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Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia

Collaborators & Key Partners

Index of Investigators, in alphabetical order by surname

Professor David Atkinson  

Associate Investigator
Rural Clinical School of WA, University of Western Australia and University of Notre Dame

Professor Atkinson is a General Practitioner who works between the University of Western Australia Rural Clinical School in Broome and the Kimberly Aboriginal Medical Services Council.

Professor Atkinson is a Chief Investigator for gECHO RHD screening study and the CRE to Improve Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children. He is an experienced medial educator and member of the Clinical Advisory Group for the WA RHD control program. 

Professor Dawn Bessarab

Chief Investigator
Director, Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health, University of Western Australia

Professor Bessarab completed her Social Work studies with first class honours in 1996. She worked in a range of public sector settings in Indigenous issues including the Department of the Attorney General.

In this role she liaised across courts and tribunal services and led the development of culturally appropriate pamphlets informing Aboriginal people about court processes and de-mystifying the legal jargon and language.

She has also worked for the Department of Child Protection (then Community Development) as a social worker and a Aboriginal child protection worker where her role involved child protection investigations, development and delivery of Aboriginal child protection training to Departmental workers, providing advice on Aboriginal issues, family support and community development approaches to working with Aboriginal communities, families and children engaged in the child protection system. 

Ms Claire Boardman 

Associate Investigator 
Deputy Director RHD Australia

Ms Boardman is the Deputy Director of RHD Australia and provides oversight for RHD Australia projects in primordial prevention, novel community collaboration and strategic planning for service delivery. Ms Boardman provides a critical liaison between RHD Australia, the Jurisdictional Reference Group and the Investigator Team.  

Professor Alex Brown 

Chief Investigator
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Indigenous Health Theme Leader 

Professor Brown received his Bachelor of Medicine in 1996 and Masters of Public Health in 1999. He completed his PhD in 2010 with thesis on ‘Kurunpa [Spirit]: Exploring the Psychosocial Determinants of Coronary Heart Disease in Indigenous Men in Central Australia’.

Prof Brown has extensive experience in working in rural/remote communities, primary care and hospital settings, and has led detailed and extremely challenging fieldwork in Aboriginal community research. 

Professor Jonathan Carapetis 

Chief Investigator
Director, Telethon Kids Institute 

Professor Carapetis has forged new directions in translational research through his leadership of two research institutes; Menzies School of Health Research and Telethon Kids Institute. Professor Carapetis completed his doctoral studies on documenting the burden of RHD in Indigenous Australians in 1994 and has been at the forefront of domestic and international disease control efforts over the last two decades.

Professor Carapetis is Chief Investigator A of studies into improving secondary prophylaxis deliver, genetics of RHD and the END RHD CRE. He is the Australian lead investigator on the GAS vaccine project CANVAS and the co-director of RhEACH, an organisation providing technical support for RHD control in developing countries.

Dr Samantha Colquhoun 

Associate Investigator 
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Dr Colquhoun has managed the Pacific Program for RHD Control since 2005. Dr Colquhoun is actively involved in the Global Burden of Disease project for RHD and the Fiji GrASP study. Dr Colquhoun has received funding to develop a protocol for estimating the burden of RHD from routinely collected data sets.

Professor Bart Currie 

Chief Investigator
Director, RHD Australia

Professor Currie has been the Head of the Clinical Unit (now known as the Tropical and Emerging Infectious Diseases) at the Menzies School of Health Research and Senior Staff Specialist Physician at the Royal Darwin Hospital for more than two decades. He also runs the Darwin Prospective Melioidosis Study, now in its 25th year.

Professor Currie was Head of the Biomedical Program of the former Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health and an initial Program Leader of the Biomedical Program of the subsequent CRC for Aboriginal Health.

Ms Heather D’Antoine

Chief Investigator
Associate Director, Indigenous Capacity Building, Education and Training, Menzies School of Health Research

Ms D’Antoine received a diploma in nursing in 1978 and a diploma of midwifery in 1987. She worked as a remote area nurse, gaining experience in health service delivery. In 1990 she received a Bachelor of Applied Science (Health Science) followed by a Masters in Health Economics (Aboriginal health) in 2006. 

Professor Nick de Klerk

Chief Investigator
Head of Biostatistics, Telethon Kids Institute

Professor de Klerk has over 30 years of experience in biostatistics and epidemiology and has published widely in the areas of occupational respiratory disease, cancer epidemiology, child health, and biostatistics, with over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals. 

Professor Karen Edmond 

Chief Investigator
Professor of Aboriginal Child Health Research, School of Paediatric and Child Health University of Western Australia

Professor Edmond’s expertise has developed from her paediatric and public health roles over the last 20 years in poor and Indigenous communities in Australia, Africa, Asia, and the UK. Professor Edmond completed her paediatric and public health training in Australia; gained her PhD from the University of London and has recently received a Research Council of United Kingdom fellowship.

Professor Edmond is world leader in large randomised control trials among vulnerable populations, she is the CIA of the CRE to Improve Health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children.

A/Professor Vicki Krause 

Associate Investigator
Director, Centre for Disease Control Northern Territory 

A/Prof Krause is the Director of the Centre for Disease Control in the Northern Territory, which houses the NT RHD Control Program, and immediate past Chair of the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA). A/Prof Krause has lead thinking about ARF and RHD as notifiable diseases and development of a ‘Series of National Guidelines’ for ARF. 

Dr Dan McAullay 

Chief Investigator
Principal Research Fellow, School of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia

Dr McAullay completed his doctoral studies in 2010 on ‘Primary health care and maternal, infant and child health of Western Australia’. His postdoctoral work has focused on supporting ethical and culturally appropriate practices in research, projects or fieldwork that involve Indigenous Australian issues, people or knowledge or that impact on Indigenous people or communities.

Dr McAullay is an investigator on the CRE to Improve Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children. 

Professor Graeme Maguire

Chief Investigator
Head, Baker IDI Clinical Research Domain 

Professor Maguire’s clinical experience in rural and remote sites across Australia (including Alice Spring, Grafton, Horsham, Broken Hill, Kimberly, Bundaberg and Cairns) provided critical insight into the challenges of rural and remote medical practice. Professor Maguire received his PhD in Respiratory Health and Disease in Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory in 2004.

Dr Anna Ralph

Associate Investigator
Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research 

Dr Ralph is a staff specialist in infectious diseases and general medicine at the Royal Darwin Hospital and also a senior clinical research fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research. She is an honorary fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) and a member of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Network. Dr Ralph currently oversees a trial of a health services intervention to improve secondary prophylaxis in the Northern Territory.

Professor Christopher Reid 

Associate Investigator 
A/Director, CCRE Therapeutics, School of Public Health & Preventative Medicine, Monash University 

Professor Reid is a cardiovascular epidemiologist with a focus on outcome registries. Professor Reid sits on the National Steering Committee for the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons. He is a Principal Investigator for the Victorian Cardiac Procedures Registry Project and the Melbourne Interventional Group registries. 

Dr Thomas Snelling 

Associate Investigator 
Scientific Director of Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute 

Dr Snelling is a paediatric infectious diseases physician. His areas of research interest are in the epidemiology of vaccine preventable diseases, in particular evaluating the population-level impacts of vaccination. He also has a specific clinical and research interest in Indigenous child health, and was the inaugural recipient of the Alan Walker Scholarship in Indigenous Child Health Research.

A/Prof Andrew Steer 

Chief Investigator
Group Leader of the Group A Streptococcal Research Group, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute 

A/Prof Steer is a consultant paediatrician and paediatric infectious diseases physician at the Royal Children's Hospital. He is a Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for International Child Health in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Stephanie Trust 

Associate Investigator 
Medical Director, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council

Dr Trust is a Kidja Woman and General Practitioner. Dr Trust is also a member of the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association Board and an Associate Investigator in the CRE in Improving Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Dr Gavin Wheaton 

Associate Investigator 
Head of Cardiology at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide

Dr Wheaton spent a decade as a paediatrician at the Alice Springs Hospital. Dr Wheaton has collaborated on RHD research for many years with key roles in echocardiographic screening studies. He was instrumental in establishing the Central Australian RHD Control Program. 

Dr Rosemary Wyber

Associate Investigator
Deputy Director, RhEACH

Dr Wyber is a General Practice Registrar training in remote Indigenous primary care. As a Fulbright Fellow Dr Wyber completed her masters of public health at the Harvard School of Public Health and forged important links with the World Heart Federation. She has developed new paradigms for models of care for RHD, and is the Deputy Director for the international RHD policy and advocacy group, RhEACH.