Invited Speakers

Dr Graham A. Colditz

Dr. Colditz is an internationally recognized leader in cancer prevention. As an epidemiologist and public health expert, he has a longstanding interest in the preventable causes of chronic disease, particularly among women. He is also interested in strategies to speed translation of research findings to prevention strategies that work. His past research has focused on the health effects of smoking, weight and weight gain, physical activity, diet, and the adverse effects of medications such as postmenopausal hormone therapy, documenting that current use increases risk of breast cancer.

In addition to serving as the deputy director of the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Colditz is the Neiss-Gain Professor in the School of Medicine, chief of the Division of Public Health Sciences in the Department of Surgery, program director of the Master of Population Health Sciences degree program, and the associate director of prevention & control at the Siteman Cancer Center. Dr. Colditz is the principal investigator for TREC@WUSTL, an NCI-funded transdisciplinary research center studying the associations between obesity and cancer causes, prevention and survival. He is also the principal investigator of the Siteman Cancer Center’s Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD), a group that uses community-based partnerships to impact disparities in cancer screening, treatment and survivorship in the region.

Dr. Colditz’s work includes developing statistical models to more accurately classify levels of risk for several cancers. Other areas of his expertise include tobacco and obesity in relation to cancer. He also documented that smoking increases the risk of stroke and total mortality among women and that weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. Dr. Colditz has focused extensively on the validation of self-report information for use in large scale epidemiologic studies and refined diet assessment tools for use in public health settings such as WIC.

Dr. Colditz has devoted much effort to the application of scientific advances in cancer prevention to broader population programs working with the American Cancer Society and the Massachusetts Cancer Control Program. He also developed the website Your Disease Risk to assess individual risk and communicate tailored prevention messages to the public. The site has continuing media coverage and has received numerous commendations for its standing among health-related websites. He also leads a team writing the blog Cancer News in Context.

Professor Sandra Eades

Professor Sandra Eades is Domain Head of Aboriginal Health at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. She is a Noongar woman from Mount Barker, Western Australia, and is Australia's first Aboriginal medical doctor to be awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy (2003), which was completed in epidemiology at the Institute for Child Health Research, Perth. Professor Eades has recently been appointed an Initiating Fellow of the new Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

Professor Eades' research career has focussed on the epidemiology of Indigenous child health in Australia. Over the past decade, she has made substantial contributions to the area of Aboriginal health and has provided leadership at a national level in Aboriginal research.

Professor Eades' PhD examined causal pathways to poor birth outcomes and significant illness in the first year of life among urban Aboriginal infants. Her research program follows on from this early work and includes a randomised controlled trial of a culturally specific smoking intervention for pregnant Indigenous women. She is currently leading a randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a systems based collaborative to improve treatment for type 2 diabetes in 18 Aboriginal Community Controlled Primary Health Care Services in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria.

Professor Eades is strongly committed to capacity building. She has previously led a NHMRC Population Health Capacity Building grant that funded a research training program for five Indigenous researchers and six non-Indigenous researchers involved in programs related to Indigenous health. She continues to supervise and mentor Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers making a contribution to this field.

Professor Rebecca Ivers

Professor Rebecca Ivers is director of the injury division at the George Institute for Global Health, UNSW Sydney, where she directs a research program focusing on the prevention and management of injury. An epidemiologist, her research interests focus on the prevention of injury, trauma care, and the research to policy transfer in both high and low income countries. She has a substantial program of research addressing the global burden of injury, with a particular focus on inequalities in injury in low income settings, and the prevention of injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Ivers has overseen studies examining the burden and risk factors for injury in low-income settings (including Vietnam, India and China). Current global projects involve a large scale initiative implementing community drowning interventions in Bangladesh, and work on scaleable interventions for drowning in India and Vietnam. She also leads work on fracture care, and works with investigators from McMasters University on a NHMRC funded prospective study of 40,000 people examining the incidence and predictors of mortality in people sustaining traumatic fractures in low income country settings. In Australia she has led large pragmatic trials across multiple areas of road safety and falls, and is currently leading NHMRC funded work on burn care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, focusing on patient outcomes and development of culturally safe models of care. Her work on development and implementation of driver licensing support programs for young Aboriginal people has directly influenced government funding of support programs across multiple states. 

Her work has a strong focus on implementation, sustainability and capacity development. Ivers has worked extensively with the World Health Organisation, contributing to multiple Good Practice Guides and global advocacy across unintentional injury. She is currently president of the Australian Injury Prevention Network, member of the UN Road Safety Collaboration (for the George Institute) and in 2014 was named as winner in the Innovation category of the Australian Financial Review and Westpac list of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence.

Professor Anne Kavanagh

Professor Anne Kavanagh is an epidemiologist with an international reputation for her research on the social determinants of health inequalities. Her research on health inequalities has focussed on a range of social and economic factors including the built environment, socio-economic position, housing, employment and discrimination affect health behaviours and outcomes. Her research also emphasises how gender norms, roles and relations impact on health.

Inspired by her own experience of disability, Anne’s recent research has turned to addressing the social determinants of health of people with disability. Refreshingly, she brings a public health perspective to research on the health of people with disability. However, while epidemiology and public health traditionally conceive of disability as an outcome, in Anne’s research disability is also a social determinant of health.

Through the application of causally-focussed epidemiological methods, her research aims to identify potentially modifiable social and economic factors that could reduce inequalities in health between people with and without disabilities.

Anne is Head of the Gender and Women’s Health Unit at the Centre of Health Equity, University of Melbourne and Director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in Women’s Health. She is Lead Investigator on the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health ( and leads a number of other large ARC and NHMRC grants on disability, disadvantage and health.

Anne works closely with stakeholders in the health and disability sectors to facilitate evidenced-informed policy and practice. Currently she is a member of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council and the Brotherhood of St Laurence/National Disability Insurance Scheme Partnerships Committee. She is also an active contributor to online and social media to facilitate research and engagement dissemination.

Professor Alexandra Barratt - Ian Prior Oration

Alexandra Barratt (MBBS, MPH, PhD) is a Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. She has a background in epidemiological research spanning clinical epidemiology and public health epidemiology. She is recognised internationally for her research to quantify the benefits and harms (including overdiagnosis) of cancer screening, particularly breast cancer screening. She is a lead investigator on Wiser Healthcare, an NHMRC funded research collaboration to reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment in healthcare. Overdiagnosis is one of the biggest drivers of iatrogenic harm, waste and opportunity cost in healthcare and is a serious challenge for citizens, patients and healthcare services around the world.

Professor Barratt is a member of the Scientific Committee for Preventing Overdiagnosis an annual international conference, and a member of the advisory board of Andrology Australia. She has twice won Australian Museum Eureka Prizes for her radio series on cancer screening and evidence based medicine, and is an Australian Museum Eureka Prize Ambassador helping to promote public understanding of science. Previously she has worked for the National Breast Cancer Screening Initiative of Canada, the US National Cancer Institute, NHMRC, the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, Family Planning NSW and the Ministry of Health NZ.

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