Featured Speakers 2018

Dr Wole Akosile, Addiction Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Specialist, Currumbin Clinic

Dr Wole Akosile MBBS, MPH (University of Qld), FRANZCP, Cert.Addiction.Psych FACHaM works primarily at Currumbin Clinic, providing inpatient and outpatient services which include holistic management of substance use disorder and non-substance use disorder psychiatry diagnosis, consideration of individual psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, functional restoration and neuro-stimulation.

Dr Akosile is an addiction specialist and the 2016 recipient of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Addiction Psychiatry Prize. He completed his Masters in Public Health in 2009 at the University of Queensland School of population health with Dean’s commendation for high achievement.

To obtain his addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine fellowship he trained at several Queensland hospitals including the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital, Princess Alexandria Hospital, Brisbane Private Hospital and Mater Hospital. He is also an adjunct senior lecturer at the University of Queensland, and a fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, with an advanced certificate in addiction psychiatry. He also holds the fellowship of the chapter of addiction medicine.

Dr Akosile is a member of the RANZCP faculty of addiction psychiatry and a member of the RANZCP sub-committee for advanced training in addiction psychiatry. He is a recipient of the first prize of the late breakers abstract award at the 2014 APSAD conference.

His special interests are substance use research, dual diagnosis and trauma. As an addiction specialist, he is able to appreciate the complex nature of substance use disorder and sees it as a medical problem with social consequences. As a clinical researcher, his treatment and principles of management are based on evidence-based practice as well as individualised care. As a health manager, he appreciates the multidisciplinary paradigm and has a good understanding of how health systems work. He is focused on relapse prevention therapy, recovery model of care and client re-integration into society.

Dr Janet Hammill AM, PhD, MTH, RN Honorary Research Fellow Coordinator, Collaboration for Alcohol Related Developmental Disorders Perinatal Research Group University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research

Dr Janet Hammill coordinates the Collaboration for Alcohol Related Developmental Disorders (CARDD) formerly the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Research Network within the Perinatal Research Group at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research and is Senior Researcher at Synapse.

An ethnographer, Jan weaves narratives of family history of health and life experiences into a biological framework that better illustrates the epigenetic and developmental burden placed on families. Of particular interest is the neurobiology of stress and teratogenic exposures that have influenced negative trajectories especially for Indigenous families and their children.

Those exposed to alcohol in utero represent the most vulnerable individuals in Australia and the effects are being seen transgenerationally. While invisible to diagnosis, they are too visible in statistics that reflect high rates of parental substance addictions, compromised perinatal outcomes, poor school achievement, behavioural problems, younger sole parenting, early criminality, recidivism, disabling mental health with suicide risks and premature onset of chronic diseases. Invariably having an FASD impacts significantly on overall access to equal life chances and pose critical and urgent challenges for remediation.

Having shared ancestry with the Gomeroi people of the NSW Pilliga Scrub and of the first convicts into the area, Jan’s primary interest is to raise awareness especially among policy makers to alcohol and substance abuse harm and the pressing need for cross-disciplinary, evidence-based interventions.

Professor Dan Lubman, Director, Turning Point

Professor Dan Lubman is a Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Specialist. He has worked across mental health and drug treatment settings in both the UK and Australia. He is Director of Turning Point and Professor of Addiction Studies and Services at Monash University.

Dr Lubman’s research is wide-ranging and includes investigating the impact of alcohol and drug use on brain function, the relationship between substance use, gambling and mental disorder, as well as the development of targeted intervention programs within school, primary care, mental health and drug treatment settings.

Dr Lubman has published over 350 peer-reviewed scientific papers, book chapters and major reports, and was Chair of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry for over a decade.

He is regularly contacted for policy advice and community comment, and sits on numerous State and Commonwealth expert reference committees, including Victoria’s Ice Action Taskforce as well as its Mental Health Expert Taskforce.

Dr Lynne Magor-Blatch, Executive Officer & Honorary Principal Fellow, Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association & Faculty of Social Services, University of Wollongong

Lynne is the Executive Officer with ATCA, Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Wollongong and a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist.

Lynne has a long history in the AOD and Mental Health fields, commencing with Therapeutic Communities Alpha House and the Ley Community in the UK in 1974.  She has worked in both the non-government and Government sectors, as a program and clinical director, policy officer, lecturer, researcher and consultant in Australia.

In 2010, Lynne was inducted into the National Drug and Alcohol Awards Honour Roll and in 2016 was one of 11 people selected to represent Civil Society at the United Nations General Assembly Special Sitting (UNGASS) in New York on the world drug problem.

In her private practice, Lynne works with a range of issues, focusing on complex trauma and trauma-related disorders.

Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen, Monash Addiction Research Centre, Monash University

Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen is based at the Monash Addiction Research Centre, Monash University. Her research focuses on identifying and responding to prescription and over-the-counter drug-related problems.
Suzanne’s work has led to a greater understanding of the characteristics of pharmaceutical opioid dependence and treatment responses, including the use of opioid agonist treatments for pharmaceutical opioid dependence.

Dr John Reilly, Chief Psychiatrist, Queensland Health

John Reilly is Chief Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Officer at the Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch of the Clinical Excellence Division, Queensland Health, with statutory responsibilities under the Mental Health Act as Chief Psychiatrist.

From 2009-2017 he was Medical Director, Mental Health Service Group, Townsville Hospital and Health Service where his clinical work was in addiction, forensic and adult general psychiatry, including psychotherapy, personality disorder, early psychosis and ECT.

He has particular interests in substance use disorders co-occurring with other mental health disorders and in clinical governance.  He currently chairs the RANZCP Subcommittee for Advanced Training in Addiction Psychiatry and was involved in creation of the Queensland Branch Committee of the Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry.

Professor Matthew Rockloff, Head of the Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, Central Queensland University

Prof. Matthew Rockloff received a Ph.D. in psychology from Florida Atlantic University in 1999. He completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Nevada, Reno, and has been employed as a lecturer at CQUniversity since 2001. He has been honoured as a Jack Walker Scholar and twice as an Aurel B. Newell Fellow.

Dr Rockloff was named in the Top 10 Unijobs Lecturer of the Year Awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014. His research has focused on social and psychological risk factors in the development of gambling problems. In 2017, Dr Rockloff received the Ig Noble Prize in Economics for experiments to see how contact with live crocodiles affects a person’s willingness to gamble.

Mr Nasir Sobhani, Founder, The Streets Barber

Nasir Sobhani, also known as ‘The Streets’ Barber,’ has earned his affectionate title spending his time taking to Melbourne’s streets offering free haircuts and shaves to the homeless and less fortunate. His inspirational story of compassion and generosity has received significant attention globally. Nasir was also one of the five people to be profiled as part of the Kenneth Cole Courageous Class Campaign in New York, celebrating individuals who have overcome obstacles in life to become inspiring role models.

He is an inspirational speaker certain to motivate and encourage all those who encounter him to find their own purpose.

Nasir has an exceptional manner of connecting marginalised people with the greater community. Providing a ‘voice to the voiceless,’ he shares the unique stories of the homeless he encounters on social media platforms reaching far and wide.

Since receiving considerable recognition Nasir has been attracting clients from all over who come to receive fresh haircuts and simply meet him. Humble and friendly, he finds joy in ensuring all who sit in his chair leave with mutual feelings of respect and friendship.

Nasir was born into one of few Iranian families living in Japan at the time before moving with his family to Canada as a child. Later in life he struggled and overcame drug addiction, finding sobriety through his supportive family and friends. He pursued his true passion in barbering and has achieved a name for himself in the barbering community. Following his newfound path in life, he started afresh in Melbourne over four years ago.

Nasir’s central principles which he encompasses in all that he strives to do, are the oneness of humanity, combatting prejudice and social injustice and the need for compassion for all. Strongly spiritual, he believes in using your natural talents to be charitable and help those less privileged, regardless of their backgrounds. Despite our different religious and spiritual beliefs, he exemplifies the notion that ultimately, we are all one.

Through his gregarious, eloquent, humorous, loving, compassionate and highly gifted personality, he draws people in with an incredible and extremely contagious positive and warm energy.

Nasir’s compassion and dedication to humanity touch all who encounter him. His mission to help those feel great about themselves and inspire a clean start is nothing short of impressive. Determined to expand his vision to a more global scale, not even the sky is the limit for the future of The Streets’ Barber.

Nasir Sobhani is both a thought-provoking presenter and humanitarian who is certain to inspire with his aspirational approach to charity and kindness.

Associate Professor Chris Wilkins, Drugs Team Leader, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, College of Health, Massey University New Zealand

Associate Professor Chris Wilkins is the leader of the drug research team at SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, Massey University, New Zealand.

He has research expertise in drug trends, drug markets and drug policy. Most recently he has published on New Zealand’s regulated market approach to new psychoactive substances, “not-for-profit” approaches to cannabis regulation, developing early warning drug systems, and improving data on drug use and help services in smaller communities.

Dr Wilkins has been an invited speaker at international meetings convened by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the Novel Psychoactive Substances Conference, and the United States National Institute for Drug Abuse Community Epidemiology Working Group (CEWG).

He regularly presents papers at the annual meetings of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP).

The Conference Program Committee would like to thank the 2017 Featured Speakers.

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Dr Andrew Campbell, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney

Dr Andrew Campbell is a registered psychologist that has been researching and teaching about Cyberpsychology and eMental Health for more than 20 years. As a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences, he is often approached to speak on the topic of communication technology and its impact on health and wellbeing, specifically around online addictions, online culture and digital citizenship.

Dr Campbell has conducted research notably in the development of online therapies for depression and anxiety, AD/HD treatment using bio-feedback videogames and social networking for managing young people’s mental health.

Talitha Cummins, Talitha Cummins Journalist, Newsreader, Speaker & Advocate for change

Talitha Cummins describes herself as the modern face of a recovering alcoholic: she’s young, professional, educated and high-functioning.

The journalist first began drinking as a 14-year-old to fight shyness and social discomfort. But the alter ego that emerged when she drank – extrovert, confident, brazen – swiftly began to cause problems.

By her early 30s Cummins was a successful television reporter by day and a binge drinker by night. But it wasn’t until her boss intervened to say her job was at stake that she finally took action.

Today Cummins is four years sober, has a newborn son and is the happiest she’s ever been, but admits she is far from the finish line when it comes to beating her addiction.

In October 2016, Talitha appeared on Australian Story revealing her battle with alcoholism.

Professor Olaf H. Drummer, Deputy Director (Academic Programs), Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, and Professor and Head, Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University

Professor Olaf H. Drummer, Dr.h.c.(Antwerp), PhD (Melb), BAppSc(RMIT), FFSC, FRCPA, FACBS, CChem, is a forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist. Currently, he is Deputy Director (Academic Programs) at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, and Professor and Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia.

Professor Drummer completed his Applied Chemistry Degree at completed Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 1973 and his PhD a few years later from Melbourne University.

He worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the Clinical Pharmacology Unit at the University of Melbourne’s Austin Hospital precinct becoming a NH&MRC fellow in 1986. In 1989 he took up a position as an Assistant Director at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine to form Victoria’s new forensic toxicology laboratories as well as manage other laboratory and research activities within the Institute.

He has received a number of awards besides the TIAFT Alan Curry award in 2016; Jean Servais Stas award from the German Society of Toxicology and Forensic Chemistry (GTFCh) (2013); Excellence in Higher Degree supervision, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University (2013); Irving Sunshine award from the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology (IATDMCT) for Excellence in Clinical Toxicology (2005) and the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) award for Excellence in Alcohol and Drug Research (2000). He has also received an honorary doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) from the University of Antwerp (2016).

He has published extensively in the fields of forensic pharmacology and analytical toxicology, including in over 250 peer reviewed scientific papers in journals, chapters, and has written or co-written 3 books. He has acted as an expert forensic pharmacologist and toxicologist in well over one hundred court cases in Australia and in other parts of the world.

He is a past President (2008-2011) of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) as well as having served as treasurer (1998-2005), and is the past and inaugural President of the Forensic and Clinical Toxicology Association of Australia (FACTA inc; 2010-2016). He is also a member of a number of national and international associations.

He is the editor for toxicology and drug manuscripts for Forensic Science International, and sits on editorial boards of several journals. He is also an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA), a founding fellow of the Faculty of Science within the RCPA; and a fellow of the Australasian College of Biomedical Scientists (ACBS

Professor Michael Farrell, Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre

Professor Michael Farrell is the Director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW. He worked in London for over 20 years where he was a Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist in the Maudsley Hospital and a Professor of Addiction Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. His extensive research interests include treatment evaluation, drug dependence in prisons, Evidence Based Practice and Treatment Evaluation, translation of new evidence into practice. He is a member of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug and Alcohol Dependence. He has published over 200 scientific papers.

Dr Tim MacDonald, Director of Dual Diagnosis, Currumbin Clinic

Dr MacDonald graduated with first class honours from Monash University and with the Geoff Conron Prize in Psychiatry, then trained at The Alfred, Melbourne and St Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin. He moved to the Gold Coast in 2014 where he worked as the Northern Community Clinical Lead for Gold Coast HHS. He was an Adjunct Lecturer for Monash University, is now a Senior Lecturer at Griffith University. He is the Unit Director (Dual Diagnosis) at Currumbin Clinic, a Committee Member for the Queensland Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry, a cross-border OTP prescriber, and is currently pursing/researching a range of novel biological approaches to the management of addictions.

Dr MacDonald’s curiosity about the interface between medicine and psychiatry led him to initially sub-specialise in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and complete research in the area of Conversion Disorder.

He has received prizes for writing online learning modules for medical students, and is a reviewer or editorial member for numerous local and international medical and psychiatric journals. He is passionate about employing the “recovery” paradigm in his clinical work, as well as tertiary consultation as a way of promoting mental health literacy in the community.

Dr MacDonald was previously a state-level cricket player, runs marathons occasionally despite acquiring numerous injuries, and was a hopeless rugby player.

Associate Professor Sally McCarthy, Clinical Director Emergency Care Institute, Agency for Clinical Innovation, NSW

Associate Professor Sally McCarthy has roles as Clinical Director of the Emergency Care Institute NSW, a body established to network that state’s 184 emergency departments, foster research and innovation and advocate on behalf of emergency care, and senior emergency physician at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. She was recently one of 3 members of the Prime Minister’s Ice Taskforce, producing national recommendations for responding to crystal methamphetamine in Australia. She chairs the Australian Government Medicare Review Clinical Committee for Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care Services, was previously President of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, and holds positions in state, national and international bodies focussed on improving emergency care.

Associate Professor Petra Staiger, School of Psychology, Deakin University

Associate Professor Staiger is a Senior Academic and Psychologist within the School of Psychology at Deakin University. Her expertise is in the treatment of addiction with a focus on individuals with co-occurring disorders. Her work consists of a mix of: a) theoretical/experimental work which informs our understanding of the mechanisms underlying substance disorders (a focus on impulse control and emotion regulation); b)  conducting clinical trials, informing best practise with a strong focus on translation and dissemination of her work into the health service system.  She has written over 100 publications and presented at a range of national and international conferences.

Professor Murat Yucel, Head of Addiction Program of Research, Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN), Monash University

Professor Murat Yücel is a trained Clinical Neuropsychologist and NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. He is currently appointed as a Professorial Fellow within the School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University (2013-current) where he is Leader of the Addiction Program within the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN) and Director of the Brain and Mental Health (BMH) Laboratory.

Professor Yücel is a recognised expert in the area of biological psychiatry and addiction neuroscience. His research crafts innovations in the application of psychological and brain imaging techniques to human populations, and has influenced thinking across three main themes: (i) determining the long-term impact of heavy cannabis use on brain, cognition and mental health; (ii) understanding the neural and psychological basis of reduced self-regulation across as drug and behavioural addictions; and (iii) clarifying the underlying neurobiology of several psychiatric illnesses (including psychosis, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder).

His discoveries have led to increased public and professional awareness on these topics and established his group at the forefront of addiction and psychiatric neuroscience research in Australia. To date, he has helped obtain ~$25 million in research funding (including 16 NHMRC and ARC grants), which has led to >240 peer- reviewed publications and >15,000 citations.