The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

2016 Award Highlights

 Congratulations to the below APSAD Award winners

AWARD WINNER small size

Left to Right: Louisa Degenhardt; Lisa Ferguson; Brad Freeburn; Alison Ritter; Louise Mewton;

Mentor Award – Professor Alison Ritter 

Professor Alison Ritter has been an exemplary mentor in the AOD sector for over twenty years, from her years as Head of Research at Turning Point (1994 – 2006) through to her past decade as the Director of the Drug Policy Modelling Program (2006 – present).  Alison has worked tirelessly to provide support and career advice to her mentees, and does so generously and in accordance with the individual’s own goals, interests and aspirations. Through her leadership of DPMP, Alison has fostered a vibrant and active multi-disciplinary research team, with an international reputation for excellence in drug policy research and demonstrable policy impact.

Alison’s commitment to mentoring extends beyond DPMP. Alison is a thoughtful and generous mentor to early – and mid-career researchers from a range of other institutions and acts as a formal mentor to junior academics in other disciplines at UNSW through ECR mentoring scheme (2010 to present) and in the UNSW Academic Women in Leadership scheme (2010 to present). 

The Mentor Award recognises an individual who has made an important contribution to mentoring and supporting the career development of clinicians, researchers or students.

Early Career Award – Dr Louise Mewton 

Dr Louise Mewton’s exceptional and inspiring contributions to drug and alcohol research have been widely recognised both nationally and internationally.  Focusing on the prevalence, causes and prevention of substance use disorders in young people, her highly innovative program of research makes links across epidemiology, information technology, neuropsychiatry and prevention research, and reflects global research priorities.

The Early Career Award is for excellence in research relative to career opportunities.

First Peoples Award – Mr Bad Freeburn 

Brad Freeburn is a Bundjalung man, born at Casino on the North Coast of New South Wales. He is the coordinator of the Drug and Alcohol and Mental Health Unit of the Aboriginal Medical Service Co-op Ltd Redfern. Brad became interested in Indigenous health issues, graduating as an Aboriginal Health Worker in 1993. Having worked in the drug and alcohol field since 1995, before that in the private sector

For the past 20 years, Brad has worked tirelessly to reduce improve the wellbeing of both his clients and advocating for the needs of other Aboriginal people at local, state and national level for culturally appropriate alcohol and other drug services.

The First Peoples Award recognises an individual that has made an important contribution to the advancement of the health of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori peoples.

Clinician Award – Ms Lisa Ferguson 

In her role at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney Lisa works tirelessly as the only Drug and Alcohol Clinical Nurse Consultant at this 320-bed hospital to ensure patients have access to Drug and Alcohol interventions as well as continuation of care and effective discharge planning for all patients coming through pharmacotherapy treatment. 

Clinician Award recognises excellence and leadership in clinical practice in substance use in any discipline.

Senior Scientist Award – Professor Louisa Degenhardt 

Louisa is an extremely talented and productive researcher and is a global leader in the addiction research field. She has dedicated her career to exploring the complexities of drug-related harm and ensuring policy makers, clinicians and the community have current and comprehensive information to make sound, informed decisions, which of course is crucial in the drug and alcohol field.

Her research has already gone a long way to establishing a comprehensive evidence base for drug policy and clinical practice, both in Australia and internationally. Louisa’s work documenting what is and is not known regarding the epidemiology and health effects of illicit drugs has shaped discourse at a local and global level. She is regularly sought by researchers, government, NGOs, and UN agencies to collaborate and provide advice.

Louisa is internationally acknowledged for her expertise in illicit drug use and harms including infectious disease, particularly among vulnerable and marginalised groups. She is a lead contributor to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study which measures years of life lost due to premature mortality or illness. She is currently on the GBD Core Analytic team overseeing modelling of burden due to mental disorders and substance use, having co-chaired the Mental Disorders and Illicit Drug Use Expert Group for the 2010 study. She has worked with Prof Ron Kessler since 2006 on the WHO’s World Mental Health Surveys. 

The Senior Scientist Award is for a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of substance use and misuse.