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Dr Tony Adams AM

Former CHO NSW 1983-88,CMO Australia 1988-1997, Professor of Public Health ANU 1997- 2003, Chair Global Commission for Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication WHO 1995- 2016

Graduated in Medicine from Adelaide 1959, Frank Knox Fellowship, MPH Harvard 1961, Lecturer in Community Medicine University of Kentucky 1962-63, Senior Lecturer  Public Health University of Sydney 1965-1973, Director of Health Services Research NSW Health 1974-1982, Chief Health Officer NSW 1983-1988, Chief Medical Officer Australia 1988-1997, Member then Chair WHO Global Commission for Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication 1995-2016.

Professor Alex Brown

Leader, Aboriginal Research Unit, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Professor Alex Brown is an Aboriginal medical doctor and researcher. He grew up on the south coast of New South Wales (NSW) with family connections to Nowra, Wreck Bay and Wallaga Lake on the far south coast of NSW.

Alex trained in medicine at the University of Newcastle, before working in hospitals on the central coast on NSW. He subsequently travelled overseas to complete a Master of Public Health and returned to Australia to begin work in Alice Springs, where he spent the last 13 years.

Alex first managed the local Centre for Disease Control in Alice Springs, controlling outbreaks of disease, immunisation programs and the surveillance of disease, before starting in research for the Menzies School of Health Research. In 2007 he was appointed to set up a research program in Central Australia with Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, with a focus on heart disease and diabetes in Aboriginal people. During this time, Alex commenced and completed his PhD on depression and heart disease in Aboriginal men.

Over this time, Alex has established an extensive and unique research program focused on chronic disease in vulnerable communities, with a particular focus on outlining and overcoming health disparities. He leads projects encompassing epidemiology, psychosocial determinants of chronic disease, mixed methods health services research in Aboriginal primary care and hospital settings, and randomised controlled trials of pharmacological and non-pharmacological chronic disease interventions.

Alex has been involved in policy since he commenced as a doctor. He has been heavily involved in engaging government and lead agencies in setting the agenda in Aboriginal cardiovascular disease management and control and chronic disease policy more broadly. He sits on a range of national committees, including the Heart Foundation, chairs the Cardiac Society Indigenous Cardiovascular Council and was a member of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council (2009-2012).


In July 2012, Alex joined SAHMRI to lead Aboriginal health research.

In November 2012, Alex was awarded the prestigious Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship to further his research into the impacts of psychosocial determinants on cardiovascular disease in Aboriginal communities.

Ms Donnella Mills

Acting Chair, National Aboriginal Community Controled Health Organisation

Donnella Mills is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman with ancestral and family links to Masig and Nagir. She is a Director of Wuchopperen Health Service and Acting Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation - NACCHO.  She is a Cairns-based lawyer with LawRight, a Community Legal Centre which coordinates the provision of pro-bono civil legal services to disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community.  Donnella is currenAtly the project lawyer for the Wuchopperen Health Justice Partnership. This innovative HJP is an exciting model of care providing access to justice in a community controlled setting, where lawyers and health professionals collaborate to achieve improved health, social, emotional and spiritual well-being outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Donnella has actively promoted self-determination and social justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout her career. This includes delivering expanded and enhanced health services that are community driven and community led. 

Dr Barri Phatarfod

Founder and President, Doctors for Refugees

Dr Barri Phatarfod is a Sydney GP who started the group Doctors for Refugees in 2013 to unite the voices of the medical profession in condemning the human rights abuses inflicted on asylum seekers.

When the Australian government sacked the overseeing body for detention health that same year leaving no-one to monitor their treatment, Barri started reviewing the medical records of sick and injured refugees herself. As the number of referrals grew, particularly from the squalid centres on Manus Island and Nauru, Barri enlisted the help of volunteer doctors around the country. Doctors for Refugees currently has up to 100 doctors reviewing several hundred medical files and over the years they have helped achieve the proper treatment for many trapped in desperate and perilous conditions.

In 2016, Barri lead Doctors for Refugees to challenge the federal government in the High Court and succeeded in having a contentious law revoked, which had sought to jail doctors and others who spoke out about the abuses they had witnessed (ABFA, 2015).

Ms Mary Patetsos

Chairperson, Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia

Mary Patetsos is a professional Board Director, serving on both National and South Australian Boards with a rare blend of academic qualifications and expertise. Her skills and experience combined with an extensive national network enable her to add significant value to organisations at many levels. In particular, her commitment to achieve positive change drives her ambition. She contends that a strong belief in the worthiness of learning and work have become her key motivator.

Adjunct Professor Sophie Dwyer

Executive Director, Health Protection, Queensland Health

Executive Director, Health Protection Branch, Queensland Health, where her areas of responsibility include food safety, water quality, environmental hazards, radiation health and public health regulation.  Sophie has had a diverse career in public health within Queensland Health and in the community spanning more than 30 years, covering such roles as management of public health units, and environmental health, health protection and health promotion programs. She holds Adjunct appointments at University of Queensland and Griffith University, and In 2008, Sophie was awarded a Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in the field of environmental health. 

Dr Veronica Matthews

Research Fellow, University Centre for Rural Health, University of Sydney

Dr Veronica Matthews is from the Quandamooka community, North Stradbroke Island. She has over 15 years’ experience working in a variety of roles in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health from program delivery to policy and research. She is currently a Research Fellow at the University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore, where her key contributions have been in Indigenous primary health care systems research. She has a strong interest in community-based research methods, currently working with local organisations to examine the mental health and wellbeing impact of the 2017 Northern Rivers flood for different sectors of the community.

Mr Anthony Slayter

Consultant on Water Policy and Governance, Water Policy Group

Tony Slatyer is the former Australian Government official responsible for managing national water policy and programs. Since 2017, Tony has been engaged as the Special Adviser on Water for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a part time basis and is a founder of the Water Policy Group, an independent global network of water policy experts.

Professor Sharon Friel

Director, School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) and Professor of Health Equity ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Sharon Friel is Director of the the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) and Professor of Health Equity, Australian National University. She is also Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy ANU. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia and an ANU Public Policy Fellow. In 2014 she was named by her international peers as one of the world’s most influential female leaders in global health.

She is the Co-Director of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity. In 2010 she was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to investigate the interface between health equity, social determinants and climate change, based at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANU. Between 2005 and 2008 she was the Head of the Scientific Secretariat (University College London) of the World Health Organisation Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Before moving to Australia, she worked for many years in the Department of Health Promotion, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Her interests are in the role of structural factors in affecting health inequities, including trade and investment, urbanisation, food systems, and climate change; and the analysis of governance, policy and regulatory processes and their effectiveness at addressing health inequities.


Associate Professor Gary Sacks

Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, Global Obesity Centre, Deakin University

Associate Professor Gary Sacks is a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow based at the Global Obesity Centre at Deakin University. Gary’s research focuses on policies for the prevention of obesity and related diseases. Gary has co-authored several international reports on obesity prevention, including the Lancet Commission on Obesity and several reports for the World Health Organization. Gary led the first-ever studies to benchmark progress on obesity prevention by Australian governments and food companies, for which he was awarded a prestigious VicHealth Award for research translation. Gary co-authored the ACE-Obesity Policy study, which assessed the cost-effectiveness of policies related to obesity prevention in Australia. Gary co-founded INFORMAS (International Network for Food and Obesity / non-communicable diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support) – a global network for monitoring food environments. Gary leads the component of INFORMAS dedicated to monitoring the actions of food companies in relation to obesity prevention and population nutrition.

The Hon Emeritus Professor Peter Baume AC DistFRNS

The Honourable Emeritus Professor Peter Baume AC was Professor of Community Medicine and Head of School, University of New South Wales from 1991-2000. He was a Senator for New South Wales between 1974 and 1991; was successively Government Whip, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister Assisting the Minister for National Development and Energy, Minister for Health, Minister for Education, and a Minister in Cabinet. He was Chancellor of the Australian National University from 1994-2006, was Foundation Chair of the Australian Sports Drug Agency, a Commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission, Deputy-Chair of the Australian National Council on AIDS, President of the Public Health Association (NSW Branch), Patron of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of NSW and of its successor body Dying with Dignity NSW. He was the Chairman of the Alzheimer’s Association in NSW (he remains a Director) and was Chairman of the Kolling Institute for Medical Research, was an Official Visitor to psychiatric hospitals and a member of the Official Visitors’ Advisory Committee. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales. He is a physician who holds a doctorate, two honorary doctorates, and several fellowships and is a Companion in the Order of Australia (having previously been an Officer of the same Order). He has published extensively, reviews for a number of journals and has received a number of competitive grants.

The Hon Neal Blewett

Australian Minister for Health 1983-1991

The Honourable Neal Blewett was Australian Minister for Health 1983-1991. During this period he established Medicare, encouraged drug policy reforms, presided over Australia's response to the AIDS crisis and launched a general preventative health program, Health for All Australians

Dr Stephen Duckett

Health Program Director, Grattan Institute

Dr Stephen Duckett has held top operational and policy leadership positions in health care in Australia and Canada, including as Secretary of what is now the Commonwealth Department of Health. He has a reputation for creativity, evidence-based innovation and reform in areas ranging from the introduction of activity-based funding for hospitals to new systems of accountability for the safety of hospital care. An economist, he is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science.

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2019 Basil Hetzel Orator

Professor Emily Banks

Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, ANU College of Health and Medicine, The Australian National University

Professor Emily Banks is a public health physician and epidemiologist with interest and expertise in large scale cohort studies, pharmacoepidemiology, women’s health, Aboriginal Health and healthy ageing. She currently leads the Epidemiology for Policy and Practice group at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, Senior Advisor to the Sax Institute, Deputy Chair of the NHMRC Alcohol Working Group, Deputy Chair of the Heart Foundation Research Committee and a Visiting Professor at Oxford University. She chaired the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines from 2010-2016. She was based in the UK from 1995-2003, where she was Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford and joint Principal Investigator of the Million Women Study. Professor Banks' awards include: the UK Woman of Achievement in Science and Technology (2000); the ANU Vice-Chancellor's Awards for career achievement (2010), media engagement (2011 and 2016) and research translation (2011); the National Breast Cancer Foundation Patron’s Award for services to breast cancer research (2014), the Medical Journal of Australia/MDA National Prize for Excellence in Medical Research (2015), AFR/Wespac 100 Women of Influence (2016); the ACT Heart Foundation's Women with Heart (2017); and Australian Citation for University Teaching (2017). The main emphasis of her work has been in using cohort study methodology to identify potentially modifiable factors affecting individual and population health in different settings and in quantifying their effects, to inform improvements in health and health care.


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Conference Dinner Speaker

Emeritus Professor Mike Daube AO

Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University

Mike Daube is Emeritus Professor at Curtin University, where he was Professor of Health Policy from 2005 – 2018 and Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute and the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth. Before this he was Director General of Health for Western Australia and Chair of the National Public Health Partnership. He has been National and State President of PHAA, President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Co-Chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol, and Chair, patron and member of many international, federal and state government and non-government committees and organisations. He has published widely, and worked internationally for many years with WHO, governments and NGOs in more than 40 countries. He is an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO), and has received many other national and international awards. He was the 2018 Western Australian of the Year.

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