KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Below are the confirmed Keynote Speakers for the 17th National Immunisation Conference. As speakers are confirmed their information will be added below. 

Professor Paul Kelly

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Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government Department of Health

Professor Paul Kelly is a public health physician and epidemiologist with more than 30 years’ research experience. He has worked around the world in health system development and infectious disease epidemiology.


Paul was one of the leads in developing the FluCAN project – a national influenza surveillance system used by hospitals to track patients who are hospitalised with influenza. This work helps to determine the effectiveness of the yearly influenza vaccine.


Paul has vast experience in infectious disease epidemiology, in particular influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis. This will help us understand how coronavirus spreads through the community and what we can do to slow the spread.

Ms Jane Halton

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AO, PSM, FAICD, FIPPA

Jane Halton, AO, PSM, FAICD, FIPPA, is a member of the board of the ANZ Bank, Clayton Utz, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and the US Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. She is chairman of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, COTA, and Vault Systems. Her 33-year career in the Australian public service included nearly 15 years as Secretary of the Department of Finance and Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing.

Previously, she was Executive Co-ordinator (Deputy Secretary) of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She has extensive experience in health policy and delivery, the delivery of the Australian government budget, and the management and performance of Australian government agencies.

Ms. Halton has held a number of significant roles in global health governance, including as chair of the board of the World Health Organization (WHO), president of the World Health Assembly, and chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) health committee.

Professor James Ward

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Director, UQ Poche Centre, UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, School of Public Health, University of Queensland

Professor James Ward is a Pitjantjatjara and Narungga man, and a national leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research. He is currently the Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Professor within the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland. As such he leads a research program focused on urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and an infectious diseases research program and associated issues through the School of Public Health.

 

Having held various roles in Aboriginal public health policy for both government and non-government organisations, in 2007 he was appointed as the Inaugural Program Head of the Aboriginal Program at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales. In 2012 he moved to Alice Springs to become Deputy Director of the Baker Institutes' Aboriginal Health Program, after which he joined the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. James has been awarded funding applications totalling $23M since 2013; including $7.14M as CIA on NHMRC funded grants and has authored 130 publications. He has led national research projects on health services research http://cre-ash.org.au/participating-sites/clinical-hubs/; in health promotion www.youngdeadlyfree.org.au; and methamphetamines https://wecandothis.com.au/ to name a few.

Dr Saad Omer

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MBBS, MPH, PhD, FIDSA, Director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, and a Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology, Yale University, Schools of Medicine and Public Health

Saad B. Omer is the Director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, and a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Yale University, Schools of Medicine and Public Health.  He has conducted studies in the United States, Guatemala, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and South Africa. Dr Omer’s research portfolio includes epidemiology of respiratory viruses such as influenza, RSV, and - more recently - SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19); clinical trials to estimate efficacy of maternal and/or infant influenza, pertussis, polio, measles and pneumococcal vaccines; and trials to evaluate drug regimens to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV He has published over 300 papers in peer reviewed journals and has mentored over 100 junior faculty, clinical, and research post-doctoral fellows and PhD and other graduate students.

Professor Heidi Larson

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Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science and is the Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Heidi J. Larson, PhD, is Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science and is the Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is also Clinical Professor of Health Metrics Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, and Guest Professor at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Dr. Larson previously headed Global Immunisation Communication at UNICEF, chaired GAVI’s Advocacy Task Force, and served on the WHO SAGE Working Group on vaccine hesitancy. The VCP is a WHO Centre of Excellence on addressing Vaccine Hesitancy.

 Professor Larson’s research focuses on the analysis of social and political factors that can affect uptake of health interventions and influence policies. Her particular interest is on risk and rumour management from clinical trials to delivery – and building public trust.  She served on the FDA Medical Countermeasure (MCM) Emergency Communication Expert Working Group, and is currently Principal Investigator for a global study on acceptance of vaccination during pregnancy; an EU-funded (EBODAC) project on the deployment, acceptance and compliance of an Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone; and a global study on Public Sentiments and Emotions Around Current and Potential Measures to Contain and Treat COVID-19.  

Professor David Durrheim

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Professor of Public Health Medicine, University of Newcastle

David Durrheim, DrPH, MPH&TM, MBChB, FACTM, FAFPHM, FAAHMS, is Director of Health Protection, Hunter New England Health, New South Wales, Australia and Professor of Public Health Medicine at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He currently chairs the Western Pacific Regional Measles Rubella Verification Commission and is a member of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) working groups on COVID-19 and Ebola vaccines.

His public health research is operational in focus and translational in nature and has assisted public health programs to improve their surveillance and service delivery. He has been instrumental in developing novel surveillance systems to detect and facilitate responses to emerging infectious disease risks. Professor Durrheim is an outspoken advocate for equitable global access to effective public health measures, particularly immunisation.

Professor Durrheim’s research interests include vaccinology, novel infectious disease surveillance methods, control of zoonotic diseases, and strategies for reducing inequity in public health service delivery. He has over 300 peer-reviewed publications, and has published several scientific monographs and chapters in leading public health texts.

Professor Kanta Subbarao

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Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza

Professor Kanta Subbarao was appointed Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in 2016. Prior to her arrival in Melbourne, she was Chief of the Emerging Respiratory Viruses Section of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID, National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States from 2002-2016 and chief of the Molecular Genetics Section of the Influenza Branch at the US CDC from 1997-2002.

Kanta is a virologist and a physician with specialty training in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. She received her M.B.B.S. from Christian Medical College, Vellore in India, completed training in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases in the US and earned an M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and received postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIAID, NIH.

 

Her research is focused on newly emerging viral diseases of global importance including pandemic influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and includes study of virus biology and pathogenesis, immune responses to infection and vaccination, development and preclinical and clinical evaluation of vaccines.

Dr Christopher Blyth

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MBBS (Hons) DCH FRACP FRCPA PhD, Co-Director, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases; Honorary and NHMRC Career Development Fellow, Paediatric Infectious Diseases Physician and Clinical Microbiologist

Dr Chris Blyth is a clinical academic, NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow and Co-Director of Wesfarmers Centre for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases (WCVID; Telethon Kids Institute [TKI]). He is Associate Professor of Paediatrics with the School of Medicine, University of Western Australia, a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Physician at Perth Children's Hospital (PCH) and a Clinical Microbiologist with PathWest Laboratory.

Dr Blyth has nearly two decades experience in conducting clinical paediatric and infectious diseases research focusing on questions relevant to public policy and clinical practice. The majority of his research is in influenza, vaccine-preventable respiratory tract infection, pneumonia and vaccine safety. His PhD (Preventing influenza morbidity in Australian children through vaccination; 2016) evaluated the WA preschool influenza vaccination program and has been instrumental in influencing national and state influenza policy. Dr Blyth has previously held a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (2016-2019: Evaluation and optimisation of paediatric vaccination programs in Australia and the region) and more recently was awarded a NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellowship (2020-2024: Paediatric Acute Respiratory Infection Management & Prevention: Platforms for the Future). He an Associate Member of the Australasian Academy of Health and Medical Science and sits on the Scientific Steering Committee of the Human Vaccines Project.

Dr Lisa Whop

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Senior Research fellow, Menzies School of Health Research

Lisa Whop is a descendent of the Wagedagam tribe of the Gumulgal people of Mabuiag Island in the Torres Strait and has family connections to the Darling Downs in South West Queensland.

Lisa’s research to date has focused on improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer. She holds a Bachelor in Medical Science from the Queensland University of Technology and a Masters of Applied Epidemiology from the Australian National University. Her PhD project was focused on the Queensland part of the National Indigenous Cervical Screening Project – the first population-based study in Australia to investigate the effectiveness of cervical screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

She was supported by a Sidney Myer Health Scholarship, a Menzies Enhanced Living Scholarship and a Lowitja Institute Scholarship. She recently submitted her PhD thesis to the Charles Darwin University and is working as a Research Fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research.

Dr Janine Mohamed

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Chief Executive Officer, Lowitja Institute

Janine Mohamed is a proud Narrunga Kaurna woman from South Australia. Over the past 20 years, Janine has worked in nursing, management, project management, and workforce and health policy in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. Many of these years have been spent in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector at state, national and international levels, and most recently as the CEO at the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM). Janine is now based in Melbourne. She was awarded an Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity Fellowship in 2019, and, in January 2020, was awarded a Doctorate of Nursing honoris causa by Edith Cowan University.
 

Professor Lisa Nissen

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Head of School Faculty of Health, School, Clinical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Lisa Nissen is Professor and Head of the School of Clinical Sciences at Queensland University of Technology. She is an experienced pharmacy practitioner, researcher and educator having worked in hospital and community pharmacy in metropolitan and rural areas of Queensland, Australia. Her focus is on improving the Quality Use of Medicines in the wider community, across the health care continuum, with a focus on health service development and factors that influence the prescribing of medicines. She is a strong believer in the benefits multidisciplinary health care teams can bring to patient care and takes this passion into the classroom with a commitment to the development and implementation of innovative interprofessional education for health students. In recognition of her teaching contributions she was awarded a National Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008 and 2013.

Ms Diane Summers

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Senior Advisor, Immunization and Demand at UNICEF NYHQ

In my role as Senior Adviser in the Immunization Team at UNICEF NYHQ, I'm taking my country, regional and global experiences to shape the important work we do in increasing coverage and equity of immunization so that all children and women have the benefit of life saving vaccines no matter where they live.

2015-2018: Regional Adviser, Communication for Development in UNICEF ROSA. Publications: UNICEF ROSA Risk Communication Guide for Zika Virus, Dengue, Chikungunya (2017) and UNICEF ROSA Regional Framework for Communication for Development (2018)

I am a leader in global health, advocacy and public policy, strategic communications, social and behaviour change. I was senior adviser for advocacy and public policy with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, an innovative public-private partnership for vaccines and immunization partnered by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, World Bank and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. My areas of focus were cancers and vaccines, women and children's health, and equity. I co-authored Health, Equity, and Women's Cancers 3 for The Lancet Series, November 2016.

Dr Jeff Kwong

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Senior Scientist, ICES

Jeff Kwong is an epidemiologist, a specialist in public health and preventive medicine, and a family physician. He is the Program Leader of the Populations and Public Health Program at ICES (a research institute that houses a large array of linkable health-related databases), a Scientist at Public Health Ontario, and a Professor at the University of Toronto. As a Clinician-Scientist, he practises family medicine one day per week and devotes the rest of his time to research and teaching at the interface between primary care and public health. His main research interest is in infectious disease and vaccine epidemiologic research using large linkable databases.

Dr Chris Morgan

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Senior Technical Advisor (Immunization), Jhpiego, the Johns Hopkins University affiliate

Chris is a development practitioner and paediatrician with 30 years experience of health development in resource-constrained settings. He works at Jhpiego, the Johns Hopkins University affiliate, on immunization and child health in 15 countries across Africa and Asia. This builds on 20 years (to 2020) with the Burnet Institute in PNG, Myanmar and elsewhere. During the 1990s Chris, with his family, spent eight years in rural hospitals and community health in Nepal and China (Tibet).

 

Chris applies systems-thinking, implementation research, and realist and other theory-based evaluations to improve service delivery and community engagement across immunization, maternal, child and adolescent health. Chris serves on advisory groups for WHO and Gavi; he is chair of WHO’s Western Pacific Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group, and serves on WHO HQ’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts’ COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group. He holds honorary appointments at Burnet and University of Melbourne, where he completed doctoral research into the integration of immunization with other services.

Professor Damian Purcell

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Head, Molecular Virology Laboratory, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, The University of Melbourne

Professor Damian Purcell is head of the molecular virology laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at The University of Melbourne. After receiving a PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1987 he was a CJ Martin traveling fellow with Dr. Malcolm Martin at the Laboratory for Molecular Microbiology of the NIAID, at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. He returned to Melbourne’s Burnet Institute in 1995 before moving to a tenured teaching and research position at The University of Melbourne in 2001. He is the Virology Division Chair for the Australian Society of Microbiology, the immediate past President of the Australasian Virology Society, and Executive member of the Australian Center for HIV and Hepatitis Virology. He studies RNA-mediated control of retrovirus gene expression during productive and the latent phase of infection. He seeks to translate his insights into the molecular mechanisms governing viral replication and the innate and adaptive antiviral responses into new antiviral drugs, vaccines and biomedical preventions.

Professor Jonathan Carapetis

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Executive Director, Telethon Kids Institute

Professor Carapetis is the Director of the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Western Australia. He is also a Professor at the University of Western Australia and consultant paediatrician at Perth Children’s Hospital.


His research interests include Rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, other group A streptococcal diseases, Vaccine-preventable disease, Indigenous child health, Child development and education, Youth health and education and Skin sores and scabies.


Professor Carapetis undertook his medical training at the Royal Melbourne and Royal Children’s Hospitals. Previous positions include terms as Theme Director at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne and Director of the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.

Associate Professor Peter Richmond

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Head, Paediatrics, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, The University of Western Australia

Associate Professor Peter Richmond is Head of Paediatrics within UWA’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. Professor Richmond works closely with the Telethon Kids Institute where he is Head of the Vaccine Trials Group, which sits in the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, of which he is a Co-Director.

Professor Richmond’s main research focus is the development and evaluation of new vaccines created to prevent bacterial and viral infections from spreading among young children.

Professor Ben Marais

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Co-director, Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, The University of Sydney

Professor Ben Marais works in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the Westmead Children’s Hospital.  He is co-director of the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity (www.sydney.edu.au/mbi) at the University of Sydney and helps to lead the Centre for Research Excellence in Tuberculosis (www.tbcre.org.au).  He has a strong interest in global child health and is deputy-chair of the WHO/Stop TB partnership ‘Child and Adolescent TB working group’.  His research focuses primarily on the evolution and spread of drug resistant M. tuberculosis strains and how children are affected by the global tuberculosis epidemic. 

Professor Matthew Snape

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Associate Professor in General Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford Department of Paediatrics and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Council

Matthew Snape, MBBS FRCPCH MD, is an Associate Professor in General Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford Department of Paediatrics and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Council.  He is also a Jenner Investigator and works as a General Paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital Oxford, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Assoc. Prof. Snape's principal areas of research relate to vaccines against meningococcal, pneumococcal, influenza, RSV and Ebola virus disease. In 2014/2015 he was the lead investigator on a 'first in human' phase 1 study of a candidate ebola vaccine, providing data crucial to the planning of subsequent studies in West Africa. He is currently the Chief Investigator of the 'Be on the TEAM' study enrolling 24 000 Year 12 students to evaluate the impact of immunisation with group B meningococcal vaccines on pharyngeal carriage of meningococcus, and is the Director of the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium (NISEC), both of which are NIHR funded. Other projects include leading on the instigation of the Global Platform for Prevention of Autoimmune Diabetes (GPPAD) in the UK, acting as a Chief or Principal Investigator on clinical trials of multiple RSV vaccine candidates and acting as the Chief Investigator on the ‘What’s the STORY’ study evaluating rates of COVID-19 infection in children.

Professor Tony Blakely

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Head, Population Interventions, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne

Tony is an epidemiologist and public health medicine specialist. He is committed to answering questions about which public health interventions will achieve the greatest improvements in health and social outcomes, reduce inequalities in health, and do so cost-effectively.

His research covers a range of topic areas, intersected with methodological advancements. Whilst principally an epidemiologist, he uses and combines methods from multiple disciplines: biostatistics, economics, econometrics, and computer and data science.