Who’s Headlining at this Year’s Addiction Conference?

March 25, 2019

Want to discover who’s taking the stage at this year’s addiction conference?


Find out more about our 2019 keynote speakers and how they have contributed to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery.


Name: Professor Brian McKenna

Works at: Professor in Forensic Mental Health, Auckland University of Technology

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

Brian’s research on forensic mental health and mental health law has been widely published. His commitment to joint appointments has seen partnerships driving his research agenda towards service and clinical practice improvements.

Presentation: Diversion of Addictions from the Criminal Justice System: “There Are Better Ways… But Are We Using Them?”

Name: Jenny Valentish

Works at: Author, Board Member, Consultant and Ambassador

Biography: Journalist Jenny Valentish’s third book Woman of Substances: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment, 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. Valentish herself has a graduate certificate in AOD from Turning Point.

Jenny 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.

Presentation: The Body is a Battlefield

Name: Professor Amanda Baker

Works at: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle

Biography: Professor Amanda Baker leads an internationally renowned program of clinical research, trialling 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 written over 270 publications, including over 200 articles in peer reviewed journals.

Presentation: Transdiagnostic Treatment Opportunities for People with Co-Existing Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Name: Paula Snowden

Works at: Chief Executive, PGF Group

Biography: Paula has wide government and not-for-profit sector experience and joined the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF) 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 is passionate about making a difference and supporting people and organisations to be the best they be to enable wellbeing for families and communities. She 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.

Presentation: Treating Addiction Wholistically

Name: Professor Tom Calma

Works at: Chancellor, University of Canberra

Biography: Professor 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 focusing on rural and remote Australia, health, mental health, suicide prevention, education, justice reinvestment, research, leadership, reconciliation and economic development.

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.

Presentation: The Tackling Indigenous Smoking Program

Name: Tony Trimmingham

Works at: CEO, Family Drug Support Australia

Biography: 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

Presentation: Walking a Tightrope – a Model for Addressing a Family’s Journey

Name: Linda Hipper

Works at: Director of Addiction Services, Academic Clinic Unit, Queensland Government, Metro South Health

Biography: Linda 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.

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

Presentation: The Establishment of an Innovative Alcohol and Drug Service Delivery Models within Metro South Health

Name: Garth Popple

Works at: Executive Director, WHOS

Biography: Garth is the Executive Director of 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 Therapeutic Communities sector for the past 38 years. He 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.

Presentation: Therapeutic Communities and Harm Reduction: Are They Opposing Forces or Compatible Partners?

becoming an ambassador

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