About SAS

The Safe Airway Society was formed in 2019 after extensive consultation with a stakeholder group comprised of representatives nominated by each of the major organisations involved in airway management across Australia and New Zealand. SAS is a not-for-profit organisation. 


Mission Statement: Excellence through collaboration


Statement of purpose

The aim of the Safe Airway Society is to optimise the provision of safe, effective patient care through a collaborative approach, by all airway practitioners, to achieving the best airway management practices, independent of profession, role or context.   

As part of this mission, SAS aims to promote:

  • The exchange of ideas, perspectives and expertise
  • Research and Innovation
  • Unifying principles for airway management
  • Translation of advocated principles and techniques into clinical practice
  • Understanding of both technical and human factors in airway management
  • Collaborative relationships with other organisations involved in airway management

Goals of the Society

  1. Advancing Health:
  • To prevent and relieve the morbidity and mortality associated with difficult airway management including death, hypoxic organ injury, airway and pulmonary trauma, aspiration, post-traumatic stress disorder, unnecessary procedures/admissions or extended hospital stay.
  • To provide support to patients recognised to have, or be at risk of, difficult airway in order to improve patient safety by reducing the risk or exposure to the above harms.
  • To facilitate research directed at improving patient safety during airway management.
  1. Advancing Education:
  • To provide educational resources, training and to facilitate research directed at improving difficult airway management.


The by-laws of the Safe Airway Society can be found here


SAS Committee Members

From the outset, we have set out to include everybody involved in airway management: as members, on the Board and on the Clinical Council. 


SAS Board and Clinical Council


President - Dr Jon Gatward (Intensivist)

Jon dual-trained in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine in the UK, where he was co-creator of two airway skills and simulation courses. He then moved to Australia where he is now a full-time Intensivist. He has special interests and qualifications in medical education, simulation and debriefing, is the creator and course director of the not-for-profit Critical Care Airway Management Course and teaches on several other airway courses nationally and internationally. 

Jon likes to take simulation out of the Sim centre – running inter-professional scenarios in-situ in the Royal North Shore ICU. He is a trainer on various communication courses and has extensive experience with simulation training for difficult conversations. He is the medical lead for the award-winning RNSH Tracheostomy Team, and furthers his interests in patient safety as part of the Best Practice Working Group at Intensive Care NSW. 


Treasurer - Dr Adam Rehak (Anaesthetist)

Adam is a Consultant Anaesthetist at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and Coordinator of Anaesthesia Courses at Sydney Clinical Skills & Simulation Centre. He is Course Director of the Advanced Technical & Teamwork training for Anaesthetic Airway Crises (ATTAAC) course and a co-opted member of the executive committee of the ANZCA/ASA/NSA Airway Special Interest Group.


Secretary - Dr Thy Do (Anaesthetist)

Thy graduated from Cardiff University in Wales and went on to complete her anaesthetic training in the West Midlands, UK. Her passions are varied and include airway management and simulation training with a focus on human factors. She developed a regional training day for senior anaesthetists blending simulation and human factors in the UK. After moving to Australia, she pursued her interests by completing Simulation and Airway Fellowships, and is now the Director of the NEXUS Human Performance Training Program for the Royal Perth Bentley Group (RPBG), and faculty for WA Department of Health simulation instructor course; SimStart.

Thy continues her extensive involvement in regular inter-professional team training locally and nationally, taking particular joy in working alongside aviation industry experts in her role at RPBG. As a formal instructor, she also teaches CICO rescue airway techniques at Perth’s 'wet-labs' in addition to other airway workshops and courses on a national and international basis.


A/Prof David Brewster (Anaesthetist/Intensivist)

David is currently a practicing specialist in both anaesthesia and intensive care medicine. At Cabrini, David currently is the Deputy Director of Intensive Care and the Clinical Dean for the Monash University Clinical School. He has a strong clinical interest in intensive care after cardiac surgery, advanced airway management in intensive care, and anaesthesia for both high-risk patients and the elderly.

David has had significant experience in developing and implementing medical education. He has held a variety of undergraduate teaching roles for the medical school at Monash University since 2006, culminating with his appointment as the clinical dean at Cabrini by the Central Clinical School in 2017. He is a strong advocate for student well-being and has published on improving collegiality through kindness in the workplace. David has also published on current airway practices of intensive care units in Australia and New Zealand, the use of algorithms in airway management and is the national coordinator for the current INTUBE study.  


Kirstin Fraser (Anaesthetic Technician)

Kirstin is a Registered Anaesthetic Technician based in Auckland, New Zealand and the Chairperson for the national professional body the New Zealand Anaesthetic Technicians’ Society. Having worked closely with anaesthetists in airway management for over 14 years, it is only recently that Kirstin became interested and involved in the safe multidisciplinary management of airways. If not working full time or acting in her roles on NZATS or SAS, you will find her at the beach with Rose the rescue puppy.


Dr Chris Groombridge (Emergency Physician)

Chris is a director of emergency medicine training and a Trauma Physician working at The Alfred Hospital, in Melbourne. He has a particular interest in airway management outside the operating theatre and developed The Alfred Emergency Department (ED) airway governance program which includes an ongoing audit of all ED intubations, monthly tailored education for ED trainees based on the audit data, and the standardisation of Rapid Sequence Intubation (RSI) in the ED. He is also a founding member of The Procedure Course, a cadaver-based skills course, teaching life-saving interventions to critical care clinicians. Chris completed a Masters in Trauma Sciences focusing on preoxygenation for RSI in the prehospital environment and is currently completing a PhD on the human factors of resuscitation.


Dr Andy Higgs (Anaesthetist/Intensivist)

Andy is a Consultant in Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine and past Clinical Director of Anaesthesia & Intensive Care in Warrington Hospitals, Cheshire. He trained in Liverpool, North-West England and Melbourne, Australia. He has a long-standing interest in airway management, especially extubation and in the ICU, on which he publishes.

He was an author of the Difficult Airway Society Extubation Guidelines which were published in 2012. These remain the only national extubation guidelines currently published. 

He is serving a second term as Treasurer of the Difficult Airway Society and also Chairs the joint Difficult Airway Society - Intensive Care Society - Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine - Royal College of Anaesthetists working party which produced guidelines for tracheal intubation in critically ill adults. These were released in November 2017 and published in the BJA in February 2018. This represents the UK airway and critical care communities’ response to the findings of sub-optimal airway management in ICUs and in EDs in NAP4. 

He is a faculty member and contributing author of the Aintree Difficult Airway Management (ADAM) course in Liverpool, presents and runs airway workshops, both in the UK and abroad, and was on the organizing committee for the 2nd World Airway Management Meeting (WAMM) in Amsterdam in November 2019.

Andy has written chapters for US and UK-EU airway management textbooks. He is an Executive member of the Project for the Universal Management of the Airway (PUMA) working party aiming to produce an international, multi-disciplinary, consolidated guideline for airway management. 


Matt Humar (Intensive Care Paramedic)

Matt is an Intensive Care Paramedic and Clinical Instructor with Ambulance Victoria, where he has been a paramedic since 2009. He began his paramedic career in the Western suburbs of Melbourne and has slowly migrated to the outer North-Eastern suburbs. Since the completion of an honours degree in emergency health in 2010, Matt has been a teaching associate with Monash University's undergraduate and postgraduate paramedic degrees. Matt is passionate about airway management, patient safety and furthering paramedic education, training, and practice.


Fiona Newman (Perianaesthesia Nurse)

Fiona is a Registered Nurse and Perioperative Nurse Educator at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, with 25 years clinical experience in anaesthesia and post-anaesthesia care nursing. She has completed a Masters in Anaesthetic and Recovery Nursing, is the current President for the Australian College of Perianaesthesia Nurses (ACPAN) and has achieved fellowship status of ACPAN.

Fiona coordinates introductory programs and advanced courses for perioperative nurses across South-East and South-West Queensland (QLD). Her academic achievements in research include joint publications on teaching innovative procedural skills, medication labelling and disaster preparedness as well as textbook chapters in various university based texts on intraoperative and anaesthetic nursing. Fiona is currently the QLD State Coordinator for the Definitive Perioperative Nurse Trauma Course (DPNTC) and coordinates the Definitive Anaesthetic Nursing Course (DATC) in collaboration with an international medical and nursing faculty. 

Fiona has recently participated in state-wide perioperative nurse education reviews and is currently reviewing the national standards for anaesthesia in conjunction with national medical and nursing faculty. 


Dr Scott Santinon (Intensive Care Trainee)

Scott is an intensive care trainee based at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. As an early career clinician learning the science and art of airway management, and having trained in psychology before medical school, Scott is fascinated by the human factors surrounding the practice of safe airway procedures. Scott has broad experience with the development and implementation of medical education and continuing professional development initiatives having held roles as an assistant lecturer and teaching associate at Monash University, and as the clinical training manager at St John Ambulance Victoria. 


Dr David Vokes (ENT surgeon)

David is the Clinical Director of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at Auckland City Hospital. As a Consultant Laryngologist and Head & Neck Surgeon, David’s clinical focus is on disorders of the voice, swallowing, airway and H&N Cancer. David cares for a large number of patients with upper airway disorders, offering both minimally invasive endoscopic surgery, as well as external reconstructive techniques.

David is active in medical student and registrar teaching. He served as a Supervisor of Surgical Training in the Auckland region and Secretary of the Training Committee of the NZ Society of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery. David is also the Director of the Laryngology Fellowship at Auckland City Hospital. David has a strong belief in the multidisciplinary approach to airway management, and is fortunate enough to work with a designated team of like-minded airway specialists in the operating room.


Dr Dan Zeloof (Anaesthesia Trainee)

Dan is an anaesthetic trainee based at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. He began his anaesthetic training in London and moved to Sydney in 2015, in search of an outdoor lifestyle for his growing family. 

Dan is on a mission to combine his passions for strong visual design and ergonomics with his intellectual interest in advanced airway management. To this end, he co-founded an innovative cognitive aid development group, committed to empowering clinicians to perform at their best in high-stakes scenarios. 

Dan relishes his early 4.30am wake-ups and his cross-fit training regimen. If he is not in the gym you will find him dressing up as Disney Frozen characters or re-enacting Bluey scenes with his two daughters.


SAS Clinical Council


Mick Aspinall (Human Factors Specialist)

Mick is an industry leader in non-technical skills training. Through his background as a C130 Combat Airlift pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force and as a 747 pilot for a major international airline he has worked in multiple environments where high performance was fundamental for mission success. For more than fifteen years Mick has shared his experience as a senior facilitator developing high level policy and delivering contemporary non-technical skills training to military aircrew. Additionally, Mick was one of the founders of the Advanced Emergency Performance Training (ADEPT) Course focussing on developing non-technical skills for medical professionals.

Mick’s passion is the taking the techniques, tactics and procedures that have been proven time and again in the demanding environments of high performance military and civilian aviation and translating them in a unique and engaging way to generate higher performance for people and teams, whatever it is they and do and wherever they do it.


Dr Nicholas Chrimes (Anaesthetist)

Nicholas is a consultant anaesthetist at Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne, Australia and co-founder of the Safe Airway Society. He is the creator of the Vortex Approach to Airway Management, the Project Lead for the Project for Universal Management of Airways (PUMA), the ANZCA Airway Lead for Monash Health and a member of the International Advisory Panel for the journal Anaesthesia.

He has particular interests in airway management, patient safety, teamwork behaviours, human factors and simplifying clinical decision making in emergency situations. Nick also has extensive experience in simulation-based education and is a visiting instructor at the Sydney Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre.


Brooke Dench (Human Factors Specialist)


Brooke is a Human Factors Specialist working across Health, Defence and Aviation industries and is the Chair of the Health Special Interest Group for the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia. She began her career as an ICU trained Registered Nurse, moving into various clinical safety and quality roles, where her passion for Human Factors sparked. To compliment her Bachelor of Nursing, and to gain specialised knowledge, Brooke earned a Bachelor of Social Science Psychology (Honours) and a Master of Science - Human Factors/ Ergonomics and Organisational Behaviour from the University of Derby. 

Brooke is passionate about integrating Human Factors into clinical practice and health design to promote safe and efficient healthcare for patients and clinicians. 


Jake Donovan (Paramedic)

Jake is a Paramedic with Ambulance Victoria and has been working in pre-hospital care since 2012. He began his career in central Melbourne, and then worked in the UK for South East Coast Ambulance Service before returning to Victoria to begin training as an Intensive Care Paramedic. Jake is in the process of completing his Masters degree in Specialist Paramedic Practice and has interests in pre-hospital airway management, human factors and multidisciplinary training. When not working, you will find Jake walking his greyhounds or chasing his toddler.


Dr Peter Friedland (ENT Surgeon)

Peter is a senior ENT consultant and former head of Dept Otolaryngology Head & Neck Skull Base Surgery at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) and Joondalup Health Campus in Perth, Western Australia. At SCGH, he runs a multidisciplinary voice clinic which performs local anaesthetic clinic procedures for advanced cancer patients and chairs the weekly Head and Neck MDT.

Peter is a member of the Western Australian Airway Group (WAAG) and regular contributor at their conferences and has extensive trauma related airway experience form Africa. He is committed to teaching whoever will listen and holds professorial posts at University of Western Australia and Notre Dame. He is Chair of the Western Australian OHNS Training Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, board member of Australian Society of Otolaryngology, Head & neck Surgery and a member of the national Panel of Clinical Experts for the Australian Dept of Health. His motto for any airway is “rather be safe than acquiescent”.

A/Prof Stuart Marshall (Anaesthetist)

Associate Professor Stuart Marshall is a Specialist Anaesthetist, Lead of Clinical Human Factors at the Australian Centre for Health Innovation (CHI) at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne and Clinical Associate Professor of Medical Education at The University of Melbourne. He has developed (and teaches on) a number of undergraduate and postgraduate patient safety, airway and anaesthetic emergency courses.

Stuart has both a Masters degree and PhD in Psychology (Cognitive Engineering) and Human Factors and currently holds an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ECR Fellowship at Monash University, examining the use of cognitive aids (checklists and flowcharts) on team functioning. His work has helped develop and research several internationally used cognitive aids for routine and emergency use. These include those used in airway management and perioperative anaphylaxis.


A/Prof Chris Nickson (Intensivist and Emergency Physician)

Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also the Innovation Lead for the Australian Centre for Health Innovation at Alfred Health, a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University, and the Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) Education Committee. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of LITFL.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of two amazing children.