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Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation


ABN 79 121 168 867

The Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation (ADRF) was established in 2006 as a charitable, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to assist and support the research efforts into asbestos and other dust-related diseases. The Foundation established and operates the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) a dedicated research institute. The ADRF continues to support ADRI by attracting financial support from companies and individuals.

The objects for which the Foundation is established are:

  1. to promote, sponsor and facilitate research and healthcare delivery among those individuals and communities exposed to asbestos or other dusts or suffering from asbestos-related or other dust-related diseases;
  2. to provide leadership and excellence in asbestos-related and dust-related diseases research activities;
  3. to promote awareness of the special circumstances experienced by those exposed to asbestos or other dusts which can lead to potential or actual asbestos-related or other dust-related diseases;
  4. to promote, sponsor and facilitate asbestos-related and dust-related diseases education and training in relevant health disciplines;
  5. to further knowledge of medicine and science by promoting the conduct of research in the field of asbestos-related and other dust-related diseases;
  6. to achieve a better understanding of the nature and causes of asbestos-related and dust-related human diseases and afflictions;
  7. to improve methods of preventing, diagnosing and treating those diseases and afflictions; and
  8. where possible, to apply its research and other activities, either directly or indirectly, to the development of relevant products and treatments; preventative strategies and practices; and educational programs and materials for asbestos-related and other dust-related diseases.

The Foundation must pursue its objectives principally in Australia.


Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission logoThe Board of the Foundation consists of the independent chairperson invited by the Minister for Industrial Relations, two members from the Workers Compensation Dust Diseases Board; nominees from the University of Sydney, ANZAC Health & Medical Research Foundation, Sydney Local Health District, Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Inc., Unions NSW, and past and present manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos or dust-containing goods. In addition, the Board has appointed a further member, being the Research Director of the Institute.

The Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

Ms Sylvia Kidziak AM

Chairperson (Acting)

Nominated by the Dust Diseases Board

Ms Sylvia Kidziak AM

Ms Kidziak is Managing Director of SL Engineering, a Councillor on the NSW Business Chamber Eastern Sydney Regional Advisory Council and held the position of Principal Consultant, Occupational Health, Safety and Environment Policy at Australian Business Ltd for 26 years. She is a member of the Dust Diseases Board of NSW and was previously a member of the Board of Directors of the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Board of NSW and Chair of the Research Grants and Corporate Governance Committees. Ms Kidziak held the position of Chair of the ARPANSA Radiation Health and Safety Advisory Council for 12 years and the Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee for 3 years. She was formerly a Member of the NSW Workers Compensation and Workplace Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Council, a Commissioner on the Australian Safety and Compensation Council and the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, Board Member of the NSW Cancer Council, a Director on the NICNAS Industry, Government Consultative Committee, Chair of the Occupational Health, Safety and Rehabilitation Council of NSW and Chair or Member of various other state and federal government Councils and Committees concerned with health safety and environmental matters. Ms Kidziak has received several awards for her work which has included extensive advice on policy and technical issues relating to health and safety, medical research and specifically asbestos.

Reappointed: 16 May 2012

Professor Mark Cooper

Nominated by The University of Sydney

Mark Cooper is the Professor of Medicine and Head of the Discipline of Medicine at the Concord Clinical School, University of Sydney. He heads the Adrenal Steroid Laboratory at the ANZAC Research Institute. Until 2012 he was a Senior Lecturer in Endocrinology at the University of Birmingham, UK. He was also metabolic bone physician at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham, one of the largest orthopaedic hospitals in Europe. His clinical and research interests include adrenal steroid physiology and metabolic bone disease. In particular, he has examined the role that glucocorticoid metabolism plays in normal physiology, inflammatory arthritis and glucocorticoid induced osteoporosis. He was previously the Bertram Abraham’s Lecturer in Physiology at the Royal College of Physicians of London. He continues to combine a clinical practice with a basic/translational research group.

Appointed 21 October 2015

Emeritus Professor Robert Lusby AM

Emeritus Professor Robert Lusby AM

Nominated by the ANZAC Health and Medical Research Foundation

Professor Lusby is the former Head of the Clinical School at Concord Repatriation General Hospital and also former Associate Dean of the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. Professor Lusby was a Colonel in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps, and has served in Rwanda with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force; in Bougainville with the Peace Monitoring Group and in 1999 he served with the INTERFET forces in East Timor. In addition, he was the Consultant Surgeon to the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force. Professor Lusby is Chair of the ANZAC Medical Research Institute and has previously served on the Macquarie and Northern Area Health Service boards. He is the proprietor of Tintilla Estate Hunter Valley Vineyard and Winery.

Appointed 3 August 2012

Dr Teresa Anderson AM

Nominated by the Sydney Local Health District

Appointed 21 May 2018

Mr Barry Robson

Nominated by the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Inc.

Barry Robson is the President of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA) and President of the Blacktown and Mt Druitt Cardiac Support Group. He is a life member of the Maritime Union of Australia and the St Mary’s Baseball Club. Member of the National Taskforce Asbestos in Telstra Pits and Member of the Council for the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.

Reappointed: 8 October 2014

Dr Deborah Vallance

Nominated by Unions NSW

Since 2009 Dr Vallance is the National H&S Coordinator of the AMWU. The majority of her working life has been spent in health and safety roles in the union movement, including the participation in tripartite bodies and meetings at State, National and international levels. Deborah previously worked as a medical practitioner, has undertaken health and safety policy and project work for government and has worked in population health research.

Appointed: 18 April 2016

Mr Jason Miele

Nominated by James Hardie Industries plc representing the interests of past and present manufacturers and suppliers of Dust or Dust-containing goods

Jason Miele was appointed to the position of Vice President – Investor and Media Relations in February 2017. In this role, Mr. Miele has responsibility for overseeing the Company's investor relations strategy and successful interface with external audiences, communicating the Company’s business strategy and its financial performance to various stakeholders including shareholders, investment analysts, and the financial media. Mr Miele has 19 years of relevant professional experience, including 10 years of experience with James Hardie, where he has served in various finance and operational support roles, most recently as James Hardie’s Vice President - Global Controller, a position he has held since 2013. Prior to joining James Hardie in 2006, Mr Miele held finance roles at Pacificare Health Systems and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, both in the Los Angeles, CA, USA area. Mr Miele has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he graduated with a degree in Business Economics with an emphasis in Accounting.

Appointed: 19 June 2017

Dr Christopher Clarke

Dr Christopher Clarke

Invited by the Board

Christopher Clarke commenced practice as a Consultant Thoracic Physician in 1976. His special interest has been occupational lung disease. He has held appointments at a number of public hospitals in Sydney including Visiting Medical Officer in the Department of Thoracic Medicine at Concord Hospital until December 2008. Dr Clarke has worked under the MSOAP-ICD program as a thoracic physician in country regions in NSW. He is the employee nominated member on the Medical Authority of the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Board of NSW. He is an Authorised Medical Specialist for the NSW Workers Compensation Commission. He is a past President of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand. He now has a Marine Engine Drivers 2 Certificate of Competency (steam) and is Chief Engineer on ST Waratah which is one of the vessels run by the Sydney Heritage Fleet. The wide range of trades represented there have given him an insight into the extensive use of asbestos in these industries.

Appointed: 13 March 2014

Dr Andrew Penman AM

Invited by the Board

Dr Andrew Penman AM

Andrew Penman is a public health physician whose career has been focussed on the application of health and medical research in effective public policy and health programs. From 1984 to 1998 he held a succession of senior positions as Regional Director of Public health, Pilbara Health Region, Assistant Commissioner and Chief Health Officer, WA Health Department, Director of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and Deputy Chief Health Officer, NSW Health. In these positions he initiated or led campaigns for example in control of sexually transmitted diseases, environmental health improvement in indigenous communities, expansion of hereditary disease services, improved parenting to reduce conduct disorder, alcohol harm minimisation, and expanded vaccination. Since 1996, he has been Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Council NSW. In this position he has grown the organisation’s revenue, and scale and scope of programs, and initiated innovative programs in liver cancer prevention, tobacco control among disadvantaged people, tobacco retail reform and expanded support services for cancer patients. He was Chair of the Steering Committee to develop guidelines for the management of malignant mesothelioma under the auspices of the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute. His work in cancer control was recognised by his appointment as a Member in the Order of Australia in 2010. His writing has been largely in the realm of departmental or organisational policy and strategy papers, and advocacy documents such as Health Goals and Targets for Western Australia, and improving Radiotherapy services. These interests are reflected in his publication record.

Appointed: 8 October 2014

Professor Ken Takahashi

Research Director

Ken Takahashi was Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health (UOEH), Japan. Ken graduated from the School of Medicine, Keio University in 1983 (MD), and after completing a 2-year residency in surgery, he received a PhD from UOEH and MPH from the University of Pittsburgh. He engages in epidemiologic research of occupational diseases, with special interest on occupational lung diseases, and asbestos-related diseases in particular. He served as consultant/advisor to the WHO and ILO on a number of occasions, examiner/advisor to academic institutes in several Asian countries, is a former Board Member of the International Commission of Occupational Health and former President of the Asian Association for Occupational Health. He currently serves as the WHO Expert on Chemical Safety/Environmental Epidemiology (International Health Regulations) and is a Fellow and Executive Council Member of the Collegium Ramazzini. He received the Jorma Rantanen Award from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in 2011 and the Selikoff Lifetime Achievement Award from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (NGO in USA) in 2014. In February 2017 the Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation and The University of Sydney recruited Ken Takahashi to the position of ADRI Director and Professor, Sydney Medical School.

Appointed: 1 February 2017