We have amazing support!
Meet our Australian Ambassadors, we feel so lucky.
Founder – NOFASD Australia
During her time on the Board of NOFASD Sue lobbied extensively on both a state and national level to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and was an invited member of, and reported to, various national and state government agencies in Australia, as a recognised parent authority in this area.
In this voluntary role Sue also provided one-on-one support to many parents /carers and individuals living with FASD and also delivered FASD presentations/workshops to foster carers, teachers, drug and alcohol workers, disability workers, mental health workers, midwives and many other community organisations throughout Australia. She has significant expertise and knowledge around the secondary conditions which develop for people affected by FASD.
In June 2006 Sue was awarded the Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to the community through the establishment of the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Community Education and Reconciliation. She has been widely acknowledged as a significant contributor to knowledge and awareness of FASD in Australia. This has encouraged the development of clinical expertise and recognition at a national level that Australia requires a serious commitment to the prevention, diagnosis and development of effective interventions for FASD.
Sue retired from NOFASD Australia in an official capacity in 2015 but continues to provide voluntary support to the organisation in various roles. In addition Sue’s practice based wisdom as the Parent & Family Support Co-ordinator ensures that NOFASD is able to develop staff, support clients and upskill those working to enhance the lives of individuals and families affected by FASD.
Dr Jeff McMullen
Journalist, author and film-maker
Journalist, author and film-maker for over fifty years, Dr Jeff McMullen AM has been a foreign correspondent for Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a reporter for Four Corners and Sixty Minutes, anchor of the 33-part issue series on ABC Television, Difference of Opinion and host of forums on National Indigenous Television.
Recent documentaries have focussed on the human rights of Australia’s First Peoples, the impact of the Northern Territory Intervention on Aboriginal wellbeing and the pattern of chronic illness taking many lives.
Articles and speeches on the global pattern of chronic illness, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, malnutrition and other conditions of poverty impacting maternal and infant health, the links between low birth-weight and renal illness, education as a preventative health measure and new approaches to wellness can be found at www.jeffmcmullen.com.au
As a foundational director of Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (
McMullen is also a director of the Engineering Aid Australia Indigenous Summer School program, building a growing number of Indigenous engineers. For fourteen years McMullen served as Honorary CEO of Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth, establishing early learning support for young mothers and the Literacy Backpack program in 22 remote communities. He was a foundational Trustee of the Jimmy Little Foundation, focussed on improving Aboriginal access to dialysis and promoting healthier nutrition.
Over the past two decades, McMullen has chaired forums for the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA), NACCHO and Aboriginal health organisations in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria, as well as the Northern Territory’s first conference focussed on Indigenous suicide prevention. He worked closely with the Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation in the Katherine region, developing maternal and infant health programs.
A long-term patron of the Merry Maker’s Down’s Syndrome troupe and Mirabel, the foundation working to support the extended families caring for children who have died from drug overdose, McMullen also contributed to the University of Canberra’s Healthpact Center, promoting health and social equality for all Australian children.
In 2006 McMullen was awarded an Order of Australia (AM), for service to journalism and efforts to raise awareness of economic, social and human rights issues in Australia and overseas, as well as service to charity.
In “Dispossession: Neo-Liberalism and the Struggle for Aboriginal Land and Rights in the 21st Century” (IN BLACK & WHITE published by Connor Court 2013) Jeff McMullen analyses the ideology and market forces shaping Indigenous policy and impacting efforts to create wellbeing.
McMullen’s film, East Coast Encounter, is now travelling Australia as part of an exhibition by leading artists, poets and historians who explore Aboriginal perspectives on James Cook’s 1770 contact with Aboriginal people and the resulting history.
“A LIFE OF EXTREMES – JOURNEYS AND ENCOUNTERS” (HarperCollins Australia 2001) examines the global pattern of conflict, environmental degradation and species extinction, as well as sharing ideas from some of the world’s bravest individuals on a brighter future for the human family.
“INTERVENTION: An Anthology” (Concerned Australians 2015) edited by Rosie Scott and Anita Heiss includes Jeff McMullen’s essay, “Rolling Thunder – Voices Against Oppression” which argues that crushing Aboriginal control over community life has more than doubled the damage to child well-being, and contributed to escalation of illness, suicide and incarceration.
Dr Jeff McMullen AM’s “VINCENT LINGIARI MEMORIAL LECTURE of 2015.” at Charles Darwin University contends that recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty is key to improving Indigenous wellbeing.
Associate Professor Carmela Pestell is a Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist with over 25 years’ experience working with children and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders, neurological conditions and acquired brain injury. She has also worked in private practice for many years assessing children and young adults with FASD, particularly within the justice system. More recently this has included working for ‘PATCHES Paediatrics’ participating in multi-disciplinary child assessment clinics in remote North West locations, as well as metropolitan justice and child protection services.
Carmela is a Member of the Australian Psychological Society, including Full Membership of the College of Clinical Neuropsychologists (being the inaugural WA chairperson between 2007 and 2010). She is based at the University of WA (School of Psychology) and is an Honorary Research Associate with the Telethon Kids Institute (FASD Research Group), a member of the Australian National FASD Network and had input into the new Australian FASD Diagnostic Guidelines.
Dr Pestell was the Director of the state-wide Neurosciences Unit (WA Health Department) for over 14
Carmela is also actively involved in clinical post-graduate supervision, teaching and research in areas that include brain injury, concussion, ADHD and FASD. She has a record of successful research collaboration, as evidenced by numerous co-authored publications and research funding (over $5 million to date). Additionally, Carmela understands firsthand the challenges families face when they have a child with a disability, as she has a younger brother with a severe intellectual disability.
Dr Doug Shelton
Director for Children’s & Women’s Health
Doug’s special interest areas are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) for which he achieved a Churchill Fellowship 2013-14 to investigate how to build a comprehensive assessment and intervention service for children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; Indigenous child health; child development and learning problems; obesity; and leadership versus management and how to do both better.
Doug is a current member on the Expert Panel on Childhood Obesity and Food Taxation, Griffith University, 2013; the Child Development Sub-Network, Queensland Health (2000-2013) and chaired this network from 2008-2010. He is a member of the Queensland State Committee, Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Deputy chair, 2007 – 2008 and Chair 2009 – 2010). He is on the Specialist Advisory Committee, Community Child Health (Oversight of paediatric trainees) as a Member (2003- 2008) and Chair (2006 – 2008); involved in curriculum development for paediatric training in community child health, RACP (Chair, curriculum writing committee, 2003-2007); a member of the child development special interest group (Deputy chair 2003 – 2006 and Chair 2007 – 2008) and served as a member of the Chapter of Community Child Health from 1996 – 2013.
Doug’s publications and presentations on FASD and related issues include “The Science & Evidence for Early Intervention in Child Development, 2012, General Practice Gold Coast Scientific Meeting; FASD Awareness Day Panel Discussion, 2012, University of Queensland, Royal Brisbane & Womens Hospital, 2012; FASD Intervention Strategies, University of Queensland, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, 2012; FASD in Queensland, Gold Coast Infant Mental Health Conference, 2012; Dean L Biron, Doug Shelton (2007) Functional time limit and onset of symptoms in infant abusive head trauma. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 43 (1-2), 60–65; C Wright, D Shelton, M Wright. A contemporary review of the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties 14 (2), 199-214; and Reid, N., Dawe, S., Shelton, D., Harnett, P., Warner, J., Armstrong, E., LeGros, K., & O’Callaghan, F. (2015) Systematic review of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder interventions across the lifespan. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (Accepted for publication).
Doug received an Out-Standing Child Abuse Research Award (OSCAR), 23rd Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment, January 2008.
Dr Heidi Webster
MBBS, FRACP, MPH (Masters Public Health)
Heidi also works in a private Paediatric practice on the Sunshine Coast, focussing on diagnosis and management of childhood autism spectrum disorders and the many childhood learning, behaviour and mental health conditions seen in Community Paediatric practice. Heidi enjoys interfacing with education professionals in a number of models of practice involving case-conferencing and/ or school visits, in order to best understand children’s predicaments and provide holistic care within their various environments.
Heidi is passionate about improving child development services using a child-centred focus which takes into account the influence of family and broader environments, and in particular, early identification of childhood developmental disorders, enabling accessing of meaningful early intervention, parental understanding and capacity building, and maximising children’s potential and quality of life in all their environments. Her interest in FASD started when she trained with Dr Doug Shelton’s FASD clinic team on the Gold Coast in 2014, and then set up the Sunshine Coast FASD diagnostic clinic in 2015 for children aged 0-12 years, and trained the allied health team within Sunshine Coast CDS in FASD diagnosis. She is a member of the Australian FASD Clinical Network, and assisted in forming a research and clinical consortium between Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast Child Development Services, and Griffith and Sunshine Coast Universities to expand Queensland’s clinical FASD diagnostic services and enable Sunshine Coast CDS to engage in research into the impact of FASD on children and families. Heidi has been a public speaker for FASD in numerous community and health service education sessions, and is committed to enhancing awareness of the risks and effects of drinking in pregnancy, and FASD in the wider community, as well as within health, education, child protection, disability and community services.
Heidi is the Vice President of the Neurodevelopmental Behavioural Paediatric Society of Australasia, a group of specialist Paediatricians and other doctors dedicated to best practice care, research and education around neurodevelopmental and behavioural conditions in children. She is passionate about improving the childhood and long-term life course outcomes for children with developmental disorders, and those from at risk groups, including children in out of home care, and Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander children.
Dr James Fitzpatrick
Consultant Paediatrician & Researcher
He recently led a federally funded project aimed at improving the lives of children living in remote Indigenous communities in the WA Kimberley, in partnership with local community organisations and national research institutes. The work involved estimating for the first time in Australia the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the 40 remote communities of the Fitzroy Valley. Having documented the prevalence of FASD, James is now working with health and education partners to develop a child health clinic run in schools to help young people to reach their educational potential.
In partnership with Aboriginal leaders in the Fitzroy Valley, he leads a community-based FASD prevention strategy. This strategy has seen rates of drinking in pregnancy reduce from 60% in 2009 to <20% in 2015. The bold goal of this strategy is to ‘Make FASD History’ and reduce rates of drinking in pregnancy to below 10% by 2018.
James is the founder of True Blue Dreaming, an Outback Youth Mentoring Program working with communities in the WA heat-belt and Kimberley regions, with a vision to expand the program throughout Western Australia and then nationally. He currently sits on the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs.
James has been a rabble-rouser and activist for some time. As the chairman of the National Rural Health Students Network in 2000, James shifted the focus of this organisation of 5000 medical and allied health students to deliver community service activities to some of Australia’s most remote communities. In that year he helped to establish the Carnarvon Children’s Festival in Western Australia in response to alarming rates of youth suicide. Through the Children’s Festival members of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities were encouraged to come together around their most precious resource… their children.
Dr Kerryn Bagley
Clinical Social Worker, FASD consultant
Kerryn has undertaken further training in the USA and Canada with organisations that specialise in FASD training and care, including intervention training with FASCETS USA and diagnostic training at The Asante Centre, Canada. In 2015 She was awarded a Creswick Fellowship to undertake further training in the Families Moving Forward Program, an evidence-based FASD intervention program at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
Kerryn now maintains a private practice as a trainer and counselor in association with the Better Life Centre (Brisbane), where she has facilitated the development of Australia’s first independent, interdisciplinary diagnostic clinic for FASD. She is active as a public presenter and commentator on FASD in forums that range from academic conferences through to ABC television, and maintains links to a range of community organisations. She is also the inaugural co-chair (with Dr James Fitzpatrick) of the Australian FASD Clinical Network.
Dr Marcel Zimmet
MBBS BA(Hons) FRACP
Marcel is a member of the Expert Panel for the Australian FASD Diagnostic Instrument and an author of national diagnostic guidelines and online training modules.
Marcel is the principal investigator for national FASD case surveillance through the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) and is an investigator for research into the impact of FASD on children and families.
In 2016, Marcel was awarded a Fulbright Professional Scholarship to study FASD in the USA. Marcel’s learning from pioneers and experts in the field has enriched his work in clinical service provision, education, research, public health, policy and advocacy.
Marcel is passionate about and committed to improving understanding about the preventable nature of FASD as a developmental disability and the benefits of not drinking in pregnancy for children’s neurodevelopment, within the health professions and wider community.
Dr Sharman Stone
Federal Member for Murray
In 2011 Dr Sharman Stone successfully gained bipartisan support for her motion on FAS/FASD in the House of Representatives.
Dr Stone established the National Inquiry into FAS/FASD as a member of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs. This evolved into the National strategy.
As the chair of the House of Representatives Indigenous Affairs committee she recently tabled a report on the impacts of alcohol on indigenous communities, in particular its FAS/FASD impact.
Dr Stone was instrumental in establishing the bi-partisan parliamentary group – Parliamentarians for the Prevention of FASD and is Co-Chair of the group.
She is currently a member of five parliamentary committees. She is Chair of the Indigenous Affairs Committee and Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Aid Sub-committee.
In the Howard Government Dr Stone held a number of portfolio positions including Minister for Workforce Participation, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration and Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage. She has also held Shadow portfolios for Immigration and Citizenship, Early Childhood Education and Childcare and the Status of Women
Dr Stone holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Anthropology from Monash University, a Master of Arts in Sociology from La Trobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Economics and Business from Monash University.
Dr Stone has authored or co-written a number of books, including Aborigines in White Australia: A Documentary History of the Attitudes Affecting Official Policy and the Australian Aborigines 1697-1973 and published journal articles and papers on environmental and rural issues, water law and conservation.
Chief Executive, FARE
FARE is an independent not-for-profit organisation, that has been working for over a decade with communities, governments, health professionals and police across the country to stop alcohol harms by supporting world-leading research, raising public awareness and advocating for changes to alcohol policy.
Michael previously worked for the federal government as a senior official in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He was a project director in the department’s strategy and delivery division.
Michael has a strong strategic policy background, with extensive experience in strategic social policy development and implementation, most recently in Canberra and previously as a policy director of the Western Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet from 2001 until 2008. He has also worked as a policy and management consultant in the fields of housing, Indigenous affairs, regional economic development and employment, and early in his career was a policy adviser and chief of staff to WA Government Ministers.
Ms June Oscar
Chief Executive Officer
She is a Bunuba language speaker and is considered one of the most outstanding Aboriginal leaders in the Fitzroy Valley, and across Australia. She is a strong advocate and activist for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and FASD. Her courage and determination to address the most complex and sensitive issues affecting the lives of Aboriginal Australians is inspirational. She does this with little regard for the immense personal toll that such actions necessitate.
Her focus on Aboriginal children, and her determination that we do not sacrifice the health of our children for the so-called ‘right’ to buy full strength take-away alcohol, makes her a role model for all Australia. In 2011, in an article appearing in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald (Weekend Magazines), June was named as one of the 50 most influential women in the world for her work in improving the lives of those living in remote Aboriginal communities. June has previously held the positions of Deputy Director of the Kimberley Land Council and the first woman to chair the Marra Worra Worra Resource Agency (Fitzroy Crossing).
She is a Director on the Boards of Bunuba Films Pty Ltd and Bunuba Pty Ltd. She is the former chair of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the Kimberley Interpreting Service. In 1990 June was an appointment of the Federal Government to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Notre Dame, Broome, Western Australia, and is currently writing her PHD.
June is a co-founder of the Yiramalay Wesley Studio School and is a Community member of the Fitzroy Valley Futures Governing Committee. In 2012 June was appointed as an Ambassador for Children and Young People by the Western Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Michelle Scott. June is a Chief Investigator on the Lililwan Project. In June of 2013 June was awarded an Order of Australia. June was the winner of the Westpac and Financial Review 100 Women of Influence 2013 for Social Enterprise and Not for Profit Category. In 2014 June was awarded the Menzies School of Health Research Medallion for her work with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Executive Officer of Brain Injury Australia
Nick serves as a patient representative on: the Australian Trauma Quality Improvement Program Steering Committee; the Victorian Neurotrauma Advisory Council; the Neurotrauma Evidence Translation Steering Committee of the National Trauma Research Institute; the Executive of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Directorate of New South Wales Health; the Victorian Transport Accident Commission/ Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research Behaviours of Concern Working Group; Vocational Intervention Program Steering Committee of New South Wales Health; the Disability Advisory Committee of the Australian Electoral Commission; the Department of Social Services’ Disability Employment Services Consumer Advisory Group and Telstra’s Disability Forum. Nick is also a Director of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations.
Professor Carol Bower
Senior Principal Research Fellow
Professor Carol Bower is Senior Principal Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth WA, Professor, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia and Medical Specialist and Head, WA Register of Developmental Anomalies
Carol is highly regarded nationally and internationally for her leadership in birth defects research, providing population-based evidence for prevention, diagnosis, management and development of policy and practice. She has academic qualifications in medicine, epidemiology and public health and is a passionate advocate for the primary prevention of birth defects, for monitoring and evaluation of preventive, screening and treatment interventions and for the involvement of consumers and community in research.
In 1980, Carol established and, until 2016, maintained the internationally recognised Western Australian Register of Developmental Anomalies. She has also contributed to the establishment, maintenance and expansion of internationally unique, linked databases of maternal and child health, intellectual disability and autism. Her research has a strong focus on investigating causes and effects of birth defects, on translating research findings into public health policy and practice and on evaluating the effectiveness of that translation. Leading examples are her research and advocacy on the prevention of neural tube defects such as spina bifida (promoting folic acid supplement use and mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid) and research on prevention, diagnosis and management of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. She has served in an executive capacity for six years for the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research, the peak international body for birth defects research. Carol was awarded the International Flour Fortification Initiative Leadership Award in 2007 for her work on folate and neural tube defects and Life Membership of the Australasian Epidemiological Association, in recognition of her significant contribution to epidemiology. She has a strong commitment to consumer and community engagement in research and its translation. Consumer reference groups guide her research and
Professor Elizabeth Elliott
Professor in Paediatrics and Child Health
She established Australia’s first clinic for the diagnosis and assessment of FASD with a grant from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education and this service has now been funded by NSW Health. She was the Chief Investigator on the NHMRC Grant for the Lililwan Project, Australia’s first population-based prevalence study on FASD, which was also funded by the Australian Government Departments of Health and Ageing, and Families Community Housing and Indigenous Affairs. She is currently Chief Investigator on several NHMRC funded grants including birth cohort studies in Sydney and Melbourne; a Positive Parenting program for communities in the Fitzroy Valley WA; and development of a Screening tool for FASD in Cherbourg Community in Queensland. She jointly leads the Australian Government funded project to develop a Diagnostic tool for FASD in Australia; and is Chief Investigator on the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit study on FASD; and the Impacts on Families Study. With recent grant funding she is developing a National Register for FASD cases in Australia.
Other roles include membership of the NSW Health FASD Advisory Group; the NSW Health group to develop Indigenous Resources regarding alcohol in pregnancy and FASD; and the Royal Australasian College of Physician’s Alcohol Policy Advisory Group. She is a vocal advocate for families with FASD, including through the media has numerous publications in the field and is in demand for scientific and educational seminars on FASD nationally and internationally. In 2008 Elizabeth was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to paediatrics and child health.
Professor Heather Douglas
ARC Future Fellow
Heather has also published widely around legal responses to domestic violence. In 2014 she was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to research the way in which women who have experienced domestic violence use the legal system to help them leave violence. From 2001-2007 she was a part-time commissioner with the Queensland Law Reform Commission where she worked on a number of references.
Previously Heather worked as a criminal lawyer in Melbourne and Alice Springs. She was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law in 2013.