Program Advisory Committee & Adelaide Sub-committee

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

Dr 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.

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 Womans Hospital and adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology. 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 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.

Professor David Perkins, Rural Health Research at the 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 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.

Ms Samantha Wild, Director, Awakening Cultural Ways


Samantha is a proud Wakka Wakka and South Sea Islander woman and draws from her own personal experiences of disadvantage health outcomes to influence and inspire change. She is also Director for her consultancy business Awakening Cultural Ways, focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy and program development in relation to social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and cultural healing frameworks.

Samantha is a member of the Queensland Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug Advisory Council and Director of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health.  Samantha has a strong interest in improving the health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and advocating for trauma informed and cultural designed mental health care.  She has been committed to working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and affairs for the past decade.

Ms Sally McEvoy, CEO, InTO Consulting

Sally is a social worker and social planner with a special interest in the effectiveness of organisational and community change to create positive work and life experiences that reduce the need for crisis intervention.

Sally’s skills are based on 15 years’ experience that include working in the areas of Youth at Risk, Aged Care, Drug and Alcohol Dependency and Abuse, Employee Assistance Programs and Trauma and Education.

Sally was Clinical Manager SA/NT for Davidson Trahaire Corpsych where she was closely involved in the support of Public Servants involved in difficult and complex court cases.

Sally developed and provided mental health support programs in remote areas for the SA Education Department.  Sally’s professional experiences have led her to develop her own business, InTO Consulting, which provides tailored support services beyond those provided by a standard EAP.

Dr Vivian Isaac, Senior Lecturer, Rural Mental Health, Flinders University Rural Health South Australia (FRHSA)

Dr Vivian Isaac is a Senior Lecturer, Rural Mental Health at Flinders University Rural Health South Australia (FRHSA) and a Topic coordinator for ‘Research Skills in Clinical Education’, Master of Clinical Education, Flinders University. He has a PhD in Rural Health and tertiary qualifications in Social Work and Psychiatric Epidemiology with over 12 years of diverse experience across academia, hospital and public health sector.

His research interest includes psychiatric epidemiology, social cognition in health, cognitive aging, psychosocial biomarkers, and outcome research. Dr Isaac contributes to the rural community-engaged medical education program in Renmark, South Australia particularly in regards to mental health clinical education and research.

Mr Kim Hosking, CEO, Country SA PHN

Mr Kim Hosking is theCEO of the Country SA PHN with a career long engagement in health-related activities in rural areas. Extensive history of Board engagements with rural ambulance entities, hospitals and health services and Divisions of General Practice. Past CEO of Country North SA Medicare Local, Mid North Division of Rural Medicine, and past Director of the Country Services SA Ambulance Service

Ms Sandra Batistich, CEO, Moving A Head Inc

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

Ms Amelia Traino, Executive Director, South Australian Mental Health Commission

Amelia is an occupational therapist with post graduate qualifications in adult mental health care and public sector management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has worked in mental health for over 20 years in senior clinical, management and state-wide service development and implementation positions in NSW and SA.

Amelia has been instrumental in developing the governance of South Australia’s new Mental Health Commission, where she directs her passion for equity for people with lived experience of mental illness, their families, loved ones and carers. She leads the Commission in its work of strengthening the mental wellbeing of South Australians.

Associate Research Professor/ Project Director Martin Jones, Director of Rural Health, University of South Australia

A/Prof Jones is Director of the UniSA Department of Rural Health (DRH). He is also chair of the Australian Rural Health Education Network (a peak body for the Australian DRH program), of which he helps set the strategic direction for the DRH program. A/Prof Jones has expertise in mental health and health services planning. He has held mental health leadership roles in the UK and Australia since 1996.

In the UK, he managed an acute inpatient ward in East London, led the establishment of a Community Mental Health Team in a regional community, and was a locality manager for the development of a comprehensive service model to support people with serious mental illness in Southeast London. Since emigrating to Australia, A/Prof. Jones has led the development of a rural workforce development program and a rural health research strategy for rural South Australia, of which mental health comorbidity has been a core component. A/Prof. Jones has published more than 74 papers and has attracted over $1.46 million in competitive research funding.