Invited Speakers

Professor Fran Baum, AO


Fran Baum is a Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Director of the Southgate Institute of Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University. She was named in the Queen’s Birthday 2016 Honours List as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for  ‘distinguished service to higher education as an academic and public health researcher, as an advocate for improved access to community health care, and to professional organisations’.   In 2008 she was awarded a prestigious Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship focusing on development of effective government and community responses to social determinants of health inequity and social exclusion. She holds several other national competitive grants investigating aspects of health inequity, and has an extensive teaching career in public health.

Professor Baum’s numerous publications relate to social determinants of health, including Aboriginal people’s health, health inequities, primary health care, health promotion, Healthy Cities, and social capital. She is currently preparing ‘Governing for Health’ a book to be published by Oxford University Press, New York.

Professor Tony Capon

Tony Capon is the inaugural Professor of Planetary Health at the University of Sydney. A public health physician and authority on environmental health and health promotion, his research focuses on urbanisation, sustainable development and human health. Previously, Tony directed the global health institute at United Nations University (UNU-IIGH) and held professorial appointments at Australian National University and University of Canberra. During 1991-2006, he was the foundation director of public health and medical officer of health in western Sydney. Since 2008, Tony has been advising the International Council for Science on the development of their global interdisciplinary program on health and wellbeing in the changing urban environment using systems approaches.

He has won NHMRC and WHO fellowships, and research funding from NHMRC, ARC, CSIRO, Rockefeller Foundation and British Council. Tony is a member of the Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on Planetary Health that published its report Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch in 2015, the advisory committee for the Planetary Health Alliance and the Editorial Advisory Board for The Lancet Planetary Health.

Dr Hannah Badland

Hannah Badland is a Principal Research Fellow in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University and is an RMIT Vice Chancellor’s Fellow. Her research investigates how the built environment is connected to health and wellbeing, and how this shapes inequities in both adults and children internationally. 

Hannah has focused on research programs with end-users such as policy-makers, planners and non-government organisations. Her research has spanned projects looking into remote sensing technologies, child independent mobility and travel behaviours in diverse settings. Hannah recently led a program of work to conceptualise, develop and test urban liveability measures with health and well being.

Hannah’s major achievements include working on two NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence projects investigating associations between the social determinants of health with a range of outcomes, and an investigator in a 14 country study.

Dr Iain Butterworth

Iain specialises in healthy cities and communities, population health approaches, liveability policy research, measurement and implementation, and university-community engagement.  He works to engage internal and external stakeholders in the university-government-community liveability policy research program that he co-founded in 2011.

His work has informed Victorian state government and local government policy, planning, evidence and practice. Iain is an Urban Scholar with the UN Global Compac – Cities Programme; an Honorary Associate Professor with the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University; and is National President of the Australian Fulbright Alumni Association. 

Iain trained in community psychology and has a strong interest in the interrelationship between urban design, planning, governance and well-being. He has 25 years’ experience in a range of sectors, including community development, government, and higher education and consulting.


Professor Chris Rissel

Chris Rissel is Director of the NSW Office of Preventive Health and Professor of Public Health with the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. The NSW Office of Preventive Health focuses on childhood and adult obesity prevention. Chris has worked in the areas of tobacco control, sexual health, migrant health, and is actively working on promoting active travel, particularly cycling. He works at the interface between research, policy and program implementation and is interested in the role of evidence in advocacy and how to best scale-up interventions for maximum health outcomes.

He has been President of the NSW Branch of the Australian Health Promotion Association, and for six years was Editor-in-Chief of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia. In 2014 he was awarded Life Membership of the Australian Health Promotion Association. He is an advocate for active travel, and likes to spend his holidays bicycle touring.

Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng

 Xiaoqi Feng is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and a Founding Co-Director of the Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab (‘PowerLab’) at the University of Wollongong.

Xiaoqi’s research focus is at the interface between environment, child and maternal health, with funding via an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship and an NHMRC project grant. Xiaoqi’s recent work as part of a $3.3M research project she leads in partnership with Hort Innovation Ltd focussed on the role of urban green space quantity and quality for child health and on maternal health.

The findings from some of this research were integrated into the American College of Preventive Medicine’s Continuing Medical Education program. Xiaoqi’s research has been cited by the World Health Organization and has contributed to local, state and national dialogue on the restoration and conservation of green space and tree canopy to make cities more liveable and to advance population wellbeing.

Professor Susan Thompson

 Susan is Professor of Planning and Head of the City Wellbeing Program in the City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.  With a foundation in public sector planning practice, Susan has had numerous roles at UNSW since she joined some 25 years ago.  Susan’s academic career encompasses both research and teaching in social and cultural planning, qualitative research methodologies and healthy built environments.  Her publications include the award-winning book ‘Planning Australia’ and more recently, ‘The Routledge Handbook of Planning for Health and Well-Being’.  As well as writing scholarly journal papers, Susan is a regular contributor to practitioner forums, most notably her healthy built environments quarterly column in the Planning Institute of Australia’s ‘New Planner’, now in its ninth year.

Susan’s longstanding contribution to urban planning was recognised in 2012 when she was elected Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and in 2015, with the awarding of the prestigious Sidney Luker Memorial Medal.  Susan is one of only three women to receive the award since its inception in 1956.  In 2017 she was awarded the Australian Urban Research Medal.  

Ms Donisha Duff

Ms Duff is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.  She has familial links with Moa and Badu Islands (Torres Strait) and is a Yadhaigana/ Wuthathi Aboriginal traditional owner (Cape York).

She has a background in health policy, planning and management with a particular focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. 

Ms Duff has worked in the Federal government, Queensland Health, Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Kidney Health Australia (KHA) and as Advisor (Indigenous Health) to the former Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon MP.   

Ms Duff is currently the General Manager, Deadly Choices at The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH).

Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver

 Lisa Jackson Pulver AM is an Aboriginal women with family connections from her mother to northern NSW, and through her father to Wiradjuri people in south western NSW and to the Jacksons and Campbell’s in southern South Australia and western Victoria.  She is the Pro-Vice Chancellor Engagement and Pro-Vice Chancellor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership at Western Sydney University and is the leader of Maridulu Budyari Gumal – The Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprises’ Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Stream. Lisa is a member of the Australian Medical Council and a member of the Australian Statistical Advisory Council amongst others. She remains an active researcher, educator and advisor.

Mr Rohan Greenland

A journalist by trade, Rohan was appointed as the Heart Foundation’s first Government Relations Director in 2006 and was subsequently appointed as the General Manager, Advocacy, in 2014.  He cut his public health teeth as Director of Public Affairs with the Australian Medical Association, a position he held for the best part of a decade in the 1990s. In that capacity, he worked closely with no less than six presidents, including Bruce Shepherd, Brendan Nelson and Kerryn Phelps.

Rohan has worked closely with key public health groups, particularly the Public Health Association of Australia, over many years on issues as diverse as Aboriginal health, physical activity, tobacco control, nutrition policy and food labelling.

He has collaborated with the global NCD Alliance and co-ordinated Australian advocacy seeking support for the UN high level meeting on NCDs. Rohan is currently the President of the Asia-Pacific Heart Network, a continental group of the World Heart Federation based in Singapore. Rohan is also a member of the World Heart Federation’s Advocacy Expert Group.

Rohan spent three years as director of public affairs for the Australian Local Government Association, getting a rare insight into COAG meetings as part of the ALGA delegation and spent seven years working for politicians, serving as a media adviser to a senator, chief-of-staff to an ACT health minister, senior adviser to an ACT Chief Minister and an adviser to a federal cabinet minister.

Mr Barry Sandison

Barry Sandison was appointed Director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in June 2016. With over 35 years’ experience in the public sector across more than 13 agencies, his expertise covers a wide range of health and welfare related work, with previous roles in both policy and service delivery. Since joining the Institute, Mr Sandison’s priorities have been on responding to the December 2015 NOUS Review of the Institute, sharpening the Institute’s strategic focus and developing key partnerships to maximise the use of its significant capabilities.

Prior to joining the Institute, Mr Sandison was the Deputy Secretary, Health and Information within the Australian Government Department of Human Services, where he was responsible for the administration and delivery of a range of programs in the health, government, and business areas. This included undertaking the function of Chief Executive Medicare and oversighting the department’s strategic information management function. Prior to this role, Mr Sandison was a Deputy Chief Executive in Centrelink and held senior executive roles in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

Mr Sandison holds a Bachelor of Business Management, is an Australian and New Zealand School of Government Executive Fellow, and Board Chair for L’Arche Genesaret, an ACT community organisation providing supported accommodation for people with intellectual disabilities.


Michael Thorn

Michael is Chief Executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), and has been responsible for leading FARE’s efforts to stop alcohol-related harm in Australia since January 2011.

Michael previously worked for the federal government as a senior official in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He was a project director in the department’s strategy and delivery division.

Michael has a strong strategic policy background, with extensive experience in strategic social policy development and implementation, most recently in Canberra and previously as a policy director of the Western Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet from 2001 until 2008. He has also worked as a policy and management consultant in the fields of housing, Indigenous affairs, regional economic development and employment, and early in his career was a policy adviser and chief of staff to WA Government Ministers.

Design Managers Australia (DMA)

Design Managers Australia (DMA) is a leader in public sector service design based in Canberra, Australia. Over the past 15 years DMA has made a difference to peoples’ lives by working with the public sector to design services that may or may not even be noticed – for all the right reasons. DMA focuses on shifting thinking at a strategic level while designing services that focus on customers, users, stakeholders and the service deliverers themselves.

Mel Edwards
Mel Edwards is Principal at service design agency, Design Managers Australia. Over the past decade she has practiced and built service design capability in the public and private sector including in the fields of insurance, taxation, human services, transport, local government, biosecurity, health and industry bodies.

Justin Barrie
Justin Barrie is founder and Principal at service design agency, Design Managers Australia. Over the past decade he has worked with clients to deliver innovation in public sector service delivery in fields as diverse as taxation, policing, scientific research, water management, human services, health, sports industry development and local government.

Sarah Ward

Sarah Ward is the Senior Policy Officer for Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.

Sarah joined FARE in November 2011. She has worked in the alcohol and other drug field for over 15 years including positions at the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia, Action on Smoking and Health (England), Alcohol Concern, and the National Health Service Camden.

Sarah works on FARE’s policy areas of alcohol and pregnancy, including responses to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, the prevention of alcohol-related family violence and issues around the application of competition policy in public health.

She led the development of FARE’s national Women Want to Know campaign and continues to oversee its implementation. Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts and Postgraduate diploma in Health Promotion.

Kirstan Corben

Executive Manager, Programs Group, VicHealth.

Kirstan joined VicHealth in 2017.  She has more than 16 years of experience in health promotion, most recently as Alfred Health’s Lead for Population Health and Health Promotion.

Her strengths are complex systems thinking, behavioural insights expertise and sector leadership. At Alfred Health, Kirstan led successful initiatives to strengthen Victorian health services, including introducing smokefree environments, improving availability of healthy food and facilities to support active travel, increasing physical activity and reducing sedentariness. Her work influences practice across health, sport, education and community settings within Australia and internationally.

Kirstan has a background in physiotherapy and Masters Degrees in health promotion and organisational leadership.

Belinda Gibb

Belinda is a proud Darug woman, with over 20 years’ experience in education, policy and program delivery, in both government and the not for profit sector, including a senior manager role at the Healing Foundation, and CEO at Australia’s leading Indigenous education provider, the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC).

Belinda also sits on a number of Boards, including the Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation (DTAC) and CranaPlus, a not for profit organisation which exists to ensure the delivery of safe, high quality primary healthcare to remote and isolated areas of Australia.

As keynote speakers are confirmed, they will be announced via the conference website

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