Mental Health Expert Reference Group Members

The Australian Government has established a Mental Health Expert Reference Group (ERG) to provide advice to inform the response to the Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services. The Government tasked the National Mental Health Commission to undertake the Review, and consultation with the time limited ERG and other stakeholders is now underway to inform implementation considerations and action. Information about the members of the Mental Health ERG are listed here.

Ms Kate Carnell AO
Role: Chair

Kate Carnell is currently the CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). ACCI, Australia’s largest and most representative business organisation is the leading voice of business in Australia advocating for over 300,000 businesses across all industries.

Kate is well known and respected in the not-for-profit and business communities having served two years as CEO of beyondblue and previously four years as CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council.

Kate began her professional life as a Pharmacist. She owned and managed pharmacies for some 20 years, was the inaugural chair of the ACT Branch of the Australian Pharmacy Guild and went on to become National Vice-President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Professor Jane Pirkis
Role: Suicide prevention and mental health research

Professor Jane Pirkis (PhD) is the Director of the Centre for Mental Health in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. She has undertaken a number of policy-relevant studies of suicide and suicide prevention in Australia, including profiling the epidemiology of suicide and suicidal behaviour among the general population and among at-risk groups. She has a particular research interest in suicide and the media. She has also undertaken a number of evaluations of large-scale suicide prevention programs and mental health care initiatives. 

Professor Harvey Whiteford
Role: Mental health planning and reform

Professor Whiteford is the Kratzmann Professor of Psychiatry and Population Health at The University of Queensland, one of the first private sector funded academic positions in mental health in Australia. In Australia he oversaw the implementation of the first national mental health plan as Chair of the National Mental Health Working Group and established the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research where he is currently the Director, Mental Health Policy and Epidemiology Group.

Professor Nickolai Titov
Role: Teleweb service delivery

Professor Nickolai Titov is the founding Project Director of the MindSpot Clinic, an Australia-wide online and telephone treatment service for people with anxiety and depression. This innovative Clinic provides low and high intensity stepped care and evidence-based psychological interventions.  Nickolai’s research and clinical work has been focused on the development and evaluation of strategies for reducing barriers to treatments for people with high prevalence psychological disorders. He has developed and managed two virtual research clinics, and maintains active collaborations with researchers in five countries. Nickolai has developed and evaluated leading internet-delivered treatment interventions across 40 clinical trials with more than 4000 adults. He continues to supervise and train Postdoc, PhD, and higher degree students at Macquarie University.

Professor Thomas Callaly
Role: Regional service integration

Professor Tom Callaly is Executive Director and Clinical Director of Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol at Barwon Health: Mental Health and Clinical Professor, Deakin University. He has had an interest in Leadership and Management in mental health, benchmarking and practical aspects of the implementation of routine outcome measures and in the use of ICT in improving mental health service delivery. He has a Masters in Business Leadership and is a Fellow of the Australian Association of Quality in Healthcare.

Professor Jane Gunn
Role: Primary mental health

Professor Jane Gunn is Professor and Foundation Chair of Primary Care Research. Prof Gunn is a general practitioner and Head of the Department of General Practice. She completed her PhD in 1998. In 2009, she was appointed to the National Health and Medical Research Council Research Committee. She leads a research program into mental health; focussing in particular on depression and multimorbidity. Her research harnesses the patient experience to drive health care reform. She is committed to person centred health care which places primary care at the centre of an integrated health care system.

Ms Julie Anderson
Role: Consumer representative

Ms Anderson is currently the Manager of Consumer Participation Strategy at Neami National. She has also previously been a Director, President and Vice President at Neami National. She is a member of Mental Health Australia’s National Register of Mental Health Consumer and Carer Representatives and a graduate of the National Mental Health Commission’s National Future Leaders in Mental Health Project.

Dr Peggy Brown
Role: State/Territory representative

Dr Peggy Brown is currently the Director General of ACT Health. She is also a Member of the Health Workforce Australia Board. She trained in Medicine and specialised in Psychiatry, and has significant clinical and administrative experience, having worked both within Australia and internationally. She has provided leadership in national mental health policy development and implementation over the past decade, including chairing the committee that oversees key national mental health safety and quality initiatives. From 2007 – 2009, she led a national project to reduce, and where possible, eliminate the use of seclusion and restraint in mental health services across Australia. 

Prof Julio Licinio
Role: Strategic Professor of Psychiatry

Professor Julio Licinio is the deputy director for Translation Strategy and Process and head of the Mind & Brain Theme at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, and strategic professor of psychiatry at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, as well as research professor of psychiatry at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His area of scientific expertise is pharmacogenomics, as well as the biology of depression, and he has edited books on both topics. He has also published considerable research on translational psychiatry, as well as on obesity and the possible link between obesity, depression, and antidepressants.

Dr Andrew Wilson
Role: Private Psychiatrist

Dr Andrew Wilson is a practising psychiatrist and Medibank’s Executive General Manager of Provider Networks and Integrated Care. In his role at Medibank, Dr Wilson is responsible for managing claims expenses, provider contracting, claims auditing and improved model of care initiatives encompassing Medibank’s relationships with hospitals and medical professionals Andrew has 25 years experience in the public health system, and remains a practising psychiatrist and lecturer.

Prof Brett McDermott
Role: Youth mental health

Professor Brett McDermott is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. He is the Executive Director of the Mater Child and Youth Mental Health Service, a Director of beyondblue, a Professor at the Queensland University of Technology, and is a member of the Australian National Mental Health Disaster Response Committee. He is highly regarded for his knowledge and skills in a number of clinical areas including eating disorders and depression and his expertise with child and adolescent emotional trauma.

Dr Shane Langsford
Role: Psychologist

Dr Langsford is a psychologist who founded a consultancy service, PECS, in 1999. PECS conducts psychological, neuropsychological, psychometric, and educational assessments for children, adolescents and adults, and provides appropriate intervention relative to the outcome of the assessment, or as requested by the referring health/education professional.

Mr Mark Booth
Role: Ex-officio, Department of Health

Mr Mark Booth is currently the First Assistant Secretary, Primary Care Division at the Department of Health. 

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