Below are the confirmed Speakers for the virtual Australian Public Health Conference 2020. 

Keynote Speaker: Professor Jodie McVernon

Professor and Director of Doherty Epidemiology, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

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Professor Jodie McVernon is a public health physician and epidemiologist. She has extensive expertise in clinical vaccine trials, epidemiologic studies and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, gained in Oxford, London and Melbourne.

For the past 15 years she has been building capacity in infectious diseases modelling in Australia to inform immunization and pandemic preparedness policy. She has led nationally distributed networks of modellers informing responses to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Keynote Speaker: Mr Thomas Mayor

National Indigenous Officer and NT Branch Deputy Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia


Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander who was born and raised on Larrakia Land in Darwin.


He was a stevedore, or wharfie, for sixteen years before becoming an official of his union, the Maritime Union of Australia. As an activist in his local community, Thomas has passionately fought for workers rights, Indigenous rights, and for social justice in general. In 2017 he attended the Darwin Regional Constitutional Dialogue, where he was elected to represent the region at the Uluru National Constitutional Convention. The convention is where the Uluru Statement from the Heart was overwhelmingly endorsed on 26 May 2017.


Thomas has since advocated for the proposals in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and is the author of ‘Finding the Heart of the Nation – the journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth’, published by Hardie Grant. His book tells his story, the story of the Uluru Statement, and features some of the remarkable Indigenous people that he met on his campaigning journey. A children’s version, Finding Our Heart, was published in June 2020.


Today, Thomas continues to advocate for the Uluru Statement while being the National Indigenous Officer and Deputy Secretary of the Northern Territory Branch for the Maritime Union of Australia, and the Assistant Secretary of the Northern Territory Trades and Labour Council.

Keynote Speaker: Ms Donna Murray

Chief Executive Officer, Indigenous Allied Health Australia

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Ms Donna Murray is a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri and Wonnarua peoples with kinship and family connections around the Murrumbidgee River and the Hunter Valley, NSW respectively. Donna is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health peak organisation.


Donna provides strong strategic leadership across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and the wider health sector. Donna brings over 25 years’ experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and governance, Indigenous health, community development and engagement. Donna is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 


Donna is actively involved in the education sector as an Adjunct Senior Lecturer position with the Centre for Rural and Remote Health, James Cook University and an honorary position with the University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Health. Donna is also actively engaged on several Australian University Advisory and Governance Committees.


Donna works closely with key stakeholders and community participating on several national and state allied health and Indigenous health committees focused on workforce development, cultural safety and policy development. She is currently the Chairperson of the National Health Leadership Forum and Co-Chair of the Implementation Plan Advisory Group for the review of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-23.


She has a genuine commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through supporting cultural priorities and aspirations for families and communities. Donna is also actively engaged in nation building and strengthening Indigenous governance. 

Keynote Speaker: Ms Amanda McKenzie

Chief Executive Officer, Climate Council

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Amanda is one of the best known public commentators on the climate crisis in Australia. She is the CEO and co-founder of the Climate Council, an independent climate change education and advocacy body.


Previously, Amanda co-founded the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and has served on Renewable Energy Expert Panels for the Queensland and Northern Territory governments.


Amanda was the founding Chair of the Centre for Australian Progress and is a former Board Director at Plan International Australia and the Whitlam Institute.


She holds an Honours degree in Law from Monash University and an Arts Degree from Melbourne University.


Amanda has won numerous awards including being recognised as one of Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence and a finalist in Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year Awards.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Peter Sainsbury

Professor, Sydney Medical School, University of Notre Dame

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Peter Sainsbury was until his retirement in 2016 Director of Population Health in South Western Sydney Local Health District. During the previous 35 years Peter managed hospital, community health and public health services in and around Sydney.

Peter holds qualifications in medicine, health planning, medical administration and public health and has a PhD in sociology. He currently holds professorial appointments at the Universities of Notre Dame, Sydney and New South Wales.

Peter has a career-long interest in social policy, particularly related to health equity and the social determinants of health, healthy built environments and environmental sustainability.

Peter is a past president of the Public Health Association of Australia and the Climate and Health Alliance. He is a past member of the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Health Ethics Committee.

Keynote Speaker: Associate Professor Donna Green

Associate Professor, Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales

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Associate Professor Donna Green was a founding member of the Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW. She is an Associate Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes; and an affiliate of the NHMRC Centre for energy, air pollution and health Research. She leads a national researcher network, the Climate Health Network www.climatehealth.info.


As an interdisciplinary environmental scientist, she conducts research on climate impacts, energy policy, public health and air pollution. Donna was a contributing author in the UN World Energy Assessment and for the IPCC’s Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports.

Keynote Speaker: Mr Greg Mullins AO AFSM

Former Commissioner, Fire & Rescue NSW. Climate Councillor. Founder, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action

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Greg Mullins was Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW for nearly 14 years, is on the Climate Council, and in early 2019 formed Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA), a coalition of 33 former fire and emergency service chiefs from every state and territory concerned about worsening extreme weather and natural disasters driven by climate change. ELCA tried to warn the Prime Minister and Government prior to the devastating bushfire season.

Greg rejoined the RFS as a volunteer on retirement in 2017, and fought fires across NSW during the 2019/20 Black Summer.  

Keynote Speaker: Ms Cheryl McCarthy

Director of Lifesaving, Far South Coast Branch, Surf Life Saving NSW

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Cheryl McCarthy is the Director of Lifesaving for Far South Coast of Surf Life Saving NSW which takes in seven surf clubs between Batemans Bay and the Victorian border.

She was a Duty Officer coordinating the surf lifesaving response to the New Year’s Eve bushfire emergency in Bermagui where thousands took refuge at the Surf Club, some of whom had watched their homes burn. From the initial call at 3am on the 31st and then throughout the month of January across three more evacuations in the Bermagui area, Cheryl and her surf lifesaving colleagues supported their community and visitors.

While the immediate threat is over, the longer term impacts are still being felt and will continue for some time. In small towns and regional areas these impacts flow through the whole community.

Keynote Speaker: Adjunct Clinical Professor Brett Sutton

Victorian Chief Health Officer, Department of Health and Human Services

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Professor Brett Sutton is Victoria's Chief Health Officer. The Chief Health Officer undertakes a variety of statutory functions under health and food-related legislation. He also provides expert clinical and scientific advice and leadership on issues impacting public health. He is the spokesperson for the Victorian Government on matters related to health protection, including public health incidents and emergencies.

Professor Sutton has extensive experience and clinical expertise in public health and communicable diseases, gained through emergency medicine and field-based international work, including in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste. He represents Victoria on a number of key national bodies including the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee). He is also Chief Human Biosecurity Officer for Victoria. Prof Sutton has a keen interest in tropical medicine and the incorporation of palliative care practice into humanitarian responses.

Professor Sutton is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, a Fellow of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine and a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM). He is also a member of the Faculty of Travel Medicine.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Devi Sridhar

Professor of Global Public Health, University of Edinburgh

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Devi Sridhar is a Professor at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and holds a Personal Chair in Global Public Health.  She is the founding Director of the Global Health Governance Programme and holds a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award. She was previously Associate Professor in Global Health Politics and a Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford University and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University. She was also a visiting Associate Professor at LMU-Munich and guest lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Public Health Foundation of India.


Her books include ‘Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why?’ (OUP, 2017) and ‘the Battle against Hunger: Choice, Circumstance and the World Bank’ (OUP, 2007) and she has published in Nature, Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet and the British Medical Journal.


She served on the board of Save the Children UK, on the World Economic Forum Council on the Health Industry and co-chaired the Harvard/LSHTM Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola.


She holds a DPhil and MPhil from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and a B.S. from the University of Miami in the Honors Medical Program.


Her work is concentrated in three areas: international health organizations, financing of global public health and developing better tools for priority-setting.

Keynote Speaker: Ms Danielle Wood

Chief Executive Officer, Grattan Institute

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Danielle is the CEO of the Grattan Institute. She believes in the power of public policy to make Australia a better place. Danielle has published extensively on economic reform priorities, budget policy, tax reform, generational inequality and reforming political institutions. She is a sought-after media commentator and speaker on policy issues.

Danielle previously worked at the ACCC, NERA Economic Consulting and the Productivity Commission. She holds an Honours degree in Economics from the University of Adelaide and Masters degrees in Economics and Competition Law, from the University of Melbourne.

Danielle is the National President of the Economic Society of Australia and co-founder and former Chair of the Women in Economics Network.

Keynote Speaker: Tricia Malowney OAM

President, Women with Disabilities Australia

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Ms Tricia Malowney OAM provides an advocacy consultancy to government and non-government agencies.  Tricia is a senior member of the Disability Leadership Institute, and works to bring a gender lens to Disability Sector and a disability lens to mainstream services.

Tricia is the President of Women with Disabilities Australia, a Board Director at Western Health and at Scope Australia.

Tricia is an advocate for people with disabilities and was the Inaugural President of the Victorian Disability Services Board, and held the position of Deputy Chair of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council. Tricia was awarded a Medal in the order of Australia for her advocacy work on behalf of people with disabilities in 2017, In 2013 she was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for services to women with disabilities.

Tricia’s practice specialises in access to health, justice and employment.

Basil Hetzel Orator: Professor Julie Leask

Professor, Sydney Nursing School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney

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Julie Leask is a social scientist and professor in the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. She was named overall winner of the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence in 2019. Julie has qualifications in nursing and midwifery, a Master of Public Health (USYD, 1998) and PhD in public health (USYD, 2002). Her research focuses on risk communication, responding to vaccine hesitancy and refusal, and strengthening vaccination programs and policy and she has 124 publications in the field. She is visiting professorial fellow at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance where she established the Social Science Unit between 2002 and 2014.

In 2015 Julie won the Public Health Impact Award (PHAA NSW branch) and the Sax Institute Research Action Award. She was awarded the Excellence in Postgraduate Supervision by the USYD Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health in 2011. Her team's Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation package won the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research Engagement and Innovation in 2019.

Julie works with a team of postdoctoral and PhD researchers on improving public health policy, programs and practice with a focus on vaccination and environmental health. She is currently a chief investigator on 3 NHMRC project grants and was previously chief investigator on an NHMRC CRE in Immunisation of Under-Studied and Special Risk Populations. She held a Career Development Fellowship, 2012-2017 and prior to that, a University of Sydney Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Panel Member: Professor Paul Kelly

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government Department of Health

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Professor Paul Kelly is currently the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Australian Government Department of Health, where he has been involved in supporting the Government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.  A public health physician and epidemiologist by training, Professor Kelly first joined the Department in March 2019 as the Chief Medical Adviser, Health Products Regulation Group. Prior to his appointment, Professor Kelly spent 8 years as Chief Health Officer for the Australian Capital Territory and Deputy Director-General of Population Health in the ACT Government Health Directorate.  
Professor Kelly has previously worked in research, health systems development, postgraduate teaching and as a health service executive including Director of the Masters of Applied Epidemiology Program at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University (ANU), and in the Northern Territory working as a Principal Research Fellow with the Menzies School of Health Research, as well as with the Centre for Disease Control in the NT Department of Health. Professor Kelly’s work has taken him to five countries on four continents including Malawi, Indonesia, East Timor, and the UK. 
Professor Kelly has over 30 years research experience and has published over 120 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He has supervised or mentored many trainees and post-graduate students and delivered lectures, workshops, seminars and conference talks nationally and internationally.

Professor Kelly has chaired the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee (AHPPC) when the Chief Medical Officer has been unavailable and has contributed his public health and epidemiological knowledge and experience in the formulation of various plans and advice to the National Cabinet. In particular, he has engaged with the University sector, and assisted with the repatriation of Australians from China, Japan and Uruguay. His advice has been sought by colleagues health officials in several countries including Israel, Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Singapore and the United States. He is the Chair of the recently formed COVID-19 Sport and Health Advisory Committee which is providing feedback on “rebooting” plans submitted by community and elite sporting bodies.

Panel Member: Professor Lynne Madden

Professor of Population and Planetary Health, School of Medicine, Sydney University of Notre Dame, Australia

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Lynne is the inaugural Professor of Population and Planetary Health at the School of Medicine, Sydney, at The University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA). She was Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching from 2012-2020, and continues to support this role. Lynne was the President of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and a member of the Board of the RACP from May 2016 - May 2018. Prior to this she was President-elect for 2 years and Chair of the Faculty Education Committee for 8 years. Manager of the Population Health Training and Workforce Unit at the NSW Ministry of Health for 18 years she was responsible for the NSW Public Health Officer Training Program, the NSW Aboriginal Population Health Training Initiative and the Editor of the NSW Public Health Bulletin. A Trustee of the Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation of the Australian Museum which supports research into the Great Barrier Reef.

Panel Member: Professor Vivian Lin

Executive Associate Dean, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong

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Professor Lin joined the LKS Faculty of Medicine as Executive Associate Dean in March 2019. She is concurrently Professor of Public Health Practice.


Professor Lin has more than 30 years' experience in health policy and program development, health planning, and public health teaching and research. She was previously Director, Division of Health systems, WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Manila; Professor of Public Health and Head of the School of Public Health at La Trobe University, in Melbourne.

Panel Member: Mr Karl Briscoe

CEO, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA)

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Karl Briscoe is a proud Kuku Yalanji man from Mossman – Daintree area of Far North Queensland and has worked for over 18 years in the health sector at various levels of government and community controlled including local, state and national levels which has enabled him to form a vast strategic network across Australia.

Karl is currently Chief Executive Officer of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) to progress where he represents his invested interests of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners within Australia's Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Health Care sectors.