Innovative educationalists

The innovative educationalists behind SMACC and CODA – Mastering Intensive Care 064 with Roger Harris & Oliver Flower

Two inspiring and innovative educationalists, Dr Roger Harris and Dr Oliver Flower, are featured in this episode.

Both of these Sydney intensivists are the force behind the recently created educational initiative named Coda, having previously been two members of the successful triumvirate who set up SMACC (Social Media and Critical Care).

To my mind Oliver (or Oli) and Roger have led an educational revolution by utilising speakers with high level presentation skills and encouraging community engagement, through a blend of real life events, internet technology and social media, to bring us the type of innovative and entertaining educational platform we haven’t previously seen in intensive or critical care.

Dr Roger Harris (@RogerRdharris) is a senior staff specialist in the ICU at the Royal North Shore hospital and the Sydney Adventist hospital. He is dual qualified in Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care. He is passionate about education, his five children and especially his wife Georgie. He’s on Twitter @RogerRdharris where his bio states he is “privileged to care for the critically ill.”

Dr Oli Flower (@OliFlower) is also an intensivist at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. He’s steered the creative side of SMACC & Coda, from the graphic design elements to the style, marketing, website and social platform strategies. He has an interest in neurocritical care and is on Twitter @oliflower where his bio states he is a “believer in the power of the big medical community”.

We recorded this in February 2020; just before the COVID-19 pandemic scuppered Oli and Roger’s plans to release nearly 4000 tickets to the inaugural large-scale Coda event. Coda is aimed to be more like a festival than a conference and is not only for critical care practitioners but for a wider healthcare audience. The overall goal of Coda is to cover vital broader healthcare subject themes and to assist the assembled community to take meaningful actions as a result of what is discussed, the climate emergency being one of the first of these.

When Coda was one of the earlier healthcare conferences to be postponed in the pandemic, I also held this podcast back until there could be firmer plans about any live Coda events.

A meeting named Coda Zero Live has now been announced for 16-18 February 2021. This is an event in Sydney with both a live and a virtual audience. It now seemed appropriate to release this episode to help you know about Coda and to encourage you to attend or tune in to Coda Zero Live.


This interview is well worth listening to as, despite no mention of COVID-19, you’ll hear:

  • The career backgrounds of Oli and Roger
  • Roger’s humility in training in a second speciality in the same hospital
  • Both of their views on the mature culture and flattened hierarchy in their ICU at Royal North Shore Hospital
  • Perspectives on gender equity as well as diversity and inclusion in an Intensive Care department
  • The story behind the educational initiatives of SMACC and Coda
  • The marginalisation of non-technical topics they noticed in most scientific meetings
  • The growing appetite they were observing for these same topics
  • The value of delegate feedback in directing educational initiatives
  • How SMACC developed such an engaged community
  • The vision for Coda including its initial themes of education, ethics, earth and cure
  • The plans for tackling the climate emergency as a healthcare practitioner community
  • Discussion about how a plant-rich diet is beneficial for both environmental and personal health
  • What Oli and Roger have learnt from all these educational pursuits to help them at the bedside
  • How they both stay balanced
  • Some tips for less experienced clinicians




Further reading and listening
Mastering Internsive Care 700

Mastering Intensive Care

with Andrew Davies

Dr Andrew Davies MBBS FRACP FCIC. Intensivist/researcher at Frankston Hospital, Melbourne. Aiming to bring my best self to work & life. | Mastering Intensive Care | New Normal project |

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