Program Advisory Committee

Meet the representatives of rural and remote mental health

Program Committee

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
Professor 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 Russell Roberts, Associate Professor & Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Charles Sturt University & Sydney University (Chair)

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

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.

Dr Angela White
Director of Psychology, Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital, Metro North Hospital and Health Service

Dr Angela White is a Clinical Psychologist with over 25-year experience in mental health practice and research.  Angela is the Director of Psychology at the Royal Brisbane and Woman’s Hospital and Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Queensland.

Angela has a particular interest in harnessing digital health resources, programs and apps in primary care particularly in regional and remote areas. This interest in the application of technology to optimise health service delivery, access and outcomes is also reflected in Angela’s role as past chair and present Treasurer and of the Australian Psychological Society’s ePsychology interest group.


Ms Sandra Batistich
CEO, 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.

Sandra headshot

Ms Lee Martinez
Lecturer, Mental Health University Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia

Lee is a Whyalla woman who lives and works in country SA providing a life long experience and understanding of those residing in rural and remote areas.

Lee comes from a Nursing background and currently works for the University of SA Department of Rural Health as the Mental Health Academic, also holds a strong interest in Aboriginal Health. We work with the community to improve the health and wellbeing of rural people and aim to increase the rural health workforce via health science student placements, in country areas.

Lee’s current research is focused on how the voice of the rural lived experience of mental health consumers and carers can influence practice and services. Their participation in education, service delivery and design can improve the health and wellbeing of people who live with mental health illness.

Further to this Lee is involved in several networks and is a director on the Country SA Primary Health Network Board of Directors, is deputy chair for the Department of Rural Health Mental Health Academic network and Secretary for the Whyalla Suicide Prevention Network being integral in its development. Lee has a passion for ensuring people living in rural and remote areas have equitable access to quality services to achieve equitable health outcomes.


Professor Luis Salvador-Carulla
MD, PhD. Head, Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University

Luis Salvador-Carulla is the head of the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Research School of Population Health, College of Health and Medicine, Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. He is also Honorary Professor of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the University of Sydney (Australia). His field of interest is decision support tools for the analysis of complex health systems and policy in mental health, ageing, disability and intellectual developmental disorders.

He has been advisor to the Government of Catalonia (Spain), the Spanish Ministry of Health, the European Commission (EC) and the World Health Organisation  (WHO). He coordinated the European Commission (EC) project eDESDE-LTC for the development of an European classification of services  for long term care and the Integrated Atlas of Mental Health Project for mapping mental health services in over 30 local areas around the World. He received the Leon Eisenberg Award of the Harvard Medical School in 2012 for his contributions in the field of developmental disorders.

Dr Denise Riordan
Chief Psychiatrist,  ACT Health Directorate

Dr Denise Riordan is the Chief Psychiatrist for ACT. She has over thirty years experience as a psychiatrist working in public health systems, both in the UK where she was trained, and in Australia, including her work as Chief Psychiatrist of Northern Territory, where she continues to do some work and is very familiar with the challenges as well as exciting opportunities of delivering health care in rural and remote areas.

Her clinical areas of expertise include child and adolescent mental health. She is passionate about working collaboratively with systems to develop and deliver high quality, accessible and evidence based health care. In addition to her medical qualifications she has qualifications and experience in medical and clinical education, and health services management, and uses these, along with her clinical expertise to contribute to developing contemporary integrated mental health services.


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