As keynote speakers are confirmed their details will be added below. We encourage you to check back regularly for updates.
Professor Marcia Langton AO - Orator, Ian Prior Oration
The University of Melbourne
Professor Dr. Marcia Langton AO, of the Yiman and Bidjara nations, is an Associate Provost and Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. Her academic expertise in anthropology and geography has led her significant contribution to research and policy work.
Langton is widely recognised as a major figure in Indigenous Australian rights and advocacy. Notably, she was a key contributor to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1989), and the Native Title Act (1993). In 1993, her extensive work in the field led to her receiving membership to the Order of Australia.
In 2023, Australia will be holding a referendum to amend the constitution instating a permanent Indigenous advisory body to parliament, with Langton appointed in 2019 as co-chair to the Senior Advisory Body over the design process.
Assistant Professor Rayner Kay Jin Tan
National University of Singapore, Saw Swee Hock, School of Public Health (Visiting)
Assistant Professor Rayner Kay Jin Tan (he/him/his) is a Fulbright visiting research scholar with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a postdoctoral fellow with the University of North Carolina Project-China in Guangzhou, China. He is also a visiting research fellow at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Singapore. Rayner is currently a fellow with the HIV Infectious Disease and Global Health Implementation Research Institute (HIGH-IRI) at Washington University in St. Louis, and with the Social Innovation in Health Initiative. He was previously a fellow with the Asia-Pacific AIDS and Co-Infections Conference (APACC).
Rayner currently serves as a Digital International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research (ISSTDR) Champion, an organizing committee member of the International AIDS Society (IAS) 2023 conference, and as a member of the APACC scientific committee. He is vice-president of the Society of Behavioural Health, Singapore, which promotes interdisciplinary research and practice for behavioral health. Rayner's research broadly revolves about the social determinants of health and social epidemiology. He has a special interest in the use of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to address the social and behavioral dimensions of HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and substance use. On the community front, Rayner serves as the director of The Greenhouse Community Services Limited, a substance use and trauma recovery center for vulnerable populations, and as the president of Project X, a community-based organization serving the health and social needs of sex workers.
Professor Kathryn Backholer
National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, Institute for Health Transformation, Deakin University
Kathryn Backholer is Professor and Co-Director of the Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition at Deakin University, which includes a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for the Prevention of Obesity. Kathryn leads a program of research focused on the social, commercial and cultural determinants of population health and is particularly interested in interdisciplinary solutions to complex public health problems. She regularly contributes to capacity building and food systems strengthening for UNICEF, the WHO and the FAO in the East Asia Pacific and South Asia regions. Kathryn is Vice President for development at the Public Health Association of Australia.
Associate Professor Becky Freeman
Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney
A/Prof Becky Freeman is a public health academic within the Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Heath, University of Sydney. She is a tobacco control policy expert and a global authority on how social media is used to circumvent tobacco-advertising bans. She leads a program of research focused on countering the commercial determinants of health and is the Chief Investigator of the Generation Vape Research project. She has pioneered methods in monitoring and systematically analysing social media content. Her expertise is focused on: 1) how policy processes are manipulated by industries that are harmful to health and 2) how they use digital and social media, to both promote their products and influence public and political attitudes towards public health regulation. Her research also considers how public health bodies could make better use of these same digital media tools for chronic disease prevention.
Professor Kristie Ebi
Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE). University of Washington, Seattle
Kristie L. Ebi, Ph.D., MPH is a Professor in the Center for Health and the Global Environment in the School of Public Health, University of Washington. She has been conducting research on the health risks of climate variability and change for more than 25 years. Her research focuses on estimating the current and future health risks of climate change; designing adaptation programs to reduce those risks; and quantifying the health co-benefits of mitigation policies. She has provided technical support to multiple countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific in managing climate change-related risks. She was a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th assessment cycle, including the special report on warming of 1.5°C and the human health chapter for Working Group II. Her scientific training includes an M.S. in toxicology and a Ph.D. and a Master of Public Health in epidemiology, and two years of postgraduate research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She edited fours books on aspects of climate change and has more than 250 peer-reviewed publications.
Professor Susan Morton
Director, INSIGHT, Research Institute for Innovative Solutions for Well-being and Health (INSIGHT)
Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney
Professor Morton is an internationally recognized expert in transdisciplinary life course research. Susan is a Public Health Physician who undertook her medical training in Auckland New Zealand in the 1990s before taking up a Commonwealth Scholarship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she completed a PhD in life course epidemiology working on revitalizing the Aberdeen Children of the 1950s cohort study. Her time in Europe introduced her to the value and utility of longitudinal studies and the extraordinary evidence that can emerge from following ordinary lives over time.
On returning to New Zealand in 2003 she went onto successfully lead the establishment of a cross-faculty Research Centre at the University of Auckland (He Ara ki Mua) and she designed and led the multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team of researchers who established the contemporary longitudinal study of child and family wellbeing -Growing Up in New Zealand from its inception.
Professor has been working across traditional research boundaries for almost two decades to undertake research which is driven by an explicit aim to provide robust scientific evidence to inform strategies and policies at national and international levels to improve population health for all and to reduce inequities in health outcomes within and across populations. She has a successful track record of establishing meaningful partnerships with cross-sectoral policy agencies and technical experts, as well as with diverse communities to ensure research she leads is context relevant, translatable and impactful.
In February 2023 she has taken up a new challenge to be the inaugural Director of a new pan-University Research Institute at UTS in Sydney – called INSIGHT – whose overarching goal is to provide innovative solutions to improve life course health and wellbeing.
Professor Fay Johnston
Menzies Institute for Medical Research
I am public health physician and environmental epidemiologist. My major work is in air quality and health, especially relating to the health impacts of bushfire smoke, biomass smoke, pollen and other airborne hazards. I am lead investigator of the Centre for Safe Air - a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence 2023-8. I co-lead the Air Quality Impact Priority of the National Environmental Science Program 2021-8, and the bushfires, air pollution and extreme events theme of the NHMRC Healthy Environments and Lives research network 2021-6. I lead the Latrobe Early Life Follow-up Study (2014-23), a cohort study investigating long-term cardiorespiratory, health and development of children exposed to a severe pollution event associated with a coal mine fire during their first 1000 days of life.
I have a strong interest in applied, solutions-focused research and am proud to have led the team that developed AirRater - a data platform and app providing real-time environmental and symptom tracking to support self-management for people with health conditions sensitive to outdoor hazards like air pollution and pollen.
Professor Fiona Stanley, AC FAA FASSA FAHMS
Telethon Kids Institute
Founding Director & Patron, Telethon Kids Institute, a unique multidisciplinary independent research institute focussing on the causes and prevention of major problems affecting children and youth; Distinguished Research Professor, UWA; Hon Professorial Fellow, Uni Melb; UNICEF Ambassador for early childhood; Scientific Advisor Doctors for the Environment.
She trained overseas in Epidemiology and Maternal & Child Health, established population data sets in WA including registers of major childhood problems, championed record linkage, and pioneered First Nations leadership in research. She was instrumental in establishing the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, to lobby nationally for investing in children and families for a better society. For her research on behalf of Australia's children and Aboriginal social justice, she was named Australian of the Year in 2003.
Professor Catherine Chamberlain
The University of Melbourne
Professor Catherine Chamberlain is a descendant of the Trawlwoolway clan (Palawa, Tasmania), Director of Onemda Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne and the inaugural Editor-In-Chief of the First Nations Health and Wellbeing Lowitja Journal. A Registered Midwife and Public Health researcher, her research aims to identify perinatal opportunities to improve health equity across the lifecourse, for which she has received the Lowitja Research leadership award (2019) and CATSINAM fellowship (2022). She is Principal Investigator for two large multi-disciplinary projects – Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future – which aims to co-design support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents experiencing complex trauma; and Replanting the Birthing Trees, which aims to transform intergenerational cycles of trauma to cycles of nurturing and recovery.
Professor Joan Cunningham
Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University
Professor Joan Cunningham is a social epidemiologist and Senior Principal Research Fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University. She has over 25 years’ experience in multidisciplinary research relating to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, underpinned by respectful partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues, organisations, community members and students. She has a strong interest in developing people and building research capacity and is an award-winning mentor and supervisor. She was awarded Life Membership by the Australasian Epidemiological Association in recognition of her contributions to the field of epidemiology and to the Association, including as President.
Professor Cunningham will moderate the Closing Plenary panel discussion.
Professor James Ward
UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health
Professor James Ward is a Pitjantjatjara and Nukunu man, an infectious diseases epidemiologist and a national leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research. He is currently the Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at The University of Queensland.
Holding various roles over the last 25 years in Aboriginal public health policy for both government and non-government organisations, in urban regional and remote communities he has built a national program of research in the epidemiology and prevention of infectious diseases, with a particular focus on STIs, HIV and viral hepatitis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Professor Ward has previously worked at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Baker IDI in Alice Springs and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. He has served on numerous national and international committees including the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia, the Australian National Council on Alcohol and Drugs, the CDNA COVID-19 Working Group and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander COVID-19 Taskforce. He has over 140 publications and leads several large-scale public health and infectious diseases studies.
Professor Ward is a panellist in the Closing Plenary panel discussion.