On Thursday 2nd June the School of Public Health had the great honour of presenting the inaugural Professor Tony McMichael Memorial Prize to Jodi Gray. This prize was established with great thanks to Prof McMichael’s wife, Associate Professor Judith Healy, and is an annual student award for excellence in the completion of our Master of Public Health.
Professor McMichael was appointed Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health in the Department of Community Medicine at the University of Adelaide in 1986 and served a term as Head of the department. In the early 1990s he left the University of Adelaide to join the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as Professor of Epidemiology, and in 2001 returned to Australia to become Director of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.
In his many leadership roles, he established the National Short Course in Environmental Health, served as President of PHAA, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology and also the National Union of Students. He was the ACT finalist in the Australian of the Year Award in 2010, when, inter alia, he was acknowledged as an advisor and consultant on environmental health issues to the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Environment Program, the World Bank, and other international bodies. Described by the international journal Lancet as a visionary of the environment–health interface, he was one of Australia’s intellectual giants. In 2011 he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.
Prof McMichael’s research covered many areas of public health: for many years he investigated lead exposure in Port Pirie, the epidemiology of Multiple Sclerosis, and pioneered research on climate change and health. His publishing achievements are extraordinary with hundreds of peer-reviewed papers, more than one hundred book chapters, and authoring three books “Planetary Overload: Global Environments Change and the Health of the Human Species”, “Human Frontiers, Environments and Disease: Past Patterns, Uncertain Futures” and to be published posthumously, “When Climates Change. Famines, Fevers and Fates of Populations – Past and Future”.
The School of Public Health was very fortunate that Prof McMichael maintained working relationships with staff, particularly in the area of Climate Change and Health.
Prof McMichael passed away in September 2014 and we feel very privileged to be able to honour his work in the establishment and awarding of this prize.
At this event we also recognised students who’d achieved academic excellence, including:
- Magdalena Moshi, who received the 2015 Honours University Medal.
- Peter Fugaro, who recently received the 2nd year Health Promotion Award from the Australian Health Promotion Association.
- Dr Andrea Barclay, who received the 2015 University Doctoral Research Medal. Andrea completed her PhD with the School of Nursing, and was supervised by Professor Alison Kitson (Nursing),Dr Kathryn Powell and Prof Dino Pisaniello (Public Health).