The virtual nature of this conference has allowed the Scientific Committee to invite a much larger group of keynote speakers for the conference who are all international leaders in their field.

Plenary Speakers

Professor Laurence Kirmayer

McGill University
A psychiatrist and expert in transcultural psychiatry

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Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS, FRSC is James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University and Co-director of the Culture, Mind and Brain Program, McGill University. He is Editor-in-Chief of Transcultural Psychiatry, and Director of the Culture & Mental Health Research Unit at the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, where he conducts research on culturally responsive mental health services for immigrants and refugees, the mental health of Indigenous peoples, and the philosophy of psychiatry. He also founded and directs the Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research. His past research includes studies on cultural consultation, pathways and barriers to mental health care for immigrants and refugees, somatization in primary care, cultural concepts of mental health and illness in Inuit communities, risk and protective factors for suicide among Inuit youth, and resilience among Indigenous peoples. Current projects include: mental health promotion for Indigenous youth; the integration of ethnography and neuroscience in global mental health; and models of mental health services for multicultural societies. He co-edited the volumes: Understanding Trauma: Integrating Biological, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives (Cambridge University Press), and Healing Traditions: The Mental Health of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (University of British Columbia Press); Cultural Consultation: Encountering the Other in Mental Health Care (Springer); the DSM-5 Handbook for the Cultural Formulation Interview (APPI): and Re-Visioning Psychiatry: Cultural Phenomenology, Critical Neuroscience and Global Mental Health (Cambridge). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada.

Professor Katherine Iverson

Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System, USA
A clinical research psychologist and an expert in intimate partner violence

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Dr. Katherine (Kate) Iverson, PhD is a clinical psychologist, health services researcher, and implementation scientist who aims to improve healthcare services for individuals who experience trauma, particularly intimate partner violence (IPV). She is an Investigator in the Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD and in the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, both located at the VA Boston Healthcare System. She is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University. Dr. Iverson’s research and clinical practice address the trauma-related health needs of women who served in the military. This work has been funded for nearly 15 years by grants and operational support from the US Veterans Health Administration (VHA). At VHA she has worked with policy makers to inform and support the implementation of trauma-informed IPV care. This includes validating screening tools, identifying and disseminating best practices for screening and response, and testing implementation strategies. The clinical and policy impacts of Dr. Iverson’s research were recognized by a 2014 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dr. Iverson also co-developed and established the evidence-base for “Recovering from IPV through Strengths and Empowerment” (RISE), a counseling intervention for patients who experience recent or ongoing IPV. She is currently establishing a RISE Dissemination and Implementation Team to spread this counseling intervention across VHA. Additional projects as Principal Investigator include a longitudinal assessment of Veterans’ IPV experiences and associated mental health needs and an investigation of mental health clinicians’ use of evidence-based psychotherapies in community-based clinics.

Professor Heidi Ellis

Harvard Medical Boston.
A clinical psychologist who will speak about her work with refugees

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B. Heidi Ellis, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and a licensed clinical psychologist. She is also the Director of the Trauma and Community Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, a partner in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Dr. Ellis’ primary focus is on understanding and promoting youth mental health and well-being, with a particular emphasis on understanding how trauma exposure, violence, and social context impact developmental trajectories. Over the past 15 years she has conducted a Community Based Participatory Research program with Somali youth and was Principal Investigator of a multi-site, longitudinal research project examining developmental pathways to and away from violence, including ideological violence, gang involvement, and constructive civic engagement. Dr. Ellis is co-developer of the trauma treatment model Trauma Systems Therapy, along with its adaptation for refugees, and is engaged in capacity building and training related to trauma-informed multidisciplinary approaches to the repatriation and reintegration of children from formerly ISIS-controlled territories. She is also the lead author of the book “Mental Health Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Youth: A Socioecological Framework”.

Professor Nicholas Procter

University of South Australia.
A mental health nurse and will speak about the use of co-design and lived experience within vulnerable populations

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Professor Nicholas Procter is Chair: Mental Health Nursing and director of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research and Education Group at the University of South Australia. Professor Procter is a community engaged researcher leading funded programs of research across a range of population groups and settings.

Associate Professor John Torous

Harvard University.
A psychiatrist and one of the world’s leading thinkers about digital mental health

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John Torous, MD MBI is director of the digital psychiatry division, in the Department of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliated teaching hospital, where he also serves as a staff psychiatrist and assistant professor. He has a background in electrical engineering and computer sciences and received an undergraduate degree in the field from UC Berkeley before attending medical school at UC San Diego. He completed his psychiatry residency, fellowship in clinical informatics, and master’s degree in biomedical informatics at Harvard. Dr. Torous is active in investigating the potential of mobile mental health technologies for psychiatry and has published over 200 peer reviewed articles and 5 book chapters on the topic. He serves as editor-in-chief for JMIR Mental Health,  web editor for JAMA Psychiatry and, currently leads the American Psychiatric Association’s Health IT Committee.

Professor Bob Ursano

Uniformed Services University.
A psychiatrist who is a lead researcher in the area of disaster mental health

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Founder of Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University School of Medicine and past Chair of Committee on Disaster Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association and Senior Editor, Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry. He is recognized internationally for his leading work on the interface of psychiatry and public health in times of disaster and terrorism, and he is a frequent advisor on issues surrounding psychological response to trauma to the highest levels of the US Government and specifically to the Department of Defense leadership. He has had leadership involvement in the seminal Army STARRS project which studies Suicide in the military and has provided critical information about suicide risk in military personnel. Dr Ursano has more than 300 publications and is co-author or editor of eight books. He is the recipient of many awards including the ISTSS Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding and fundamental contributions to understanding traumatic stress.

Professor Tim Dalgleish

University of Cambridge.
A clinical psychologist who specialises in transdiagnostic interventions.

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Professor Tim Dalgleish is a clinical psychologist. He works both as a research scientist at the University of Cambridge and as a practitioner. He is the director of the Cambridge Centre for Affective Disorders. His research focuses on understanding and developing psychological treatments for common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress. He adopts a translational approach, seeking to utilize insights from basic cognitive neuroscience to enhance clinical interventions for these conditions. His work employs a range of scientific methods from brain imaging to the use of large scale clinical trials.

Christine Morgan

CEO of the National Mental Health Commission and National Suicide Prevention Adviser to Prime Minister Scott Morrison

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Christine Morgan is the CEO of the National Mental Health Commission and National Suicide Prevention Adviser to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Ms Morgan is a passionate leader in mental health care reform, committed to listening and responding to the voice and needs of those with lived experience.
Prior to joining the Commission, Ms Morgan was CEO of the Butterfly Foundation for eating disorders and Director of the National Eating Disorders Collaboration. As former CEO of the Butterfly Foundation, she led a collaborative advocacy strategy that included amplification of eating disorders as a serious mental and physical health issue. This is now being replicated internationally. In the not for profit sector, Ms Morgan was General Manager at Wesley Mission, over the areas of Corporate Services; and Community & Family Development. Prior to joining Wesley Mission, Ms Morgan was Executive General Manager responsible for managing the strategic direction and business unit effectiveness of the Wholesale, Broadband & Media Business Unit at Telstra.
Ms Morgan brings connection and passion to mental health reform, built on the networks she established in the corporate world, her broad legal expertise, her extensive not-for-profit experience and her strong ability to demonstrate to people how their contribution can make a real difference.

Fiona Cornforth

CEO of The Healing Foundation
Extensive background working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

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Fiona Cornforth is the CEO of The Healing Foundation, a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families. Fiona has an extensive background working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. She is a Wuthathi (Shelburne Bay) descendant with family roots in the Torres Straits. Fiona is a Masters Graduate of ANU’s College of Business and Economics, and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy of the UK. Holding past senior roles in community and government organisations, she utilised her global experience in education, leadership and business development to raise awareness around the impacts of intergenerational trauma.

Clinical Speakers

Jorge Aroche


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Jorge G. Aroche is a clinical psychologist and the Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS). Jorge has worked with migrants and refugee survivors of torture and organized violence since before 1989, when he joined STARTTS. He has led the organization since March 1997, through some of the most challenging times for refugee services in Australia, helping STARTTS grow from a dozen staff to more than 200, assuming a truly state wide role and becoming a world leader in this field in the process.

Since its inception in 1988, STARTTS has assisted over 70,000 individual clients from over 100 nationalities in the context of a systemic and integrative model of service provision that includes cutting edge clinical programs informed by the latest developments in neuroscience alongside community development and group intervention streams. Jorge’s leadership has been characterised by its commitment to consultation, ongoing organisational learning, development and innovation, ensuring STARTTS continues to learn from its clients, from its culturally diverse staff and from the latest scientific advances in trauma and related fields.

Jorge is a member of the Executive Committee of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT), and was President of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) between 2016 and 2020’. Previous posts include that of Secretary General of the International Society for Health and Human Rights (ISHHR) (until 2012), and Vice President of the IRCT (until 2012). He has also been appointed to a number of positions in government advisory bodies and NGO boards.

In addition to his executive role Jorge continues to be actively involved in clinical and research activities at STARTTS and has presented widely on clinical and settlement issues for traumatised refugees on national and international platforms. He has also authored and co-authored several articles and book chapters on these topics.

Sarah Bendall

University of Melbourne

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Associate Professor Sarah Bendall is a clinical psychologist and senior researcher at Orygen and the Centre for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. Her areas of research interest are trauma in youth mental health, trauma in early psychosis and the development and trialing of new psychological therapies for recovery in youth mental health. She is the author of over 90 research papers and 3 psychological treatment manuals. She has practiced as a clinical psychologist for over 20 years in a variety of settings including adult and adolescent outpatient mental health. She currently practices at headspace, a national youth early intervention programme, is an AHPRA-accredited clinical psychology supervisor, and provides cinical supervision for psychologists working in headspace services.

Joel Hoffman

University of New South Wales

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Joel Hoffman is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program (RTRP), in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales. He is clinical psychologist, and his research focuses on refugee mental health and wellbeing in contexts of displacement, as well as moral injury amongst refugees.

Gina Howland

Deakin University

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Gina is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice who holds multiple degrees in psychology and teaching. She has a wealth of experience in the provision of evidence-based clinical services to individuals with complex trauma needs across a wide range of settings. Gina is one of Australia’s first Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Professionals and has a particular interest in Nutritional Psychiatry. Emergent from this is a passionate focus on the nexus of diet and trauma symptoms. Gina is currently conducting her PhD within the Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University. Gina is developing and will pilot an online dietary intervention for those at risk of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Leanne Humphreys

Phoenix Australia

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Leanne is a clinical psychologist who has experience in the treatment of veterans and emergency services personnel, survivors of childhood abuse, domestic violence and institutional abuse. She has developed and served as the foundation Program Coordinator for a number of in-patient and out-patient programs in NSW for veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress and other trauma-related disorders, which have been highly regarded for their utilization of evidence-based practices, and their ability to achieve improved outcomes for veterans. Leanne joined Phoenix Australia as Director, Training and Workforce Development in 2019 and has spent much of her time since then leading the development of a range of education and training resources designed to support health workers to provide evidence-informed and evidence-based interventions to trauma impacted individuals and communities.

Dr Jon Lane

University of Tasmania

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Dr Lane is a Psychiatrist, a member of the Army for 30 years and an Afghanistan veteran. He is currently completing a PhD developing and evaluating the effectiveness of skills-based interventions for mental health problems for military, veterans, police and emergency services personnel. Supervisors for the project are Dr Miranda Van Hooff, Dr Ellie Lawrence Wood and Prof Sandy McFarlane AO from the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies at University of Adelaide. He is the Psychiatry Lead for the University of Tasmania School of Medicine: the lived experience clinician for Military and Emergency Services Health Australia (MESHA); and consults for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Tasmania Police, the Australian Defence Force (ADF); and is a member of the Tasmanian Veteran’s Reference Group. He has been an invited speaker and presented at a wide range of clinical and educational conferences both internationally and in Australia due to his expertise in the field of military, veteran and emergency services mental health. He was a Churchill Fellow in 2014 and went to the US looking at programs for military and veterans and is a strong supporter of culturally informed and peer-led interventions that have a functional outcome. He was awarded the inaugural 2019 Society for Mental Health Research lived experience research medal for his work in this area for his PhD. He is a keen archer and has been the Australian Team Invictus Games archery coach since 2018.

Dr Winnie Lau

Phoenix Australia

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Dr Winnie Lau is a Senior Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow at Phoenix Australia. Winnie has over 15 years experience working across acute and community settings and delivering evidence informed trauma focused interventions to adults with PTSD. She is the Deputy Lead of Phoenix Australia’s Traumatic Stress Clinic and leads the Interventions stream of research at Phoenix Australia focused on developing and testing novel psychological treatments for trauma related mental health problems.

Associate Professor Chris Lee

University of Western Australia

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Associate Professor Christopher Lee works in private practise and has an adjunct appointment at the University of Western Australia. He has had extensive training from leading figures in DBT, EMDR, and Schema Focused Therapy. He is a certified trainer by both the EMDR international association and the international society of schema therapists. He conducts therapist training workshops on personality disorders and trauma treatments throughout Australia and overseas. He has published research on personality disorders and PTSD. He has received an International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and EMDRIA awards for research excellence in 1999 and 2014. In 2009 he also received the Inaugural Francine Shapiro award for research excellence conferred by the European EMDRIA. He was the 2011 recipient of the Australian Psychological Society’s Ian Campbell memorial award for contributions to Clinical Psychology in Australia. He is currently a principle investigator in two international multi-centred randomised controlled trials, one in treating complex PTSD and the other Borderline Personality Disorder.

Professor Angela Nickerson

University of New South Wales

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Angela Nickerson is Professor and Director of the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program at the School of Psychology, UNSW Sydney. She conducts research investigating the mechanisms underlying refugee mental health, with the ultimate goal of informing policy and clinical interventions for refugees.

Professor Meaghan O'Donnell

Phoenix Australia

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Meaghan O’Donnell is the Head of Research at the Phoenix Australia, Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne. She has published widely in the area of posttraumatic mental health. She is the Research Director of the Phoenix Australia Traumatic Research Clinic, which tests new and emerging treatments to promote recovery following trauma exposure. She is on a number of scientific advisory committees including the 2020 National Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey (Australian Bureau of Statistics) and Australian Veteran Health and Wellbeing Advisory Council (Department of Veterans’ Affairs). She is Past President of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies and is a recipient of an Experienced Researcher Humboldt Fellowship. She is on the editorial board for the European Journal of Traumatic Stress Studies, and guest editor on a special COVID-19 edition of this journal.

Amanda Pearce

Phoenix Australia

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Amanda is a Clinical Psychologist specialising in trauma-focused assessment and therapy. She is a trial clinician at the Phoenix Traumatic Stress Clinic and is currently involved in clinical trials for PTSD and sleep treatment. She also works in Private Practice.

Larissa Roberts

Flinders University

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Larissa Roberts is a PhD candidate at Flinders University. Her current research is investigating methods to improve stepped care approaches in treating posttraumatic stress disorder. She has experience working with clients to recover from trauma using Cognitive Processing Therapy and online clinician-guided, self-help programs.

Dr Tetyana Rocks

Food and Mood Centre

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Dr Tetyana Rocks is a Research Fellow and Head of Translation and Education at the Food & Mood Centre, IMPACT, Deakin University. Dr Rocks is has extensively involved in education and training of professionals and community on the topic of Nutritional Psychiatry and is regularly invited to speak at academic and professional events. Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Dr Rocks also leads several research projects exploring the relationship between diet and mental- and gut-health, including investigations in individuals with eating and post-traumatic stress disorders. Currently, Dr Rocks is leading an internationally recognised free online course – Food and Mood: Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition (>68,000 enrolees globally).

Philippa Specker

University of New South Wales

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Philippa Specker is a PhD candidate at the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program (RTRP), in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales. She is a psychologist (clinical registrar), and her research focuses on understanding the relationship between emotion regulation and trauma-related psychopathology among refugees.

Avalon Tissue

University of New South Wales

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Avalon Tissue is the Clinical Lead at the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program at the School of Psychology, UNSW Sydney. She is a Clinical Psychologist and specializes in working with individuals from refugee and asylum-seeker backgrounds to manage symptoms of traumatic stress.

Lee Valentine

The University of Melbourne

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Lee Valentine is a researcher and PhD candidate at Orygen and the Centre for Youth Mental Health at The University of Melbourne. Their areas of interest include youth mental health, digital health, phenomenology, AI, VR, digital ethics, and social media. Lee is a qualified social worker and has developed expertise in qualitative research and end-user design through their PhD research and over six years of experience in digital mental health at Orygen Digital. They are currently the qualitative research lead on the statewide Victorian rollout of MOST (moderated online social therapy)—a world-leading digital solution to offer continuous, integrated face-to-face & digital mental health care to young people.

Dr Karen Williams

Doctors Against Violence Towards Women

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Dr. Karen Williams is a Consultant Psychiatrist who specializes in PTSD and other trauma syndromes. She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. She obtained her undergraduate and medical training at the University of Sydney, NSW. She went on to complete Masters in Public Health and obtained specialty qualifications in Psychiatry. She completed additional training in Traumatic Stress Disorders through the Trauma Centre (Justice Resource Institute, MA).

Dr. Williams is a member of Family Violence Network Committee in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. She is the Special Advisor on Mental Health at the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre. She is also a member of the Professional Advisory Group for The Trauma Recovery Centre being developed on New South Wale’s South Coast.

Dr. Williams is the founder of Doctors Against Violence Towards Women, an advocacy group aimed at promoting the mental and physical safety of women who are survivors of Family Violence and sexual assault.
Dr. Williams has recently provided evidence at the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Family, Sexual and Domestic Violence, as well as the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control in NSW, and is frequently invited to speak on the issue of violence against women in Australia.

Sejla Murdoch

Deputy Director of the Australian Neurofeedback Institute

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Sejla Murdoch is a senior psychologist with 22 years of clinical experience in work with trauma. Sejla has worked as a clinician and a clinical supervisor at the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) since 1998. During her work at STARTTS Sejla facilitated the professional development training program and organised seminars and clinical master classes for a variety of professionals. Sejla also managed the student clinic for clinical and intern psychologist’ placements at STARTTS. Since 2007 together with Mirjana Askovic, Sejla has assisted in the development of the STARTTS Neurofeedback (NF) Clinic, the first in the world to provide NF treatment to refugees. Currently, Sejla is the Senior Team Leader of the STARTTS’ Neurofeedback Program and ANFI Deputy Director. As a mentor, Sejla is passionate about mentoring those who work with children and she aims to incorporate the use of sensory integration work with Neurofeedback.

Joshua Hall


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Joshua is a psychologist (clinical psychology registrar) who works at the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) as a counsellor, researcher and trainer. His work at STARTTS has focused on innovating approaches to clinical assessment for people from a refugee background, providing training to external organisations and facilitating reflective spaces for his colleagues. He is passionate about the contributions that STARTTS’ clients can make to the understanding of mental health and trauma recovery, not only for their own communities, but Australian society as a whole.

Final Session Speakers

Ruth Wraith

Mark Creamer

Louise Newman

Alexander McFarlane