Meet the AAMRI Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Meet the AAMRI Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Members of the AAMRI Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee are researchers and professional staff based at medical research institutes with experience, insight and passion for gender equality, diversity and inclusion in medical research through their work and lived experiences. The Committee is chaired by AAMRI Board Director, Professor Maxine Morand.

The committee aims to advance gender equality in the medical research institute sector through advocacy, leadership and providing expert guidance. This work will complement existing efforts of other organisations working towards gender equality, diversity and inclusion in medical research and STEM more broadly.

To contact the committee, please get in touch with Dr Cath Latham, AAMRI’s Policy & Project Manager (

Find out about the Committee’s priorities, purpose and Terms of Reference here.


Committee Members (2020-)


Professor Maxine Morand (chair)

AAMRI Board Director

Professor Maxine Morand is an AAMRI Board Director, Board Chair of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and a Professorial Fellow at Monash University in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

Professor Morand is a former Victorian Government Minister with a background in health, cancer research, public policy and NFP management.

During her eight years in Parliament, Maxine served in a range of senior government positions including Parliamentary Secretary for Health, then Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, and Minister for Women’s Affairs. Maxine is a passionate advocate for women’s equality of opportunity, and led major legislative reform in women’s health.

Maxine served as CEO of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) between 2011 and 2014. Maxine was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2011, giving her personal insight into the impact and management of a cancer diagnosis.


Dr Parisa Glass

Director of Innovation and Enterprise, The George Institute for Global Health

Parisa is the Director of Innovation and Enterprise for The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney. In this role, she leads all entrepreneurship, tech transfer and commercialisation activity at The George Institute for Global Health. She has over fifteen years’ experience in health and university sectors in both an operational and academic capacity. She also manages the Genovate program, which provides support and guidance for researchers and emerging entrepreneurs who are developing affordable and commercialisable healthcare solutions to global unmet health needs.

Belonging and inclusion are integral to the culture at the George Institute as they are a global organisation with a focus on global health, where 70% of the workforce are women (Australian office). Parisa is passionate about helping women find success in whatever role they choose and show them that leadership is about caring for people, no matter what tough decisions you need to make. Parisa also led the George Institute’s successful SAGE application and the institute was awarded the Athena Swan Bronze Award in 2019.


Associate Professor Deborah Strickland

Research Focus Area Head, Early Environment, Telethon Kids Institute

Deborah is a research team leader in experimental immunology and head of the Early Environment Research Focus Area at the Telethon Kids Institute. Her research program is aimed at understanding how the early life immune system can be programmed to drive increased susceptibility to, or mitigation of, disease risk in later life, with the overarching goal of developing potential preventive strategies.

As well as her research, Deborah is a member of the Telethon Kids Institute Leadership Team, led the institute’s successful Athena Swan Bronze Award application and leads the focus on gender equity at the institute. Over her 17 year research career (spanning 25 years), Deborah has experienced the challenges faced by women returning to research after having 3 children, working part-time/flexibly, reliance on securing grant funding, caring for elderly parents with disability, and has dedicated time during her career to helping others navigate similar challenges.

Deborah is part of the SAGE-led group of STEM sector representatives who are developing the Bronze to Silver Award Pathway for the Australian Athena Swan program.


Professor Allison Pettit

Director of Biomedical Research, Mater Research

Allison is the Director of Biomedical Research and an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow at Mater Research in Brisbane. She leads the Bones and Immunology Research Group at Mater focussed on understanding how the immune system influences bone health and regeneration and the reciprocal influence on supporting haematopoiesis. Allison has worked in the complementary fields of immunology, rheumatology, haematology, cancer biology and bone biology for over 15 years.

Allison is passionate about improving equity in health research and was the inaugural chair of the Gender Equity Working Group for Mater Research which subsequently formalised into the Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. This group that has established several positive initiatives at Mater Research in the area of gender equity, including design and implementation of an internal grant scheme targeted at acceleration and enhancing female academic careers; logistical/infrastructure supports for women during late stage pregnancy and early return to work transition; and influence of policy design to ensure gender and diversity are considered during Organisational performance review and decision making processes.


Dr Sarah Russell

Group Leader (Senior Faculty) of the Cancer Immunology Program, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Sarah is Group Leader (Senior Faculty) of the Cancer Immunology Program at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Her major focus is on T cells: how they develop, how they respond to pathogens and cancer, and how errors in their development can lead to leukemia. To achieve this, she works with physicists and mathematicians at Swinburne University developing new microscopy applications and statistical and computational tools for single cell analysis.

Sarah believes that everybody has a right to a rewarding career that makes full use of their potential. This has driven her work to support and advance women in health and medical research through multiple initiatives. Sarah co-founded Women in Science Parkville Precinct (WiSPP), a group that combines systemic change with individual support and networking to provide better opportunities for women in medical research across five medical research institutes in Parkville (Melbourne).


Dr Mark Deady

Research Fellow, Black Dog Institute

Mark is an early-mid career researcher (EMCR) at the Black Dog Institute in Sydney. He has over twelve years research experience in the field of mental health and substance use disorders. His work focuses on improving access to evidence-based care through technology such as digital technologies, particularly in vulnerable populations including young people and high-risk workforces.

Mark is enthusiastic about gender equality issues in research driven by his recognition of the challenges faced by women in the field, especially those pertaining to the complexities and disparities surrounding parental leave and care-giving responsibilities.



Collette Ordish

Head of HR & Organisational Development, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)

Collette is the Head of Human Resources & Organisational Development at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and has over 15 years of experience in HR Management roles within not-for-profit, hospitality and health industries.

With a strong passion towards creating and maintaining safe, respectful, inclusive and engaged workplace culture, Collette plays both a leadership and an active operational role in SAHMRI’s extensive Gender Equity, Inclusion, Diversity and Reconciliation initiatives. Collette sits on both SAHMRI’s Gender Equity Committee and SAHMRI’s Reconciliation Action Plan Committee and was part of the team that worked to achieve SAHMRI’s Athena SWAN bronze award in 2019.


Louise Johansson

Diversity and Inclusion Manager, WEHI

Louise is the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Manager at WEHI.

She provides leadership for the design, development and implementation of WEHI’s diversity and inclusion strategy with a current focus on gender equality, reconciliation, and LGBTQIA+ inclusion. Louise also led WEHI’s successful application to the SAGE Athena Swan accreditation program and received the Bronze Award in 2018.

Prior to joining WEHI, Louise lived and worked in England for 10 years and held senior policy and advocacy positions in two influential statutory equality bodies – the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.