Featured Speakers

Featured Speakers

Professor Brian McKenna, Professor in Forensic Mental Health, Auckland University of Technology

Brian is a Registered Nurse and Professor of Forensic Mental Health, which is a joint appointment between Auckland University of Technology and the Auckland Regional Forensic Psychiatry Services in New Zealand. He is currently an Adjunct Professor, Centre for Forensic Behavioural Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria, Australia.

Brian has published widely on research in forensic mental health, and mental health law. A commitment to joint appointments has seen partnerships driving his research agenda towards service and clinical practice improvements.

Ms Jenny Valentish, Author

Journalist Jenny Valentish’s third book is Woman of Substances: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment, which blends research and memoir. It received major media coverage in Australia and the UK and was nominated for a Walkley Award. Her book is on the recommended reading list for modules of Monash University’s Addiction Studies and RMIT’s Bachelor of Criminology and Psychology, and Valentish herself has a graduate certificate in AOD from Turning Point. She is a board member of SMART Recovery Australia, an ambassador for Monash University’s BrainLab, a consultant for the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, and a core member of AOD Media Watch.

Professor Amanda Baker, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle

Professor Amanda Baker (PhD) is a clinical psychologist and NHMRC Senior Research Fellow located at the University of Newcastle. She leads an internationally renowned program of clinical research trialing novel interventions that target co-existing mental health and substance use problems. Amanda has a special interest in the treatment of smoking and improving physical and mental health among people attending alcohol, other drug and mental health services. Amanda has been a Chief Investigator on 20 NHMRC grants. She has over 270 publications including over 200 articles in peer reviewed journals.

Ms Paula Snowden, Chief Executive, PGF Group

Paula Snowden has wide government and not-for-profit sector experience and joined the Problem Gambling Foundation as Chief Executive in December 2016. Her non-government leadership experience is significant having been Deputy Chief Executive of the former Alcohol Advisory Council where she led the social marketing programme and Chief Executive of the Quit Group Trust/Quitline through one of its most successful periods.

Paula also has a strong executive leadership background in both Housing New Zealand and the Accident Compensation Commission and has also had a number of policy roles including in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Maori Development. In all her leadership roles, Paula has focussed on addressing equity and on sustainable and effective programme delivery. Paula is passionate about making a difference and supporting people and organisations to be the best they be to enable wellbeing for families and communities. Paula is a lay member appointment to the Nursing Council of New Zealand, is on the Board of Unicef New Zealand and is a Trustee of the Unicef Children’s Foundation. Paula’s tribal affiliations are Ngapuhi.

Professor Tom Calma, Chancellor, University of Canberra

Prof Calma is an Aboriginal Elder from the Kungarakan (Koong ara kun) tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja (Ee wad ja) tribal group whose traditional lands are south west of Darwin and on the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory of Australia, respectively. He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, community, state, national and international level and worked in the public sector for over 45 years and is currently on a number of boards and committees focussing on rural and remote Australia, health, mental health, suicide prevention, education, justice reinvestment, research, leadership, reconciliation and economic development.

Prof Calma was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2004 to 2010. He also served as Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2004 until 2009.

Through his 2005 Social Justice Report, Prof Calma called for the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to be closed within a generation and advocated embedding a social determinants philosophy into public policy around health, education and employment in order to address Indigenous inequality gaps. This spearheaded the Close the Gap for Indigenous Health Equality Campaign resulting in COAG’s Closing the Gap response in December 2007.

Prof Calma has since 2010 held the position of National Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking (0.5) and he was appointed a Professor (0.5) at the University of Sydney Medical School from 1 January 2015 to perform the role of Chair and Patron of the Poche Indigenous Health Network.

He has many awards including being named by Australian Doctor Magazine (2010) as one of the 50 Most Influential People in medicine in Australia, Indigenous Allied Health Australia’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2014 in recognition of his lifelong dedication to improving the lives of Indigenous Australians and the Public Health Association of Australia’s pre-eminent Sidney Sax Public Health Medal (2015) for notable contribution to the protection and promotion of public health, advancing community awareness of public health measures and advancing the ideals and practice of equity in the provision of health care.

Mr Tony Trimingham, CEO, Family Drug Support Australia

Tony has worked for the past 40+ years as a counsellor, group leader and psychotherapist.

His life changed forever in 1996 when he discovered that his 21 year old son, Damien was dependant on heroin and even more when he died of an overdose 12 months later. After writing a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald about the death of Damien and the drug scene in Australia he found himself on a journey he never expected.

Tony founded – Family Drug Support in 1997, the organisation is a well-respected and established National service for families of drug and alcohol users. Tony’s work has been recognised by numerous honours and awards

Ms Linda Hipper, Director of Addiction Services, Academic Clinic Unit, Queensland Government, Metro South Health

Ms Linda Hipper is the Director Addiction Services with Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services.  She is a registered psychologist and has almost 30 years of experience in working in the alcohol and drug and mental health fields in a variety of roles, with the last 20 years predominantly in managerial and clinical leadership roles in the alcohol and drug field.

She is passionate about the provision of evidenced based interventions within multi-disciplinary teams within the alcohol and drug sector.

Mr Garth Popple, Executive Director, WHOS

Mr Popple is the Executive Director, We Help Ourselves (WHOS) and Director of WHOS International Pty Ltd, Chairperson (and ex Past President) Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA), Deputy President of World Federation of Therapeutic Communities (WFTC), Past Co Chair and Executive Member of the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) for 13 years, Past President of International Federation of NGOs (IFNGO).

Garth has been working in the TC sector for the past 38 years. Garth was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of Western Sydney which was awarded in recognition of ‘Services to the Community’ and in 2007 was a recipient of a National Honour Roll Award for persons who have made a significant contribution, over a considerable time period, to the Drug and Alcohol field.

Garth received the Prime Minister’s Award (Australia) at the 2010 National Drug and Alcohol Awards. The award recognises an individual as having made a significant commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of drug and alcohol use.