Clinical Professor David Bennett AO
Adolescent health physician, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead; AO, MBBS, FRACP, FSAHM
Professor David Bennett is an adolescent health physician working to improve the health and wellbeing of young people through responsive health care, collaborative research, professional and community education, networking and advocacy.
David is Emeritus Consultant in Adolescent Medicine at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. David’s previous roles include Senior Clinical Adviser, Youth Health and Wellbeing with NSW Ministry of health, President of the Association for the Wellbeing of Children in Healthcare and of the International Association for Adolescent Health.
David was honoured with an AO (Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia) in 1995 for service to medicine, particularly in the field of adolescent health and medical care. He is a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International and has received other awards for his service to the community. He has served on a number of high-level state and Australian government policy committees.
David is co-author of I just want you to be happy: Preventing and tackling teenage depression (Allen & Unwin, 2009) and the author of numerous other books, monographs, chapters and professional articles in the field of adolescent health.
David is married to Anne with 4 grown-up children and 6 grandchildren.
Ms Sandra Cheeseman
Lecturer, Institute of Early Childhood Macquarie University; PGCert Research, BEd (EC), BTeach (ECE)
Ms Sandra Cheeseman is a Lecturer in social policy, leadership and professional experience at the Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University. To this role, Sandra brings extensive experience as an early childhood teacher, director and senior manager.
Sandra’s current research focuses on infants’ encounters with curriculum – in particular, how babies engage with learning through relationships and play.
Sandra was a member of the writing team who developed Australia’s first national curriculum guide for children from birth, the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). She has since been actively involved in several professional development programs and research projects supporting educators in using the EYLF to create high-quality learning environments for all children.
Sandra works extensively with the early childhood professional community to make connections between current research and early childhood practice.
Dr Philippa Collin
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University; BA (Hons), PhD
Dr Philippa Collin is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University and the mother of 2 curious girls.
A social scientist, Philippa researches the social, cultural and political dimensions of children and young people’s digital media practices, community and political participation, and citizenship. For 15 years she has worked to improve the wellbeing of young people and their communities through participatory, evidence-based and intergenerational research, practice and policy innovations that leverage technology.
From 2011-2016 Philippa was a Research Program Leader for the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre. In this role, she led a program of research examining how new technologies can promote safe and supportive environments for the safety and wellbeing of young people aged 16-25 years. Before joining Western Sydney University, Philippa worked for 10 years with Reachout.com in service development and delivery, policy and research.
Philippa has led or been a key researcher on 20 research projects examining experiences of youth, digital media, mental health and wellbeing. She is the author of Young citizens and political participation in digital society (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and the co-author of Young people in digital society: Control shift (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). She also regularly publishes articles, reports and media commentaries on young people’s digital participation, political identity and citizenship, safety and risk, intergenerational and gender perspectives and online campaigns.
Professor Cheryl Dissanayake
Director and Chair, Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, La Trobe University; BSc (Hons), PhD, MAPS
Professor Cheryl Dissanayake is the founding Director and inaugural Chair of the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University, Australia’s first research centre dedicated to autism established in 2008.
Cheryl has been an autism researcher since 1984, when she began her PhD at Monash University. She undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in the Sigman lab at UCLA before joining La Trobe University in 1996 and establishing the autism research program there.
Cheryl co-founded the Autism Victoria ASD Research Group in 2003; the Australasian Autism Research Alliance in 2005; the Australasian Autism Research Collaboration in 2009; and the Australasian Society for Autism Research in 2011. She was vice-President of the Society until 2020, when she was honoured with a lifetime membership. She was on the bid team and has been a Project Leader in the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (2013-2021).
Cheryl has been recognised as a Research Field Leader for 4 consecutive years by The Australian (2018-2021) and as one of 9 Global Research Leaders in 2020. She was among the first 10 scholars to be inaugurated as a Fellow of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) in 2018, and she was elected vice-President of INSAR in 2019. She serves on the Senior Global Leaders Committee of INSAR, representing the Western Pacific region, and now chairs its Fellows Committee.
Paediatric dietitian; BAppSc FDAA
Kay Gibbons is Head of Nutrition Services at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne and Honorary Senior Lecturer Monash University. Kay is an Honorary Fellow of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, and is a Fellow of the Dietitians Association of Australia.
Kay has worked in most areas of children’s nutrition, and has particular interest in issues involving eating and behaviour, including childhood obesity and eating disorders, and the role of children’s early learning about eating. She undertakes research in these areas, teaches to health professionals and families, and works frequently with the media.
Current research projects include the LiveEatAndPlay project, aimed to reduce childhood overweight through an intervention provided by general practitioners, and the Moreland Project, which is encouraging healthy lifestyle through a school and community-based program. Kay led the Filling the Gap education program, a group of projects which includes needs assessment, development of resources and implementation of education for families and health professionals working with children from birth to 8 years.
Recently Kay has been working in India on a mother and child nutrition project, funded by the Australia-India Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Dr Bronwyn Gould AM
General practitioner; Independent Member NSW Child Death Review Team; MBBS, DipPaed, MPsychMed
Dr Bronwyn Gould has experience spanning over 40 years in general practice, specialising in work with children, parents and young people. A major focus of Bronwyn’s work is vulnerable young children. Between 2000 and 2012, Bronwyn established and ran a part-time clinic for homeless and vulnerable women in Darlinghurst, NSW.
Between 2009 and 2015, Bronwyn was Adjunct Senior Lecturer in General Practice at University of Notre Dame Medical Faculty, Sydney. She has worked as a trainer with the Department of Community Services in NSW and has been a member of the NSW Child Death Review Team since 2009.
Bronwyn served as the Chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Advisory Council ACCAP (Australian Council for Children and Parenting) and was a member of the Advisory Council for Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Bronwyn was a leader in Guides Australia, working the Junior Guide age group for over 35 years. As a result of her community involvement, in 1998 she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to youth.
Dr Harriet Hiscock
Paediatrician; Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Community Child Health, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne; MBBS, FRACP, MD, GradDipEpidemiology
Dr Harriet Hiscock is a paediatrician and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Community Child Health, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. She has a keen clinical and research interest in child behaviour and sleep problems and their effects on parents and children. Her work centres on the early treatment and prevention of sleep and behaviour problems. She has 2 young children who, with the help of some of the strategies on this website, sleep well.
Dr Melissa Kang
Adolescent health physician, University of Sydney; MBBS, MCH
Dr Melissa Kang trained in general practice and has worked exclusively in youth health since 1993 in community and hospital settings.
Melissa has trained medical students and a wide range of health and education professionals in adolescent health, has developed postgraduate courses in adolescent sexuality and conducted research among young people in sexuality, sexual health, and access to primary health care. She works as a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of General Practice, University of Sydney, and is a consultant to the NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health. Melissa has written the ‘Dolly Doctor’ medical column for Dolly magazine for the past 18 years.
Allied heath and community safety consultant leader, Melbourne; PGDipHlthprom
Barbara Minuzzo is an allied health and community safety consultant leader with postgraduate qualifications in health promotion.
Barbara is an internationally recognised youth health and safety expert with particular expertise in child and adolescent injury prevention and safety promotion. She is a certifier for the International Safe Communities Certifying Centre – Global (formerly the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Community Safety Promotion) and part of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention (ISCAIP) Rescue Team.
Barbara is an executive officer for the Victorian Safe Communities Network (VSCN). She is also co-chair of the Australian Safe Communities Foundation; a board member of the International Safe Community Certifying Centre; a board member of the Pan Pacific Safe Communities Network (America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia); a member of the Communities That Care Australia Board; and an executive member of the Australian Injury Prevention Network (AIPN).
Barbara was a co-founder of the Transportation of Children and Youth with Additional Needs (TOCAN) working group and continues to be an honorary working group member. She worked at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne for over 20 years.
Emeritus Professor Susan M. Moore
Psychological researcher, Swinburne University of Technology; BSc (Hons), DipEd, MEd, MSc, PhD, FAPS
Professor Susan M. Moore is a researcher in social and developmental psychology. She has over 40 years experience in academic and professional environments.
Susan’s research areas include adolescent sexuality and romantic behaviour, risk-taking and gambling, health psychology, psychology of internet use and parenting and grandparenting issues. She is the co-author of several books including New age nanas: Being a grandmother in the 21st century (Big Sky Publishing, 2012) and Sexuality in adolescence: The digital generation (Routledge, 2015).
Susan has been a research consultant to many government and not-for-profit organisations, has published more than 100 papers in refereed journals of psychology, education and health, and has received several major research grants.
Now retired, Susan is still writing, researching and public speaking. She remains a regular reviewer and media contributor on psychological issues.
Dr Karen New
Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Health and Behavioural Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast; PhD, RN, RM
Karen New is an academic researcher, registered nurse (RN) and registered midwife (RM). Karen’s research and practice focuses on newborn babies and neonatal nursing, and she has a keen interest in advancing clinical practice, education and research.
Karen is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast and an Honorary Senior Researcher at the University of Queensland. Since 2013, Karen has supervised Australian and international nurses and midwives who are undertaking their PhD and MPhil doctoral studies.
Since 1997, Karen has worked with the Australian College of Neonatal Nurses (ACNN) on supporting neonatal nurses to care for newborns and their families. In her work with ACNN, Karen has led teams of neonatal nurses to Papua New Guinea to train nurses, midwives and village health volunteers. This work aims to reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality rates in low-resource settings.
Professor Jan Nicholson
Director of the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University; BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD
Professor Jan Nicholson is Director of the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University, Honorary Principal Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Learning Innovation, Queensland University of Technology. She has a background in child and family psychology with post-doctoral training in public health. Jan’s research examines the influence of contemporary family, social and organisational environments on children’s healthy development, with a particular focus on vulnerable families.
Jan is the Design Team Leader for parenting and family functioning in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), a national study tracking the health and development of two cohorts of 5000 children each. She heads an NHMRC-funded cohort study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commencing recruitment in 2011, and is co-investigator on studies promoting effective parenting, early literacy and healthy early life nutrition.
Associate Professor Gehan Roberts
Paediatrician; Associate Director, Centre for Community Child Health, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne; MBBS, FRACP, MPH, PhD
Associate Professor Gehan Roberts is a developmental-behavioural paediatrician, who works at The Royal Children’s Hospital’s Centre for Community Child Health, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and the University of Melbourne.
Gehan completed his clinical fellowship in child development at the Boston Children’s Hospital. He has a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University and a PhD in the field of child development from the University of Melbourne. In 2009 he was appointed the coordinator of the Victorian Training Program in Community Child Health, the largest training program of its type in Australia.
In 2015 Gehan was appointed Associate Director at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Centre for Community Child Health, with responsibility for clinical service and fellowship training. He’s involved in teaching medical practitioners, allied health workers, teachers and families. He also works in curriculum development and program evaluation.
In 2016, Gehan was elected President of the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Paediatric Society of Australasia, the peak body for Australasian doctors who care for children with developmental disorders.
Professor Jacqueline Roberts
Inaugural Chair of Autism, Autism Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University; BA (Hons), DipTeach, BAppSc (Speech Pathology), PhD
Professor Jacqueline Roberts leads a research program on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a graduate program of ASD studies at the Autism Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University. The main focus of the research program at ACE is ASD, learning, behaviour and education.
Jacqueline also leads a large longitudinal research project, which is part of the national Living with Autism Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). In addition, she heads several research consultancies, including a project with the Queensland Government Department of Education to develop an online tool that can be used by teachers and parents to manage problem behaviours.
Jacqueline has experience working as a teacher, speech language therapist, school principal and senior manager in schools for autistic children. She has also worked as a consultant in autism and held several short-term fractional appointments at universities teaching autism studies and leading or managing research projects. These have included responsibility for the development and delivery of content in the Australian Autism Education and Training Consortium (AAETC) Positive Partnerships program.
Jacqueline has published widely in ASD and, with Professor Katrina Williams, has co-authored a book for parents, Understanding autism: The essential guide for parents (Empower, 2015).
Professor Virginia Schmied
Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University; BA, MA (Hons), PhD, RN, RM
Virginia Schmied is a Professor of Midwifery at Western Sydney University (WSU). She has a national and international scholarly reputation in midwifery and maternal and child health.
Virginia collaborates with senior academics at WSU to build capacity in maternal and child health research. She is particularly interested in how relationship-based care leads to improved health outcomes for women, children and families. Virginia also researches and supervises higher degree students in topics including parents’ social and emotional health and wellbeing in the transition to parenthood; breastfeeding and feeding in early childhood; perinatal mental health, particularly in vulnerable communities; and improvements to service delivery and professional practice.
Virginia has published over 200 refereed journal articles, book chapters and published reports, and she regularly presents (including as a keynote speaker) at national and international conferences. Virginia’s research has helped to develop health policy, models of care, and teaching resources.
In 2016, Virginia was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Higher Degree Research Supervision and Training. In 2018, Virginia led a team that was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching for innovations in perinatal multidisciplinary learning and teaching.
Virginia has also worked as a consultant leading the development of the Australian Government’s National Framework for Universal Child and Family Health Services.
Associate Professor Jill Sewell AM
Paediatrician; MBBS, FRACP, DMedSci (Hons)
Associate Professor Jill Sewell is a retired consultant paediatrician at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, specialising in developmental and behavioural paediatrics.
Jill has been a regular speaker at conferences, seminars and professional development programs on paediatrics and child health, early childhood services and the health education interface in schools.
Jill has had state and national roles in government and advisory boards, quality and safety in health care, medical regulation and accreditation.
In 2005, Jill was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to child health.
Dr Diana Smart
Psychologist; Senior Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Family Studies; BA (Hons), DipEd, MA
Dr Diana Smart is currently an occasional Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. She was previously a General Manager (Research) at the Institute, with responsibility for the internationally renowned Australian Temperament Project and Growing Up in Australia (the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children).
Diana is a psychologist with over 40 years experience in research on child and youth development. She has led influential research on developmental pathways to adolescent problem behaviours, identification of sensitive transition points, risk and protective factors and the co-occurrence of problem behaviours.
Diana has a longstanding interest in the promotion of resilience and the development of positive attributes and strengths like social competence, social responsibility and civic engagement. She has published widely for a variety of audiences and is keenly interested in translating research into policy and practice.
Explanation of abbreviated academic qualifications, awards and honours
AM – Member of the Order of Australia for services to youth
AO – Officer of the Order of Australia
BA – Bachelor of Arts
BA (Hons) – Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
BA Med – Bachelor of Arts Master of Education
BAppSC – Bachelor of Applied Science
BAppSc (Speech Pathology) – Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology)
BAppSci – Bachelor of Applied Science
BEd (EC) – Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)
BEd – Bachelor of Education
BSc(Hons) – Bachelor of Science Honours
BTeach (ECE) – Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)
DipPaed – Diploma in Paediatrics
DipTeach – Diploma in Teaching
DipEd – Diploma of Education
DMedSci (Hons) – Doctor of Medical Science (Honours)
FAChSHM – Fellow of the Australian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine
FAPS – Fellow Australian Psychological Society
FDAA – Fellow of the Dietitians of Australia
FRACP – Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
FSAHM – Fellow in the Society of Adolescent Health and medicine
GCUT – Graduate Certificate in University Teaching
GradDipEpidemiology – Graduate Diploma in Epidemiology
MPsychMed – Master of Medicine (Psychiatry)
MA – Master of Arts
MAPS – Member of Psychological Society
MBBS – Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
MCH – Maternal Child Health
MD – Medical Doctor
Med – Master of Education
MPH – Masters of Public Health
MSc – Master of Science
PGCert Research – Postgraduate certificate in Research
PGDipHlthprom – Post Graduate Diploma in Health Promotion
PGradDipHlthSc – Post Graduate Diploma of Health Science
PhD – Doctor of Philosophy
RM – Registered Midwife
RN – Registered Nurse