Invited Speakers


Professor Linda Johnston, PhD FEANS FCAHS FAAN, Dean and Professor Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, past-Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities Programs in Nursing and past Co-Chair of the Joint Provincial Nursing Committee. Linda is a Visiting Professor at Soochow University and Zhejiang University, China, and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the European Academy of Nursing Science, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.  Linda's research interests include identifying the impact of global health initiatives in neonatal care. Her policy interests include the development of clinical academic career pathways and the advancement of the nursing profession in low- and middle- income countries.


Professor Alicia Spittle, is a physiotherapist clinical researcher with the Melbourne School of Health Sciences (MSHS). In addition, Alicia works clinically in the neonatal intensive care unit and follow-up clinic at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, and has a research appointment at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Alicia leads several research grants focused on early detection and early intervention for infants at high-risk of neurodevelopmental impairments, including infants born preterm and with cerebral palsy. In 2020, Alicia was recognised as the top Australian researcher in paediatric medicine by The Austrlian newspaper, for the highest number of citations from papers published in the last five years in the top 20 journals in her field. Alicia is co-president of the Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine and has a strong interest in consumer involvement and family centered care. 

Amy Bodley holds a diverse array of qualifications, including a Master's in Paediatric Nursing, a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing specialised in Wound, Ostomy & Continence, and a Bachelor of Nursing. Despite exploring different avenues, her heart always gravitated towards paediatric surgical nursing. Amy's fascination with paediatric surgical nursing extended to wound healing and stoma care, igniting a fervent dedication to these fields. Since 2015, Amy has been an integral part of the Stomal Therapy Department at Monash Medical Centre. In this role, she offers comprehensive ostomy and wound care to patients across the lifespan at various campuses across south-east Melbourne. 

Dr Brian Dunn is a Neonatologist at Joan Kirner Women’s & Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Trained in the UK and Australia, he is passionate about medical education, improving outcomes for extreme preterm infants and has a particular interest in the newborn brain, the focus of his PhD.

Dr Calum Roberts
is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics, Monash University, and is a Consultant Neonatologist at Monash Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. He is the current recipient of an NHMRC Early Leadership Grant, and the lead for lung and resuscitation research at Monash Newborn. Calum's research interests are neonatal resuscitation and respiratory management. His currently active clinical trials include the SURFSUP Trial of supraglottic airway surfactant treatment (ACTRN12620001184965), the FONDUE Trial comparing face mask or nasal mask as first mode of respiratory for very preterm infants (ACTRN12620001086954), and the PinC Trial of physiologically-based cord clamping for infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (NL69575.078.19).

A/Professor Campbell Paul is a Consultant Infant and Child Psychiatrist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and Honorary Principal Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne. With colleagues at the University of Melbourne, Paul has established and delivered postgraduate courses in Infant and Parent Mental Health since 1992. Paul has a special interest in the understanding of the inner world of the baby, particularly as it informs therapeutic work with infants and their parents and has found the NBO (Newborn Behavioural Observations) to be a powerful intervention to enhance the early parent-infant relationship. Paul is a master trainer and Director of NBO Australia, the national NBO training program for professionals based at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Professor Catherine Chamberlain is a Palawa Trawlwoolway woman (Tasmania), Director of Onemda Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Wellbeing and Head of the Indigenous Health Equity Unit at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne.  A Registered Midwife and Public Health researcher, her research aims to identify perinatal opportunities to improve health equity across the lifecourse. She is inaugural Editor-In-Chief of First Nations Health and Wellbeing Lowitja Journal and Principal Investigator for two large multidisciplinary projects – Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future – which aims to co-design support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents experiencing complex trauma; and Replanting the Birthing Trees, which aims to transform intergenerational cycles of trauma to cycles of nurturing and recovery.  

Professor David Tingay is a clinical neonatologist and respiratory physiologist at the Melbourne Children’s Campus (Australia) and leads the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Neonatal Research Program. This is an interconnected program of molecular, imaging and clinical science aiming to better understand lung injury and develop new neonatal critical care respiratory support strategies. David is the current Chair of the Respiratory Failure Section of the European Society of Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care, lead investigator of the international POLAR Trial of PEEP to support the preterm lung at birth and the BLUEPRINT Study to map the phenotypes and evolution of early preterm respiratory health, and a commissioner for the Lancet Commission on the Future of Neonatology.

Hayley Nugara is a dedicated nurse with a passion and expertise in Stomal Therapy, Wound, and Paediatric Urology. In 2019, she successfully completed her graduate certificate in Stomal Therapy, further enhancing her capabilities in this specialised field. Hayley serves as a Clinical Nurse Consultant at Monash Health, where she plays a pivotal role in providing expert care and guidance to patients across the lifespan with complex stomal, wound and urological needs.

Dr Jennifer Hocking, is a midwife who worked in the Australian public maternity system for 20 years before undertaking a PhD – a focused ethnographic study of lactation consultant practice which she completed in 2020. She worked as a lecturer and course coordinator in the Bachelor of Midwifery program at the Australian Catholic University (Melbourne) from 2018 – 2023. Jen was awarded a fellowship of the Australian College of Midwives in 2023 for her work in the profession and for the College and has been ACM Victorian branch chair since 2018.  Jen has recently commenced work at the Australian Breastfeeding Association in the new role of professional engagement where she hopes to be able to draw on her knowledge and experience of both professional and peer breastfeeding support. Jen blogs at jenhock – breastfeeding, birth, mothering, midwifery

Jo Bell is a neonatal nurse with 17 years’ experience in various roles including Clinical Support Nurse, Associate Unit Manager, and 6 years as the Nurse Unit Manager in Newborn Intensive Care at the Royal Women’s Hospital. As the Project & Clinical Lead for FICare, Jo is excited to be leading the implementation of a Family Integrated model of care that reflects the diversity of babies and families cared for in the NICU at the Women’s. She is honoured to have recently been invited to join the FICare International Steering Committee. Jo is passionate about partnering with families to improve health outcomes for babies, and committed to providing exceptional experiences for families throughout their NICU journey.

Dr Joy Olsen is an occupational therapist in neonatal services at the Women’s and a postdoctoral researcher within the Victorian Infant Brain Studies team. Her research focuses on early neurodevelopment, intervention and follow-up for infants born preterm.

(Photo to come) Julia McKeown is a dual trained Registered Nurse and Midwife. Hailing from Brisbane, she started her neonatal career at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital before moving to London to explore the world of surgical neonatal nursing. On returning to Australia she completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Neonatal Intensive Care the University of Melbourne whilst working at The Royal Children's Hospital Butterfly ward. Julia is currently a clinical nurse specialist and COCOON Nurse Coordinator, the family centered-care model at RCH. Her passions include the care of extremely preterm infant, parent education and neurodevelopmental care. Julia is extremely honoured to be presenting this year.

Karen Olver is an organisational wellbeing consultant with a deep understanding of how organisations really function. Originally trained as a registered nurse and later in the psychoanalytic study of organisations, Karen brings a unique blend of experience and expertise spanning 30 years in health and human services to her practice. Karen focuses on creating tailored approaches, solutions and designed interventions that tackle the problems people face at work. Karen digs into people’s experience of work, addressing the unspoken, the undiscussed, and hidden dynamics that get in the way of our work feeling meaningful, manageable, and comprehensible. Karen challenges the taken for granted, believing that our wellbeing at work should never be the price we pay for our jobs. Karen brings an honest, practical and compassionate perspective to her consultancy, fostering genuine solutions for real workplace challenges.

Adjunct Professor Karrie Long is a visionary nursing leader with nearly 20 years’ experience driving health delivery innovation to ensure safer and more effective patient care. As Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, she provides professional leadership, advice and direction to the sector, drawing on a unique set of skills acquired across all aspects and levels of nursing, including regional and metropolitan health settings and academia. 

Dr Marta Thio-Lluch is a Spanish-trained neonatologist who joined The Women’s as a clinician and researcher in 2010. She has an interest in training, education and research related to neonatal resuscitation. Her PhD evaluated equipment used to provide respiratory support to babies in the delivery room. She divides her time between clinical service, research and PIPER- Neonatal transport and Education, especially focused on the Victorian Neonatal Resuscitation Project "NeoResus".

Dr Megan Chapman is a Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne and a Research Associate at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI). Megan has been the coordinator the Infant Mental Health Program at the Royal Children's Hospital since 2008, working across hospital inpatient and community settings. She is the principal investigator on the ROBIN study (Reflecting On Babies in NICU), and her PhD looked at the role of Parental Reflective Functioning on identifying infants and parents at risk of developing trauma and attachment difficulties within a neonatal intensive care environment. Megan is a believer in the need to balance clinical work with life, so in 2021 took up producing very wonky pottery. 

  1. Dr Michael Loftus is a Research Fellow within the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. His research focuses on the intersections between climate change and human health – both the health impacts wrought by climate change, as well as the large carbon footprint of healthcare. Michael is also a Consultant Physician in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Alfred Hospital and undertook his PhD on “Antimicrobial resistance in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories”.

ACNN member invited speakers

Bianca Devsam was a Neonatal Research Nurse Coordinator involved in managing the clinical trials within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (also known as the Butterfly Ward) at the RCH. She recently started her PhD exploring the views of immunisation providers and the public on obtaining special medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines and routine childhood vaccines.  She is also currently setting up a multisite study within Victoria called NIMBUS, which will aim to recruit babies who have had a neonatal stroke to see if we can learn more about the disease to improve outcomes.

Professor Denise Harrison is Professor of Nursing at the University of Melbourne. Denise's
program of research titled Be Sweet to Babies, focuses on pain management for neonates and infants in partnership with their families and clinicians. To produce ‘usable evidence’ with the aim of increasing use of effective pain management strategies, her team co-produced a series of publicly accessible videos in multiple languages for parents demonstrating use of breastfeeding, skin-skin and sucrose during heel lancing and venipuncture (CLICK HERE), a series of vaccination videos showing breastfeeding and sucrose during vaccination (CLICK HERE) and a clinician-targeted video focusing on best ergonomics for heel lances whilst being held by parents (CLICK HERE). Denise was the inaugural Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and University of Ottawa Nursing Research Chair for ten years. She moved back to her Melbourne home in January 2020 to take up her position at The University of Melbourne.

Erin Church is a neonatal nurse and the chairperson of the ACNN Neurodevelopmental Care Special Interest Group (NDC SIG). Erin completed her Postgraduate Diploma of Nursing (Neonatal Intensive Care) at La Trobe University in 2023 and currently works clinically at Mercy Hospital for Women, Heidelberg, where she is an active member of their Infant and Family Centred Developmental Care (IFCDC) SIG. Erin has a passion for furthering neuroprotective IFCDC and has completed training in Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO) and Family and Infant Neurodevelopmental Education (FINE) 1; and is currently working toward becoming an NBO trainer. Erin is the lead author of a clinical infant advocacy tool for use during painful and stressful procedures - The Newborn Traffic Light Tool; working collaboratively with NBO Master Trainers Associations Professor Campbell Paul and Dr. Susan Nicolson, Consultant Neonatologist Natalie Duffy, and Danielle Atkins (Occupational Therapist and NBO Trainer). 

Dr Jennifer Dawson works at the Newborn Research Centre, Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Her current project is 'Clinical Trial Coordinator PLUSS trial. PLUSS is a multicentre randomised controlled trial of surfactant plus budesonide to improve survival free of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in extremely preterm infants.  She trained as a nurse in Canberra and as a midwife in Scotland. She completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2010. Her research has led to over 100 peer-reviewed publications with many incorporated into national and international guidelines for neonatal delivery room management of newly born infants. She is a member of the ILCOR Neonatal Life Support Task Force.

Dr Jo Scott is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) on the Royal Children’s Hospitals (RCH) Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) team in Melbourne.  She earned her Diploma of Nursing and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) certification in New Zealand.  Jo moved to the USA early in her nursing career gaining NICU experience in Hawaii, Washington State and Virginia. She achieved her Master of Science degree at the University of Virginia where she graduated as a Family Nurse Practitioner. While working as a  transport clinician on the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters retrieval team she earned her Post-Master’s certification as an NNP and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice with a research focus on non-accidental head injury in children under 1 year of age. She moved to Australia in 2014 and worked as an NNP in the NICU at RCH prior to joining PIPER on the Fellow roster for the past 7 years.

Nadine Griffiths is a Neonatal Clinical Nurse Consultant with experience in the field of Paediatric and Neonatal Critical Care working in Australia and the United Kingdom. Nadine is passionate about neurodevelopmental care and its application she is one of several staff members who leads a unit based surgical neurodevelopmental round. Nadine regularly presents at conferences, has published two chapters on neurodevelopmental care and is author of several peer reviewed publications. She is the Co-director of the Australian NIDCAP Training and coordinator of the Family and Infant Neurodevelopmental Education Program (FINE) Australia and is a PhD Candidate.

Associate Professor Rosemarie Boland is a postdoctoral researcher, senior lecturer, neonatal nurse and midwife with a nursing career spanning 30 years. She completed her PhD in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne in 2014, investigating risk factors for mortality in very preterm babies born in non-tertiary maternity hospitals in Victoria. She is now leading a five-year postdoctoral program of research aimed at improving outcomes for these babies, supported by a Career Development Award from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

Trish Lowe is a registered nurse, midwife, and qualified child and family health nurse with almost four decades of experience working in private and public health models. Trish’s clinical specialty is neonatal intensive care. In 2013, Trish moved to the Australian College of Nursing, where she is the Nurse Educator responsible for coordinating the Graduate Certificates in Child and Family Health Nursing and Neonatal care. Trish began doctoral studies at UTS in 2020. Her research aims to explain neonatal nurses’ professional quality of life.

Trish is an active member of the Australian College of Midwives, the Australian College of Neonatal Nurses, the Australian College of Nursing, and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association. Trish is committed to supporting nurses and midwives in achieving their lifelong learning goals and adhering to the NMBA mandatory registration standards for continuing professional development and recency of practice.