Keynote speakers

Heather McKay

Professor at the University of British Columbia, who has developed many research partnerships between government ministries, community and research partners to collectively address child and older adult health problems in Canada. She will reflect on the challenges of developing these partnerships and how to turn them into successes.

Jet Bussemakers

Former deputy-minister of Health and Professor of Health Policy, Science & Societal Impact at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, She is currently chair of the Council for Health and Society, the strategic advisory council to the MoH and therefore well placed to talk about setbacks and successes in knowledge exchange at the policy and research interface.

Helen Walters

Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NIHR NETSCC, University of Southampton and advisor for the Department of Health on health research. She previously held the position of Head of Health at the Greater London Authority (GLA) and worked for Public Health England. She will share her experience, insights and recent work to bring together public health practice and research for improving public health.

Vicky Ward

Reader in Management at the University of St Andrews. She has spent the last 10 years researching aspects of knowledge mobilisation and knowledge sharing across the health and social care sector, with a particular focus on how diverse groups of people (practitioners, academics, communities) create and share knowledge with each other. She has a particular interest in knowledge mobilisation frameworks, knowledge brokering, knowledge co-production and embedded research.

Professor Maureen Dobbins

Scientific Director at the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools in Canada, and Director of Health Evidence. Maureen has extensive expertise in understanding knowledge translation and exchange, and leading on evidence-informed decision making in partnership with Public Health policy makers in Canada. She will reflect on conducting rapid reviews and knowledge exchange with policy makers during the evolving environment of the pandemic along with Dr Leanne Idezerda.


Dr Leanne Idzerda

Leanne Idzerda is a senior research scientist with the Evidence Synthesis and Knowledge Translation Unit in the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Branch at the Public Health Agency of Canada. She is currently working on systematic reviews of priority topics relevant to the long-term effects of COVID-19 on public health.


Dr Peter van der Graaf

Peter is an Associate Professor in Public Health at Teesside University, where he manages the AskFuse service, the rapid response and evaluation service of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, which supports collaborative projects between academics and policy and practice partners in North East England and beyond. Peter will share his experiences of developing and evaluating an online COVID-19 knowledge sharing hub.

Dr Jane Powers


Jane is a Project Director for Assets Coming Together (ACT) at Cornell University's Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. Jane has a wealth of experience and expertise in working with partners to apply research knowledge to practice to improve the lives of children, youth and families.

Mandy Purington

Mandy is Director of Evaluation and Research, ACT for Youth, at Cornell University's Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. Mandy is passionate about using research and evaluation to promote the health and wellbeing of young people, and is interested in the rich connections between practice and research.

Jane and Mandy will use their in-depth knowledge to discuss the impact of training efforts on adolescent health providers along with their practice partner, Heather Wynkoop Beach.

Heather Wynkoop Beach

Director of Training and Technical Assistance, Heather spent 20 years doing front-line work with young people and communities. Since transitioning to the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research at Cornell University, Heather has found an unexpected enthusiasm in bridging the connection between practitioners and research.


Professor Roland Bal

Roland is a Professor of Healthcare Governance at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His extensive research focuses on the interactions between international, national and organisational policy levels. He will speak about the ethnographic research that he and his group have been doing on COVID-19 decision making, focusing on knowledge practices at different levels.

Dr. Peter Lurie

Peter Lurie, M.D., M.P.H. is President of CSPI.  Previously, Lurie was the Associate Commissioner for Public Health Strategy and Analysis at the Food and Drug Administration, where he worked on antimicrobial resistance, transparency, caffeinated beverages, arsenic in rice, fish consumption by pregnant and nursing women, expanded access to investigational drugs, and prescription drug abuse.  Prior to that, he was Deputy Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, where he addressed drug and device issues, coauthored the organization’s Worst Pills, Best Pills consumer guide to medications, and led efforts to reduce worker exposure to hexavalent chromium and beryllium.  Earlier, as a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Michigan, he studied needle exchange programs, ethical aspects of mother-to-infant HIV transmission studies, and other HIV policy issues domestically and abroad.