Keynote Speakers

Professor Vicki Clifton

Professor Vicki Clifton has been a National Health and Medical Research Council Research Fellow for her entire career (2000-present). She is internationally recognized for her research on asthma and pregnancy, birth cohort studies and her work in human placental physiology with a particular focus on steroid receptor isoforms and their role in fetal-placental physiology. Her current research focusses on the health of reproductive age couples and their children, and she leads the Queensland Family Cohort Study, a large-scale study that engages 150 researchers from 50 different institutions. She is Co Lead of the Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners Mothers and Babies Theme.

Vicki was employed at the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide from January 2008 to April 2015 after many years as Deputy Director of the Mothers and Babies Research Centre in Newcastle, Australia. While at the Robinson Research Institute she was Director of Clinical Research at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide, Australia (2009-2014). Prof Clifton was the first female President of the Endocrine Society of Australia (2004-2013). She was the first female Editor of the Placenta Journal (2012-2018). She has made a significant contribution to many international societies, was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine for her contributions to research and continues to engage and value add outside and within her discipline.

Professor Sarah Larkins

Dr Sarah Larkins is an academic general practitioner, Dean College of Medicine and Dentistry and Professor of Health Systems Strengthening in the College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University.

Sarah's particular focus is on collaborating to improve equity in health care services for underserved populations, particularly rural, remote, Indigenous and tropical populations, and on training a health workforce with appropriate knowledge, attitudes and skills for this purpose.

To date, Sarah has over 140 published peer-reviewed journal articles and several book chapters, with an h-index of 31, more than 3000 citations and well over $90m in grant funding. This includes five current NHMRC grants as a CI, investigating participatory strategies to strengthen quality improvement in Indigenous primary health care centres and a DFAT grant on strengthening implementation research capacity for surveillance and response in the Pacific. She currently supervises 11 students at HDR level with 14 completions. Other recent funding is from the CRC-NA and the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Ms Melody Muscat

Melody is a descendant of the Bidjara Peoples of south-west Queensland, and currently employed as the Research Officer of the WOMB project. Melody as experience in working as a public health academic and researcher with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia, with a particular interest in women’s health and wellbeing.

Professor Deborah Loxton

As the Director of the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Women's Health Research, Professor Deb Loxton has been at the forefront of women’s health research in Australia for over two decades.

Deb is also the Director of the globally significant Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health at the University of Newcastle. Deb’s work provides crucial insights into factors affecting women’s long-term health, researching risk factors and health outcomes for women with experiences of domestic violence and adversity in childhood. This dedicated women’s health researcher also explores maternal and infant health with the aim of reducing worldwide rates of mortality and morbidity. Across all her work, Deb is committed to seeing research translate into action and answers for women. Deb currently serves as the Chair of the Women’s Health Research Translation and Impact Network.

She has authored over 240 peer reviewed publications and has produced a further 39 government reports. Professor Loxton’s program of work has informed health policy in Australia, New Zealand and USA in the areas of domestic violence, reproductive health, sole motherhood, and most recently responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Deb has been awarded over $25 million funding and has been involved in over 120 collaborations in Australia and internationally.