Dr Russell Roberts, Associate Professor in Leadership and Management, Charles Sturt University and Symposium Chair

rrobertsDr Russell Roberts is Associate Professor of Leadership at Charles Sturt University, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, Department of Rural Health and the Director of Mental Health Consulting Australia. Living in Orange, NSW has previously served as Director of Mental Health in Western NSW (encompassing an area of over 550,000 square kilometres with over 1,000 staff), on the NSW Mental Health Commission Advisory Council, as Director of Clinical Training at Griffith University, Queensland, as Head of School Health at Flinders University and as a Clinical Psychologist in rural South Australia. He has an Executive Masters of Public Administration, a PhD in research and a Masters of Clinical Psychology. He is a board member of the Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association, the Chair of the National Alliance for Rural and Remote Mental Health and incoming Editor in Chief of the Australian Journal of Rural Health. His current research interests are mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, models of primary mental health care, integration and leadership.

Between 2005 and 2012 he led the commissioning of $71 million of mental health capital development, including the workforce planning, recruitment and training of over 400 health staff in rural NSW. He has also led the development of a number of innovative, award winning initiatives such as the Mental Health Emergency Care Rural Access Program, the Mental Health Rural Outreach Service, and the Aboriginal Workforce Development Program. At the national level, Russell has conducted projects for the National Mental Health Commission and the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Ms Tanja Hirvonen, Mental Health Academic, Centre for Remote Health, Joint Centre of Flinders University and Charles Darwin University

Tanja Hirvonen is a Jaru and Bunuba woman, and grew up in North West Queensland, Mount Isa. Tanja Hirvonen is a registered psychologist and clinical psychologist registrar who specialises in social and emotional wellbeing, health professionals self-care and trauma. Her Masters dissertation (2015) is based on the stigma of suicide. Tanja brings extensive experience in intergenerational trauma, suicide prevention and working in rural and remote areas. Tanja is passionate about working in an evidence based and culturally sound ways to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of all people. Tanja also serves on the Australian Indigenous Psychology Association steering committee and also on the Rural, Remote and Regional Advisory Board that provides advice to the Australian Psychological Society. Tanja has extensive community connections within the Northern Territory and Queensland having worked as a clinician for nearly six years. From working in the areas of trauma, Tanja felt that attention should be attributed to the health personnel or general staff who work in rewarding, but at times challenging roles.

Mr James Lamerton, Chief Executive Officer, Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network

James Lamerton joined the Murrumbidgee PHN team in March 2016, coming from Ngaanyatjarra Health Service, the most remote Aboriginal health service in the country, where he was the CEO, responsible for all primary health services to 12 communities in the Gibson and Great Victoria Desert regions of Western Australia.

James has a long history of successful leadership of Aboriginal health organisations and mainstream health organisations across the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland and has also undertaken extended study tours of the New Zealand and English primary health systems.

James has also conducted evaluations of health programs for the school of public health, Flinders University, from which he holds post-graduate qualifications in public health: his research interests lie in social systems and the social determinants of health.

Dr Keith Miller, Senior Lecturer, School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University

Keith MillerKeith’s adult life has been involved in the human services’ field in varying capacities. Immediately prior to commencing at Flinders University, he was employed by the Murray Mallee General Practice Network as well as being seconded to Country Health SA in the planning and provision of mental health services. Keith commenced as a lecturer in mid-2006 and continues to be deeply committed to the wellbeing of citizens. Keith’s areas of interest include mental health and suicide, Indigenous issues, rural men, and working with practitioners to develop their capacity for research.

Professor David Perkins, Professor of Rural Health Research, Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, The University of Newcastle

Professor David Perkins is Professor of Rural Health Research at the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, The University of Newcastle.  Previously, David was Director of the Centre for Remote Health Research at the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, University of Sydney.   He completed his doctorate in the UK and worked as a senior manager in the NHS.  He researches primary health care systems in rural and remote settings with a particular interest in mental health services.

His research includes narrative systematic reviews, rapid reviews, controlled trials, service evaluations, and a major rural mental health cohort study examining patterns and predictors of mental disorder in rural and remote settings.

He has held academic positions at the Universities of Kent, Wollongong, New South Wales, and Sydney.

Current research includes the development and evaluation of a new service model for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, analysis of data on utilisation of mental health services by rural and remote residents, research on new models of clinical workforce development in remote settings, and the development of new mental health service models in primary health care.

David is editor in chief of the Australian Journal of Rural Health and an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Integrated Health Care.  He was convener of the second National Rural Scientific Research Symposium held in Brisbane in 2010.

He has published widely in Australia and overseas in peer reviewed articles, reports, edited books and an authored textbook on health economics.

He is currently director of the Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration of Rural Research Centres and Health Services in New South Wales.

He is Chief Investigator C in the Centre of Research Excellence in Rural and Remote Primary Health Care with responsibility for Stream 3 which is developing and evaluating new primary health care services.

Dr Keith Sutton, Lecturer in Rural Mental Health, Department of Rural Health, Monash University

Keith is a registered psychiatric nurse with extensive experience as a clinician, manager and bureaucrat in Australia and England. His PhD investigated the impact of the Gippsland Mental Health Vacation School program upon student participants’ interest in rural mental health work. As the Mental Health Academic, Keith coordinates the mental health program at MUDRH. Keith’s research interests include rural health workforce, rural mental health workforce, and addressing behavioural health issues in rural communities.

Dr Angela White, Deputy Director, eMHPrac, Queensland University of Technology

Angela White

Dr Angela White is a Clinical Psychologist with over 25-year experience in mental health practice and research.  Angela is the Deputy Director of eMHPrac (e-Mental Health in Practice) and a Senior Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology.

eMHPrac is a Commonwealth funded initiative aimed at providing support and training to primary care practitioners in utilising digital mental health resources, programs and apps. This interest in the application of technology to optimise health service delivery and access is also reflected in Angela’s role as chair of the Australian Psychological Society’s ePsychology interest group. Along with these positions, Angela is also a private practicing Clinical Psychologist working predominantly with serving and ex serving Defence Force personnel and is a consultant supervisor for the University of Queensland postgraduate clinical psychology internship program.



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