Ms Elida Meadows was recently the Policy Lead at the Mental Health Council of Tasmania but has left that position to undertake consultancy work. In her 6-month role in 2015 of Acting CEO of that organisation, Elida was directly involved in the consultation phase of the Tasmanian government’s Rethink Mental Health project and continues to be involved in the ongoing roll-out of mental health reform in the state. During her time in the mental health sector Elida has completed many well-received pieces of work including a study on the extent of isolation and its impact on mental health consumers in Tasmania.
Elida is the Tasmanian carer representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (Carer Co-Chair from 2014) and in this role has represented carers in many forums including the Equally Well Implementation Committee. Although a carer advocate, Elida identifies as both a consumer and carer. Elida has also been involved significantly in CALD mental health and was a carer representative on Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA), a Federal Government initiative. She is from southern Italian descent and has a background in historical research and community development. Apart from a passion for systemic advocacy of mental health issues, her interests include movement of people through travel, immigration and diaspora and she is currently completing her PhD on travel and identity.
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Dr Russell Roberts is Associate Professor of Leadership and Management at Charles Sturt University, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney and the Director of Mental Health Consulting Australia.
Living in Orange, his is a board member of the Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association, Chair of the National Alliance for Rural and Remote Mental Health and Chair of the ANZ Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium. He has previously served 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 Senior Clinical Psychologist in rural and metropolitan South Australia. He has an Executive Masters of Public Administration, a PhD in research and a Masters of Clinical Psychology. His current research interests are mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, workforce strategy, models of primary care integration and leadership.
With state and national awards for integrated health, workforce development and E-health, Russell has over two decades of experience in developing, implementing, and consolidating new and innovative health services across a range of complex environments. 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, programs 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.
Russell has extensive experience as a clinician, academic and service director. As director of a mental health service he led an organisation of over 1,000 staff, delivering comprehensive services across the spectrum of care from health promotion to tertiary treatment, providing over 204,000 inpatient admissions and 1.3 million occasions of service. Facilities in his organisation ranged from Australia’s largest integrated mental health hospital, to teams in Australia’s most remote locations, such as Wilcannia, Lightning Ridge and Bourke.
He has published 22 refereed journal articles, books and book chapters, delivered over 50 conference presentations, 11 keynote conference presentations and been awarded $A3.925 million in research grant funding. Russell offers expertise in both the skills of research analysis and the practical experience of workforce leadership, systems planning and service delivery.
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Ms Alexis Mohay is the Senior Adviser in the Mental Health Division in the Australian Government, Department of Health. She has extensive experience in policy development and program implementation and delivery. Previously she worked as the Director of Policy and Programs at the National Rural Health Alliance where her focus was on devising strategies for improving the health and wellbeing of people living in rural and remote Australia. In her current role, Alexis is overseeing the implementation of the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan across the Australian Government, Department of Health. Over the 10+ years Alexis has worked in the mental health sector, she has developed productive and trusted relationships with key stakeholders both internal and external to Government. She has experience working in both Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments as well as the NGO sector and internationally. Alexis lives in Canberra with her family and spends her weekends dreaming of tropical holiday destinations and trying to stay fit and healthy.
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Mr Arthur Papakotsias is Chief Executive Officer of Neami National. Neami is an accredited, national, community managed provider of mental health recovery oriented services. Arthur sits as Chair of Housing Choices Australia and Chair of Mental Health Australia (MHA) Finance audit and Risk Management Committee. Arthur has completed a Graduate Diploma of Business (Health Services Management) from RMIT University. He has also completed three residential programs at Harvard Business School: Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management, Authentic Leadership, and Leading Change and Organisational Renewal.
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Ms Carol Turnbull is the CEO for Ramsay Health Care (SA) Mental Health Services in South Australia. and has held that position since 2003. Prior to 2003, Carol worked with Ramsay Health Care as a Director of Clinical Services for 8 years. She has been involved in Health and Psychiatric services for over 25 years and is a Registered General and Mental Health Nurse, has a Grad Dip in Management Practices, is a member of the Australian Private Hospitals Association’s Psychiatric Committee and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Within Ramsay Health Care Carol sits on the National Clinical Governance Committee and RHC Mental Health Leadership Committee.
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Dr Cate Howell CSM, OAM, PhD(Med) is a General Practitioner, educator, therapist and author. Cate has a special interest in mental health and wellbeing, and her clinical work is focussed on this area in her private practice. She also works as a GP with the University of South Australia and Defence. Cate is a visiting Lecturer at the University of Adelaide, a GP Education consultant for several organisations, and is a representative of the RACGP on various working groups. Cate has had five books published, and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for contribution to mental health (2012).
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Dr Grant Sara is a psychiatrist with roles in clinical care and data. As a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney he is involved in caring for young people with recent onset of psychosis. He is Director of InforMH, NSW Ministry of Health and Chair of the national Mental Health Information Strategy Standing Committee. In those roles he works to see health system data used to understand variation and improve care.
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Mrs Janine Mohamed, a Kaurna/Narrunga woman from South Australia, has deep expertise and experience in how to work towards the improvement of healthcare and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As a nurse and CEO of CATSINaM, Janine is an advocate for the unique and powerful roles that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives have in the health system and their communities, as agents of change. Her leadership and work is informed by principles of health equity and justice, and she has a passionate commitment to working towards health systems that are culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, health professionals and employees. A graduate of the University of South Australia, where she now holds an adjunct position, Janine has sound clinical experience, as well as in research, policy and project leadership. Janine has also worked in senior positions for both the AHCSA and NACCHO, contributed to the establishment of the Close the Gap campaign, and was a member of an Indigenous peoples’ delegation that participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2011 and 2012. Janine is a strong advocate for self-determination and the community controlled health sector, which she believes offers the best model of health care for all Australia. Janine is married to Justin Mohamed, who also has a longstanding career in Aboriginal health, and together they have five children. Having an autoimmune disease, she has a keen appreciation for the importance of empowering people to manage their health.
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Dr John Allan MBBS, FRANZCP, PhD completed his medical training and PhD in Queensland and his psychiatry training in Adelaide.
John is the Executive Director of Mental Health Alcohol and other Drugs Branch in Queensland Health. He has been Chief Psychiatrist in both Queensland and New South Wales and led clinical services in North Queensland for 20years. He is a leader in national mental health reform, and is particularly interested smoking and mental illness. He is the President Elect of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. He is the chair of the Safety and Quality Partnerships Standing Committee.
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Mr Josh Fear is Director of Policy and Projects at Mental Health Australia, the peak national non-government organisation representing and promoting the interests of the Australian mental health sector. Mental Health Australia has for many years been calling attention to the barriers that people with mental health issues encounter accessing insurance coverage on fair terms. Josh is also leading Mental Health Australia’s work to ensure that the needs of people with psychosocial disability associated with mental illness and their carers are properly addressed in the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
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Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan was the first salaried Chief Executive Officer of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, commencing in the position in 2004. The ACMHN is the peak professional mental health nursing organisation and the recognised Credentialing body for mental health nurses in Australia. She is passionate about mental health and mental health nursing holding a more prominent position on health agendas at local, state, national and international levels and believes this can only be achieved with a strong, united, professional voice.
She is a Board member of the Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN) and the Chair of Companion House – Assisting Survivors of Torture and Trauma. She was awarded the position of Adjunct Associate Professor by Sydney University in 2009 in recognition of her contribution to the nursing profession. In December 2016 Kim was awarded the inaugural Australian Mental Health Prize by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
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Libby Dunstan is the Deputy CEO at the Brisbane North PHN providing organisational and operational leadership as well as leading key external stakeholder engagement and partnership building for the organisation. She provides operational leadership to key organisational functions such as Primary Care Liaison and Integration programs.
Libby has over 20 years experience and expertise in senior health leadership roles, managing the strategic, operation and business and operational aspects of a number of organisations in the not for profit sector. Her particular expertise includes business development, government relations, health care integration, health system improvement, policy analysis and development, project management and stakeholder management. Prior to her role at the Brisbane North PHN she held senior roles at the Stroke Foundation and CheckUP.
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Professor Malcolm Hopwood is the Ramsay Health Care Professor of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne; based at the Albert Road Clinic (ARC) in Melbourne, Australia. At ARC he is the Director of the Professorial Psychiatry Unit. He is currently Interim Head of Department of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne. His research areas of interest include psychopharmacology and clinical aspects of mood and anxiety disorders. He has also led research into psychiatric aspects of ABI and other neuropsychiatric disorders. He was President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists between 2015 and 2017.
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Dr Murray Wright graduated from the University of Sydney Medical Faculty, completed his post graduate training in Psychiatry in South Eastern Sydney, and has worked in a range of metropolitan, rural and regional centres, as a clinician and, over the last 15 years, in a range of leadership roles, including NSW Chief Psychiatrist since October 2014.
Clinical interests include consultation-liaison psychiatry, emergency psychiatry, psychiatric and substance misuse comorbidity, and psychiatric impairment among health professionals and police officers. In addition to his public sector roles, Murray has maintained a private practice since 1990.
Murray’s role as NSW Chief Psychiatrist includes an oversight of quality and safety for mental health services, investigation/ review of critical incidents associated with mental health services, and contributing to improvements in patient safety. Currently Chair for the Safety and Quality Partnership Standing Committee.
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Dr Peggy Brown commenced as Chief Executive Officer of the National Mental Health Commission in October 2016. Involved in mental health leadership and advocacy roles for 30 years, Peggy has a deep understanding of the many challenges of meeting the social and health needs of people with mental health and substance use issues.
“While I have seen many improvements in service delivery over the years – including reorientation to community based care, an emphasis on human rights and increasing focus on consumer and carer participation as well as recovery based approaches – much remains to be done. I see my work at the Commission as a vital opportunity to continue to advocate for improvements in service delivery and for the other supports necessary to enable people living with mental illness to lead contributing lives in socially and economically thriving communities,” she says.
Prior to her appointment with the Commission, Peggy was Chief Psychiatrist with the Northern Territory Department of Health. In addition to multiple roles with professional bodies such as the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, she has held executive level positions in the public service for more than 20 years, including a five year term as the Director-General of ACT Health.
Peggy is also a past chair of the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council, AHMAC, and has previously been a board member of Health Workforce Australia and a board director of the National E-Health Transition Authority, NEHTA.
While CEO, she will continue to work part time as a psychiatrist and serve on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and the Agency Management Committee of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, AHPRA.
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Richard Weston is a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait. For the past six years, he has served as CEO of the Healing Foundation. He sits on the Board of Families Australia and is a member of the Commonwealth Government’s Independent Advisory Council on Redress for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. Richard is a member of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander forums and committees.
The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions such as the forced removal of children from their families and communities. Trauma, and the legacy of past policies and practices, can rob families and communities of hope and purpose. The Healing Foundation works with communities, members of the Stolen Generations and their descendants, to design solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. The Healing Foundation’s evaluations show amazing outcomes can be achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are supported to lead and develop their own responses.
The Healing Foundation continues to build the national evidence base on healing complex trauma. Drawing on these lessons it is building a theory of change that values both Indigenous cultural knowledge and the international evidence base on trauma. It has supported more than 135 culturally strong, community led Indigenous healing projects around Australia, and over 19,600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, women and men have participated in healing activities. About 94% of participants have reported improvements in their social and emotional wellbeing.
Prior to being CEO of the Healing Foundation, Richard was CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service and prior to that was CEO of Maari Ma Health in far west NSW based in Broken Hill. Under his leadership, Maari Ma won several health awards, including five NSW awards and a national award.
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