Professor David Perkins (Symposium Chair)
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 has held academic positions at the Universities of Kent, Wollongong, New South Wales, and Sydney. David served as editor in chief of the Australian Journal of Rural Health and is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Integrated Health Care. He has published widely in Australia and overseas in peer reviewed articles, reports, edited books and an authored textbook on health economics. He is convenor of the Orange Declaration group of academics, policy makers and managers advocating for a more nuanced approach to mental health policy and services and co-director of the International Foundation for Integrated Care, Australia.
Professor Russell Roberts
Charles Sturt University
Living in Orange NSW, Russell 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 Russell 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.
Dr Keith Miller
Senior Lecturer, School of Social and Policy Studies
Keith’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.
Ms Sandra Batistich
Moving A Head
Sandra has recently founded a new Mental Health charity organisation in South Australia called ‘’Moving A Head.’’ Having worked in the Mental Health ﬁeld for over 14 years she realised that early intervention was a key aspect of combating mental health issues. Sandra has designed and implemented early intervention courses for people experiencing depression.
She has a BA and Grad Dip in Counselling and has worked previously in Private Practise. She has also worked in the Individual Psychosocial Rehabilitation Support Services, as well as in the Headspace program.
Ms Kourtney Orman
Centacare New England North West
Kourtney Orman is the Program Manager for Families, Wellbeing & Justice services within the Tamworth & Gunnedah NSW areas, employed with Centacare NENW. Kourtney has worked in the community services industry for the last 10 years with a background in Business Administration, Counselling & Social Work.
Kourtney is passionate about rural Mental Health, particularly in areas of suicide prevention, having worked in the early intervention space with youth mental health and family support services over the last few years.
Dr Josephine Gray
Consultant for Aboriginal Mental Health
WA Country Health Service
Ms Gail Jamieson
Manager, Outback Mental Health
Royal Flying Doctor Service
As the Operational Manager of the RFDS Queensland Section’s Outback Mental Health service, Gail is responsible for the operational aspects of the service, tendering for new contracts, designing and implementing service delivery models and identifying opportunities for expansion.
Gail joined the RFDS in September 2017, bringing with her over 15 years’ experience from her work as an Accredited Specialist in Rural Law, as well as experience in project management and business development. Gail works closely with a Clinical Psychologist at The Flying Doctor, a partnership which ensures best practice both operationally and clinically across the Outback.
Dr Keith Sutton
Lecturer, Department of Rural & Indigenous Health
Dr Keith Sutton is Lecturer in Rural Mental Health at Monash Rural Health (Warragul), Monash University. His professional experience has principally been based in rural settings, and includes work as a practitioner (mental health nurse), manager, bureaucrat and researcher. His research interests include rural behavioural health services, suicide prevention, E-health and rural health workforce issues.
Keith is a Chief Investigator on a 5-year NHMRC funded prospective study of people who use methamphetamine and Monash Rural Health’s research lead with the Nursing and Allied Health Graduate Outcomes (NAHGOT) study.
Despite a relatively recent foray into a research career, Keith has successfully led multi-stakeholder collaborative research projects, has published here and overseas in peer reviewed journals, and authored reports as well as book chapters. He is a member of research advisory committees with the Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria and Latrobe Community Health Service. Keith is also an accredited Mental Health First Aid trainer.
Ms Ruth Das
National Project Manager
Mental Health Australia