The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

2021 Award Highlights

With the move of this year's conference to entirely online due to COVID-19, the annual APSAD Awards ceremony was held online within the conference program.

APSAD President Professor Michael Farrell presented the 2021 APSAD Awards for Excellence in Science, Research and Practice. The eight recipients of the APSAD Awards are recognised as having made an outstanding contribution to reducing the harms associated with alcohol and other drug use in Australasia.



Leanne Hides Senior Scientist Award editSenior Scientist Award 
Leanne Hides
Peter Kelly Mid Career Award edit Mid Career Award
Peter Kelly
Nicola Newton Mid Career Award
Mid Career Award
Nicola Newton
Cass_Wright_-_Early_Career_Award_winner_edit.jpgEarly Career Award
Cassandra Wright
Moana Tane First Peoples Award edit
First Peoples Award
Moana Tane
Mentor Award
Cath Chapman
Clinician Award
Lynette Bullen
Grace Oh Advocacy Award edit 
Advocacy Award
Grace Oh 


Senior Scientist Award Professor Leanne Hides

Over the last 20 years, Leanne has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the evidence base for psychological treatments for primary alcohol and other drug (AOD) and mental health problems in young people. Her wealth of clinical experience working as a psychologist in both mental health and substance use treatment settings has provided with Leanne the skills and knowledge to engage this extremely challenging population in clinical trials research. Much of this research is conducted in partnership with AOD services in real-world clinical settings, to ensure the research can be translated into practice.

Leanne has an exceptional track record in AOD research. She has received prestigious fellowships (ARC Future Fellowship, 2012-2016; NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, 2017-2021), and has 201 publications including 186 peer-refereed journal articles and 15 book chapters. Her success in obtaining grants is outstanding: since 2010 she has been a chief investigator on 15 NHMRC grants, including leading our recent NHMRC Research Excellence grant (2021-2025). Leanne's outstanding combination of clinical research and implementation science skills will ensure she continues to make a significant contribution to the development of evidence-based AOD treatments and their translation into AOD services. 

Her leadership in the field of clinical psychology is evident in her appointment as President of the Australian Association of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (AACBT 2010-2014) and she is the incoming president for APSAD, after serving as the Queensland APSAD representative for 6 years.

Mid Career Award A/Prof Nicola Newton

Nicola is an exceptional research leader with a national and international reputation. As Director of Prevention, she leads a large program of prevention research at the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, using innovative digital technologies in large scale trials, and fast-tracking research into practice.

Nicola has developed and commercialised the first effective eHealth prevention programs for substance use, known as Climate Schools. The effectiveness of the Climate Schools programs has been established through seven RCTs in an impressive 14,663 students from 169 schools, and she has provided world-first evidence that eHealth preventive interventions can significantly delay the uptake of alcohol use, reduce binge drinking, reduce illicit drug use, and reduce psychological distress. Of great importance, this evidence has been subject to translation strategies so that her work has reached nearly one thousand schools, more than 26,000 students and 2,300 teachers. Nicola has established an independent program of research, supervising a large team of research staff and students to address the evidence gaps in prevention and the need for improved sustainability.

She has an impressive research trajectory with international and national recognition of her innovative research. She has published a highly impressive 120 peer-reviewed articles, 11 book chapters, 30 reports and 22 drug education resources. Her research has been cited over 3,000 times with average citations per publication three times that of her field (Scimago Journal Rank). Her international standing is reflected in her research being presented >200 times at leading national and international, psychology and addiction conferences, including 22 invited keynotes. As a leading scholar in mental health and substance use prevention, she regularly contributes to public debate. Nicola has attracted over $37 million and led over 59 grants and she is the recipient of 21 national and international awards in recognition of her research excellence.

Mid Career Award A/Prof Peter Kelly

Pete has developed into one of the leading researchers in our field and has established, and continues to lead, an innovative program of research that is focused on improving treatment in the alcohol and other drug sector. His research is conducted at the ‘coal face’ of clinical practice. He is the leading researcher in Australia focused on the non-government treatment sector. This is an often overlooked sector by the research community and it presents enormous challenges for conducting high-quality research (e.g. poorly resourced for research, high staff turnover, traditionally low integration of evidence-based care). However, the NGO sector increasingly plays an extremely important role in the provision of services. The research that Pete is conducting is vital to ensuring high-quality service provision for the large number of Australians accessing NGO services each day.

Pete has established highly impactful partnerships with a range of the leading services providers (e.g. SMART Recovery, We Help Ourselves, The Salvation Army, Odyssey House, Kedesh, St Vincent de Paul). He has done this by really engaging with the clients and clinicians of the services, and working with service providers to deliver highly collaborative research projects. As evidenced by his international leadership of SMART Recovery research, Pete is highly respected both Nationally and Internationally for his research. His work is very well funded by a range of leading State and Nationally competitive funding bodies. Likewise, he has been highly productive in publishing his work (124 journal publications). As recognised by his series of awards (e.g. Excellence in Research Award, National Drug and Alcohol Award; Excellence in Research and Evaluation, NSW NGO Awards), his research is highly valued for the impact that it makes to the field. Likewise, his recent NHMRC success talks to the importance for Pete’s program of research. Pete is the Co-Director of the new NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Alcohol and Other Drug Sector Capacity Building for Outcome Focused, Evidence-Based and Cost-effective Care (2021-2025, Under Embargo). This new CRE is very exciting for our sector and clearly recognises Pete as an important leader in our field.

Early Career Award Dr Cassandra Wright

Dr Wright has made an important and significant contribution to the alcohol and other drug sector since coming to the sector in 2015. This contribution is summarised in a series of papers connected to the development and implementation of the Mobile Intervention for Drinking in Young People (MIDY) intervention. This seminal work produced an internationally unique intervention designed to influence drinking occasions of young people. Based on a series of interactive and tailored text messages, the intervention was co-designed with young people themselves ensuring acceptability. Dr Wright led all aspects of the work in collaboration with her PhD supervisor Dr Megan Lim and findings from initial development of MIDY led to a prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council Project grant being awarded in 2017 to continue the body of work. Ultimately, this pioneering work has advanced the field significantly, highlighting the importance of co-design principles and the potential for using new technologies for intervening during actual drinking events to reduce alcohol consumption and related harms.

Mentor Award  A/Prof Cath Chapman

Cath’s energy, drive and enthusiasm for others is infectious. In addition to providing skills, opportunities and experiences necessary to become a successful academic leader, Cath currently works with over 80 researchers to instil the self-belief needed to realise their potential. She works to create systems that support and build the next generation. The many young researchers whose careers have been fostered by Cath are the future leaders in drug and alcohol research. The awards, publications and grants they have obtained including prestigious NHMRC fellowships are impressive. Cath’s dedication and passion is central to her approach in her leadership of two major initiatives I would like to highlight. Cath is program lead of a prestigious NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Disorders and Substance Use. This multi-institution initiative exists to build capacity in the field. It brings together over 100 researchers, policy makers and people with lived experience.
Cath has established competitive mentoring programs across national and international universities to reach these goals. Recognising the need for structures and mentoring of the youth voice in research she established a Youth Advisory Board, the first focusing on alcohol, drugs and mental health. Through just this one successful awarding winning program she has mentored over 20 young people in research engagement. Impressively, she is chair of the largest learning network in the country, The Mental Health Services Network of Australia and New Zealand, with over 1000 people a year attending meetings. Through this network, her mentoring reach and innovation extend well beyond traditional boundaries directly to people delivering care to the most vulnerable in our community.
Cath is incredibly generous in her mentorship and her exceptional generosity, her mentees have benefited enormously and that generosity has allowed them to succeed. Cath truly embodies the vision of “pay it forward”.

First Peoples Award Dr Moana Pera Tane

Dr Tane has a strong background in corporate leadership and executive management within the Health and Social Services industries in both Australia and New Zealand (Maori Health, health equity, Aboriginal Medical Services, Aboriginal Primary Health Care and Public Health, Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Environmental Health). A comprehensive background in Indigenous smoking cessation (NZ and Australia), national training and implementation of the NZ. Smoking Cessation Guidelines to the non-regulated Maori smoking cessation workforce (Aukati Kai Paipa program). Design, development and implementation of smoking cessation training for Aboriginal Health Workers, RNs and GPs providing smoking cessation advice as routine primary health care in very remote Yolngu communities (Laynhapuy Homelands Health Service).
Community-based postgraduate researcher in New Zealand (Master of Public Health - first-class honors) and in Australia, a decolonised research study in East Arnhem Land investigating smoking, stigma and leadership among the
Yolngu people of the region (Doctor of Philosophy, Indigenous Health, Menzies School of Health Research and Charles Darwin University. In 2020, Post-doctoral Research Fellow iSISTAQUIT, School of Medicine and Public
Health, University of Newcastle and currently an Associate Investigator on a research project, funded by Global Alliance on Chronic Diseases and NHMRC.
Industry experience in Maori and Aboriginal health promotion, public health and tobacco control (NZ and Australia)

Extensive experience living and working in very remote Aboriginal communities (East Arnhem Land NT, Kimberley WA, Ngaanyatjarra Lands Central Desert) and regional communities (Broome WA, Kalgoorlie, Goldfields, WA). Previous experience (evidence to the Select Committee Inquiry: impact of tobacco on Maori), policy recommendations for clinical governance and oversight (East Arnhem Land and Ngaanyatjarra Lands) and ongoing leadership in strategy and policy design for the Tupeka Kore Te Taitokerau (Northland) Tupeka Kore (Tobacco Free) Strategy (in train). Recipient Australian Postgraduate Award 2014; published author (five publications in international academic journals).

Clinician Award Lynette Bullen

Lynette Bullen is a Wiradjuri woman who has worked in drugs and alcohol for near 30 years in urban, regional, rural and remote NSW. She has held a range of roles, from being a mothercraft nurse in a women’s residential rehabilitation service to an alcohol and other drug counsellor and aftercare coordinator. Since 2012, she has been employed at the Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment Unit in Orange as a Senior
Drug and Alcohol Clinician. She strives to ensure optimum care for her clients (and their family) and has been a leading voice to ensure care delivered in IDAT is culturally safe and inclusive of local services based in the client’s home community. She sees this as key to ensuring seamless care once a client is discharged from IDAT and heads back at home. Alongside her clinical duties, Lynette has been involved with research and research translation for many years. She is the ‘female English’ voice on the Grog Survey App an accurate and acceptable tool designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples describe how much they drink. She is a member of the working group advising the development of the Drug Survey App (NHMRC-funded Ideas grant). She is an author of a chapter in an edited clinical text requested by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander alcohol and other drug workforce nationally (published in 2012). More recently, she is undertaking a Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) Rural Research Capacity Building Program through NSW Health. Supported in this study by the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol, Lynette is leading a study that is examining factors that influence referrals of Aboriginal clients to involuntary drug and alcohol care in NSW. Lynette is a member of the Western NSW Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee and in 2020 she received the Western Health Research Network Emerging Researcher’s Presentation Award.

Advocacy Award Grace Oh 

Grace Oh is a Senior Workforce Development Officer at the Mental Health Commission (MHC) WA. Grace is the WA Naloxone Project Lead and works collaboratively with alcohol and other drugs and Health services to deliver state-wide WA Naloxone Programs. Grace currently sits on the MHC Overdose Strategy Group and Early Warning System as well as the National Naloxone Reference Group. Grace has 20 years’ experience in the alcohol and other drugs sector and is passionate about innovative Harm Reduction and Peer Education approaches to reduce drug-related harm and deaths in the WA community. Grace is also Principal Consultant for Australian Drug Education & Consultancy, providing drug education for safer events and reducing drug-related harm in the community.