As keynote speakers are confirmed, their details will be added below. 

Associate Professor Vernon Lee

Director, Communicable Diseases Division, Ministry of Health, Singapore

A/Prof Vernon Lee is a preventive medicine physician and Director of the Communicable Diseases Division, Ministry of Health, Singapore. He is also adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore; and President of the College of Public Health and Occupational Physicians, Academy of Medicine, Singapore.


He has previously worked in the WHO Office in Indonesia and WHO headquarters in Geneva, and continues to contribute to international working groups on infectious diseases.


A/Prof Lee graduated from medical school at the National University of Singapore. He also holds a PhD in epidemiology from the Australian National University, and the Master in Public Health and Master of Business Administration degrees from the Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Ms Linh-Vi Le

Epidemiologist, HIV Hepatitis and STI Unit, World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific

In her current role as epidemiologist at WHO, Ms Le oversees surveillance, research and programme monitoring for HIV, hepatitis and STIs in the Western Pacific Region. Prior to WHO, Ms Le worked in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office in Viet Nam on HIV strategic information.

Dr Dawn Casey

Deputy Chief Executive Officer, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

Dr Dawn Casey PSM FAHA , currently the chief operating officer for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), has a solid background across multiple sectors.

Dr  Casey is the former chairperson of the Indigenous Land Corporation and Indigenous Business Australia, and a former director of the Powerhouse Museum, Western Australian Museum and the National Museum of Australia.

In both 2012 and 2015, she was selected as one of The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence.

Dr Lucas de Toca

Acting First Assistant Secretary, COVID-19 Primary Care Response at Australian Department of Health

Dr Lucas de Toca is a doctor and public health expert focussing on health systems improvement and health equity.

Lucas currently works as an Acting First Assistant Secretary in the Australian Department of Health, leading the COVID-19 Primary Care Response.

Outside of COVID-19 work, he is an Assistant Secretary in the Indigenous Health Division of the Department, where he is responsible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child, family and sexual health policy, sector and stakeholder engagement, and the development of the next National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan in the context of the refreshed Closing the Gap agreement. Previously, he was leading the taskforce addressing the syphilis outbreak in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Prior to his work in the Commonwealth he worked for nearly five years as the Chief Health Officer at Miwatj Health, the regional Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Service for East Arnhem Land.

He also teaches at the University of Melbourne, where he is an Honorary Senior Fellow within the Department of Medical Education of the Melbourne Medical School

Ms Lisa Davies Jones

Chief Executive, Office Rural and Remote Health Establishment

Lisa has had a broad ranging healthcare career within nursing, service improvement, healthcare management and clinical governance. Lisa has worked in a number of senior leadership roles within healthcare organisations in the United Kingdom and more recently in Queensland. Lisa is currently Chief executive, Office of Rural and Remote Health Establishment,  Queensland Health,  seconded from her role as Chief Executive, North West Hospital and Health Service.


During her time in North West Queensland Lisa has built strong partnerships with Western Queensland Primary Health Network and Gidgee Healing Regional Aboriginal Medical Service, to establish the foundations of their shared approach to improving access to culturally safe and effective health services. The Lower Gulf Strategy has been implemented across the extremely isolated communities of the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria, with a focus on comprehensive primary health care and an integrated service delivery system.


Lisa’s strong commitments to improving health outcomes has led to a determination to see health services integrated across Queensland, for the seamless delivery of health care. She is passionate about creating an environment where staff at all levels can flourish in their work and are able to generate new learning and continuous improvements in health care. Lisa has qualifications in registered and specialist nursing and post graduate management and leadership. Lisa is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor, James Cook University; Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health.

Associate Professor Marion Kainer

Head, Infectious Diseases, Western Health

Dr Kainer returned to Australia from the United States in 2019, as the Head of Infectious Diseases at Western Health (Melbourne). Since January 2020 she has taken a leadership role in the preparation for and response to COVID-19, including providing advice to executive leadership. Western Health has been at the epicenter of the outbreak of COVID-19 in Victoria. She previously served as the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) liaison to the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Change Control Board and the Public Policy, and Governmental Affairs committee of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). Dr. Kainer has been a member of the antimicrobial resistance surveillance taskforce and co-chair of the Council for Outbreak Response: Healthcare-associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistant Pathogens (CORHA). She was a member of the antibiotic resistance work group for the President Obama’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology (PCAST). She was honored by the Obama White House as a Champion of Change for Prevention and Public Health, and awarded the CSTE Pump Handle award in 2019 for outstanding achievement in the field of applied epidemiology.

Professor Alison McMillan

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Australian Government Department of Health

Professor (Practice) Alison McMillan was appointed the Commonwealth Government Department of Health’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer in November 2019.

A Registered Nurse, Alison holds a Bachelor Degree in Education, a Master of Business Administration and in 2009 received a National Emergency Medal in recognition of service following the Victorian Bushfires.

As the Commonwealth Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Alison delivers high-level policy advice to the Minister for Health, the Executive and staff within the Department of Health and represents the Department at national and international levels.

Alison’s experience spans more than 30 years across the Victorian and English public health systems. She is an experienced manager having held senior executive roles in government and health services including as Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer in Victoria where she made a major contribution to the work to improve the recognition of, and response to, clinical deterioration as the Chair of the Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care’s Steering Committee on the deteriorating patient for 5 years.

Alison’s commitment and contributions to advancing community health outcomes includes her activities abroad as Deputy Team Leader, Australian Foreign Medical Team in Banda Aceh, Indonesia in 2005 following the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Nurse and Midwifery Team Leader for the Australian Medical Assistance Team deployment to Vanuatu following cyclone Pam in 2015 and advisor to the Ministry for Health Fiji on behalf of the Australian Government following Cyclone Winston in 2016.

Dr Jeremy McAnulty

NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer, NSW Health

Bio coming soon.

Professor Benjamin Cowling

Professor, The University of Hong Kong

Ben Cowling is currently Professor and head of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong, and co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control. He conducts research into the epidemiology of influenza and other respiratory viruses, with a focus on transmission dynamics and the effectiveness of control measures including vaccination. Since early 2020 he has conducted research on the epidemiology and control of COVID-19 including a series of highly cited publications in NEJM, Science and Nature Medicine. He has authored more than 450 peer-reviewed journal publications to date. He is Editor-in-Chief of Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, and an Associate Editor of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. His work is supported by a number of major grants from funding bodies in Hong Kong and the United States.

Professor David Durrheim

Professor of Public Health Medicine, University of Newcastle

David Durrheim, DrPH, MPH&TM, MBChB, FACTM, FAFPHM, FAAHMS, is Director of Health Protection, Hunter New England Health, New South Wales, Australia and Professor of Public Health Medicine at the University of Newcastle, Australia. He currently chairs the Western Pacific Regional Measles Rubella Verification Commission and is a member of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) working groups on COVID-19 and Ebola vaccines.

His public health research is operational in focus and translational in nature and has assisted public health programs to improve their surveillance and service delivery. He has been instrumental in developing novel surveillance systems to detect and facilitate responses to emerging infectious disease risks. Professor Durrheim is an outspoken advocate for equitable global access to effective public health measures, particularly immunisation.


Professor Durrheim’s research interests include vaccinology, novel infectious disease surveillance methods, control of zoonotic diseases, and strategies for reducing inequity in public health service delivery. He has over 300 peer-reviewed publications, and has published several scientific monographs and chapters in leading public health texts.

Professor Kristine Macartney

Director, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS)

Prof Kristine Macartney is a paediatrician specialising in infectious diseases and vaccinology She is a medical graduate of the University of New South Wales and undertook her specialty training in Sydney and in the United States at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Her Doctorate of Medicine was on rotavirus infection, in particular the mucosal immune response to novel vaccine candidates. She was a foundational member of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Kristine is currently the Director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), a paediatric infectious disease consultant at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and a Professor in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Sydney. Her research interests include translation of evidence into policy and practice, vaccine safety, and most other areas of vaccine preventable diseases research, particularly in relation to rotavirus, varicella zoster virus and influenza. She is the senior editor of the Australian Immunisation Handbook (9th and10th Editions and online) and has authored >130 peer-reviewed publications. She is a member of the Advisory Committee on Vaccines (ACV) of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). She has acted as an expert consultant to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Kristine leads the Australian national AusVaxSafety and Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) networks, and is the founding chair of the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA).

Dr Katherine Gibney

Infectious Diseases Physician, Doherty Institute

Dr Katherine Gibney is an infectious diseases physician, public health physician and medical epidemiologist at the Doherty Institute and Royal Melbourne Hospital. She has contributed to Australia's response to COVID-19 through her roles as ASID representative on CNDA and as a member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). She is the Optimise study (Optimising isolation, quarantine and distancing for COVID-19) co-lead, and leads the Diagnostics and Intervention working group of the Optimise study.

Associate Professor Julian Elliot

Executive Director, National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, Lead for Evidence Systems at Cochrane, Senior Research Fellow, Cochrane Australia, Physician, Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University

Associate Professor Julian Elliott is the Executive Director of the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, Lead for Evidence Systems at Cochrane, Senior Research Fellow at Cochrane Australia, and a physician in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Alfred Hospital and Monash University.


Julian leads Cochrane’s development of innovative global evidence systems, combining machine learning, artificial intelligence and citizen science to improve the production and impact of systematic reviews. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Covidence, a non-profit online platform enabling efficient systematic review production.


Julian’s ongoing focus is the development and use of ‘living evidence’ to inform high quality, responsive and up-to-date health guidelines, policies and care around the world. Julian has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS and the World Bank, and in 2017 received the Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research in Australia.

Professor Deborah Williamson

Director of Microbiology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne

Professor Deborah Williamson is a Clinical and Public Health Microbiologist, Professor / Director of Microbiology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Doherty Institute, Deputy Director of the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory, and a laboratory head in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne.  She is an NHMRC Investigator Grant recipient, received a L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Fellowship in 2017 and was awarded the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases Frank Fenner Award in 2020. She was named as one of Australia’s top eight female scientists by Marie Claire magazine in 2020.

Ms Kristy Crooks

Aboriginal Program Manager & PhD Candidate, Hunter New England Local Health District; Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University

Kristy Crooks is a Euahlayi woman, Aboriginal Program Manager with Hunter New England Local Health District, and an APPRISE PhD scholar with Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University. Kristy has extensive experience in Aboriginal Health, public health, and cultural governance, 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 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

Ms Sonya Pemberton

Creative Director, Genepool Productions

Sonya Pemberton is one of Australia’s leading documentary filmmakers; an Emmy Award recipient and record-breaking five-time winner of the prestigious Eureka Prize for Science Journalism. Her forte is finding ways to engage the general viewer in polarising conversations, while satisfying the rigours of a scientific debate.

Sonya has written and directed over 60 hours of broadcast documentary and executive produced many award-winning factual series, her films winning over 80 international awards.  Previously Head of Specialist Factual at the ABC, Sonya created Genepool Productions to explore complex areas of science. Recent titles include 'Vitamania' (SBS/Arte/CuriosityStream), ‘Uranium - Twisting the Dragon’s Tail’ (SBS/PBS/ ZDF/Arte), ‘Jabbed - love, fear and vaccines’ (SBS/ARTE), and 'Vaccines Calling the Shots' (PBS NOVA, with Tangled Bank Studios). 

Genepool Productions is based in Melbourne, Australia, and works closely with global partners.

Associate Professor Jonathan Liberman

Associate Professor in Law and Global Health, University of Melbourne

Jonathan Liberman is an Associate Professor in Law and Global Health at the University of Melbourne, with a joint appointment in the Melbourne Law School and the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Jonathan has over twenty years' experience in legal and policy research, teaching, advice, training and technical support relating to health at both domestic and global levels. Jonathan is currently leading a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific on legal responses to COVID-19 in the Western Pacific Region.


Jonathan was the Founding Director of the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, serving as Director from February 2012 to March 2020. Under Jonathan’s leadership, the McCabe Centre became a WHO Collaborating Centre for Law and Non-Communicable Diseases and a WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Knowledge Hub.


Jonathan holds degrees in arts and law (first class honours) and a Master of Public and International Law.

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