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Conference Advisory Committee


Professor Anne Marie Thow (Chair)

Menzies Centre for Health Policy, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney

Prof Anne Marie Thow's research uses theories of public policy making to explore facilitators and barriers to best practice public health nutrition policy, with a particular focus on the interface between economic policy and nutrition. Anne Marie currently collaborates on research in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, designed to strengthen nutrition policy making.

Anne Marie regularly consults with national governments and international agencies regarding nutrition policy, and was appointed to ongoing membership of the Nutrition Guidance Advisory Group, Policy Subgroup of the World Health Organization in 2018. Her research and analyses appears in The Lancet, Nutrition Reviews, Bulletin of the World Health Organanization, and Health Policy among others.

Prior to undertaking her PhD at the University of Sydney, Anne Marie worked for the Governments of Australia and Fiji on nutrition policy issues. She trained in nutrition and has a Masters in Public Policy and Economics.


Associate Professor Deborah Gleeson

School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University

Deborah Gleeson is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University where she leads the discipline of Health Practice and Management and teaches postgraduate subjects in health policy and health law.

Deborah's research focuses on public health policy, particularly at national and international levels and the interface between these levels. Her primary interest area is the implications of international trade agreements for public health, pharmaceutical policy and access to medicines. She also supervises Honours, Masters and PhD students addressing diverse public health policy topics.

Deborah holds the honorary role of Co-convenor of the Political Economy of Health Special Interest Group of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA). In this capacity, she plays a key role in PHAA's advocacy for healthy trade agreements. She is also an honorary member of the Board of PHAA.


Ms Bonnie Matheson

Manager, Commercial Determinants of Health, Health Promotion System, VicHealth

Bonnie Matheson is an experienced public health and social policy leader who has worked across local, state and federal governments, and the not-for-profit sector. Bonnie has focused her career on enabling Aboriginal self-determination, tackling systemic and structural racism and reshaping systems to protect and promote health for all. 

At VicHealth, Bonnie leads a team to address the systems, practices and pathways through which commercial and economic actors influence health, wellbeing and health equity. Prior to joining VicHealth, Bonnie has worked with Ministers, government departments, non-government organisations and communities to deliver social policy and self-determination reform, truth-telling, municipal public health and wellbeing planning and health promotion initiatives. 

Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Public Health) and Bachelor of International Development.


Dr Belinda Townsend

Australian Research Centre for Health Equity (ARCHE), Australian National University

Dr Belinda Townsend is Deputy Director of the Australian Research Centre for Health Equity and Fellow in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University. Belinda is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the interface between public health, governance, and political economy and is an emerging leader in the field of public health political science. She has published in the top-ranked international journals in her field including Critical Public Health, Nature Food, Social Science and Medicine, Globalization and Health, Public Health Nutrition and Health Promotion International, authoring or co-authoring more than 25 journal articles, 3 book chapters, and 35 reports, conference papers and opinion pieces. 

Dr Townsend holds a PhD in political science from Deakin University, having graduated with first class honours in political theory. Her work examines the political economy of health, including agenda-setting for health in areas outside the "health policy" domain such as trade and investment, employment, and social and welfare policy. She has given lectures for a range of national and international associations on the topic of global governance for health. Dr Townsend has served as an expert witness for Australia's Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on trade and health, and has presented her research on the impact of trade agreements on health in Australia and abroad to government officials participating in Asia and the Pacific regional trade agreements. 

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Dr Amy Carrad

Research Fellow, Australian Research Centre for Health Equity (ARCHE), Australian National University

Amy Carrad is a Research Fellow within the ANU’s School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), currently researching power and privilege in relation to public policy and health equity. Prior to joining RegNet, Amy was Project Manager and Primary Research Assistant on an ARC funded project exploring the role of Australian local governments and civil society organisations in food system governance. She was also the lead research assistant on a large systematic literature review on nutrition labelling policy for the World Health Organization’s Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group. Amy holds a PhD in health promotion and organisational change and a Bachelor of Public Health (1st Class Honours), both from the University of Wollongong.

Amy is particularly passionate about food systems, incorporating this into her research as well as her extracurricular activities and advocacy. Amy is the secretary of Young Farmers Connect, a board member of SEE-Change, a member of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance and contributed to the writing of their Peoples’ Food Plan, and a representative on the ACT Government’s Community Reference Group for their Canberra Region Local Food Strategy.


Professor Barbara Mintzes

Professor of Evidence-Based Pharmaceutical Policy, The University of Sydney

Barbara Mintzes is Professor of Evidence-Based Pharmaceutical Policy, School of Pharmacy and Charles Perkins Centre (CPC), at the University of Sydney. At the Charles Perkins Centre, a multi-disciplinary research centre with a focus on obesity and chronic diseases, she leads the Evidence, Policy and Influence Collaborative (EPIC). EPIC includes four streams: on research bias, pharmaceutical policy, evidence synthesis, and preventing truth decay. 

Barbara holds a PhD in epidemiology from the University of British Columbia. The main focus of her research is on the impact of conflicts of interest on research and practice in medicine, observational studies on the outcomes of regulatory policies, systematic reviews and pharmacoepidemiology. She has led international comparative studies on direct-to-consumer advertising of medicines, the quality of information provided to family doctors by pharmaceutical sales representatives, and post-market regulatory safety warnings. 

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Tien Dat Hoang

PhD Candidate, Research & Teaching Assistant, Monash University

Tien Dat Hoang has been a legal officer at the Ministry of Justice of Vietnam for eleven years. Since 2022, he has become a PhD (Law) candidate, research and teaching assistant at Monash University. He is also a research assistant on the NHMRC-funded project. He has law degrees from the University of Melbourne (LL.M) and Vietnam National University (B.A., distinction and LL.B, summa cum laude).


Ms Cassandra de Lacy-Vawdon

Lecturer, Early Career Dev Fellow, Health Practice & Management, La Trobe University

Cassandra de Lacy-Vawdon is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University where she is a member of the discipline of Health Practice and Managements team, and teaches postgraduate and undergraduate subjects in health care systems and health policy. 

Cassandra's research focuses on the commercial determinants of health, and issues of public health policy import at national and international levels. Her current work sits within a public health framework, and examines the commercial determinants of health in relation to the Australian food, alcohol and gambling industries. She also has interests in harm minimisation, prevention, equity in health, and policy and politics.


Associate Professor Ashley Schram

Research Fellow, Australian Research Centre for Health Equity (ARCHE), The Australian National University

Ashley is a Braithwaite Fellow in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) and Deputy Director of the Australian Research Centre for Health Equity (ARCHE). 

Her programme of research focuses on how actors, structures, and ideas operate across various public policy domains and private business practices to progress understanding of the ways in which shifts in the rules, norms, power dynamics, and resource flows that stratify society ultimately shape social and health inequities.

She has made significant contributions to knowledge of how economic instruments – international trade and investment agreements – shape the social and commercial determinants of health. More recently, her research programme has focused on how Australian investment policy and practice shapes food systems and socioeconomic inequities in wealth and diet-related health outcomes; alongside leading research on the social construction of privilege as the intervening mechanism by which policies and practices entrench inequity in social systems. 


Ms Emma Jane Pristov

Co-ordinator, Determinants of Health, VIcHealth

With a background in local government youth work and public policy, Emma brings diverse experience to her role as Coordinator of Commercial Determinants of Health at VicHealth. Now in her second year in the role, Emma has supported the team in delivering a wide range of events, stakeholder meetings, and committees. Passionate about leveraging her expertise and insights to contribute meaningfully to the field of public health, Emma aims to create platforms for knowledge exchange, networking, and collective action through her involvement in organizing conferences. Her goal is to advance the health and well-being of individuals and communities alike by fostering collaboration and driving positive change in the public health sector.

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Dr Patricia Ranald

Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network and an honorary research associate, The University of Sydney

Dr Ranald holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Adelaide and a Master of Public Policy degree from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Sydney. Her Doctoral thesis in International Relations at the University of NSW was a comparative study of the World Trade Organisation and regional trade agreements, and won the UNSW Humanities Research Centre Award for best doctoral thesis of 2000.

She was formerly a Senior Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales, and has also worked for community organisations and unions.

She has published widely on the social impacts of globalisation and trade agreements. Her publications range from books, refereed journal articles and book chapters to submissions to parliamentary inquiries and opinion pieces in newspapers and on websites.

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Adjunct Professor Terry Slevin

Chief Executive Officer, Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA)

Mr Terry Slevin has been Chief Executive Officer for the Public Health Association of Australia since May 2018.

He is Adjunct Professor in the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University and Adjunct Professor in the College of Health and Medicine at the Australian National University.

He is a Fellow of PHAA and was the first Vice President (Development) of the Association.

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