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Welcome to the February newsletter. In this edition:

A message from our President

For those of us in the healthcare, research and medical sectors, 2022 has got off to a challenging start as we continue to respond to COVID-19 and its associated challenges. My thanks to the many tireless healthcare workers, researchers and frontline staff who have spent the festive season working to protect public health during this difficult time. Many Academy Fellows have been very active in this space – you can see just a small sample of their efforts in our Fellows in the news section below.
The Academy recently joined Australia’s other Learned Academies in calling for support of the integrity of the nation’s research and funding system, following news of the Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert MP, recently exercising his veto power to reject six projects recommended for funding by the ARC. We are ready to work with Government and the ARC to find a way forward which ensures Australia remains a champion of best practice research. You can read our full statement online.
Our next Life as a Clinician-Scientist symposium – the Queensland Clinical Sciences Symposium – will be held online on 26 March. These symposia aim to encourage and inspire medical, allied health, nursing and science students, junior doctors, specialty trainees, and early career researchers to incorporate clinical practice with medical research. Many talented Fellows and Associate Members, and other experts, will be sharing their stories, advice and experience with our audience, including Professors Ranjeny Thomas, Paul Young, David Reutens and Frank Gannon, and new Associate Member A/Professor Lauren Ball. Please spread word of this event among your networks – it’s a great opportunity for aspiring clinician-scientists to learn from the best. As it is online, one can join from around the country and beyond. Find out more information on our event page.
This month the Academy welcomed 12 new mentees who will join AAHMS as Associate Members for the next three years. This is our largest intake to date and a reflection of the excellence of the program and the generous contributions of our Fellows who act as mentors. Learn more about these rising health and medical stars in our news story online.  Mentee and mentor applications are accepted year-round, and the deadline for our next round is 4 March. Please do share information about the program with emerging leaders in your networks. The program receives excellent feedback and is a key platform for the Academy’s strategic goal of nurturing future leaders. For more information, please look at our program page.
The Academy’s work to celebrate and nurture diverse Australian health leaders continues with our Medal for Outstanding Female Researcher. Nominations close this month (27 February) for this prestigious medal, which recognises women in science who have made one or more seminal discoveries in health and medicine. Find more information on how to nominate on the award page on our website.
The Jian Zhou Medal, which recognises an individual within 15 years of achieving their PhD (or equivalent first research higher degree) who are making a significant impact in translational medical science, is also open for nominations. Nominations are welcome from all fields associated with furthering biomedical and health research, whether clinical or basic biomedical research, but must have a clear translational focus. Nominations close 30 April – find more information on the award page on our website.
Nominations for both of our honorific awards are welcome are open to all – nominees and nominators do not need to be Fellows of the Academy.
The Academy has been fortunate to host a diverse and impressive range of speakers at our events, from our recent annual meeting keynote interview with Dr Anthony Fauci, to our Life as a Clinician-Scientist symposia that highlight our Fellows. The AAHMS video library now has more than 70 talks, panels and webinars available online. Try searching by speaker name, topic or year, and be inspired by the life stories of our amazing clinician-scientists and leading experts in their field.
Best wishes,

Professor Ingrid Scheffer AO FRS FAA PresAHMS

Forthcoming events

The 2022 Queensland Clinical Sciences Symposium – part of our Life as a Clinician-Scientist series – will be held on 26 March. This online event features many inspiring health and medical experts share their stories of clinical work and academic research, encouraging the next generation to pursue this career path. Find more information on our events page.

Sector news and opportunities

Nominations for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science close on 10 February. Nominating someone for a Prize is a powerful acknowledgement of the value they contribute both to the field of science and to their community. Several AAHMS Fellows have won Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science in the past, and prizes range between $50,000 and $250,000. Find out more on their website.
The Academy is seeking an experienced and motivated policy manager to join the secretariat. This is an exciting time to join the Academy’s policy team as we have several important policy projects underway, which will come to fruition in 2022, and we are looking ahead to our next strategy period (2023-2025). Find more information on our job listing online. Applications close 13 February.


Professor Brendan Murphy was awarded the Peter Wills Medal at the Annual Health and Medical Research Awards.

Professors Flavia Cicuttini and Steve Nicholls were joint winners of the 2021 Eric Susman Prize for their outstanding contribution to the knowledge of internal medicine.

Five Fellows were awarded Australia Day honours: congratulations Dr Alan Finkel, Professor Sandra Eades, Professor Julie Byles, Professor Helen Marshall and Professor Tuan Nguyen. Learn more in our news story.

Fellows in the news

Many AAHMS Fellows have been working to raise awareness of public health issues and the changing pandemic, speaking to media across Australia during the past few weeks. Below is just a sample of their efforts.
Several Fellows and Associate Members contributed to an open letter calling for Australia’s schools to be reopened. It was published by Fairfax.
Professor Greg Dore provided some optimism in a piece about COVID and vaccinations in NSW for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Professor Tony Cunningham spoke to about the nature of COVID-19 transmission.
Professor Stephen Duckett wrote for The Guardian about the government response to the Omicron variant, as well as a piece on RATs for The Conversation. He was also quoted in the Sydney Morning HeraldSBS,
Professor Flavia Cicuttini and a team from Monash published Determinants of worse care for non-COVID-19 health or disability needs in Australia in the first month of COVID-19 restrictions: A national survey.
AAHMS Fellows Professors Sharon Lewin, John Kaldor and Greg Dore wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald about restrictions, vaccinations and the information needed to best manage the variant. Their opinion piece was covered by other media, including RN Breakfast.
Professor Fran Baum wrote How can health promotion contribute to pulling humans back from the brink of disaster? for Global Health Promotion Journal.
Professor Ian Hickie was co-investigator on a study on antidepressant side effects, published in Communications Medicine. He also discussed mental health and LGBTI communities on ABC’s The Drum.
Distinguished Professor Dietmar Hutmacher discussed his goals as co-director of the new Max Planck Queensland Center for the Materials Science of Extracellular Matrices.
Associate Member A/ Professor Margie Danchin spoke to 3AW and ABC radio about the TGA’s advice regarding vaccinations and children. She also contributed to an article for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health: Qualitative exploration of intentions, concerns and information needs of vaccine-hesitant adults initially prioritised to receive COVID-19 vaccines in AustraliaShe wrote about COVID tests and children for The Conversation and also co-authored a piece for Fairfax.
Associate Member A/ Professor Asha Bowen wrote about children, school and vaccinations for The Age.
New Associate Member A/Professor Atul Malhotra contributed to a study to improve outcomes for newborn cardio-respiratory health. Findings were published in IEEE: Real-Time Multi-Level Neonatal Heart and Lung Sound Quality Assessment for Telehealth Applications.
Professors Brendan Crabb, Peter Doherty, Fiona Stanley, Sharon Lewin, Anthony Kelleher and Johnathan Carapetis wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister asking for vaccine equity. It was also covered by the ABC.
Professor Crabb also wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald on a national response to COVID-19. He was also a guest on ABC’s Health Report.
Professor Sharon Lewin wrote for The Age on Australia’s changing COVID-19 journey. She was also profiled by Franklin Women.
Professor Fran Baum chaired a webinar for WHO on the commercial determinants of health.
Professor Clare Collins wrote for The Conversation: 4 plant-based foods to eat every week (and why science suggests they’re good for you).
Professors Mark Dawson, Sarah-Jane Dawson and David Huang contributed to new research published in Cancer Discovery: Pharmacological reduction of mitochondrial iron triggers a non-canonical BAX/BAK dependent cell death.