All general enquiries relating to the 2018 Conference should be directed to the Conference Co-Leader Dr Margaret Carter on (07) 4781 6323 or by emailing

Dr Margaret Carter

Senior Lecturer, James Cook University

Since commencing work at James Cook University in 2010, initially at JCU's Singapore campus, Dr Margaret Carter's motivation and challenge has been leading and sustaining meaningful environments that enhance learning and engagement within higher education. Her main areas of research and educational consultancy include mental health and wellness, preventing cyberbullying, and young children’s social behaviour.

Dr Carter has intentionally intertwined research, teaching and community engagement in all aspects of her work, a process that led to her receiving a National Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning in 2017 for leading a transformative and ethical community of inquiry approach in the guidance and counselling program.

Dr Carter's scholarship and research in cyber safety and mental health is grounded in her understanding and advocacy that mental health is everyone’s business. Currently, she is leading an internal Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement project that seeks to rethink how the curriculum can better support guidance, counselling, and career development students’ mental health, and how promotion, prevention and early intervention strategies can be integrated into the culture of higher education institutions.

Dr Carter is co-leader of the 2018 Australasian Mental Health and Higher Education Conference.

Kimberley Anderson

Student Equity and Wellbeing Project Officer, James Cook University

Kimberley Anderson is a Project Officer within the Student Equity and Wellbeing Unit at James Cook University. She works on various projects that aim to support students and enhance their university experience.

A former site manager for the Australian Child Support Agency, Kimberley has also worked for the Australian Taxation Office. She has always had a keen interest in Human Services and has enjoyed applying her knowledge and experience within the higher education sector.

Dr Beryl Buckby

Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer, James Cook University

Dr Beryl Buckby is a Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer in the undergraduate and postgraduate Master of Psychology (Clinical) programs in the College of Healthcare Sciences at James Cook University. Her teaching and research encompass clinical supervision and psychopathology, young-age onset dementia, mental health (particularly interventions), stress-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as suicide and suicide prevention in North Queensland communities.

Dr Buckby's current focus is inter-professional education and communication and the role psychologists play in enhancing person-centered care. Over her 25 years as a psychologist, she has worked in Forensic Mental Health with adolescents and adults, older persons’ mental health in residential-care settings, and in a small private practice for adults with complex mental health issues.

In collaboration with JCU's Professor Ed Helmes, Dr Buckby established a memory and carer support clinic in 2008 within the JCU Psychology Clinic. She was also a partner in the establishment and conduct of a 12-week group PTSD program designed especially for non-military members of the community, which was delivered eight times in the years 2010 to 2015 at the JCU Psychology Clinic.

Dr Abraham Francis

Associate Professor in Social Work and Human Services, James Cook University

Dr Abraham Francis is an Associate Professor in Social Work and Human Services at James Cook University. He is also a research associate in the Department of Social Work, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and an Adjunct Faculty at Prasanna School of Public Health, Manipal University, India.

Dr Francis is passionate about working in and researching strengths-based practice in mental health. He has contributed extensively to the literature on Social Work practice in mental health through his publications, convening conferences, establishing research networks, and by developing consortiums.

Dr Francis' excellence in teaching has been recognised on a number of occasions. In 2010, he was a recipient of JCU's Inclusive Practice Award for 'exceptional support for students with a disability'. More recently, in 2016, he received a JCU Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for 'leadership and expertise in social work education in mental health that inspires and nurtures students to be competent, confident and compassionate practitioners'.

Associate Professor David Lindsay

College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University

Associate Professor David Lindsay is a Registered Nurse and an experienced nurse academic and researcher within the Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research at James Cook University. He has long-standing interest and involvement in rural nursing and rural nurse education in Australia, and nursing education and practice in low-resource settings across the Western Pacific, particularly Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice roles. His research interests currently include long-term condition self-management by health professionals, bullying within nursing, and tuberculosis management in low-resource settings in the Western Pacific.

Dr Lindsay is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing and a Friend of the National Rural Health Alliance.

Claire Ovaska

Senior Liaison Librarian, James Cook University

Claire Ovaska is Senior Liaison Librarian for the Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, James Cook University. She is dedicated to improving learning and teaching outcomes for students and supporting academic staff research.

Claire completed Mental Health First Aid training in 2016 and was (naively) surprised at how often she has since drawn on this training. Claire has assimilated that ‘mental health is everyone’s business’ and wants to see improved mental health outcomes for staff and students in higher education.

Simone Ross

Lecturer, College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University

Simone Ross is a Lecturer in the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor Surgery (MBBS) program and Master of Health Professional Education within the College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University. Her research and teaching encompass socially accountable health professional education, supporting the student transition to university and beyond, and the development of leadership skills training for medical students.

Since becoming an academic in 2012, Simone has won two team-based James Cook University Citations for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. The first, in 2015, was awarded for the MBBS Home Group Program, which fosters student connectedness, academic engagement, and success in a regional medicine undergraduate course (a program Simone has led since 2013). The second, in 2017, was awarded for empowering first-year medical students to be person-centred and value ‘social medicine’ as highly as biomedicine topics, through blended learning in a competency-based curriculum.

In 2015 in collaboration with MBBS students, Simone created a mentor program for first-year international students. In collaboration with Dr Kim Owens, she established an 8-week mindfulness program for first-year medical students in the MBBS, Bachelor of Pharmacy, and Bachelor of Dentistry programs, which has been delivered since 2015.

Simone holds a BPsych and MDR from James Cook University, has several years' experience in international research and program management, and is currently enrolled in a PhD investigating medical student leadership needs for the Australian health system.

Larissa SiliƩzar

Manager, Student Equity and Wellbeing Unit, James Cook University

Larissa SiliƩzar manages the Student Equity and Wellbeing Unit at James Cook University. The Unit provides free Accessibility, Counselling, Chaplaincy, and Equity and Wellbeing services to all JCU students.

Larissa’s research interests focus on access and equity in higher education including improving access and participation for people on humanitarian visas, as well as cross-cultural conflict resolution.

Associate Professor Liz Tynan

Senior Lecturer, Graduate Research School, James Cook University

Dr Liz Tynan is senior lecturer and coordinator of the professional development program at the Graduate Research School, James Cook University. She teaches academic writing and critical thinking skills to postgraduate students and has particular responsibility for convening the Skills for International Postgraduates (SKIP) program and the Post-Entry Language Assessment (PELA) program. She also has an adjunct senior lecturer appointment with the College of Arts, Society and Education.

Dr Tynan is a former journalism academic with a background in both print and electronic media, specialising in science writing and editing. She has worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as a reporter and sub-editor and was later Sydney correspondent for New Scientist. She is co-author of the Oxford University Press textbook Media and Journalism: New Approaches to Theory and Practice, now in its third edition. She is also co-author and coordinating editor of the OUP text, Communication for Business. Her 2016 book titled Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story is published by NewSouth Publishing.