The University of Newcastle, Australia

Conference Speakers

Professor Billie Bonevski

Billie is a health behaviour scientist and Brawn fellow with the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle. Her research focusses on developing and evaluating methods to help people change their health behaviours and improve their well-being. She is currently leading a number of smoking cessation trials which target priority populations such as those with mental illness and physical co-morbidities, the unemployed and homeless and people with drug and alcohol addiction.

Dr Graeme Browne

Dr. Graeme Browne is the Senior Lecturer School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle and Program Convenor of Masters Mental Health Nursing. Dr. Browne is a community mental health nurse the extensive back ground both in clinical practice, teaching and research. Early in his career he recognised that the traditional top-down delivery of health services is very limited and that primary healthcare is about helping people to take charge of their health. Dr. Browne’s clinical practice, teaching and research are all informed by the principles of primary health care. That is, this role is to help people to find resources to make the changes in their life that they want to make. The project that he will present in the conference, the Weight Management Wellness Program, offers the participants in the study the opportunity to take charge of their own weight. It gives them resources to help them address issues that have been with them for a long time.

Dr Sandra Bucci

Dr Sandra Bucci is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology. Her research is centred around examining psychological processes involved in the development and maintenance of psychosis and developing interventions for psychosis. Her recent research has focused on evaluating innovative methods to facilitate access to, and delivery of, interventions for severe mental health problems.

Professor Greg Carter

Professor Carter is a Conjoint Professor, at the Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle and Acting Director, Dept. Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Calvary Mater Newcastle, Edith St Waratah, NSW.

He has been the Chair of the RANZCP Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee for Deliberate Self Harm and is a Chief Investigator for the NMHRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention, known as CRESP 2.0.

Professor Sally Chan

Professor Chan is the Dean, School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Deputy Director, Priority Research Centre for Brain and Mental Health, University of Newcastle. Professor Chan is a global healthcare educator and researcher.  Her career influences the tripartite mission of research, education and practice. She focuses on translating evidence to improve healthcare practice outcomes, implementing teaching innovations, and mentoring new generations of healthcare professionals. The results of her sustained research agenda and scholarship have made a recognized impact on healthcare practice and education in the Region. Sally has been honored for her significant and sustained contribution to nursing which improved the nursing profession and the people it serves. In 2013, she has been awarded the ‘International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame’ by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society of Nursing. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the Hong Kong Academy of Nursing (Research and Education).

Professor Helen Christiansen

Professor Christensen is the Director and Chief Scientist, Black Dog Institute; Professor of Mental Health, University of New South Wales. She is an international leader in the use of technology to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies to communities and individuals who suffer from anxiety or depression, or who are at risk of suicide. Professor Christensen leads the Digital Dog team that is investigating novel methods for detecting mental health risk via social media, and developing novel interventions for mental health treatment. The Digital Dog team focuses on interventions to target depression, suicide risk and to enhance wellbeing. Professor Christensen also leads the LifeSpan trial that will investigate a novel systems approach to suicide prevention in NSW. This trial aims to reduce the number of suicide deaths by 21% and the number of suicide attempts by 30%. Professor Christensen's research also encompasses prevention of mental health problems in young people through school-based research programs. These programs are aimed at prevention of depression and suicide risk through eMental Health interventions. Professor Christensen has recently published the novel approach to preventing the onset of depression through targeting insomnia with the SHUTi program.

Dr. Sally Fitzpatrick

Sally joined Everymind in January 2018 as Project Lead for the Mental Health and Research team. She is a developmental and clinical psychologist who is passionate about understanding the factors that contribute to the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians. She is particularly passionate about translating this knowledge into evidence-based programs that focus on children and families.

Sally holds a BA (Welfare), BA Psychology (Hons), Master of Clinical Psychology, and a PhD. She is also an Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow with Macquarie University. Sally has most recently worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University. As an academic researcher, Sally managed a large multi-site, randomised control trial of two anti-bullying programs in 135 Australian primary schools, taught undergraduate and postgraduate psychology, presented her research at both national and international conferences, and supervised research staff and students.

In addition to conducting research, Sally has worked as a Clinical Psychologist since 2008. Prior to this, she worked in the statutory child protection sector for more than ten years as a child protection worker, trainer, and project manager. Sally’s education and work history combine to highlight her commitment to advocating for the mental health and wellbeing of youth and their families through both research and clinical practice.

Dr Ashleigh Guillaumier

Dr Ashleigh Guillaumier is a health behaviour scientist and Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle. Dr Guillaumier’s postdoctoral research focuses on the testing of an innovative and low-cost online secondary prevention program for stroke survivors. She holds a PhD (Behavioural Science in relation to medicine) on the topic of tobacco control and high priority populations. She has extensive experience in the development, implementation and management of large-scale multi-site clinical trials in health behaviour change.

Professor Kendall Ho

Dr. Kendall Ho is an emergency medical specialist at the Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is a professor in the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Medicine and Lead, Digital Emergency Medicine; and a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He leads the Digital Emergency Medicine Unit, with active research in: sensors and wearables in health care settings, health apps, virtual health, and raising digital health literacy for health professionals and patients. He is a member of the BC Ministry of Health provincial home health monitoring joint management committee, BC Emergency Medicine Network Management Committee, and the Rural Patient Transport and Transfer Working Group. Nationally, he is a member of the National Research Council Medical Devices Advisory Board, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Leadership Subcommittee, and Canada Health Infoway telehomecare forum. He is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Health Professional Investigator, and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Associate Professor Roger Ho

Associate Professor Roger Ho is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychological Medicine, National University of Singapore and a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at the Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Hospital.  He is the Education Director coordinating teaching, resident training and research for undergraduate and postgraduate students. He received basic medical training (MBBS) and higher research degree (MD) at the University of Hong Kong. He possesses professional psychiatric qualifications in Singapore, Ireland, United Kingdom and Canada. He is the author or co-author of more than 170 articles published in peer reviewed journals and 6 books published by Hodder Arnold (UK) and Taylor and Francis (US).

Professor Ravishankar K. Iyer

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ravishankar K. Iyer, PhD is George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professor of Engineering and leads the DEPEND group at the Coordinated Science Laboratory at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds joint appointments in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science, in the Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL) the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. He is also a Faculty Research Affiliate at the Mayo Clinic, a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the National University of Singapore and an Adjunct Faculty at the University of New South Wales. He currently co-leads the CompGen Initiative at Illinois and is the Principal Investigator for the Center for Computational Biology and Genomic Medicine (CCGBM). Funded by NSF, the CompGen machine research aims to build a new computational platform to address both accuracy and performance issues for a range of genomics applications. Also funded by NSF, the CCBGM partners with industry leaders, hospitals, and research laboratories such as Abbott Molecular, Dow AgroSciences, Eli Lilly, IBM, Strand Life Sciences, Intel, Xilinx and OSF Healthcare to utilize the power of computational predictive genomics to advance pressing societal issue. Prof. Iyer is a world leader in dependability and fault-tolerance of extreme-scale systems and applications, and was instrumental in the design of the world’s largest academic supercomputer, Blue Waters, at Illinois. His current interests are in building novel computational systems, such as the CompGen machine that is tailored for achieving computational performance in healthcare applications at scale and that brings together innovations in software and hardware through the design of custom accelerators. The development of a data-driven analytics framework, through the CompGen machine, has enabled discoveries in both clinical and biological settings. At the heart of this framework is a set of tools that combine probabilistic graphs such as factor graphs with game-theoretic models, machine learning methods and multivariate statistics to jointly analyze multi-omic science data with longitudinal clinical data from electronic health records. This framework has been used to i) enable the discovery of novel biomarkers for drug mechanisms in triple-negative breast cancer using single-cell transcriptomics data, ii) predict clinical outcomes in patients with major depressive disorder using metabolomics data, iii) predict the onset of adenocarcinoma in lung cancer using transcriptomics data using novel game theoretic formulation, and iv) predict long-term surgical risk in aging population of Singapore’s diabetic patients from processing population-scale electronic health records. He has received several awards, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Information Systems Award, the IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award, and the 2011 Outstanding Contributions award by the Association of Computing Machinery—Special Interest Group on Security for his fundamental and far-reaching contributions in secure and dependable computing. Professor Iyer is also the recipient of the degree of Doctor Honaris Causa from Toulouse Sabatier University in France.

Mr Donovan Jones

Mr. Donovan Jones is a Registered Nurse and Midwife. He is a lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle. Mr. Jones is an early career researcher; his PhD explored the use of technology for engaging fathers in an online web-based mindfulness intervention. Recently Donovan has been exploring the use and integration of transformative technologies such as virtual and augmented reality into the bachelor of midwifery curriculum. Donovan has taken theleadforming inter-professional research collaborations across the University to translate technology into clinical practice. To date Donovan’s team has developed a Neonatal Virtual Reality program designed to provide health professionals and students with accessible and repeatable neonatal resuscitation lifesaving skills.  In addition to this Donovan’s team released the Road to Birth education application, providing a non-invasive internal view of pregnancy progression utilising both virtual and augmented reality technology.

Associate Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin

A/Prof Frances Kay-Lambkin is internationally recognised for her innovative technology-based interventions for mental health and substance use disorders, and is the current President of the Society for Mental Health Research (SMHR) and the current President for International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ISRII). Frances’s research is developing high quality, evidence-based care that is accessible and acceptable to people with mental and physical health comorbidities. She aims to bridge the evidence-practice gap in four key ways:

  1. Determining ‘what’ to disseminate;
  2. Deciding ‘who’ to disseminate it to;
  3. Deciding ‘how’ to disseminate it; and
  4. Determining ‘when’ is best to disseminate it.

Frances leads an international team of researchers, clinicians, and industry partners in innovative development and translation of evidence-based treatments for comorbid mental and physical disorders, which is recognised for its impact, research quality, and significant translational and commercial value. Her contribution to new knowledge is evidenced by: 90 peer-reviewed journal publications in the past 5 years with >2000 citations. She has led five large randomized controlled clinical trials of face-to-face, phone-based and computerised psychological treatments for mental health and alcohol/substance use problems, and translated these treatments into clinical practice. Her vision is to bring high quality, evidence-based treatment for multiple health problems to the point-of-care for people experiencing mental health and addictive disorders to ensure that the right person receives the right intervention at the right time.

Dr Sam McCrabb

Dr Sam McCrabb is a Research Associate with the University of Newcastle/Hunter New England Population Health. She completed her PhD in 2018 on the development of an online smoking cessation program for orthopaedic trauma patients. Her previous experience includes smoking cessation research with psychiatric patients, utilising online programs to prevent the development of second stroke, and smoking cessation policy implementation in drug and alcohol services. Currently, Dr McCrabb conducts knowledge translation research focusing on multiple health behaviours in population health settings (smoking cessation, alcohol consumption, sexual health, nutrition, and physical activity), and assists with coordinating research prioritisation for Cochrane Public Health satellite group.

Professor Michael Nilsson

Professor Michael Nilsson is Global Innovation Chair of Rehabilitation Medicine and Director of the Centre for Innovative Technologies in Rehabilitation Settings at the University of Newcastle. He is Senior Staff Specialist in Rehabilitation Medicine, Hunter New England Health; Visiting Professor at the LKC School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore; Adjunct Professor of Rehabilitation at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia and at University of Gothenburg, Sweden; and Honorary Professor at the Florey Institute, Melbourne.

Together with senior colleagues at the University of Newcastle, Professor Nilsson recently founded the Centre for Innovative Technologies in Rehabilitation Settings which will develop novel interdisciplinary solutions to support individually-tailored rehabilitation programs in the home settings, residential and aged care environments, and within rehabilitation centers, promoting health resilience and patient recovery. Professor Nilsson has during the course of his career implemented new models of care in stroke, traumatic brain injury and Parkinson rehabilitation.

Sarah Perkes

Sarah Perkes is an Occupational Therapist and PhD candidate at the University of Newcastle. Sarah’s PhD will include a serious if interconnecting studies on ways to improve Aboriginal pregnant women’s smoking cessation and mother and baby related health outcomes. She will use a mixture of methodologies and work closely with the Aboriginal community in the Mid North Coast. Sarah has widespread experience working with Aboriginal communities in both urban and remote settings including several years in the Katherine region in the Northern Territory. Sarah has a strong interest in community development and public health.

Professor David Perkins

Professor David Perkins is the Director and Professor of Rural Health Research at the University of Newcastle's Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, based in Orange, New South Wales. He has extensive research experience in Mental Health Services, Rural Suicide Prevention, Public Health, Rural Health and Primary Health Care. David's career spans senior management and health service research roles in both the United Kingdom and Australia. David is a Co-Coordinator of the International Foundation for Integrated Care Australia and Board Member of the International Foundation for Integrated Care. He is also an Editorial Board Member for the International Journal of Integrated care. David has researched questions of integrated care in Australia for 20 years, publishing many peer reviewed articles in the field.

Dr Jo Robinson

Dr Robinson is the Head, Suicide Prevention Research at Orygen. She is a Senior Research Fellow at Orygen the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, where she leads the suicide prevention research unit. Under her leadership the unit has sustained a consistent upward trajectory. It supports one project manager, four full time research assistants, five part time research assistants, and two students. The unit is regarded as the leading centre of youth suicide research in the world.  Dr Robinson’s work focuses on the development, and rigorous testing, of novel interventions that specifically target at risk youth across settings, on evidence synthesis, and on the translation of research evidence into practice and policy. Examples of some current projects include the development of a multi-layered and systematic approach to youth suicide prevention across north-west Melbourne, the establishment of a self-harm monitoring program in six emergency departments across Victoria, and a suite of studies examining the potential utility of social media platforms in suicide prevention. The latter includes a national study, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health that will lead to the development of evidence-based best practice guidelines for safe peer-peer communication about suicide online and a national social media-based suicide prevention campaign designed by, and for, young people. Dr Robinson has also led the production of a series of systematic reviews that have informed clinical practice and service development. She has a keen interest in policy development and evaluation and has led the development of two major policy reports and is regularly called upon to provide advice to both state and federal government.

Eliza Skelton

Eliza Skelton is a passionate health behaviour scientist specialising in the treatment of nicotine dependence among people engaged in drug and alcohol treatment. In 2018 she submitted her PhD (Psychiatry). Her thesis explore the potential of an organisational change intervention to integrate smoking cessation care as part of usual treatment in drug and alcohol services. She currently holds a full-time research academic position with the University of Newcastle.

Noelene Skinner

Noelene Skinner is a proud Gumbayniggirr Woman. Noelene works within the Quit for New Life Program as an Aboriginal Health Educator Officer within the Mid North Coast Local Health District. Noelene works very closely with Aboriginal Mums, Families, Community and health services. Noelene’s strong connection to her culture and community together with her work experience has made her the perfect research assistant for this study.

Nicholas Watters

Nicholas Watters is the Director of the Knowledge Exchange Centre at the Mental Health Commission of Canada. In this role, Nicholas is responsible for knowledge exchange training and strategies, policy and research activities, e-Mental Health, national indicators, coordination and the engagement of organizational wide advisory groups, and the development and execution of projects to promote the uptake of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada, while also playing a significant role in stakeholder relations. Prior to joining the Commission Nicholas served as the Senior Advisor Communications and Knowledge Transfer at the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada. Nicholas has a bachelor degree in Political Science and Communications from the University of Windsor, along with an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business.

Professor John Wiggers

Professor Wiggers is the Director, Health Research and Translation and Population Health, Hunter New England Local Health District, responsible for enhancing health service research and research translation by health service providers. In this role Professor Wiggers is responsible for building the systems and processes within the Local Health District to enhance the conduct of health services research for the benefit of patients and clients. Professor Wiggers is a health services researcher, practitioner and policy maker with a focus on the prevention of obesity, smoking and alcohol-related harms, and the promotion of physical activity and healthy nutrition. This research has a primary focus on identifying strategies to increase the delivery of care addressing such risks by health care professionals as part of routine care delivery. Professor Wiggers has been the Director, Population Health, Hunter New England LHD for the past 18 years. Professor Wiggers is also the Director of the University of Newcastle Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, and Co-Director of the Hunter Institute of Medical Research Public Health Program

Dr Katrina Witt

Dr. Witt is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Post-Doctoral Fellow, Turning Point, Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University. After completing her Doctor in Philosophy at the University of Oxford in the UK, Dr Katrina Witt spent a year working as a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Suicide Research at the University of Oxford where she investigated the evidence-base for psychological and pharmacological treatments for the prevention of self-harm. Currently, she is an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention post-doctoral fellow at Monash University where she is looking at the application of novel statistical models from econometrics and related discipline to unpick the role of self-harm method evolution within individuals and their association with self-harm repetition and suicide. She is also co-Chair for a Special Interest Group for the International Association for Suicide Prevention and a Methods Editor with the Cochrane Collaboration. She has won numerous awards for her work, including most recently a commendation for the Emerging Health Researcher Award from the BUPA Foundation (2017), finalist for the Research Impact Award from the Victorian Young Achiever's Foundation (2016), and a Rod Rickards Fellowship from the Australian Academy of Science and the France-Australia Innovation Collaboration Fund (2016).

Professor Peter Yellowlees

Dr Yellowlees lives in Sacramento California, where he is Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California Davis. He is President of the American Telemedicine Association, a member of the American Psychiatric Association workgroup on telepsychiatry, and was a co-founder of HealthLinkNow Inc. Dr Yellowlees is an experienced speaker and media commentator who written and produced over 180 video editorials on Psychiatry for Medscape. He has a number of research interests and is presently working on the development and validation of asynchronous telepsychiatry, automated translation and clinical interpreting systems, internet e-mail and video consultation services and assessment and treatment protocols to improve physician health and wellness. From a clinical perspective Dr Yellowlees is an expert in physician health and telepsychiatry. He chairs the UC Davis Health System Wellbeing Committee and has many physicians as patients. He has provided clinical consultations to patients on Indian Health reservations via telemedicine for over a decade. Dr. Yellowlees has worked in public and private sectors in the USA, Australia and the UK, in academia, and in rural settings. He has published six books and over 200 scientific articles and book chapters.

Dr Melvin Zhang

Dr. Melvyn Zhang is an associate consultant psychiatrist at the National Addictions Management Service, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore and Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University. He is also a PhD Candidate with the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University. He has a keen interest in information technology and coupled with his passion in Mental Health, he has been a strong advocate of using technology to enhance mental health’s education, research and treatment. He serves on the editorial boards of JMIR Mental Health, Technology and Healthcare and BMJ Innovations.