Dr Rowan Ogeil appointed as Strategic Lead of NAMHSU

29 Nov 2023

Turning Point is delighted to announce that Dr Rowan Ogeil has been appointed as the Strategic Lead of NAMHSU.


Congratulations to Dr Ogeil

Dr Ogeil brings a decade of important contributions to Turning Point’s work in addiction and substance use to his new appointment as Strategic Lead for the National Addiction and Mental Health Surveillance Unit (NAMHSU).

In this new role, Dr Ogeil plans to grow NAMHSU's research capacity, outputs, and policy impacts in the areas of AOD, mental health, and suicide and self-harm research.

“Now is an integral time to be working on these issues given that they are of vital health, social, and economic importance to Australia,” Dr Ogeil said. “I also aim to continue to mentor and grow our junior staff members and students to make them leaders and experts in the future.”

An integral part of Turning Point’s focus, the NAMHSU team works to reduce the impact of addiction, suicide and self-harm, and mental ill health by providing surveillance data that informs policy and interventions.

“I look forward to building strong relationships with our stakeholders, and ensuring that these continue to expand and deepen,” said Dr Ogeil said on accepting the position.

“Fostering positive relationships at all levels of government, and with other leading researchers will embed our team as pathfinders for new solutions to reduce harms around AOD, MH, and SSH.”

Dr Ogeil and the NAMHSU team at the 2023 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) conference.

Dr Ogeil and the NAMHSU team at the 2023 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) conference.

Building on recent NAMHSU team successes

Since July 2023, Rowan has held the role of Acting Strategic Lead, helping to deliver new work plans and reports as part of the National Ambulance Surveillance System (NASS) AOD and NASS Suicide and Self-Harm Surveillance projects.

“I have been proud to have seen so much growth and achievement by the team over the past 6 months while acting in this role,” Dr Ogeil said.

The team’s recent work includes a “showcase” role at the Turning Point Symposium and a vast breadth of papers presented at the 2023 APSAD conference in Adelaide.

Importantly, NAMHSU is also presenting novel data using NASS that complements other national data sets and highlights the uniqueness of the NASS system and its capability in the international space.

“Our team includes over 40 people, and the coders form the backbone of our team, having regularly coded over 100,000 records per month since I have been in this role,” Dr Ogeil said.

A decade of important contributions

Rowan joined Turning Point in 2013, following the completion of his PhD examining the effects of MDMA on sleep and circadian rhythms.

Initially a member of the “Pop Health” team working with Associate Professor Belinda Lloyd, Rowan led projects examining alcohol's contribution to the burden of disease across Australia and was appointed as the Victorian site lead on the Young Australians Alcohol Reporting System (YAARS), working with Dr Tina Lam from the National Drug Research Institute, and now the Monash Addiction Research Centre where they still work closely together on projects examining alcohol harms.

In 2014, Rowan was awarded a prestigious Peter Doherty Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council. This led to a four-year investigation into the effects of drugs on sleep in different settings, crucially their use by shift workers to remain alert and vigilant while at work, and to aid sleep post-shift. This work led to the award of a Harvard-Australia Fellowship, allowing Rowan to spend time in 2016 and 2017 as a Visiting Scientist at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Following his return to Melbourne, Rowan re-joined the “Pop Health” team first as Reporting and Stakeholder Team Leader, then as Deputy Strategic Lead working under A/Prof Debbie Scott, where he helped to expand the scope of the National Ambulance Surveillance System (NASS) as part of the newly formed National Addiction and Mental Health Surveillance Unit (NAMHSU).

Rowan also plays an active role across the broader Turning Point community through his service on Alcohol Change Victoria, being the Eastern Health Clinical School's representative on the Faculty's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and as a coordinator of the Public Health Intensive Unit as part of Turning Point's Graduate Program of Addictive Behaviours (GPAB).

Turning Point congratulates Dr Ogeil on this new appointment.