellowship with the Canadian Scleroderma Research Group in Calgary, Alberta. Jenny is now a staff specialist in Rheumatology at the Flinders Medical Centre and continues a keen research interest in scleroderma in association with the Australia Scleroderma Interest Group. She also collaborates with Dr Mihir Wechalekar and his work on the inflammatory synovium.



Associate Professor Rob K Will BSc(Hons) MBBS, FRACP, EMBA

Director - Western Australia



Clinical Associate Professor Will trained in Rheumatology, Osteoporosis and Epidemiology in Perth and Bath, UK. He then returned to Perth in 1991 and established Rheumatology and Osteoporosis clinics at Royal Perth Hospital. He retired from RPH in 2016 and runs a busy private practice in Perth, with a keen interest in DEXA and Osteoporosis Management. This is facilitated by providing telehealth services throughout Australia with a particular focus on Osteoporosis Management. His Osteoporosis Company (Osteoporosis Solutions – Australia), provides DEXA scanning services to over 20,000 patients a year in WA and NSW. He runs a private research group with interests in osteoarthritis, as well as clinical studies in RA, psoriatic arthritis, spondyloarthritis and osteoporosis. He collaborates with researchers at Curtin University in Perth on studies in Osteoarthritis of the knee. He is a supervisor of PhD students, summer school students at UWA and Medical Students at Notre Dame University in Perth undertaking research studies. He established Perihelion Health Ltd a public unlisted company to develop Private Multi-specialization hospitals with public partnerships, with the first hospital to begin construction in Perth’s Northern suburbs in 2018.


Dr David Careless, MBBS, FRACP
Director - Queensland


Dr David Careless graduated from University of Queensland in 1985. He underwent advanced training in Rheumatology and General Medicine at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane and the Toronto Hospital – Western Division under the supervision of Dr Rob Inman in 1994/5. Since 1995 he has been practicing at Ipswich approximately 40km south west of Brisbane. He is a Visiting Medical Officer at Ipswich General Hospital conducting Rheumatology Clinics and at St Andrews Private Hospital. He is currently Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee at St Andrew’s Hospital and a member of the Board of Trustees at Ipswich Girls Grammar School. He is the current President of the Australian Rheumatology Association – Queensland Branch.