AIMA NZ Conference 2019 – SPEAKERS

We are delighted to have a host of national and international speakers at the AIMA NZ Conference 2019.  Our program includes the following experts:

Mel Abbott

Mel Abbott, NLP  Master Practitioner, is having around 90% recovery rates with patients who have been ill for an average of 9.66 years.  Anxiety is her largest client group. She has seen many people get off anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication after 10 or 20 years of daily use. Mel has a degree in Psychology and a Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Life Coaching. She is also a Certified NLP Master Practitioner. Her main philosophy is that “we need to fix the underlying cause of illness in order to resolve it”. She recovered from 11 years of chronic fatigue syndrome and has helped over 1000 people with a wide range of illnesses who are delighted to be able to re-engage with a normal, healthy lifestyle. Through working with so many people, she has the ability to spot underlying causes quickly in others and help people to resolve them. Visit for more info.



Dr. Paul Beaver

Over the past 12 years, Paul Beaver (Ph.D.) has pioneered the use of genetic profiling and Nutrigenomics in clinical applications. He has developed several genetic profiles, based on a unique Systems Biology Approach to help Practitioners integrate the new science of Nutrigenomics into their clinics to improve the health and wellbeing of their patients whatever their health goal. All interventions are based on the individual’s genetic profile and are either Nutrigenomic, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle choices, which are supported by the latest evidence-based scientific and medical research.
During this time Paul has worked closely with hundreds of medical practitioners, specialists and healthcare professionals both in Australia and internationally to improve the health and wellbeing of their patients. This commitment has resulted in Paul becoming a leading expert in how to integrate genetic profiling and Nutrigenomics into clinical practice.

Paul Beaver’s presentation at the conference is sponsored by Nutrisearch.


Lara Briden

Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor and the “period revolutionary” – leading the change to better periods. Informed by a strong science background and more than twenty years with patients, Lara is a passionate communicator about women’s health and alternatives to hormonal birth control.

Her book Period Repair Manual is a manifesto of natural treatment for better hormones and better periods and provides practical solutions using nutrition, supplements, and natural hormones.  Now in its second edition, the book has been an underground sensation and has worked to quietly change the lives of tens of thousands of women.




Dr. Penny Caldicott

Penny Caldicott (BMed, FRACGP) is a general practitioner with over two decades of experience. In 2003 she established Invitation to Health, a medical centre that integrates the best of evidence-based conventional and complementary medicine. “I have seen that patient care in our community is fragmented as doctors and therapists frequently work in isolation communicating only rarely with each other and, at times, with a mutual distrust of each other based on ignorance and fear. This situation can compromise patient care and is an added burden for the individual doctor/therapist who feels that they must somehow address their entire patient’s needs themselves. For these reasons, amongst many others, I became increasingly aware that we need to educate each other and create lines of communication between medical/health practitioners. We have been trained to work with a medical model based on chronic disease management, it is clearly time now to work towards a pre-emptive model of health care that aspires to both prevent chronic disease and accompany our patients back towards well being.”

Penny is the President of the AIMA board and has been a board member of a number of not-for-profit boards including the Central Coast Division of General Practice. She is passionate about supporting integrative doctors and therapists and is a clear and strong voice to guide the future agenda of Integrative Medicine in Australia and New Zealand.


Sharon Erdrich

Sharon Erdrich (MHSc, DipNat, DipHM, NZRN, RegNut) has over 40 years’ experience in health, having commenced her working career as a nurse in Auckland’s Green Lane hospital. Since then she has studied naturopathy, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, and massage and in 2015 attained a Master of Health Science (Hons) by research at the University of Auckland. She is an experienced lecturer, having taught a range of natural therapies topics and nursing for over 13 years. In 2012 Sharon established New Zealand’s only specialist SiBO breath-testing service in Auckland and is one of this country’s leading experts in this field, running regular seminars and webinars, upskilling health practitioners in the evaluation and treatment of functional digestive disorders.  In 2017 Sharon presented at the ICNM (London) and at the 10th Asia Pacific Conference of Clinical Nutrition (Adelaide). In 2018 she was again a presenter at ICNM, and in May 2019 will present at the ICCMR in Brisbane.

She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. via the University of Sydney, investigating the gut microbial profile in people with fibromyalgia. Sharon is a full professional member of the Nutrition Society of NZ and the Naturopaths & Medical Herbalists of NZ and is Vice-President of the latter.


Dr. Graham Gulbransen

Graham Gulbransen is an experienced medically trained Cannabis Consultant, General Practitioner, and Addiction Specialist. He takes self-referrals and GP referrals for assessment and for the prescribing of medicinal cannabis. Video consultations have assisted patients from Whangarei to Invercargill. Graham initially worked as a Senior Medical Officer at the Auckland Community Alcohol and Drugs Services (CADS) between 1996 – 2012. He completed a Fellowship of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine (FAChAM) in 2008. Graham has considerable experience in opioid substitution treatment, especially methadone maintenance, and in medical detoxification, especially from alcohol and benzodiazepines.  Graham’s part-time general practice experience dates from 1983. Much of this work involves assessing and managing addictions and/or chronic pain. Since 1999 he has been a Fellow of the Royal NZ College of General Practice (FRNZCGP).



Dr. Christine Houghton

Christine holds a Ph.D. in Nutrigenomics and a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Queensland as well as a Graduate Diploma in Human Nutrition from Deakin University in Victoria. She is a registered Nutritionist and Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Science at the University of Queensland.

Following 3 decades as a private practice Nutritional Biochemist, Christine founded the Brisbane company Cell-Logic which researches and manufactures nutrigenomic ingredients for clinical application. The company’s primary focus is on the research and development of broccoli sprout-derived bioactives along with other clinically-relevant phytochemicals that target upstream causes of disease. In addition to her published works, as an educator Christine is the author of several evidence-based post-graduate online courses designed for practising clinicians.

Christine Houghton’s presentation at the conference is sponsored by Nutrisearch.


Warren Maginn
Warren Maginn BHSc (Nutr. Med.), GradCert (Hum. Nutr.) is a Clinical Nutritionist and College Lecturer, specialising in the individualised management of chronic health conditions, as well as the maximisation of health and wellbeing, through the principles of Functional Medicine and integrative laboratory testing. Warren holds a bachelor degree in Clinical Nutrition as well as postgraduate qualifications in Human Nutrition, and teaches bachelor students of Nutritional Medicine in Brisbane, whilst supporting and mentoring naturopathic and medical practitioners around Australia and New Zealand in their use of functional pathology testing and clinical nutraceuticals, as a basis to integrative health management.

Warren Maginn’s presentation at the conference is sponsored by FxMed.



Dr. Graham Mead

Graham Mead is a South African-born medical doctor who has been exploring the field of consciousness and the return to health through practical, internal self-awareness practices.

In 2003 he gave up conventional medical practice to pursue an increasingly pressing interest in the role that consciousness and sensory awareness plays in the origin of disease and the expression of overall health and wellbeing. A deep internal crisis followed shortly after and the ensuing inner journey led to an intimate exploration of breath work, meditation, movement and the critical role of relationship and sensory awareness in the expression of health.

An insistence on practical, experiential insight of the body-mind as a dynamic, sensory phenomena with an innate capacity to thrive, inspires his current work.


Dr. Fred Timmermans

Fred Timmermans has 30 plus years’ experience in Natural Dentistry and founded Picton Dental Spa in 2007 as “a place of healing and health for the rural population in Marlborough and the Sounds”. He is also a trained minimal intervention surgeon for dental implants, plastic gum surgery, and wisdom tooth removal. His vision of dentistry is one of a spectacular evolving medical science. He believes that from a mostly tooth-orientated profession it is progressing into a more holistic human-orientated service in which there is a fragile balance between the ever-extending technical and surgical ‘solutions’ and the patients’ cosmetic and or functional ‘needs’.  His special fields of interest are all aspects of the aging dentition and his passion is minimal invasive dentistry and maximum prevention based on expanding consciousness about self-care and nutrition.



Prof. Luis Vitetta

Currently, Luis Vitetta is Professor with the University of Sydney, Sydney Medical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health in Sydney and Director of Medical Research at Medlab Clinical.

Between the years 2007–2013 he was the Director and Professor of the Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine at the University of Queensland, Faculty of Medicine, based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

Luis has research interests in the microbiome/nutrition/probiotics and mucosal and cellular immunity as well as research on cannabis medicines.

Luis Vitetta’s presentation at the conference is sponsored by Nutrisearch.

Dr.Damian Wojcik

 Since 2001 Damian Wojcik has worked at the Northland Environmental Health Clinic as a GP, Integrative medical practitioner, and a clinical metal toxicologist. He has particular expertise in mercury toxicology, having co-authored two research papers in this field, and continues to research and present on this topic. It is relevant that all 28-member nations in the EU voted to ban amalgam fillings in children up to 15, pregnant women, and lactating mothers, effective from June 2018.





We are thrilled to have the highly talented musician Nigel Gavin and chanteuse Sonia Wilson to provide a musical introduction to each session of presentations as well as the cocktail reception.

New York-born, NZ resident Nigel Gavin has long been a featured player in New Zealand’s eclectic music scene, particularly in Auckland, playing guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, glissentar – indeed, almost anything with strings  – alongside a wide variety of acclaimed artists and bands. Both a musician and a composer, he has a vast musical vocabulary which ranges from acoustic blues and folk to jazz, rock, fusion, surf pop, complex ambient grooves, and various world music genres, in particular, klezmer.

He will be joined by Auckland-based Franco-American singer, songwriter, guitarist, ukulele player and music teacher from Paris, France – Sonia Wilson. Sonia is a member of the Gitbox Rebellion 10 guitar ensemble (of which Nigel Gavin is founder and director), a lead and harmony singer with various bands and one of the original members of the Tiny Orchestral Moments international music improvisation and collaboration ensemble in Seattle, USA. As a graduate from the California Institute of Integral Studies course “Sound, Voice and Music Healing” in San Francisco, she is also an experienced hands-on sound and singing relaxation massage practitioner.