The ARA Board of Directors


President - Professor Catherine Hill
Vice-President - Dr Claire Barrett
- Associate Professor Philip Robinson

Secretary - Dr Helen Cooley
Director - Dr Arvin Damodaran
Director - A/Prof Anne Powell
Director - Dr Sam Whittle
Director - Dr David Careless
Director - Dr Nicola Cook


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



Professor Catherine Hill is President of Australian Rheumatology Association. She works as a consultant rheumatologist at The Queen Elizabeth and Royal Adelaide Hospitals in Adelaide, South Australia.  She graduated in 1989 from University of Adelaide. Professor Hill completed her rheumatology training in Adelaide, followed by research training at Boston University. She has research interests in epidemiology of rheumatic diseases, osteoarthritis and vasculitis. She is immediate past Chair of the ARAD Steering Committee.

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 Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

She is passionate about improving the outcomes of patients with musculoskeletal disease by improving education, training and research of ARA members.


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


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. 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 current chair of the ARA Policy and Advocacy Committee. 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 Philip Robinson MBChB PhD FRACP MAICD


Philip is a senior staff specialist at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and is associate professor at the University of Queensland.   Philip trained in rheumatology in New Zealand. He graduated in Medicine from Otago University and qualified as a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2010.

He is a member of the Australian Rheumatology Association and the American College of Rheumatology.   He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is the chair of the steering committee of the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance.

Dr Helen Cooley FRACP, MD (Uni of Melb)


Helen was born in Hobart Tasmania and graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1988. She completed rheumatology training in Melbourne.  This was followed by an MD (Uni of Melb) in immunological mechanisms of recurrent miscarriage.

Helen returned to Tasmania in 1999 with her husband and two daughters and started a private rheumatology practice and a post doc at the Menzies Centre in osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Currently she is a VMO at the Royal Hobart Hospital and Director of the Ambulatory Care Unit.

She is also a board Member of Opal and a member of the ARA Therapeutics Committee.


Dr Arvin Damodaran FRACP

Director - NSW

Dr Arvin Damodaran is a Rheumatologist at Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick and in private practice.  For UNSW Medicine, he is the Director of his hospital’s Clinical Teaching Unit and co-convenes the final two years of the medical program. Arvin graduated with honours from UNSW in 1996 before undertaking Rheumatology specialist training at Liverpool, RPA and Concord Hospitals in Sydney.  He holds a Master of Medical Education and an Associate Fellowship of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators. He is an active senior national examiner for the RACP. Arvin's teaching awards include UNSW Medicine’s 'Teacher of the Year' in 2018.


Arvin contributed to the RACP Rheumatology Specialist Advisory/Training Committee from 2004-2011 variously as Coordinator of Advanced Training, Lead in Assessment and Chair. More recently, he has served two-year terms as secretary then vice-president of the NSW ARA Council before commencing as NSW president in November 2019.

Associate Professor Anne Powell MBBS, BMedSci, FRACP, MClinEd 

Director - Victoria

Anne Powell is the Director of Medical Student Programs and Associate Professor at Central Clinical School, Monash University.
She is a practicing Rheumatologist and General Physician at the Alfred Hospital as well as being in private practice. Anne is also involved in postgraduate medical education and was the Director of Physician education at Alfred Health 2013-2017 and continues to be involved in developing and administering the college RACP and Basic Physician Training education program. During the pandemic, she has rapidly upskilled in all things IT including Zoom Webinar and Teams.

Dr Samuel Whittle MBBS (Hons) MClinEpid FRACP

Director - South Australia


Dr Sam Whittle works at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the western suburbs of Adelaide. He graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1997. His rheumatology training took him on a grand tour of the Adelaide teaching hospitals (but also to England for a year as a specialist registrar on the South Thames rotation). Having learned the hard way that he is not cut out for bench research, he returned to the warm embrace of clinical research. His main area of clinical enthusiasm is fibromyalgia and chronic pain, and his research interests include epidemiology, evidence synthesis, guidelines, and persistent pain. He was involved in the establishment of the Australia and New Zealand Musculoskeletal Clinical Trials Network (ANZMUSC) and remains a member of the ANZMUSC Executive Committee. From 2018-2020 he is undertaking an ANZMUSC Practitioner Fellowship, working on ‘living evidence’ in rheumatology. He has previously served as the ARA Honorary Treasurer (2015-2018), was the ARA representative to APLAR from 2008 to 2015, and was convenor of the 2015 ARA Annual Scientific Meeting.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Sam still hasn't given up hope of being selected to represent Australia in some form of sport, and continues to train daily in his dingy home gym just in case. He is fully aware that his twitter habit (@samwhittle) is an impediment to this and other goals.


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.


Dr Nicola Cook BM (Soton, UK) MRCP, FRACP

Director - West Australia

Despite spending the first 20 years of her life spitting distance from the therapeutic Bath mineral waters, Nicola did not come to Rheumatology until late in her career, as it had not yet been discovered by her medical school.

She left a highly sought after rheumatology training position in the UK, secured whilst secretly pregnant with twins, to immigrate to Perth in the knowledge that it was windy, with three children under two and her windsurfing-mad, anaesthetist, husband.

After completing rheumatology training in Perth she has continued working at Royal Perth Hospital to achieve the much envied 20 year long service award. She performed regular rural clinics in Geraldton over a 17 year period. She continues on staff at RPH, is the Director of the Goatcher Clinical Research Unit, established by Dr Paddy Hanrahan and is in a busy, private practice partnership with Dr Janet Roddy.

Having failed to excel at any sport in her youth, she has pristine knee joints allowing unrestricted running, cycling and tennis in middle age.