Research Presentation Day - Key Talks

9:10am Plenary Session: The Hon Verity Firth "Beating big tobacco - the role of universities, civil society and government"

1:30pm Debate:"Our research should focus on older adults, not children"

3:30pm Closing Session: "If I knew then what I know now"

Plenary Session: The Hon. Verity Firth

Beating big tobacco - the role of universities, civil society and government
 The Hon. Verity Firth

The Hon. Verity Firth served as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Balmain for the Australian Labor Party from 2007 to 2011. During this period, she served as Minister for Women, Minister for Science and Medical Research, and Minister Assisting the Minister for Health (Cancer) from 2007 to 2008, Minister for Climate Change and the Environment in 2008, and as the Minister for Education and Training from 2009 to 2011.

Verity joined Glebe Branch of the Labor Party at 15. While at university, she was active in student politics. After graduating, she worked as a political staffer, prior to working as an articled clerk at Slater & Gordon in 2001; she then worked as a campaign organiser for the Australian Labor Party (2001–2004). Between 2004 and 2007, she practised as a solicitor with Slater & Gordon, specialising in asbestos litigation and industrial law. Firth was elected as a councillor of the City of Sydney in 2004. During her tenure on Council, she served for a period as Deputy Lord Mayor. Prior to entering state politics, she served on the board of the Law and Justice Foundation and Aidwatch. In 2007 she was elected as Member for Balmain.


Debate: "Our research should focus on older adults, not children"


 Rachael Morton


A/Prof Rachael Morton

Rachael is a health economist and Associate Professor at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre. She holds a Sidney Sax Early Career Researcher Fellowship and has just returned from two years at Oxford University, where she investigated the impact of socio-economic status on health outcomes for people with chronic kidney disease, using large trial datasets. Rachael's research interests include economic evaluation, preference elicitation and health equity. 

Rachael was raised mostly by her grandparents, (both older adults) and her first real job was working in a nursing home called 'The Sheraton.'


 Justin McNab


Dr Justin McNab

Justin began his research career in the biological sciences but he soon became interested in social science gaining post graduate qualifications in social anthropology and health sociology. His research experience has involved working with older people with chronic illnesses, Indigenous peoples, people with mental illnesses, young drug users, and HIV positive men. Justin is a Lecturer/Research Fellow at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, where he works on social, organisational, health system and policy aspects of chronic illness with a particular focus on integration of services. 


 Joanne Gale Dr Joanne Gale

Joanne has been working for the Prevention Research Collaboration as a research fellow in biostatistics since March 2014. After her honours degree in Mathematical Sciences with graduate diplomas in Public Health and French at UWA she found her way to the PRC via a circuitous route that included working for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Telethon Institute of Child Health Research, the Western Australian Institute of Medical Research, completing a DPhil at Oxford University in genetic association studies and most recently working in clinical trials in Melbourne. Her favourite distribution is the inverse gamma and her favourite statistical technical is the Markov Chain Monte Carlo method mainly because of the alliteration and if you say it over and over again, it sounds like a steam locomotive. Joanne has been dabbling in womens soccer for the past 4 years and discovered the value of the adage that 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks'. 



 Justin Richards


Dr Justin Richards

Justin is an NHRMC Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Prevention Research Collaboration. He previously completed a D.Phil in Public Health at the University of Oxford and his research interests focus on physical activity interventions and associated mental health outcomes in vulnerable adolescents. This includes ongoing work in low- and middle-income countries as well as marginalised populations in high-income settings. Away from work, Justin can usually be found on a bike having a yarn with some mates. Despite his “accidental” birth in Queensland and his Aussie twang, he is definitely NOT confused about his Kiwi heritage and is always jovial after an All Blacks win!

Kerrie Wiley


Dr Kerrie Wiley

Kerrie is a Research Fellow with the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (Australia) and the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health. Kerrie’s research interests are in the social and behavioural aspects of vaccination, and their implications for policy and practice.

Kerrie’s current research activities include attitudes to immunisation in pregnancy among women and antenatal health care providers; exploring the shared decision making approach to immunisation in pregnancy; exploring the availability and quality of immunisation information on the internet; immunisation practices among Australian Hajj pilgrims; the impact of social media on immunisation messages; and barriers to childhood immunisation among disadvantaged populations.


 Nina Berry

Dr Nina Berry

Nina Berry’s PhD investigated the influence of the advertising of toddler formula on attitudes about infant feeding in Australia. She has extensive experience in health promotion and advocacy focused on infant and young child feeding. She is currently investigating vaccine hesitancy and supporting the South Asian Infant Feeding Research Network.

Closing Session: "If I knew then what I know now"

 Lesley Barclay Prof Lesley Barclay

Professor Lesley Barclay is an educational leader, health services researcher and systems reformer whose projects have improved maternal child health services in urban and remote Australia and internationally. Much of her recent research has been rural, remote or indigenous focussed. Her current position is Professor and Director of the Centre for Rural Health in Lismore for Sydney University. She holds conjoint appointments as professor at 4 other universities.

Professor Barclay has been researcher on 12 Category 1 grants and is currently leading an NHMRC funded study investigating a Rural Birth Index.  In 2014 her work on maternal infant services in the Northern Territory was awarded one of the ‘Top Ten’ awards by NHMRC.  She is deputy chair of the National Rural Health Alliance; an organisation of 33 peak rural health bodies and is on a number of Boards including the Local Health District and the Primary Health Network. She is also known for her leadership and projects internationally- for example acting as a technical adviser to WHO in 2012 on maternal child health in low income countries.

Lesley Barclay is known for her mentoring and training. This is exemplified by 14 of the over 45 research students (mostly at PhD level) she has supervised over the last decade who have been appointed professors in midwifery or maternal child health. Professor Barclay written or has edited 2 books in the last decade, written 3 book chapters and has 65 refereed papers published in the last 5 years..  

 Lesley was awarded an AO in 2004 in recognition of her contribution to professional and international development and child health. She is one of the very few Distinguished Fellows of the Australian College of Midwives and was designated as a Samoan Chief; a rare honour, recognising her work in that country.

 Rebecca Ivers



Prof Rebecca Ivers

Professor Rebecca Ivers is the Director of the Injury Division at the George Institute for Global Health, Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, and was the winner, Innovation Category for the 2014 Westpac/AFR 100 Women of Influence.  

She is trained in epidemiology and public health and directs a research program with a strong focus on prevention of road injury, fall injury and injury in Aboriginal people as well as work on developing better, more affordable care following trauma in Australia and in low income countries.

 You can follow her on twitter: @rebeccaivers. 


 Les Irwig

Prof Les Irwig

Les Irwig qualified in Medicine in South Africa and trained in Public Health and epidemiology in London in the 70s. He then worked in occupational health and in health care research in Soweto and rural areas in South Africa. After immigrating to Australia in 1985, he spent most of his time contributing to the development of the MPH, Masters of Clinical Epidemiology and EBM teaching in the Medical Program.

In recent years, research with a talented multidisciplinary team has been Les’s major focus,  evaluating tests and programs for screening, diagnosis and monitoring. He has also contributed to helping non-professionals develop skills in health decision-making and is co-author of the book ‘Smart Health Choices’ for which there is a web version and free PDF download from National Library of Medicine Bookshelf at: