Featured Speakers 2017

Professor Kaarin J. Anstey

Director, Centre for Research on Ageing, Health, ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment

Kaarin J. Anstey is a Professor of Psychology and Population Health at the Australian National University. She is Director of the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, and the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre – Early Diagnosis and Prevention.  Her substantive research interests focus on the prevention of cognitive decline, cognitive impairment and dementia. Anstey has worked extensively with longitudinal studies and leads the PATH Through Life study, a 16-year population-based study of three cohorts, including over 7000 adults, spanning early to late adulthood. Anstey is also involved in several non-pharmacological interventions to prevent cognitive decline and reduce risk of dementia and conducts research to improve driving safety in older adults. Her team has developed screening tools for older drivers and is currently trialling interventions to improve driving skills on and off-road.  Anstey is a Director of the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, a Member of the AARP Global Council on Brain Health, and a Panel Member of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Institute for Dementia Research.

Dr Peggy Brown

CEO, National Mental Health Commission

Dr Peggy Brown commenced as Chief Executive Officer of the National Mental Health Commission in October 2016.

Involved in mental health leadership and advocacy roles for 30 years, Peggy has a deep understanding of the many challenges of meeting the social and health needs of people with mental health and substance abuse.

Prior to her appointment with the Commission, Peggy was Chief Psychiatrist with the Northern Territory Department of Health.  In addition to multiple roles with professional bodies such as the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, she has held executive positions in the public service for more than 20 years, including a five year term as the Director-General of ACT Health.

Peggy is also a past chair of the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council, AHMAC, and has previously been a board member of Health Workforce Australia and a board director of the National E-Health Transition Authority, NEHTA.

Leilani Darwin

National Consultant / 2016 Winner of the LiFE Award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention work in Australia

Leilani is an Aboriginal woman who has been touched on a personal level many times by suicide and mental illness. Due to the previous history of this country her grandmother refused to discuss where her people were from and she is on a lifelong journey to learn more.

Through her own lived experience and work within the sector she is a strong advocate for the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led, culturally informed practices within mainstream services.

Leilani is the 2016 recipient of the LiFE Award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention across Australia. Her strength in navigating mainstream mental health services and the needs of young people and communities has seen requests for her to share her expertise grow.

In September 2016 she accepted an invitation to join the Queensland Suicide Prevention Taskforce for a three year appointment. Leilani is also on several committees at the National and State level.

Dr Tanya Davison

Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Health & Ageing, Australian Catholic University

Dr Tanya Davison is a Clinical Psychologist who has specialised as a clinician, researcher and educator in the psychological treatment of mental health disorders in older adults. She has a strong focus on improving the care of older adults in residential aged care facilities, publishing over 50 journal articles in this field. Currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Health and Ageing at the Australian Catholic University, Dr Davison is the lead investigator an NHMRC-funded project evaluating an innovative approach to reducing depression in residential aged care that addresses key psychological risk factors.

Dr Kairi Kolves

Principal Research Fellow, AISRP, Griffith University

Dr Kairi Kõlves is a Principal Research Fellow and Course Convener at the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP), Griffith University. She has been working in suicide research and prevention since 1998. Between 1999 and 2008, she worked at the Estonian-Swedish Mental Health and Suicidology Institute and joined AISRAP in 2008. Dr Kõlves has been involved in several Australian, Estonian and international projects and has been an adviser to the World Health Organization. She is a member of a number of advisory committees including the Commonwealth Department of Health’s Expert Panel on Suicide Prevention, the Queensland Advisory Group on Suicide, and the Advisory Board of ‘Lifeline Research Foundation’.  Her work has been published in over 80 peer-reviewed papers, a number of book chapters and numerous reports.

Sue Pieters Hawke

Speaker, Advocate, Consultant and Educator, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Sue Pieters-Hawke is a passionate advocate, acclaimed author and poignant speaker. Once dubbed the ‘accidental advocate’ after her mother Hazel was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – Sue is committed to bringing the consumer’s voice to issues associated with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and healthy ageing.

After caring for Hazel for many years, Sue is now known for her understanding, deep insights, empathy and thoughtful solutions to many issues relating to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

She is an Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Australia with Ita Buttrose, and co-chairs the Federal Minister’s Dementia Forum.

Sue has boundless energy and works tirelessly in the community to raise awareness and advocate for better understanding, reform and acceptance of dementia.

Sue speaks at aged care and health conferences. She also advises care providers on new and imaginative ways to approach dementia and she helps to change attitudes, train and educate carers, and mentor families and the supporters of people living with dementia.

Visit Sue’s website at www.suepietershawke.com.au


Dr Russell Roberts

Associate Professor & Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Charles Sturt University & Sydney University

Dr Russell Roberts is Associate Professor of Leadership at Charles Sturt University and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney.

Russell has extensive experience as a clinician, academic and service director. As the director of a mental health service he led an organisation of over 1,000 staff, delivering comprehensive services across the spectrum of care. Facilities in his organisation ranged from Australia’s largest integrated mental health hospital, to teams in Australia’s most remote locations, such as Wilcannia, Lightning Ridge and Bourke.

He is the Editor in Chief of the Australian Journal of Rural Health, Chair of the National Alliance for Rural and Remote Mental Health and Chair of the ANZ Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium. He has previously served on the NSW Mental Health Commission Advisory Council, as Director of Clinical Training at Griffith University. He has an Executive Masters of Public Administration, a PhD in research and a Masters of Clinical Psychology. He is the Co-Chair of the national Equally Well Implementation Committee

With state, national and international awards in E-mental health Russell has over two decades of experience in developing, implementing, and consolidating new and innovative health services across a range of complex environments and is referenced as one of the 50 most influential rural Australians. He has led the development of a number of innovative, programs such as the Mental Health Emergency Care Rural Access Program, the Mental Health Rural Outreach Service, and the Aboriginal Workforce Development Program.

Professor Nick Titov

Project Director, Mindspot Clinic, Macquarie University

Nick is a Professor of Psychology at Macquarie University, Sydney. He is a Clinical Psychologist, and serves on the New South Wales Board of the Psychology Board of Australia. Nick is also Project Director of the national MindSpot Clinic, and Co-Director of the eCentreClinic Research Unit.

Nick’s clinical and research work aims to reduce treatment barriers for people with high prevalence mental disorders including anxiety and depression. He has conducted more than 50 clinical trials evaluating internet or telephone delivered treatments, involving more than 7,000 Australians. Nick has successfully implemented these treatments into routine clinical care at the MindSpot Clinic, which has provided online mental health services to more than 50,000 Australians. These models have been recently extended to other countries, including Canada, where these treatments have been used with more than 2,000 Canadians.

Nick has active collaborations with researchers in the US, Canada, Sweden, and the UK, and currently serves on advisory groups to the Australian Government about low intensity, internet-delivered mental health services.

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