NCIRS - Commemorating 25 Years

 

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance celebrated its 25 Year Anniversary with a Showcase Event on 15 September 2022.

It was a day of inspiring presentations from Australian and international experts to commemorate the moments that have shaped the immunisation landscape over the past 25 years, with a look towards the future.

Videos from the day will be available on this page over the coming days.

  • Program
    Time Item Speaker
    Opening Chair: Cathryn Cox, NCIRS Advisory Board Chair and Chief Executive, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network
    9:30 – 9:40 Welcome to Country Craig Madden, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council
    9:40 – 9:50 Introduction Cathryn Cox, NCIRS Advisory Board Chair and Chief Executive, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network
    Professor Kristine Macartney, NCIRS Director
     
    9:50 – 10:05 Opening remarks  Hon Mark Butler MP, Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care
    Hon Brad Hazzard MP, New South Wales Minister for Health
    Professor Christopher Baggoley, Former Commonwealth Government Chief Medical Officer
    Professor Robyn Ward, Executive Dean, The University of Sydney
    25 years of immunisation in Australia – events that shaped us Chairs: Dr Sonya Bennett, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government 
    Professor Ross Andrews, Queensland Health
    10:05 –  10:10 25 moments that shaped us  Video (5 mins)
    10:10 –  10:15 Introductory remarks   Dr Sonya Bennett, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care 
    Professor Andrew Wilson, Chair, Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)
    10:15 – 10:25 Generating new evidence for the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Professor Christopher Blyth, Director, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases
    10:25 – 10:35 Evidence for best practice including ATAGI support Professor Allen Cheng, Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology unit at Alfred Health
    10:35 – 10:45 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Immunisation Support Kristy Crooks, Aboriginal Program Manager, Health Protection, Hunter New England Local Health District
    10:45 – 10:55 Vaccine Safety Adjunct Professor John Skerritt, Deputy Secretary, Health Products Regulation Group
    10:55 – 11:05 National Social Science  Associate Professor Margie Danchin, Group Leader, Vaccine acceptance, Uptake and Policy, Murdoch Children's Research Institute 
    11:05 – 11:25 Morning tea  
    From evidence to prevention – global insights  Chairs: Professor Helen Marshall, Clinical Research Director, The University of Adelaide and Women’s and Children’s Health Network
    Professor Peter McIntyre, Former NCIRS Director
    11:25 – 11:35 From Rotateq to mRNA vaccines for <5 year olds  Professor Paul A Offit, Professor of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
    11:35 – 11:45 Warp speed for COVID vaccines – triumphs and frustrations from trials to review Professor Kathleen Neuzil, Director, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine
    11:45 – 11:55 Global NITAG networks – what have NITAGs delivered and what can they deliver? Professor Noni MacDonald, Professor of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, IWK Health Centre
    11:55 – 12:10 Q&A
    Being a National Centre
    12:10 – 12:35 Reflections of the NCIRS Directors Chair: Professor Christopher Cowell, Professor Paediatrics & Child Health, Children's Hospital, Westmead
    Speakers: Professor Margaret Burgess, Professor Peter McIntyre, Professor Kristine Macartney
    12:35 – 1:00 NCIRS training and education and messages from alumni   Chairs: Associate Professor Nicholas Wood, Associate Director, NCIRS
    Professor Robert Booy, The University of Sydney Children's Hospital Westmead Clinical School 
    1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
    The future for Australia and the region Chairs: Professor Ben Marais, Co-Director, The University of Sydney Institute for Infectious Diseases
    Professor Katie Flanagan, Head of Infectious Diseases at Launceston General Hospital, Director of the Clifford Craig Vaccine Trial Centre 
    2:00 – 2:20 Big data – contributions and potential  Associate Professor Bette Liu, NCIRS, Head of Population Health using Linked Data 
    Dr Allison Clarke, Director, Data Innovation for Policy Section, Health Economics and Research Division, Australian Department of Health and Aged Care
    2:20 – 2:40 Immunisation in the Indo-Pacific – where to from here?   Professor Chris Morgan, Senior Technical Advisor, Immunization Jhpiego
    Dr Stephanie Williams, Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security
    2:40 – 2:50 Immunization Agenda 2030 Dr Lisa Menning, Team lead, Vaccine demand and behavioural sciences, World Health Organization
    2:50 – 3:00 Behavioural and Social Drivers (BeSD) of Vaccination Professor Julie Leask, Sydney Nursing School, The University of Sydney, Professorial Fellow, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance
    3:00 – 3:20 Q&A 
    Vaccination not vaccines save lives: ensuring equity  Chair: Professor Nikki Turner, Medical Director, Immunisation Advisory Centre – 5 minute presentation 
    3:20 – 4:00 Panel discussion

    Professor Tarun Weeramanthri, President Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) Adjunct Professor, School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia
    Dr Ananda Amarasinghe, Team Lead, Immunization System and Safety, World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO)
    Kristy Crooks, Aboriginal Program Manager, Health Protection, Hunter New England Local Health District
    Associate Professor Meru Sheel, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney
    Dr Kasia Bolsewicz, Research Fellow, Social Science, NCIRS

    4:00  Closing remarks Chair: Professor Kristine Macartney, NCIRS Director
    Elizabeth Koff, Managing Director, Telstra Health
    Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Chief Health Officer and Deputy Secretary, Population and Public Health
    Dr Ananda Amarasinghe, Team Lead, Immunization System and Safety, World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO)
    Professor Brendan Murphy, Secretary, Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
    4:15 Close Professor Kristine Macartney, NCIRS Director

     

Speakers

  • Opening

    CCCathryn Cox, NCIRS Advisory Board Chair and Chief Executive, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network

    Cathryn has many years of experience as an Executive within the NSW Ministry of Health with responsibility for a range of health policy, planning, infrastructure and strategic reform programs.  Her early role as a physiotherapist at RPA paved the way for a long-term career in health which included leading Health Infrastructure as its interim Chief Executive. Recently, Cathryn led the COVID-19 System Planning stream of the Ministry’s coordinated COVID-19 response, which included the establishment of the COVID-19 Clinical Council and Communities of Practice and oversight of the infrastructure planning, in partnership with Health Infrastructure.

    KMProfessor Kristine Macartney, NCIRS Director

    Kristine Macartney is a paediatrician, infectious disease specialist and vaccinologist. She worked in the USA at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and was a founding member of the US Vaccine Education Center. Kristine's particular interests include translation of evidence into policy and practice, vaccine safety and vaccine preventable diseases research, particularly in viral diseases, including COVID-19, rotavirus, varicella zoster virus, HPV and influenza. She is the senior editor of the Australian Immunisation Handbook, has authored >200 peer-reviewed publications and is a member of key peak advisory committees in Australia, including the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). She is an expert consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), a member of the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS), a member of WHO-SAGE subcommittees and is the founding chair of the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA). Kristine has a clinical appointment at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as a Staff Specialist in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and a conjoint academic appointment as Professor in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Sydney.

    CBProfessor Christopher Baggoley, Former Commonwealth Government Chief Medical Officer

    Chris Baggoley was Chief Medical Officer of Australia between 2011 and 2016 and contributed to the international response to several global epidemics through his work on the World Health Organisation’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. Prior to this, he held positions as Director of Emergency Medicine at both the Flinders Medical Centre and Royal Adelaide Hospital, Chief Medical Officer of South Australia and Chief Executive of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Professor Baggoley holds Fellowships of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. He received an Order of Australia in the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours List for distinguished service to medicine, medical administration and public health care, and to education. He currently sits on 3 boards, including Australian Red Cross Lifeblood.


    RWProfessor Robyn Ward, Executive Dean, The University of Sydney

    Robyn Ward graduated from the University of New South Wales with a MBBS (Hons 1) in 1984 and then trained as a physician and a scientist, gaining a fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Physicians in 1991 and a PhD in Medicine at UNSW in 1994. She previously held positions at The University of New South Wales as Professor of Medicine, Clinical Associate Dean at the Prince of Wales Clinical School (UNSW) and Head of the Adult Cancer Program at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre. Robyn was also Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. From 2014 to 2018, Robyn was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Queensland, and also served as Executive Dean (Acting) of the Faculty of Medicine at UQ from 2016-18.

     

  • 25 years of immunisation in Australia – events that shaped us

    SBDr Sonya Bennett, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government 

    Dr Sonya Bennett is a general practitioner and public health physician with 30 years’ experience working in Queensland Health, the Australian Defence Force, and the academic research sector, acquiring a broad range of management, leadership and governance experience to complement broad technical expertise in the fields of communicable diseases and general medicine. Sonya was most recently the Deputy Chief Health Officer, Queensland Health, where, among other activities, she was responsible for the statewide strategic direction and policy for communicable diseases and leading statewide incidents of public health, including the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was also the Chair of the Communicable Disease Network of Australia for the first 18 months of the pandemic, where the rapid and ongoing development of the widely used Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) CDNA National Guidelines for Public Health Units occurred and was first published on 23 January 2020. She took up the role of Deputy Chief Medical Officer in the Australian Government Department of Health in August 2021, and remains in service in the Australian Defence Force as the Director General Navy Health Reserves.

    CBProfessor Christopher Blyth, Director, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases

    Chris Blyth has nearly two decades experience in conducting clinical paediatric and infectious diseases research focusing on questions relevant to public policy and clinical practice. Professor Blyth was appointed as a member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) in 2012, serving until December 2021. He was the ATAGI deputy chair from 2015, and co-chair from 2018, playing a key role in the development and implementation of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Professor Blyth was appointed to the Commonwealth Government’s COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments for Australia Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group (SITAG) in August 2020 and, through these positions, he has been instrumental in a number of significant changes in national immunisation policy.

    ACProfessor Allen Cheng, Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology unit at Alfred Health

    Allen Cheng is an infectious diseases physician and Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology unit at Alfred Health. He is the current Chair of the Advisory Committee for Vaccines and a previous member of the Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines (advising the Therapeutic Goods Administration on vaccine and drug regulation issues). He is also a member of the Australian Technical Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the National Influenza Surveillance Committee.

    KCKristy Crooks, Aboriginal Program Manager, Health Protection, Hunter New England Local Health District

    Kristy Crooks is a Euahlayi woman. She is the Aboriginal Program Manager with Hunter New England Local Health District, and an Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE) PhD scholar with Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University. Kristy has extensive experience in Aboriginal Health, public health, and cultural  governance, and facilitating organisational change to privilege First Nations voices at a strategic and service level. Kristy’s research focuses on developing a process of how to prioritise and privilege First Nations voices in infectious disease emergency planning and response. She has been leading the local Public Health Aboriginal Team COVID-19 response, and has played an active role in the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory group on COVID-19, as well as contributing to international working groups. Kristy’s formal qualifications, lived experience and working career has provided her with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the health and health related issues that Aboriginal people face.

    JSAdjunct Professor John Skerritt, Deputy Secretary, Health Products Regulation Group

    Adjunct Professor John Skerritt heads the Health Products Regulation Group of the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care which works to safeguard and enhance the health of all Australians through effective, timely and risk-proportionate regulation of therapeutic goods and control of drug import, export and production. He was formerly a Deputy Secretary in the Victorian Government and has extensive experience in medical, agricultural and environmental policy, regulation, research management, technology application and commercialisation. John was also previously the Deputy CEO of a Commonwealth Statutory Authority, a Ministerial appointee on the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee and Chair of the Board of a major International technical organisation. He is currently Vice-Chair of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Centre for Innovation in Regulatory Science.

    MDAssociate Professor Margie Danchin, Group Leader, Vaccine acceptance, Uptake and Policy, Murdoch Children's Research Institute 

    Margie Danchin is a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Childrens Hospital and Clinician Scientist, University of Melbourne, and Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI). As leader of the Vaccine Uptake Group, MCRI, her research focuses on vaccine confidence and uptake, particularly amongst high risk-groups and in low and middle-income countries, and on effective risk communication. In Australia, she is the chair of the NCIRS Social Science Advisory Board and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee, NCIRS and is an expert advisor to ATAGI. She is also committed to efforts to improve vaccine confidence and uptake in the Western Pacific Region, and globally, and is Deputy  Chair of the steering committee for the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA) and a member of the Australian Expert Technical Assistance Program for Regional COVID-19 Vaccine Access: Policy, Planning and Implementation (AETAP-PPI) Advisory Board. She is on the steering committee for the MCRI COVID Governance Committee and Melbourne Children’s Global Health. 

    Professor Andrew Wilson, Chair, Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)

    Andrew Wilson is Co-Director of The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and Co-Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Sydney. His research and teaching interests include all aspects of health policy, but especially in the area of chronic disease. In addition to his academic career, he has been Deputy Director General, Policy, Planning and Resourcing, Queensland Health, and Chief Health Officer, and Deputy Director General, Public Health, NSW Health. He chairs the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee for the Australian Government Department of Health.

    Professor Ross Andrews, Queensland Health

    Professor Ross Andrews is a consultant epidemiologist with the COVID-19 Incident Management Team (IMT) at Queensland Health, the current Chair of the NCIRS Scientific Advisory Committee and a former Chair of ATAGI. 

  • From evidence to prevention – global insights

    HMProfessor Helen Marshall, Clinical Research Director, The University of Adelaide and Women’s and Children’s Health Network

    Professor Marshall AM is a clinician researcher and NHMRC Practitioner Fellow with specialist training in child health, public health and vaccinology. She is a Consultant and Professor in Vaccinology at the Adelaide Medical School and the inaugural Clinical Research Director, Women’s and Children’s Health Network. She is a Child and Adolescent Health theme leader and Deputy Director of the Robinson Research Institute at The University of Adelaide, South Australia. She is the Medical Director of the Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit, VIRTU, at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and Research Leader, Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Group in the Robinson Research Institute. She has previously been a member of the ATAGI. Professor Marshall has published over 230 peer-reviewed papers in international journals and received >$35 million in grant funding. She was awarded the NHMRC “10 of the Best” research projects in 2016, the SA Science Award for Excellence in Research for the Public Good in 2011, the SA Science Award for Excellence in Research Collaboration in 2019 and a Member of the Order of Australia in 2022. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. She is the 2022 SA Australian of the Year, SA Woman of the Year and Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Leader of the Year.

    PMProfessor Peter McIntyre, Former NCIRS Director

    Peter McIntyre is qualified as a paediatrician, specialising in infectious diseases, and a public health physician. He completed his PhD in the School of Public Health in the epidemiology of invasive Hib disease in 1995 and in 2021 was awarded a Doctor of Medical Science for 66 papers on vaccine impact, effectiveness and safety by the University of Sydney. He was the director of NCIRS from 2005 to 2017 and an ex-officio member of ATAGI from 1999 to 2017. He moved to New Zealand in 2018 and is a member of the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group in New Zealand. He was a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Immunisation and Vaccines Implementation Research Advisory Committee (IVIR-AC) from 2012 to 2017 and since 2019 has been a member of the WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE). He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2020.

     

    POProfessor Paul A Offit, Professor of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

    Paul A. Offit, MD, is Director of the Vaccine Education Center and professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Offit is an internationally recognised expert in the fields of virology and immunology, and was a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is a member of the Food and Drug Administration Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, and a founding advisory board member of the Autism Science Foundation and the Foundation for Vaccine Research, a member of the Institute of Medicine and co-editor of the foremost vaccine text, Vaccines. Dr Offit has published more than 150 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety.

    KNProfessor Kathleen Neuzil, Director, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine

    Kathleen Neuzil is the Myron M. Levine Professor in Vaccinology, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, and the Director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is an internationally recognized research scientist and advocate in the field of vaccinology. Throughout her career, Dr Neuzil has conducted clinical and epidemiologic studies on vaccine-preventable diseases, yielding high-profile publications that inform policy decisions and public health actions. Dr Neuzil’s work has spanned dozens of low-resource countries with multiple vaccines, including influenza, rotavirus, human papillomavirus, Japanese encephalitis, typhoid conjugate vaccines, and most recently, COVID-19 vaccines. She is a member of the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization and is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine.

    NMProfessor Noni MacDonald, Professor of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, IWK Health Centre

    Dr Noni MacDonald is a Professor of Paediatrics (Infectious Diseases) at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia and a former Dean of Medicine there. Her two current major areas of interest involve global health. The first is Vaccines including vaccine safety, hesitancy, demand, pain mitigation, education and policy especially through her work with the World Health Organization (WHO) both globally and regionally. The second area of interest is MicroResearch (www.microresearch-international.ca), building community focused research capacity in developing countries and in Canada to help find local solutions for community health problems that fit the context, culture and resources. 

  • Being a National Centre

    MBProfessor Margaret BurgessFounding Director of NCIRS (1997–2003)

    Margaret Burgess is the founding director of NCIRS and, on her retirement, held the position of Professor of Paediatrics and Preventive Medicine at the University of Sydney. She was a member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation as well as a number of international committees. Professor Burgess carried out the first trials of rubella vaccination in Australia and has a long-standing clinical and research interest in vaccine preventable diseases and immunisation.

    NWAssociate Professor Nicholas Wood, Associate Director, NCIRS

    Nicholas Wood is a staff specialist general paediatrician and Associate Professor in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Sydney. Nick holds an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship. He leads the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service and coordinates the Immunisation Adverse Events Clinic at the Children's Hospital at Westmead. He is a senior investigator on the Primary Health Network Immunisation Support Program.  Nick is interested in maternal and neonatal immunisation, as well as research into vaccine safety, including genetics and long-term outcomes of adverse events following immunisation.

    RBProfessor Robert Booy, The University of Sydney Children's Hospital Westmead Clinical School 

    Professor Robert Booy is an infectious diseases paediatrician. Since 2005 he has worked at the University of Sydney in the fields of vaccinology, epidemiology and infectious diseases. He is currently a Senior Professorial Fellow at the University of Sydney Children's Hospital Westmead Clinical School. From 2005 to 2019 he held the position of Head of Clinical Research at NCIRS and remains an affiliate of NCIRS.

    Professor Christopher Cowell, Professor Paediatrics & Child Health, Children's Hospital, Westmead

    Professor Chris Cowell was Director of Research for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) for over a decade until 2021. In this role, Chris was able to drive change within the Research Directorate and influence the direction of the Network towards becoming a leading child health research intensive organisation. Chris’s impact at the SCHN spanned 40 years, beginning at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in 1982, and culminated with a major focus on the advancement of health and medical research through leadership and translation of innovative research to clinical care. His vision and persistence led to the establishment of the SCHN Clinical Trial Centres including national leadership in Advanced Therapeutics for children with rare diseases, and he has made a lasting impact on the areas of vitamin D deficiency, growth hormone treatment, measurement of body composition and in the management of insulin resistance and obesity. In 1997, he was the driving force behind the establishment of the Asia Pacific Paediatric Endocrine Society, and between 1986 and 2010 he was involved in the training and mentoring of 34 paediatric endocrinologists, who now work all over the world. Chris is committed to improving child heath through the implementation of transformative research, and nurturing effective partnerships with hospitals, independent medical research institutes, academic and government organisations locally, nationally and internationally.

  • The future for Australia and the region

    BMProfessor Ben Marais, Co-Director, The University of Sydney Institute for Infectious Diseases

    Professor Ben Marais is a paediatrician and paediatric infectious diseases specialist with an interest in global health. He is internationally renowned for his work on childhood and multi drug-resistant (MDR)-tuberculosis (TB). He serves on the executive committee of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Tuberculosis Control and is a founding member of the Australasian Tuberculosis Forum. He is a strong advocate for Australia to take a leadership role in coordinating enhanced TB and MDR-TB control efforts in the Asia-Pacific region. More broadly, as Co-Director of Sydney ID,he works toward creating a dynamic multi-disciplinary research community in infection, immunity and biosecurity. Professor Marais trained as a paediatrician in South Africa and worked in the UK, the Netherlands, Canada and USA.. As Acting Director of the Ukwanda centre for Rural Health at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, his interest in the health of underserved populations inspired a comprehensive review of health care delivery in rural and remote areas.

    KFProfessor Katie Flanagan, Head of Infectious Diseases at Launceston General Hospital, Director of the Clifford Craig Vaccine Trial Centre 

    Professor Katie Flanagan is a clinician scientist who has worked on global health issues for more than 20 years. She is Head of Infectious Diseases at Launceston General Hospital where her department provides a clinical infectious diseases service for the population of North and NW Tasmania. She is affiliated to University of Tasmania and RMIT where she is conducting a number of research projects. Her main research interests are in the fields of vaccinology and infectious diseases immunology.  She has led numerous vaccine immunology trials throughout the world including trials of novel malaria and HIV vaccines in African infants, and trials of the immunological effects of commonly used vaccines in the young and elderly. Her current main research focus involves applying systems biology techniques to study human responses to vaccination particularly at the extremes of age; and the role that biological sex plays in the vaccine-specific responses and non-targeted effects of vaccines.

    BLAssociate Professor Bette Liu, Head of Population Health at NCIRS

    Bette Liu is a medically trained epidemiologist with extensive national and international experience in the design, conduct and analysis of large-scale epidemiological studies using record linkage of administrative health data, and e-medical records. She trained in medicine and public health at the University of Sydney and obtained her doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Oxford. Bette Liu is an Associate Professor in the School of Population Health at UNSW. Her research is focused on the control of communicable diseases and vaccine preventable diseases in adult populations.

    ACDr Allison Clarke, Director, Data Innovation for Policy Section, Health Economics and Research Division, Australian Department of Health and Aged Care

    Dr Allison Clarke is the Director of the Data Innovation for Policy Section at the Australian Government Department of Health. During the COVID-19 pandemic she has worked on a range of data analytics projects from reporting daily statistics, exploring impact on the health system and vaccinations for vulnerable communities. Dr Clarke has worked across Medicare, hospitals and data analytics areas and has a deep understanding of government health programs and priorities at both the state and national levels. Her passion is using data and analytics to improve health policy and make a difference in the real world for all Australians. She has a Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology from Swinburne University of Technology and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) majoring in information technology and psychology from Deakin University. Dr Clarke is also a registered clinical and health psychologist working one day a week in private practice work in the Australian Capital Territory. She is a member, and past Chair of the College of Health Psychologists in the Australian Psychological Society.

    CMProfessor Chris Morgan, Senior Technical Advisor, Immunization Jhpiego

    Dr Morgan is a pediatrician, public health physician and development practitioner with 30 years of experience in immunization, primary health care and maternal, child health and adolescent health in low- and middle-income countries. Dr Morgan has supported countries to implement life-course vaccination, integrate immunization with other services and innovate service delivery models. He works closely with country stakeholders to improve service delivery from national planners to front-line facilities. As Senior Technical Advisor, Immunization, he provides technical leadership across immunization activities globally and in nine countries, working with Gavi, US Agency for International Development and other development partners. Dr Morgan participates in World Health Organization and other advisory groups related to immunization policy, including the COVID-19 Vaccines Working Group of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization.

    SWDr Stephanie Williams, Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security

    Dr Stephanie Williams was appointed as Australia’s Ambassador for Regional Health Security in March 2020. As Ambassador, Dr  Williams supports the advancement of Australia’s interests in the Indo-Pacific by fostering linkages between Australia’s world-class public health and medical research experts and partners in the region. In addition, she guides the implementation of the Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region ($675 million 2017-2027) and the $523 million regional Vaccine Access Initiative – two major health initiatives for the Indo-Pacific region. Dr Williams is a Public Health Physician and Epidemiologist, who has been DFAT’s Principal Health Specialist since 2017. Prior to joining DFAT, Dr Williams was a Medical Advisor in the Office of Health Protection in the Australian Government Department of Health. Her previous roles include: Public Health Registrar for Victoria’s Chief Health Officer; Epidemiologist in Global Health Security for the World Health Organization (WHO); and a medical doctor for Medicines Sans Frontières and WHO.

    LMDr Lisa Menning, Team lead, Vaccine demand and behavioural sciences, World Health Organization

    Lisa Menning is with WHO in Geneva, where she works in the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, and is the lead for vaccine demand and behavioural sciences. Lisa has almost 20 years of experience working in global health, in low-income countries, with a focus on social and behaviour change, communications, community engagement and advocacy. She has spent the last decade working in immunisation, and prior to that worked on HIV/AIDS and cancer. In her current role at WHO, Lisa manages a program of work that is focused on vaccine confidence and uptake. Her work involves developing normative tools and guidance that draw on the latest evidence and expertise from the social and behavioural sciences; providing technical support to regions and countries; and collaborating with partners and other actors, particularly civil society organizations, to help promote their role as advocates for vaccination.
     

    JLProfessor Julie Leask, Sydney Nursing School, The University of Sydney, Professorial Fellow, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance

    Julie Leask is a social scientist and professor in the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. She is a member of the University of Sydney Institute for Infectious Diseases, a School of Public Health affiliate and visiting professorial fellow at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. She currently holds an NHMRC Investigator Leadership Fellowship. Professor Leask established the NCIRS Social Science Unit.

  • Vaccination not vaccines save lives: ensuring equity

    NTProfessor Nikki Turner, Medical Director, Immunisation Advisory Centre

    Nikki Turner is an academic General Practitioner. She is a Professor in the Department of General Practice and Primary Care and Medical Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC), at the University of Auckland. She has developed and evolved IMAC from its inception in 1996 into a national communication, coordination, education and research centre. She works part time as a General Practitioner at the NUHS Broadway clinic in Strathmore, Wellington Nikki's academic interests are in immunisation, primary health care and preventive child health. She represents the RNZCGP (College of General Practitioners) in child health interests, and is a health spokesperson for the Child Poverty Action Group. She was a member of the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and Chair of the Measles and Rubella elimination subcommittee from 2016 to 2020. She is on a range of national committees supporting the New Zealand immunisation programme and the COVID vaccination delivery. In 2022 this includes a member of the Strategic COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group ( PHAG) to the Government; chair of the National Verification Committee for measles and rubella elimination; a member of the Pharmac PITAG immunisation subcommittee; a member of the Ministry Technical Advisory Committee (TAG) and Immunisation Implementation Advisory Committee (IIAG) for COVID vaccination.

    TWProfessor Tarun Weeramanthri, President Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) Adjunct Professor, School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia

    Tarun Weeramanthri is President of the Public Health Association of Australia, a member of the Governing Council of the World Federation of Public Health Associations and an adjunct professor in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Western Australia. He is a trained specialist in internal medicine and public health, and has a PhD in social medicine. He was Chief Health Officer in Western Australia from 2008 to 2018, and in the Northern Territory from 2004 to 2007. In 2014, he was awarded the Sidney Sax Medal by the Public Health Association of Australia for his contribution to public health in Australia, and in 2022 he was made a member of the Order of Australia for service to public health administration. Over the last few years, he has focused on addressing the health impacts of climate change and assisting the COVID-19 response in various Australian states and nationally, including through major reviews on contact tracing and quarantine, and work on the vaccine rollout in NSW and WA.

    ADr Ananda Amarasinghe, Team Lead, Immunization System and Safety, World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO)

    Dr Ananda Amarasinghe is the team lead for Immunization System Strengthening and Immunization Safety at the Unit of Vaccine Preventable Diseases & Immunization since 2016 and, Safety Pillar lead of the Vaccination Incident Management Supporting Team for COVID-19 in the WHO Regional Office for Western Pacific (WPRO). Dr Amarasinghe was the Senior Epidemiologist at the Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health Sri Lanka (2000-2015) and was responsible for policy/strategic development, new vaccine introductions, safety, monitoring and evaluation of National Immunization Programme and Communicable Disease Control in Sri Lanka. He also worked as a Scientist at the Dengue Vaccine Initiative, International Vaccine Institute in Korea (2008-2010). Prior to joining WPRO, he has provided immunization and communicable disease control expert services to WHO member states in African, European, Eastern-Mediterranean, South-east Asian regions and served as a committee member in WHO expert committees, including Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (2008-2015) and SAGE technical working group on dengue vaccine (2012-2015). He is an author or co-author of more than 50 international peer reviewed publications and a lead author of WHO global and regional manuals on immunization safety surveillance, vaccine acceptance and demand generation.

    MSAssociate Professor Meru Sheel, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney

    Meru Sheel is a global health researcher and an infectious diseases epidemiologist with expertise in public health emergencies and immunisation. She holds a PhD and an MPhil in Applied Epidemiology. Meru has worked in several dynamic and challenging environments in Australia and in the Asia-Pacific region including India, Cambodia, Samoa, American Samoa. Meru has responded to international emergencies in Fiji, Dominica, Rohingya Crisis in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. Meru is a founding and steering committee member of the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance. Meru also serves on the Steering Committee for the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Australian Expert Technical Assistance Program - Policy, Planning and Implementation to support the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in 18 South-East Asia and Pacific Countries.

    Dr Kasia Bolsewicz, Research Fellow, Social Science, NCIRS

    Dr Kasia Bolsewicz holds doctoral-level qualifications and work experience in qualitative research methods and public health, social and behavioural sciences, and a cross-cultural background in chronic illness management research (cancer, HIV, dementia), public health policy and evaluation. She is passionate about capacity building and has experience in teaching and training for various audiences, including culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Kasia has also been working with four local health districts in NSW using the World Health Organization’s Tailoring Immunization Programmes to identify areas of low childhood vaccine coverage and to gain a greater understanding of factors that influence childhood immunisation. 

  • Closing remarks

    EKElizabeth Koff, Managing Director, Telstra Health

    Elizabeth Koff was appointed Managing Director of Telstra Health, Australia’s largest digital health company and a subsidiary of Telstra Corporation in April 2022. Prior to this she was Secretary, NSW Health for six years. As Secretary, Elizabeth was responsible for the management of the NSW health system, the largest health system in Australia with a $30 billion budget and 124,000 FTE. Key strategy achievements include the implementation of value-based care across NSW, the progression of e-Health initiatives and a $2B/year capital infrastructure program. In 2020-2021 Elizabeth led the NSW Health system through the COVID-19 pandemic and advised NSW crisis cabinet on the management of COVID-19 in NSW, and the subsequent vaccination roll out. Elizabeth was chair of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) and its subsequent iteration of Health Chief Executives Forum. She is also a member of Chief Executive Women. Elizabeth was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2022. In September 2022 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Western Sydney University for her contribution to healthcare in Western Sydney. 

    Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Chief Health Officer and Deputy Secretary, Population and Public Health

    Professor Brendan Murphy, Secretary, Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care