APSAD Annual Scientific Alcohol and Drug Conference


To view more information about the invited speakers please click on their name below.

International Keynote Speakers

Professor Sandra Brown
Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, UC San Diego School of Medicine

Sandra A. Brown, Ph.D. is Vice Chancellor for Research and a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Brown is internationally recognized for her developmentally focused alcohol and drug intervention research. Her primary research focuses on the impact of alcohol and other drugs on human development and clinical course for substance abuse factors influencing transitions out of alcohol and drug problems. Dr. Brown’s research yielded pioneering information on adolescent addiction, relapse among youth, and long term outcomes of youth who have experienced alcohol and drug problems.

She is the past President of Division 50 (Addictions) of the American Psychological Association, is on the executive board of numerous scientific organizations, and has over 35 grants and 350 publications. She is involved in addiction prevention and intervention at the regional, state, and national levels and helped lead NIAAA’s effort to establish national screening and early intervention guidelines for youth. She currently directs the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA). 

Professor Rebecca Cunningham
Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan Health System

Dr. Cunningham is Associate Chair for Research, Injury Center Director and Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, and a Professor in the Department of Health Behavior & Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Dr. Cunningham has a distinguished career in researching intentional injury and substance use prevention, particularly of youth and young adult populations. Her focus on interventions in the emergency room has helped position the emergency department as a critical location for public health interventions, specifically for violence. She has led several studies focused on use of emerging technology, computer based interventions and utilizing text messaging to reach adolescent and emerging adult populations to decrease alcohol and drug use and violence risk. Dr. Cunningham concurrently continues her work as a practicing Emergency Department physician at the University of Michigan Health System

Professor Beau Kilmer
Co-director, Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Drug Policy Research Centre

Beau Kilmer is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, where he codirects the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. He is also a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research lies at the intersection of public health and public safety, with a special emphasis on substance use, illicit markets, crime, and public policy.

Kilmer's research has appeared in leading journals such as Addiction, American Journal of Public Health, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and his commentaries have been published by CNN, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other outlets. His co-authored book on marijuana legalization was published by Oxford University Press and the second edition will be released in 2016. Before earning his doctorate at Harvard University, Kilmer received a Judicial Administration Fellowship that supported his work with the San Francisco Drug Court. You can follow him on Twitter at @BeauKilmer.

Australasian Keynote Speakers

James Rankin Orator

Associate Professor Adrian Dunlop
Conjoint Associate Professor, School of Medicine and Public Health Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle A/Prof Adrian Dunlop is Area Director and Senior Staff Specialist, Drug and Alcohol Clinical Services for the Hunter New England Local Health District, Chief Addiction Medicine Specialist in the Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Office in the NSW Ministry of Health, Conjoint Associate Professor in the School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle and a member of the Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health with the Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastle.

Doctor Kairi Kõlves
Principal Research Fellow at the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP)

Kairi has been working in suicide research and prevention since 1998. Between 1999 and 2008, she worked at the Estonian-Swedish Mental Health and Suicidology Institute in Estonia and joined the AISRAP team in 2008. Kairi has been involved in different Australian, Estonian and international projects and has published over 60 peer papers on suicide research and prevention, she is also lecturer of AISRAP’s post-graduate courses.

In 2010 Kairi was the winner of the Life Award for Emerging Research in Australia.

Associate Professor Janie Sheridan
Research Director and Deputy Head of the School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland

Janie is Director of the Centre for Addiction Research, the University of Auckland. She is also Research Director and Deputy Head of School at the School of Pharmacy. Janie previously worked as Senior Research Pharmacist at the National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital in London where she specialised in researching and evaluating health care services for problem drug users and has published widely in her field.

Her recent research has included treatments for stimulant use, primary health care issues for drug users and their access to healthcare services, the role of community pharmacy in screening and brief interventions for risky drinkers, policy and new psychoactive substances, and smoking cessation interventions. 

Associate Professor James Ward
Head of Infectious Diseases Research- Aboriginal Health at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide

He has extensive experience in sexual health and blood borne virus research and is recognised as Australia's expert in the field of STI and BBV control among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. He has been or is currently a member of a number of professional, technical and expert committees, including the Federal Ministerial Committee on STI and BBV (2011-) NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee STI & HIV (2003-2011), Hepatitis (2003-2009), Victorian HIV Taskforce (2009-2010), Northern Territory Sexual Health Advisory Group (2011-) He is regularly invited to present on his work at national and international conferences, including in 2014 as one of three Australians to be invited as a Plenary Speakers at the International AIDS Conference to be held in Melbourne in July. He is a Board member of the Australasian Society of HIV Medicine and an inaugural Board member of the newly formed Harm Reduction Australia.

Professor Ross Young
Executive Dean, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Professor Ross Young was appointed Executive Dean, Faculty of Health QUT in January 2013 following seven years as Executive Director, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), QUT.

Professor Young is a Clinical Psychologist and his research interests lie in the integration of psychological and biological risk factors in mental illness. His research includes work in substance misuse, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, mood disorders and more broadly in behavioral medicine. This includes work in pharmacogenomics and personalised medicine. Professor Young has over 250 published book chapters and papers in genetic, medical, psychiatric and psychological journals. He is a member of several Boards, including Chairman of Mantle Housing, a not for profit organization building housing for people living with enduring mental illness.

Invited Speakers

Professor Tanya Chikritzhs
National Drug Research Institute

Professor Chikritzhs leads the Alcohol Policy Research team at the National Drug Research Institute. She has qualifications in epidemiology and biostatistics, over 15 years experience in alcohol research and a national profile as an expert in her field. In 2012 she was awarded the Commonwealth Health Ministers Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research. In 2011 she was awarded an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship and was additionally awarded an NHMRC Achievement Award (1st ranked in Population Health). She has published over 180 peer reviewed journal articles, reports and book chapters on evaluations of alcohol policy and alcohol epidemiology. Among these is the World Health Organization’s International Guide for Monitoring Alcohol Consumption and Related Harm. Chikritzhs leads national projects such as the National Alcohol Indicators Project (NAIP) and the National Alcohol Sales Data which are Australia’s central source of authoritative information on the epidemiology of alcohol and serve as a fundamental information base for the National Alcohol Strategies. Chikritzhs is regularly invited to contribute to public debate on alcohol issues in the media and has contributed to hundreds of radio, television and newspaper articles.

Kirsten Horsburgh
National Naloxone Coordinator, Scottish Drugs Forum

Kirsten Horsburgh is the National Naloxone Coordinator at Scottish Drugs Forum. She leads SDF’s team which provides training and support for the national and local development of policy and practice for preventing overdose deaths in Scotland through assisting the ongoing implementation of the world-leading Scottish Take Home Naloxone (THN) programme.

She is responsible for the development of training resources and delivering training to a wide range of stakeholders across Scotland, including those at risk of overdose and their families. She also supports local agencies in their work to embed overdose prevention/THN distribution within services. Her remit includes managing the Naloxone Training & Development Officer post, which includes management of the innovative Naloxone Peer Educator Initiative.

She is a member of several national groups including;
The National Forum on Drug-Related Deaths, National Naloxone Advisory Group, Scottish Naloxone Network, National Prisoner Healthcare Network Expert Advisory Group for Medicines and the Scottish Needle Exchange Workers Forum. She was also part of the WHO guidelines development group for the Community Management of Opioid Overdose.

Professor Anthony Shakeshaft
Professor and Deputy Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW

Anthony sits on a number of expert panels, including those for SMART Recovery Australia, the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation and the Qld Alcohol Prevention Service. He was appointed to the Council of Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for the 2012-2015 triennium.

He was previously a Visiting Research Fellow at the Universities of London (UK), Verona (Italy), Nijmegen (The Netherlands), British Columbia (Canada) and, in Australia, at James Cook and Newcastle (where he is currently Conjoint A/Professor with the Faculty of Health and Medicine).

His principal research interest is the development and evaluation of interventions that are embedded into the routine activities of a wide-range of clinical services (eg. A&E, Aboriginal Medical Services) and community-based NGOs. He has led the evaluation of eight interventions, is currently leading the evaluation of another seven, and is a co-contributor to a further eight evaluations. He recently led the largest whole-of-community cluster RCT ever under-taken internationally, the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities (AARC) trial.

Doctor Michael Wright
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University

Dr Wright is a Yuat Nyoongar man, and his family is from the area known as the Victoria Plains, which includes the townships of Moora and New Norcia area.Dr Wright has a PhD (Curtin University, Perth), Masters of Applied Epidemiology (Australian National University), Bachelor of Social Work, University of Western Australia. Dr Wright’s research experience is both qualitative and quantitative, as he has had experience working with large data sets for his Master’s of Applied Epidemiology. His interest and passion is qualitative research and in particular, exploring, crafting and building culturally safe research methodology’s for working with Aboriginal people. His current project, the Looking Forward Project he has been working closely with a group of Nyoongar Elders in designing and implementing a distinctive culturally safe research methodology for working with Nyoongar peoples in the Perth area. Dr Wright has a proven track record in undertaking large research project that require community support and in working with Nyoongar peoples. The Looking Forward Project has 12 mainstream mental health and drug and alcohol services and 18 Nyoongar Elders as participants and stakeholders.