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MHFA Scientific Advisory Committee

Emeritus Professor Bruce J. Tonge

Qualifications: MBBS, MD, DPM, MRC Psych, FRANZCP, Cert. Child Psych., RANZCP

Prior to his retirement in 2012 he was the Foundation Head, School of Psychology and Psychiatry and Head of the Discipline of Psychological Medicine at Monash University and also the Senior Clinical Advisor of the Mental Health Program of Monash Health at Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne, Australia.  He has a distinguished record of clinical work, teaching and research in child psychiatry.  He established the internationally recognised Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology. He continues to have clinical, research and teaching interests in the area of developmental psychiatry with a particular focus in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorders and behavioural and emotional disturbance in children and adolescents with intellectual disability and neurodevelopmental disorders, parent education and skills training public mental health interventions, and treatment outcome studies in childhood anxiety and depressive disorders.

 Publications include: 13 books; 64 book chapters; 285 reviewed papers; 23 videos; 8 manuals and numerous invited addresses and competitive grant funding of $29M.  He is editor of the Handbook of Studies on Child Psychiatry (Elsevier), co-author of the book I just want you to be happy: preventing and tackling teenage depression (Allen and Unwin), a co-author of Autism: the early years (Jessica Kingsley Press), author of the Draw a Dream child mental state assessment technique, and co-author of the Developmental Behaviour Checklist, an instrument which assesses behavioural and emotional problems in children and adolescents with intellectual disability.  This instrument is widely used in clinical and research settings both in Australia and internationally. 

 He is the recipient of the Minister of Mental Health Victorian Public Healthcare Award for “Outstanding Individual Achievement in Mental Healthcare” in 2009, the RANZCP 2010 Meritorious Award for “Outstanding contribution to Psychiatry over many years”, the 2010 ASPR Founder’s Medal for “Contribution of significance to psychiatric research throughout career”, the 2010 Monash University David de Kretser Medal for exceptional contribution to the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences ,and the Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists , VCPA, July 2011.He has served as Chair and board member of Autism Victoria , now AMAZE, and was the immediate past Chair and President  and is now the Patron of the Mental Health Foundation Australia.


Professor Sarah Wilson

Professor Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne

Sarah Wilson is the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Life at the University of Melbourne, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS) and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (FASSA).

Sarah’s research seeks to understand relationships between the mind, brain, human behaviour and its disorders, drawing on her expertise as a Cognitive Neuroscientist and Clinical Neuropsychologist. She has pioneered music neuroscience research in Australia, and was Founding Director of Music Mind & Wellbeing, an interdisciplinary initiative linking neuroscience with music and emotional and social wellbeing, fostering research spanning music, science, health and education.

Clinically, she has characterised a new clinical syndrome that arises following the treatment of epilepsy and other chronic disorders, leading to better management of the cognitive, emotional, and social difficulties faced by individuals with neurological disorders. She has established a hospital-based rehabilitation service for epilepsy patients and their families, and a community-based Psychosocial Clinic for patients with functional neurological disorders. Her approach to patient care has been used as a benchmark of best practice (International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Commission Report, 2011), changing clinical practice around the globe.

Professor Greg Murray

Qualifications: BSc, BA (Hons), Grad. Dip Gestalt, MPsych (Clin), PhD (Melbourne)

Prof Greg Murray is currently a Research Leader in Psychology, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Mental Health at Swinburne University.  Professor Murray has a national and international reputation for clinical psychology research, being ranked in the top 1% of researchers worldwide in the fields of Affect, Personality, Bipolar Disorders and Circadian Rhythms ( He has published more than 150 peer reviewed journal articles, numerous book chapters and two books.  He has been a chief investigator on national competitive grants totalling more than $8 million in Australia and overseas. Relative to international citation benchmarks, his average publication is 'well above world standard' (ERA 5). He has supervised 24 higher degree research students to completion. His most recent research award was the 2017 Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award.


Professor Murray is a practising clinical psychologist, with strong industry linkages.  He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) in 2013, and was foundation Chair of headspace Hawthorn (2013 – 2017).  He is patron of Bipolar Life, a community support group for people with bipolar disorder.  Professor Murray's work has had significant translational impact.  He wrote the APS guidelines for treating bipolar disorder, and the psychological components for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Mood Disorder Guidelines (2015).  Professor Murray is an active public intellectual, having provided more than 150 media pieces and 50 public talks on his research.  He has won multiple individual awards for teaching, and provided professional development workshops for hundreds of psychologists and psychiatrists across Australia and overseas.  He has been an invited speaker at the world's leading research centres, including UC Berkeley, Harvard, and University of British Columbia. He is Deputy Lead of the Canada-based CREST.BD, an international research network studying psychosocial issues in bipolar disorder.  At University of Melbourne and Swinburne, he has played significant academic leadership roles, including Head of Psychology, Clinic Director, Director of Clinical Programs, and Deputy Dean. Based on his record of research, teaching and leadership, he was promoted to full Professor in 2011, 10 years after completing his PhD.

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni AM

Qualifications: MBBS, MPM, FRANZCP, PhD

Professor Jayashri KULKARNI commenced her appointment as Professor of Psychiatry, The Alfred and Monash University in 2002. She directs a large psychiatric research group, the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), with approximately 150 staff and students. The Centre is dedicated to discovering new treatments, new understanding and new services for people with a range of mental illnesses.

Jayashri Kulkarni completed her MBBS degree in 1981 at Monash University and worked mainly in Emergency Medicine before deciding to specialise in Psychiatry. She became a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in 1989 and was awarded a PhD from Monash University in 1997 for her thesis “Women and Psychosis”. Jayashri has pioneered the novel use of estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia and is internationally acknowledged as a leader in the field of reproductive hormones and their impact on mental health. An expert in Women’s Mental Health, Jayashri was elected the President of the International Association of Women’s Mental Health, a role she commenced in 2017.



Professor Richard Newton

Clinical Director, Penninsula Health

Clinical Director of Peninsula Health Mental Health Service and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University.  Peninsula Mental Health is a large mental health service based in a teaching hospital.  It has a range of Adult and Aged mental health services.  He is also a consultant adult psychiatrist within the service.  Until 2017 he was the Medical Director of Austin Mental Health, and the Clinical Director of BETRS a regional Eating Disorder service.  He has a private practice specialising in eating disorders. He is a Board Member of the Butterfly Foundation and also a board member of Mental Health Victoria. He has had a number of roles within RANZCP and is the immediate past Chair of the Victorian Branch of the college.

Richard is a member of the Australian Safety and Quality Commissions Comprehensive Care advisory Committee and has contributed to the development of the commission’s work on recognition and response to deterioration in mental state.  He is strongly committed to Quality and Safety systems in MH, consumer and carer participation in Mental Health Service development and the provision of safe effective evidence based interventions for all members of the community in need of mental health care. He is the clinical Principal Investigator on an NHMRC partnership grant to evaluate the statewide PARCS in Victoria and has conducted a number of consultancies within the Mental health sector.  Richard is an Editorial Board member of national and international academic journals and sits on numerous federal and state based planning or advisory committees. He has published more than 60 peer reviewed articles or book chapters. He teaches a Masters level course in Structured Psychotherapy at the University of Melbourne and an Advanced Training course in CBT accredited for RANZCP AT in Psychotherapy.

A/Prof Harry Minas

Head of Global and Cultural Mental Health Unit

A/Prof Harry Minas is Head of the Global and Cultural Mental Health Unit, University of Melbourne, and Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Mental Health Systems. He has worked extensively on post-disaster mental health response, mental health system development and human rights in Asia, and on the mental health of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.

He has served on multiple Commonwealth and State committees and advisory groups and has been an adviser to Ministries of Health and Social Affairs in several countries in the region. He was a development partner on the ASEAN Mental Health Taskforce and continues to work with ASEAN on its sustainable development program in non-communicable disease.

Dr Christopher Mogan

Clinical Psychologist, The Anxiety Clinic

Dr Christopher Mogan is a Clinical Psychologist with over thirty years of experience in the provision of psychological services across a range of people from community Health Centres, private psychiatric hospitals, Workcover, TAC, Victims of Crime and in private practice.

Dr Christopher Mogan has a special interest in anxiety and phobias, depression, PTSD, OCD, shyness and Social Skills deficts, Smoking Cessation and Internet Counselling.

Professor David Castle

Qualtifications (FRANZCP, FRCPSYCH)

David is currently the chair of Psychiatry at St Vincent’s Health and The University of Melbourne. He is a former MRC Research Scholar at the South African Institute for Medical Research, MRC Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (where he gained an MSc in epidemiology), and has trained both in clinical research and psychiatry at London’s prestigious Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry.

David’s clinical and research interests include schizophrenia and related disorders, cannabis abuse and bipolar disorder. He has a longstanding interest in the impact of licit and illicit substances on the brain and body, and is actively engaged in programmes addressing the physical health of the mentally ill and the mental health of the physically ill. He is also pursuing his work on OCD spectrum disorders, notably body dysmorphic disorder, in which he is a recognised international expert. 

Bruce Wong

Managing Director of the Foot Solutions

Bruce was raised in a traditional Chinese family with a very strong emphasis on cultural principles in harmony, honesty, respect, honour, benevolence, righteousness, hard-working and filial piety. He received his early education at a French Catholic Jesuit Mission school in Cambodia. He is a renowned business entrepreneur in the Australian Asian community and holds a successful record of 35 years in the business world with companies he founded and helmed in Australia, America and around South East Asia.

As Managing Director of the Foot Solutions Group Australia and America, Bruce and his family has time remembered how Australia has blessed them and today they are strong advocates of the Australia way of life and its values.      

When away from the hectic and demanding world of business, Bruce dedicates his life helping others in his philanthropist role through his Christian convictions. His guiding verse is “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”.

His latest community endeavour is the Mental Health Foundation Australia’s “Meals to the Community Covid-19 Project” launched in August 2020. He is one of the key founders of the project. Through his financial contribution of a new refrigerated food delivery truck, MHFA’s is able to roll out its weekly cooked meals for distribution to needy communities in partnership with the Department of Health & Human Services and The Salvation Army in Victoria.    

Bruce continues to fund the MHFA’s meals project with regular weekly donation of cooking items and other essentials. To date, MHFA has delivered over 60,000 prepared meal boxes to the Covid-19 communities in need.      

Professor Trichur Vidyasagar

MBBS, PhD, The University of Melbourne

Trichur Vidyasagar (Sagar) is a neuroscientist with a particular interest in vision. He is a Professor in the Department of Optometry & Vision Sciences at the University of Melbourne and also an Honorary Professorial Fellow of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.

He is Lab Director of the Visual and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory. The lab’s main aim is to understand the neural basis of visual perception, attention and memory, with a particular focus on the visual system.

Sagar’s career-long work in this area has led to a new theory of how basic attributes of a visual scene such as lines, colours and movement are coded by the brain. Such an understanding could help in being able to explain many perceptual disturbances ­– as well as contribute to the development of neural prostheses for the blind.

More recent work on attention has helped to shed light on the neural mechanisms that different parts of the brain use to communicate with each other. This research has led to insights into the neural processes that enable the brain to search for objects in the cluttered world around us and match our perceptions to stored memories. In turn helping us understand a number of neurological disorders such as dyslexia, autism, ADHD and schizophrenia.

Dr Alberto Veloso

General Paediatrician, Child and Family Psychiatrist

Alberto is a specialist Child Psychiatrist and General Paediatrician, from Melbourne, Australia. He is a fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College os Psychiatrist, and the Royal Australian College of Physicians. He is passionate about Child and Family Mental Health with a particular focus on understanding and assisting the emotional development of children and adolescents. His clinical focus is assessing and treating mental health problems by integrating our understandings about brain development, the impact of relationships on emotional maturity and evidence-based biological and psychological treatments.

Alberto provides integrated and holistic mental health care. He has specialist training in the assessment of mental health disorder including Mood Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, Substance Abuse Disorders, PTSD, Eating Disorders, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is skilled in the biological and psychological treatment of mental health disorders which may include prescribing medications or engaging in individual and/or family therapy.

Dr Peter Goodin

Qualifications: BSc (Hons), PhD.

Dr. Peter Goodin is a neuroimaging research fellow at the Melbourne Brain Centre and the Neurology department at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Peter is actively engaged in mental health related issues and research. He received his PhD in 2015 from Swinburne University which explored the psychoneuroimmunology of Major Depressive Disorder. Peter took a wholistic view of the disorder and incorporated cognitive, neuroimaging and biochemical markers to examine connections between the body and brain and how these are altered during the acute phase of the disorder. 

Peter then moved to the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health where his research focused on prediction of post-stroke depression and recovery of touch sensation after stroke. His current research at the Royal Melbourne Hospital focuses on identification of pharmacological, biological, cognitive and mental health causes that can may help promote optimal recovery after stroke. 

 He also plays guitar, badly.

Mrs Lesley Alway

Clinical Health Planner

Lesley Alway is a clinical health planner working in Australia and Asia. With more than 30 years of clinical experience in the healthcare industry, she has been involved in the design and development of a large number state of the art hospitals and healthcare facilities. Her speciality is in highly critical areas such as Operation Suites and CSSD, ICU and Emergency department design and Infection Control, with emphasis on productivity as well as resources management, always in compliance with the newest and most strict national and international standards.

With a positive and pragmatic approach, Lesley communicates well how to improve national standards to achieve the best outcome in clinical practice.  Including the goals of infection control and prevention, patient safety and staff efficiency, supporting users and opinion leaders to achieve a successful implementation. She is a committee member of the Australian Health Design Council and a member of the Australian Infection Control Society, as well as a member of the SRACA (Sterilization Research Council of Australia), a Life Member of Australian Day Surgery Nurses  Association.

John Varano


John Varano is a Senior Manager at nbn™ Australia. John has advised and supported senior executives at ASX companies and government departments where he has helped to define strategic visions, shape key initiatives and execute delivery. He has managed large scale and complex transformation programmes and projects. His professional experience in programme management and management consulting extend across defence, financial services, government, healthcare, not-for-profit, resources and telecommunications, and in multiple geographies, including Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Through his research, John's writing has appeared and been cited in Australian and international media outlets and academic publications, including The Australian, The Conversation, Yahoo! News, The Spectator, the Australian Institute of International Affairs, the Institute of Public Affairs and Reaction.

John is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders.

He holds a Master of Science from the University of Oxford, a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Arts from The University of Melbourne with First Class Honours. He completed his undergraduate studies with Honours at Monash University.

Ashok Mysore

Vice President Regional Head – Delivery & Operations Australia & New Zealand

Ashok Mysore has over 29 years of industry experience across Telecommunications, Financial Services, Logistics, Energy, Utilities and Services industries.  Ashok as Vice-President and Regional Head - Delivery and Operations for Australia and New Zealand, is responsible for developing a performance driven culture among a group of diverse and talented individuals to achieve accelerated profitable growth by delivering value while continuously improving internal efficiencies.

Ashok joined Infosys in 2004 to lead the telco, media and entertainment business and has held numerous roles before taking up the leadership of delivery and operations across Australia and New Zealand.  Ashok has wide experience in sales leadership, general management and consulting across Australia, New Zealand, the United States, India and South-East Asia.

Ashok is recipient of IABCA Business Leader of the Year 2019 Award that recognizes outstanding achievements of a business leader. He is an advisor to the Australia India Institute – Education Body, an advisory body that advises on issues relating to the Institute’s work to support the education relationship between Australia and India. He is part of the Global Steering Committee on Blockchain, sits on multiple customer steering committees and program boards, has been actively involved with the Australian Computer Society and is a sought after speaker amongst industry, academia and partner ecosystem.

Ashok completed his Executive Leadership Program from the Stanford Graduate School of Management, has an MBA in Strategy & Leadership from the Mt Eliza Business School, and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science & Engineering.

Ashok is based in Melbourne.

Prakash Charan

Founder, Charan Foundation

Atkinson Prakash Charan is a well known Australian businessman and philanthropist. Atkinson Prakash, affectionately known as ‘Kash’, moved to Australia from Fiji with his family as a young child. Hardworking and entrepreneurial, Kash has founded and grown various companies. He and his wife Sally, also established the Charan Foundation in 2016, a national organisation dedicated to supporting and encouraging participation in sport. Assistance is provided to sporting organisations, individuals and initiatives through the provision of funding grants. To date, the Charan family together with the Charan Foundation has provided over half a million dollars in support – with many grants and funds being provided to clubs and programs which focus on supporting multicultural and minority groups, and the most disadvantaged across the country.


In addition, Kash, through his business interests, has sponsored many Australian sporting clubs including Melbourne United, Melbourne Victory, Geelong Football Club, among others, as well as a number of associations some which include: the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria, Russian Ethnic Representative Council; and Fiji Social and Cultural Organisation of Victoria. An avid sporting enthusiast, Kash played soccer, Aussie rules football, basketball and cricket as a youngster and understands the social, health and economic benefits sport provides to individuals as well as the broader community. In particular, Kash is an ardent proponent of the importance of inclusion and engagement – and its positive impact on mental health and overall wellbeing.

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The Mental Health Foundation Australia acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to their elders both past and present.