The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

2023 Awards Highlights

The APSAD Awards were presented at APSAD Adelaide 2023 by Presidents Professor Leanne Hides and Dr Craig Rodgers. The 2023 APSAD Awards for Excellence in Science, Research and Practice were presented throughout the three-day conference program with the 10 APSAD Award recipients being recognised for having made an outstanding contribution to reducing the harms associated with alcohol and other drug use in Australasia.


 Nico Clark

Nico Clark 23

Alison Beck

Alison Beck 2 23

Penny Hill

Penny Hill 2

 Kylie Lee & Craig Holloway

Kylie Craig

 Sara Farnbach

Sara Farnbach 23 3

 Chris Holmwood

Chris Holmwood 23

Senior Scientist Award - Professor Elizabeth Elliott

Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM FAHMS FRSN MD MPhil MBBS FRACP FRCPCH FRCPis a Distinguished Professor in Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney; Consultant Paediatrician at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (Westmead) and holds a prestigious and highly competitive Medical Research Futures Fund Next Generation Fellowship, her third such Fellowship.

Elizabeth has dedicated her career to advancing the human rights, health, and quality of life for ill and disadvantaged children in Australia and beyond, through education, research, clinical care and advocacy. Specific examples include promoting the health and human rights of children disabled by rare diseases, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and vaccine-preventable and other infectious diseases; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, particularly in remote Australia; asylum seeker and refugee children, particularly in Immigration detention; children receiving cochlear implants; children with Female Genital Mutilation (FGMC); and children with cerebral palsy, including in developing countries in our region, particularly Vietnam.

She is the spokesperson on child health for UNICEF Australia and consultant to the WHO and the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. She chairs the Australian Government’s national FASD Advisory Group and is a Board Director for the National Organisation for FASD and Royal Far West. She is widely published and has been recognised for her work nationally and internationally.

Mid Career Award - Associate Professor Kylie Lee

Kylie is deputy director of Indigenous Health and Substance Use in Addiction Medicine, at the University of Sydney and visiting research fellow, at the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (La Trobe University). Her highly original research in alcohol and other drug use is led by community or health service requests. Kylie and her team have pioneered translational research approaches. She is the lead editor of a clinical textbook requested by Indigenous AOD workers nationally and has been invited to assist Inuit and Sri Lankan communities in knowledge translation. Her work has won national recognition including a 2011 Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Award for a film on problem drinking. Kylie has played a central role in supporting Aboriginal post-graduate research students, trainees and research assistants through the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol. Kylie’s mentoring is founded on respect and two-way learning.  Her generosity, care and dedication is deeply appreciated by those she mentors. And her love of research – and of fine cooking- is infectious.

Early Career Award - Dr Sara Farnbach

Sara is Program Lead, RISE Team (Research, Innovate, Strengthen, Embed) at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW. She has passion for improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable communities through evidence-based and tailored health service delivery. Her program is focused on preventing harms from alcohol and other drugs in rural and regional NSW and working collaboratively with communities to tailor health services to their setting. Her PhD research focused on facilitators to conducting high-quality and culturally-appropriate research focused on strengthening wellbeing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. She has research experience working on qualitative designs, embedding evaluations into service delivery and RCTs.

Her current research is focused improving health service delivery to meet the needs of people with alcohol and other drug use problems. She has an interest in novel approaches to service evaluation, using routinely collected data and pragmatic trial designs.

Sara is a Registered Nurse with clinical experience in renal dialysis units in far north Queensland. She has a Masters of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and has worked in the Philippines and the Pacific on several programs including communicable disease control and maternal and child health. She has also worked on health promotion programs in Australia.

Early Career Award - Dr Alison Beck

Dr Alison Beck is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist based in the School of Psychology, University of Wollongong. She has extensive clinical and research experience working with adults attending mental health and alcohol and other drug treatment services. Her research is focused on improving the delivery and outcomes of psychosocial interventions for people affected by addictive behaviours and other mental health conditions.

Mentor Award - Dr Chris Holmwood

Chris is an Addiction Medicine Physician in Adelaide. Until recently he was Director of Clinical Partnerships with Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia. He is a member of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine Training Committee. Prior to working at DASSA he was Clinical Director of the South Australian Prison Health Service, and prior to that was State Director of the RACGP Training Program for SA/NT. His main professional interest is improving health service responses for people with substance use related problems.

Mentor Award - Professor Gillian Gould

Gillian Gould is Professor in Health Equity and recently completed an NHMRC Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Fellow, co-funded by Cancer Institute NSW, at Southern Cross University. She is an active vocationally registered GP with >30 years' experience, and a Tobacco Treatment Specialist. Her clinical work is at the Coffs Harbour Refugee Health Clinic which she co-founded in 2006. Previously a founding academic at UNSW Faculty of Medicine Rural Clinical School 2002-11, Head of Campus Rural Clinical school, senior research fellow. Gould is committed to supporting regional research.

First Peoples Award - Rebecca Hyland

Rebecca Hyland is a proud Kamilaroi woman, currently living, working and raising her two jarjums on Gumbaynggirr Country. Rebecca is the Senior Project Manager for iSISTAQUIT. Rebecca’s career has taken her across Australia, and over the past 19 years First Nations engagement has always been a key focus. Rebecca is most passionate about empowering through education, health outcomes for mob, and First Nations leadership. Rebecca’s passion for smoking cessation in communities has been both a professional and personal journey. Rebecca enjoys spending time with her family going on bush walks, stand up paddle boarding and being active.

First Peoples Award - Craig Holloway

Craig Holloway is a proud Yorta Yorta man and an outstanding representative for Koori peoples in Victoria in his chosen field of alcohol and other drug use and health. He has worked in the alcohol and other drug use sector in Victoria as a front line worker, executive director, director and manager for more than a quarter of a century. He has longstanding experience working for the community controlled health sector where his greatest pride is doing his best for his community. Craig's thoughtful and significant contributions have also been recognised on the national stage, by his ministerial appointment as Victorian member of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC; now de-funded). Cultural safety and cultural overlay have underpinned all areas of Craig’s work. In 2019 he was recognised with the First Australians Award (National Alcohol and Other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Award), and the Excellence Award, Male worker from the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (2018).

Clinician Award - Dr Nico Clark

Nico Clark, based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, is currently a Head, Addiction Medicine Service at The Royal Melbourne Hospital & Northwestern Mental Health, bringing experience from previous roles at DASSA-WHO Collaborating Centre for Research in the Treatment of Drug and Alcohol, the North Richmond Community Health, Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia, and University of Adelaide. He has worked in a range of settings including recently starting a new position as Consultant at the World Health Organization, Alcohol Drugs and Addictive Behaviours Team.

Advocacy Award - Dr Penny Hill

Penny Hill is the Prompt Response Network Lead and Emerging Drugs Research Fellow at NCCRED. She has a background in the community health and harm reduction sectors, working and volunteering in needle syringe programs, primary health care facilities and drug checking services in Australia and internationally. She is currently completing her PhD with the Burnet Institute, investigating opioid overdose among a cohort of people who inject drugs, and holds a Master of Science (Public Health), Graduate Diploma in Development Studies (International Development), and Bachelor of Health Sciences. She is a current board member of Harm Reduction Victoria, Harm Reduction Australia, the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, the International Drug Policy Consortium’s Members Advisory Council, and is the co-founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia.