Invited Speakers

Dietitians Association of Australia 35th National Conference

17-19 May 2018, ICC Sydney, NSW, Australia

Behind Closed Doors: Food Insecurity and Hidden Hunger in Australia

Prof Danielle Gallegos, AdvAPD

Danielle Gallegos is Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Queensland University of Technology where she is the discipline leader for nutrition and dietetics. She has worked in all areas of nutrition and dietetics including acute care, foodservice, private practice and for the last 20 years in public health nutrition. She teaches community nutrition and coordinates the dietetic Honours students. She undertakes research related to the nexus between nutrition and social justice, including food security, food literacy, developing nutrition and dietetics as a profession in Vietnam and supporting breastfeeding through the use of innovative technologies. Danielle is currently chair of the Council of Deans of Nutrition and Dietetics (Australia New Zealand).

Connect with Prof. Danielle Gallegos on Twitter!
Follow @DanielleGalle15

Precision Medicine – The Role of the Dietitian? 

Dr Samantha Hocking

Associate Professor Samantha Hocking is an Endocrinologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and a Clinical Academic at the University of Sydney.

Samantha graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1999. She undertook her training in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital under the mentorship of Profs Dennis Yue, Stephen Twigg and Ian Caterson. In 2005 she became a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians (Endocrinology) and completed a Masters degree in Medicine (Clinical Epidemiology). Samantha joined the Diabetes Research Program at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in 2005 to undertake her PhD under the supervision of Prof David James during which she investigated the metabolic differences between visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue depots, and how accumulation of the former is related to insulin resistance.

In 2017 Samantha returned to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney as a clinician and researcher. Samantha’s main research interest is precision medicine – exploring how personalized medicine can both predict, prevent and improve the management of metabolic disease, particularly diabetes. In addition, she is working with fellow researchers at The Boden Institute and the CPC-RPA Clinic on projects in obesity, bariatric surgery, metabolic syndrome and diabetes and liver disease.

Inspirational Speaker

Jeremy Meltzer


 At age 21, Jeremy lived in Cuba, where he became acutely aware of many issues facing women and girls. This lit a fire in him. In an effort to understand these complex issues, Jeremy has since travelled to over 22 countries to meet NGO’s that work with women and girls. What he found was extraordinary; the opportunity to unlock massive social and economic benefits across entire communities. Although, this opportunity would need funding. So Jeremy built i=Change.

 The first tech platform of it’s kind, i=Change has quickly grown into Australia’s fastest-growing social enterprise tech startup. Now with global brands onboard, i=Change is creating positive change across 14 countries, impacting the lives of over 90,000 people, and counting. 

A social entrepreneur and expert in ‘business for purpose’, he speaks globally on social enterprise, using business as a force for good, and the importance of investing in women and girls.

Putting the Balance Back in Diet: The Nutritional Geometry of Health and Ageing

Prof Stephen Simpson

Steve Simpson is Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre and Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney.

After graduating as a biologist from the University of Queensland, Steve undertook his PhD at the University of London, then spent 22 years at Oxford before returning to Australia in 2005 as an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow, then ARC Laureate Fellow.

Stephen developed an integrative modelling framework for nutrition (the Geometric Framework), which was devised and tested using insects. This has since been applied to a wide range of organisms, from slime moulds to humans, and problems, from aquaculture and conservation biology to the dietary causes of human obesity and ageing. He has also revolutionised understanding of swarming in locusts, with research spanning neurochemical events within the brains of individual locusts to continental-scale mass migration.

In 2007 Steve was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, in 2008 he won the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, in 2009 he was NSW Scientist of the Year, in 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and in 2015 was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Steve has also been prominent in the media, including presenting a four-part documentary series for ABC TV, “Great Southern Land”.

New Developments in Food Service

Fifi Spechler, APD

 Fifi Spechler’s working life has been dedicated to attaining and maintaining the highest food quality standards within NSW public hospitals. 

Her work for Royal North Shore Hospital, Northern Sydney Local Health District and HealthShare NSW has included an active involvement in a number of food service reforms which have improved the quality, choice and menus for public hospital patients and enhanced processes within the Food Services working environment. 

As Quality Systems Manager for HealthShare NSW, Fifi oversees food quality and safety for 155 public hospitals across NSW and is playing a key role in the role out of My Food Choice reforms, including ensuring food safety in vendors as well as within hospital Food Services.

Nutrition and Dietetics in the Post-truth Era: Alternative Facts, Conflicts of Interest and Nutribollox.

Prof Judith Swift


Fifteen years ago I trained as a nutritionist after studying a science undergraduate degree, but I moved towards the social sciences for my Ph.D. studies as I became increasingly interested in the question “But why do people eat what they do?” I have continued to seek answers to this simple yet most difficult of questions.

I remain fascinated by the science of nutrition and the socio-culture meaning of food, but I am most passionate about exploring ways in which we can forge these two components together to support behaviour change: Dietitians work at the heart of this complexity. They are required to bridge the gap between logical, unambiguous scientific data and the complicated, multiple functions that food has in their clients’ lives (Swiftt and Tischler 2010)

This exploration is challenging and calls into question the very nature of expertise in relation to food. However, this is work can only lead to a more positive, more relevant and more confident future.

I am a Chartered Psychologist and Registered Nutritionist and work part-time at the University of Nottingham. My publications can be viewed at:  

Women’s Health Through the Lifecycle

Prof Lauren Williams, FDAA


Lauren Williams is Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Griffith University and is a Fellow of DAA. She holds university qualifications in Science (Hons I in Nutrition), Public Health Nutrition (PhD) and in Dietetics, Health Promotion and Social Science. Lauren commenced her research journey with a project on obesity 35 years ago, and since then has conducted observational, RCT and qualitative studies on the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity, including a sub-study of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Her work has been published in four books, 25 book chapters and over 60 journal articles.


Is Body Mass Index the Real Issue Here? A ‘Weighty’ Discussion


A/Prof Tracy Burrows, AdvAPD


Associate Professor Tracy Burrows, is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian (AdvAPD) and Co- lead of the Nutrition and Dietetics stream of the Priority Research Centre of Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle. Tracy has expertise in the areas of the assessment and validation of dietary intake, obesity management across the lifespan and addictive eating behaviours. She has published  > 100 peer reviewed manuscripts in international journals and received >$2 million dollars in research funding. She has received multiple research awards including 2016 NSW Tall Poppy of the year and 2014 Scopus researcher of the year.

Connect with A/Prof. Tracy Burrows on Twitter!
Follow @DrTracyBurrows 

Tim Cassetarri

Tim Cassettari, research dietitian and health coach, is one of Australia’s few health professionals with separate university studies in dietetics, psychology and exercise science.

As a research dietitian, Tim has over 7 years experience working with some of Australia’s largest food manufacturers. He has worked on numerous manuscripts and provides credible scientific substantiation for health and nutrition claims, including the delivery of systematic literature reviews.

As a coach, Tim helps women to live healthy, wholehearted lives at any size. He has a keen interest in the psychology of eating and body image, and the role of non-dieting approaches in improving physical and mental health.

Connect with Tim Cassetarri on Twitter!
Follow @TimCassettari

Dr Janet Franklin

Janet is a senior clinical dietitian and research coordinator at Metabolism and Obesity Services, RPA hospital, with 18 years’ experience in the management of adult obesity. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney and University of Wollongong.  She founded and chaired for 10 years the DAA State and then National Obesity Interest Group. She completed her PhD in psychosocial aspects of childhood obesity, but has spent most of her career looking at adult clinical obesity.  She currently conducts both original and collaborative research.  Janet has been involved with 21 publications plus 18 Oral and 31 poster presentations.

A/Prof Sarah Garnett


Sarah Garnett is a Senior Research Fellow/Dietitian in the Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, a conjoint A/Professor, Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Sydney and Chair, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, Human Research Ethics Committee.  Her research is primarily focused on developing evidence based interventions for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.  Sarah has extensive experience in leading epidemiological studies and clinical trials including RCTs examining the effects of different diets on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in adolescents and has over 70 publications.

Lecture in Honour

Peter Williams

 Peter Williams is a Fellow of the Dietitians Association of Australia, an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of Wollongong and an Adjunct Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Canberra.

Before working at the University of Wollongong, Peter was the Director of Scientific and Consumer Affairs at Kellogg for three years, and previously worked as the Chief Dietitian and Food Services Manager at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.

Peter has been an active researcher in nutrition in Australia, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications. He has served on National Health and Medical Research Council working parties for reviews of Dietary Guidelines for Australia and the review of Nutrient Reference Values, and been a member of the Heart Foundation’s Food and Nutrition Advisory Committee. He has also conducted consultancy projects with the NSW Department of Health to help develop nutrition standards for hospital inpatients.

From 2005-2011 Peter was a member of the Board of Food Standards Australia New Zealand and from 2011-2014 was on the Therapeutic Goods Authority’s Advisory Committee on Complementary Medicine.

Claire Hewat, Chief Executive Officer

 Claire (BSc Hons 1, Dip Nutr & Diet, AdvADP) was the first Accredited Practising Dietitian to be appointed CEO of DAA in 2004. Previously she was a DAA Board Director for four years and on the NSW Branch Exec for 7 years as well as undertaking a number of other voluntary roles in DAA.

Claire’s role is overall management of the association’s four divisions of Operations, Professional Services, Communications and Marketing and Accreditation and Recognition Services as well as policy development, advocacy, environmental scans, representation and media spokesperson.

Claire has had many years of experience as a practising Dietitian in clinical, food service, community and public health nutrition, diabetes education and private practice and in various aspects of health service management mostly in rural areas. She is the Australian representative to the Asian Federation of Dietetic Associations, a member of the founding Board of the Commonwealth (Intl) Dietitian and Nutritionist Association, a director of Allied Health Professions Australia and DAA representative to the governance group of PEN® Global.

Conference Opening Presentation

Mike Gidley

Nourishing Australia: A Decadal Plan for Nutrition Science.

Interested in Attending?

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Key Dates

Conference Dates:
17 – 19 May 2018, Sydney

Registration Opens:
15 December 2017

Early Bird/Author Registration Deadline:

Abstract Submission:

Workshop/Seminar Submission:

Call for Late Breaking Abstracts:

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