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Scientific Committee

The Congress Lowitja 2012 Scientific Committee was convened to guide and make decisions about the development of the event program. Formed by a nomination process, it included representatives from academic institutions, policy makers, communitity organisations and the Lowitja Institute Board. The Committee was focused on the decision making about keynote/plenary speakers, session speakers, panel members, chair/facilitators, session and panel topics and awards nominations, processes and judging.

Vivian Lin

Vivian Lin – Chair

Vivian Lin is the Chair of Public Health and was Head of the School of Public Health at La Trobe University from 2000–05. She has also worked in the public sector with responsibility for policy, planning, and program development across a wide range of health issues, including health promotion, ethnic health, Aboriginal health, aged care, health technology, pharmaceuticals, intergovernmental relations, regional planning, and health export. From 1997–2000, she was Executive Officer for the National Public Health Partnership, and served as a board member of the CRC for Aboriginal Health from 2003–09. Vivian is currently the Vice President for Scientific Affairs for the International Union of Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE), Advisory Editor for Health Policy for Social Science and Medicine, an associate editor of the International Journal of Public Health and a member of the editorial boards of Health Education Research, Australian Health Review, Globalization and Health, and Australian Journal of Primary Health.

Penelope Smith

Penelope Smith – Secretariat

Penelope Smith completed her Master of Public Health (Social Health) at the University of Melbourne in 2011, and also holds degrees in Education, Psychology and Health Statistics. She has worked as a research assistant in mental health; stroke; trust and risk in collaborations, partnerships and networks; and risk communication. Penelope also has experience as a Research Officer to Professor Vivian Lin, as secretariat for the Australian Network of Academic Public Health Institutions, and as a Lecturer in epidemiology, health statistics, health promotion and sociology. She is currently the Stakeholder Managerment Officer for the Lowitja Institute.

Jaki Barton

Jaki Barton

Jaki Barton was born and raised in Darwin and is of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. She is from a large extended family and is proud to be a part of such a supportive and loving unit. Jaki started out as a secondary teacher, with a degree in Education, and has also gained a postgraduate degree in Public Sector Management. Jaki has worked for some 20 years in the government sector, both in Queensland and the Northern Territory, with experience in grant administration, policy development, program implementation, research and analysis, and strategic partnerships. Jaki returned home to Darwin in 2008, after some 11 years in Queensland, and her positions since returning included NT Director of the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) in the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), and Acting Director, Aboriginal Policy, NT Department of Health. Jaki has recently taken up a role within the Fred Hollows Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program to further enhance her skills, networks and experience in the NGO sector.

Jenny Brands 
Jenny Brands

An early career in journalism, and experience with organisational change and adult learning, provided good foundations for Jenny’s later work leading research translation and utilisation at the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH). Jenny played a key role in reforming the CRCAH’s research development, management and dissemination activities to increase the impact of its research on policy and practice. She has a continuing involvement in knowledge exchange as Research Implementation Manager within the Centre for Primary Health Care Systems at Menzies School of Health Research, with an increasing focus on the widespread implementation of evidence-based programs and tools. Jenny is a co-author of two of the Lowitja Institute’s most popular publications, Researching Indigenous Health: A Practical Guide for Researchers, and Supporting Indigenous Researchers: a practical guide for supervisors.           

Jack Bulman 
Jack Bulman

Jack Bulman is a Muthi Muthi man from South Western NSW. He grew up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne on Wurundjeri land. Jack has been involved in a wide variety of community activities and developed a keen sense of the importance of the family and extended networks. After working in Remedial Massage, he studied Public Health in a Bachelor of Health Sciences at La Trobe University. He then moved to Queensland to work in Indigenous Men’s Health, developing networks and empowering men through their involvement in Men’s Spaces. Jack is currently the CEO of Mibbinbah, a health promotion charity for Indigenous males.

Louise Clark

Louise Clark has worked in clinical, education, policy and research roles across the Northern Territory health sector for the past 21 years. She has substantial experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, chronic diseases, remote health and health workforce development. Louise has clinical qualifications in nursing and midwifery, and academic qualifications in education and tropical health.

Tahnia Edwards 
Tahnia Edwards

Tahnia Edwards is an Arrentre woman from Alice Springs. She is currently employed as a Research Associate for the South Australian Community Health Research Unit at Flinders University. Tahnia works from a site at the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, where she is also the Lowitja Institute Link person, on a project called ‘Examining Comprehensive Primary Health Care in Local Communities’. Her career in health spans 25 years, and includes nursing, lecturing and research. Tahnia has served on a number of community boards and committees, including Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, the Mental Health Association of Central Australia and the Central Australian Human Research Ethics Committee.

Lisa Jackson Pulver 
Lisa Jackson Pulver

Lisa Jackson Pulver, a Wiradjuri Koori woman, was appointed to the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales in 2003. She is experienced in developing solutions to improve population health outcomes for disadvantaged groups and communities. Lisa holds the Inaugural Chair of Indigenous Health and is a Professor of Public Health at the University of NSW in Sydney. She is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Neuroscience Research Australia, visiting consultant at the Ageing Research Centre, and Director of the Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit. Lisa has also been the recipient of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and the Ministry of Science and Medical Research award, and is a member of the Lowitja Institute Board.

Tracey Johnson 
Tracey Johnston

Tracey Johnston holds an Honours degree in Aboriginal Studies and is currently undertaking a Master in Communication at RMIT. With more than ten years experience in the area of communications and marketing in the not-for-profit sector, her work has included positions at the Koorie Heritage Trust Inc. and BreastScreen Victoria. As Media and Marketing Manager at the Lowitja Institute Tracey is responsible for corporate communications and the media and marketing strategy, which includes brand management, media liaison, stakeholder relations and event management marketing support.

Therese Riley

Therese Riley is a Senior Research Officer at the Centre of Excellence in Intervention and Prevention Science. She is also an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Melbourne School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne. Therese has a track record in population health intervention research with a particular interest in the development of practice based evidence.

Janelle Stirling

Janelle Stirling

Janelle Stirling is the Executive Director of Research at the Lowitja Institute. Janelle has had a long association with the Institute’s predecessor organisations, starting in 2001 when she was the Coordinator Indigenous Health Research at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. Janelle has had a variety of roles in the three iterations of the CRC, including Link Person, Program Leader and Board Member. More recently, she has worked at the University Centre of Rural Health – North Coast, University of Sydney, and is currently Adjunct Associate Professor at the Southern Cross University. Janelle brings strong research and research capacity building skills to the Lowitja Institute.

David Thomas 
David P. Thomas

David Thomas is the Lowitja Institute’s Associate Research and Innovation Director and heads up the Institute’s Northern Australian Health Research Unit (NAHRU), which is based at Charles Darwin University in Darwin. A medical doctor by training, David has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health for more than 20 years both as a doctor and as a researcher. Since 2005 he has been based at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin where his research is focused on all aspects of Indigenous tobacco control. He is a Principal Research Fellow at Menzies, as well as being the head of its Tobacco Control Research Program, and in June 2010 was awarded a four-year National Heart Foundation fellowship.

Melissa Wood

Melissa Wood works for the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. In 2009, she joined the communication area to advance public and industry involvement in National Health Reform through supporting the roll-out of nation-wide consultations. In 2010, Melissa joined the strategic policy area of the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and worked to promote an understanding of the intersection of National Health Reform with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. She continues to work on a range of Indigenous health policy issues.

Created: 19 July 2012 - Updated: 19 November 2012