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Social Media and the Contemporary Health Practitioner

Social Media and the Contemporary Health Practitioner

Event Venue:

Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation‚ Deakin University 221 Burwood HighwayBurwood, VIC, 3125, Australia ( Map )

Please join us for the ‘Healthy Futures’ seminar series hosted by the Deakin Science and Society Network (SSN). You can join the conversation on Twitter by following us at @SSNDeakin and using the hashtags #SSNseminar #HealthyFutures.


Modern health practitioners, especially doctors, dentists and chiropractors, utilise social media for many professional and personal purposes. Patients utilise the Internet to research their health practitioners and their health conditions and they can use social media to communicate and rate and commentate upon the treatment they have received. This utilisation of various forms of media has given rise to attempts at guidance by health regulatory boards, disciplinary decisions by health tribunals and decisions by courts in relation to matters such as defamation. All of these legal responses illustrate the perils of intemperate expostulation that may reach large numbers of people and leave on ongoing digital footprint. This paper reflects on the effects that such matters are having on health practitioner – patient relationships and expectations.



Ian Freckelton is a Queen’s Counsel in full-time practice as a barrister throughout Australia. He is also a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nauru and a Professorial Fellow of Law and Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne. He is a member of the Victorian Bar Council and of the Coronial Council of Victoria and has been a Commissioner at the Victorian Law Reform Commission, a President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, and a member of many statutory tribunals. He is a Member of the Victorian Bar Council and the Coronial Council of Victoria. Professor Freckelton is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences and of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine, as well as the Editor of the Journal of Law and Medicine and the founding Editor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. He is the author of more than 40 books and over 600 articles and chapters of books. In June 2021 Professor Freckelton was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to the law, and to the legal profession, across fields including health, medicine and technology.”



A/Professor Marie Bismark is a medical practitioner, health law academic, and company director. She heads the Law and Public Health Unit at the University of Melbourne where her research explores the intersection between health practitioner wellbeing and patient safety. Her research has been published in leading peer review journals and has influenced regulatory policy in Australia and internationally. In addition to her academic role, Dr Bismark works as a psychiatry registrar with North Western Mental Health, and serves a a board member of The Royal Women’s Hospital, GMHBA health insurance, and Summerset retirement villages. Dr Bismark has previously completed a Harkness Fellowship at Harvard University and is the recipient of an NHMRC Investigator Grant. She holds degrees in law, medicine, public health, bioethics, and psychiatry. In 2019, Dr Bismark was named as one of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence.

Dr Rebekah McWhirter is senior lecturer in health law and bioethics in the School of Medicine at Deakin. Her work uses empirical methods to address legal and ethical issues in health, and aims to identify how law can support public health.



Seminar will be available to stream on YouTube live. Access using the live link:

Date/time: Monday 19 July, 10am – 11:30am (Australian Eastern Daylight Time, GMT+11)

Q&A with the speaker to follow. To send questions/participate in the chat, you’ll need to sign-in using a YouTube account.

The seminar will be recorded and available to watch on the SSN YouTube channel after the Livestream.

If you have any questions, please send to


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