KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

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

Dr Saad Omar

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 Kanta Subbarao

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

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

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.

Professor Sandra Eades

Associate Dean (Indigenous), Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne

Professor Sandra Eades is a Noongar woman from Mount Barker, WA. She completed her medical degree in 1990 and after working as a GP, started her career in health research at the Telethon Kids Institute. In 2003 she became Australia's first Aboriginal medical doctor to be awarded a PhD. Her PhD investigated the causal pathways and determinants of health among Aboriginal infants in the first year of life. Professor Eades was named NSW Woman of the Year 2006 in recognition of her research contributions to Aboriginal communities and has received a 'Deadly Award' (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards) for Outstanding Achievement in Health. As well as Associate Dean (Indigenous), she is a Professor at the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.

Professor Lisa Nissen

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

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.

In-country, I was the representative of The Johns Hopkins University/Center for Communication Programs in Nepal during the conflict. I led the design and production of popular and award-winning education-entertainment programs and multi-media initiatives broadcast across the nation, with community health programs for the marginalised and disadvantaged. I built an expansive network of partnerships among UN agencies, civil society, international donors and the private sector to bridge the gap between people and health services.

Dr Jeff Kwong

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

Head, International Development Discipline, Burnet Institute

Chris Morgan is a public health researcher, paediatrician and development practitioner with 27 years experience of health development in resource-constrained settings. He works on health services improvement, immunization programs, deployment of rapid diagnostics, maternal and infant care, and community health. He is Head of the International Development Discipline at the Burnet Institute, where he has worked since 2001. For Burnet he designs and implements programs in Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Kenya, and elsewhere in Asia and the Pacific. He serves on advisory groups for the World Health Organization and Gavi (the Global Vaccine Alliance). Earlier in his career he directed bilateral health aid in China, the Mekong sub-region, and PNG. In the 1990s he, with his family, spent eight years in front-line service delivery in rural hospitals and community health programs in Nepal and Tibet (China). He holds academic appointments at Melbourne and Monash universities.

Professor Jonathan Carapetis

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

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

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 Rachel Skinner

Professor in Child and Adolescent Health, The University of Sydney

Professor Rachel Skinner is a teaching and research clinical academic in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, Sydney University, and Adolescent Physician at the Children’s Hospital Westmead..

She is Deputy Director of Wellbeing, Health and Youth, NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Adolescent Health: a collaboration across 5 Universities, based at Sydney University.

She is also Senior Clinical Advisor in Youth Health and Wellbeing at NSW Ministry of Health.

Professor Skinner's research addresses a broad range of public health, bio-psychosocial, behavioural and ethical aspects of adolescent health. Her approach is inter-disciplinary, and focussed on translation of findings into real world interventions with clear impact on health outcomes. She is known internationally for her work on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine efficacy, effectiveness and school vaccination programs; and for work on sexual behaviour, contraception and early pregnancy in adolescents.

Her methodological approach includes prospective cohort studies, population based cross-sectional studies, complex intervention and program evaluation, qualitative inquiry and clinical trials. She works in a range of settings, including schools, health services and social media. She has developed, using formative work, complex, innovative, multi-faceted interventions for health promotion of young people, and developed and validated the measures to capture impact on outcomes.

Associate Professor Michael Woodward

AM MB BS MD FRACP Head of Aged Care Research, Austin Health, Heidelberg, VIC

Associate Professor Michael Woodward is Head of Aged Care Research at Austin Health in Melbourne, Victoria. He is a specialist in geriatric medicine with a major interest in adult vaccination and also Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, wound management and the quality use of medications in older people. He is head of the Medical and Cognitive Research Unit that conducts trials into new vaccines and other new therapies for conditions such as dementia and influenza.

Associate Professor Woodward’s publication record includes over 130 peer-reviewed research and review articles. As chair of the Geriatric Therapeutics section of the editorial board of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research he oversaw nearly 20 years of publications on quality use of medications and health promotion activities in older people, including articles on vaccination.  He was also joint editor of Wound Practice and Research, the journal of the Australian Wound Management Association, of which he is a past President. He is a member of the editorial committee of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs MATES program, which improves prescribing and pharmaceutical care of DVA beneficiaries, including vaccination.

He is heavily involved in a number of professional organizations including previously Chairing the Committee for Physician Training, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, which oversaw and approved the training of all future consultants in internal medicine. He is currently Chair of that College’s Site Accreditation Committee and was previously a member of their Board of Censors. He was until recently a member of the Geriatric Medicine Education and Training Subcommittee of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, having previously chaired that subcommittee. He has recently overseen a 3rd revision of that Society’s position document on Vaccinations for Older People.

His work in geriatric medicine, dementia and other research and his extensive authorship has been honoured with Membership of the Order of Australia, awarded on Australia Day 2016.

Dr Hannah Moore

Co-Head Infectious Disease Epidemiology Team and Senior Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute

Dr Hannah Moore is Co-Head of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Team within the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, an Emerging Research Leader at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Australia and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. Her passion for research involves using population-based administrative datasets to investigate how to prevent and reduce serious respiratory and other infectious diseases in children. She has developed expertise in identifying the pathogen-specific burden of respiratory infections in children with a particular focus on Respiratory Syncytial Virus and contributed to national influenza vaccination policy.

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