Menzies Brief June 2017
A message from the President and Secretary
Change and challenge – now is the time to get involved
lot can change in a short period of time.
By now you will have received your letter or email about the changes to the Foundation’s strategic
Major change never comes without challenge. We recognise that the Menzies scholarships have played
a pivotal role in many of your careers; they certainly have in ours, and we remain very grateful
for the opportunities they delivered, and the difference they made to our lives and others.
We’re very proud of what’s been achieved by the Menzies health and medical research institutes
and by all the incredible professionals who make up our alumni. But for the first time in our
40 year history, the Menzies Foundation Board has had a full strategic review and idenfitied
the opportunity to re-align our focus – to ensure we are directing our effort where others
are not – so that recipients of future Menzies Foundation support can also make a difference.
How to get involved
We’d like to invite the alumni to take this opportunity to work with us, share your experience
and knowledge, to ensure that our new opportunities are future-focused and align with
the original tenets of the Foundation: to honour the memory of Sir Robert Menzies,
invest in initiatives of national importance, and make a difference to the lives of
The Alumni Advisory Group has met twice in the last few months and provided terrific input
to this process, but we’d appreciate your support and contribution also.
There will be expert panels for each of the three new focus areas. For the International
Law Scholarship, a questionnaire will be put out to all law scholars to provide input
to the discussion. A separate questionnaire will go to all medical, engineering, allied
health and other interested scholars for input to the entrepreneurial leadership grant
conversation. Experts from academia, education, industry, government, peak bodies and
practice, in all three fields, will be consulted before refining the business case
and the scope of work, to then work through the nitty gritty of implementation.
Changes to the MMSA
As flagged at the November MMSA AGM in Sydney, we have been considering the future
role of the MMSA alongside the evolving direction of the Foundation. We have worked
with the Advisory Group to refine our thinking and determine if our existing structure
can be simplified. We are proposing to change the name from the Menzies Memorial
Scholars’ Association to the Menzies Alumni, with new recipients of the Menzies
Foundation grants or scholarships, continuing to add to our Alumni number and network.
This change would mean no separate association, bank account or AGM. The titles of
the MMSA President and Secretary would change to become the Chair and Deputy Chair
of the Alumni Advisory Group. These individuals will also hold ex-officio Menzies
Foundation board positions and act as alumni representatives, as they do now.
We recognise that there will not be a scholarship award ceremony this year. However,
we remain in discussion with the Foundation team about several state-based
events later this year, to allow for an update on new work, an opportunity
for contribution and a social networking occasion.
We’re also looking at the possibility of focusing on the work of our alumni
with some other form of annual event and we continue to examine options
and ideas; we welcome your opinions also.
Call for next Secretary/Deputy Chair
Each year we call for nominations to join the Alumni Advisory Group. Being
a member of the Advisory Group is a potential stepping stone to the Menzies
Foundation Board and provides the opportunity to have input into the Foundation’s
As was the case last year, we will make the call for nominations for the new
Secretary (or Deputy Chair of the Alumni Advisory Group in the new model)
from the members of the Advisory Group first. If no nominations are received,
we will put out a call to the wider Menzies Alumni. In the case of more
than one nomination, an online vote will be arranged. We are about to start
the process within the Advisory Group and we will update you on progress.
As the departing President/Chair leaves the Advisory Group, this will also
make way for an additional alumnus to join the Group. Calls for this position
will also be coordinated later in the year.
This is a time of great change for the Foundation, but change that is necessary
to ensure our ongoing relevance amidst an increasingly crowded scholarship
market. As we move towards the Foundation’s 40 years, we continue to
value your role and seek your ongoing contribution, to ensure that
we remain a driving force for impactful scholarship in the decades
If you have further questions about these changes or involvement on the
Advisory Group please contact us or the Foundation team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will seek to answer them for you.
Dr Adrian McCallum
President, Menzies Memorial Scholars’ Association
Dr Sheree Hurn
Secretary, Menzies Memorial Scholars’ Association
2016 Annual report released
have just released our 2016 Annual Report at the Menzies
Foundation AGM on 19 May.
A visit by Baroness Valerie Amos, who delivered the Menzies
Oration, the opening of Menzies Square in Jeparit and
highlights from the Menzies Scholars across Australia
and around the world feature in the report, along with
changes to the details of some of the Foundation’s
You can download a copy or view it online.
If you would like a hard copy, please email AJ Epstein
at email@example.com and we will organise for one to be sent.
Menzies Centenary Prize awarded
Dimboola Memorial Secondary College Dux, Courtney
Dove, has overcome a lot of obstacles to start her tertiary education
at the University of Melbourne. With a scholarship to stay on campus
at Queens College, Courtney has started a Bachelor of Arts and hopes
to major in Psychology and Media & Communications. Read about Courtney’s endeavours to deal with her own mental health concerns as well as taking the initiative
to help other young people in the Hindmarsh Shire. It is not
hard to see why Courtney is the recipient of the $10,000 Menzies Centenary
Prize for 2016.
The generosity of the MMSA has enabled the Menzies Centenary Prize to be
awarded for over 20 years now. As part of the Board’s recent decisions,
the Menzies Centenary Prize will continue with a review in 2019.
Menzies Scholars achieve amazing things
Queensland QC and 1987 Menzies Scholar in Law, Mr Roger Derrington has been appointed to the Federal Court as a Judge and has started his role with the
Brisbane registry of the court.
Dark Matter expert and Harvard Menzies
Scholar, Dr Tracy Slatyer (pictured), combines
research in particle and astro physics in her attempts to solve one of the fundamental puzzles of science.
We spoke to her recently to get a better understanding of her work
and she has a great story of resilience. The MIT Assistant Professor
was recently presented with the MIT Future of Science Award.
Recent graduate, 2015 Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholar in International
Law, Patrick Wall, started a new role with the UNHCR in Geneva working on the development of the global compact on refugees.
He told us all about the importance of this next step in helping
refugees and the countries that host them.
NHMRC/Menzies Fellow Dr David Riglar,
has released his latest research on how engineered bacteria in the gut microbiome could be used
for next generation diagnostics and therapeutics. The engineered
bugs can give live diagnostics of inflammation. David is pictured
courtesy of Wyss at Harvard University.
WEHI lab head, Professor Nick Huntington, NHMRC/Menzies
Fellow, is the recipient of one of 34 research awards world
wide provided by the Melanoma Research Alliance. Nick was presented
with a Young Investigator Award recently which provides
up to $75,000 per year for
three years (up to $225,000 total)
to accomplish innovative, translational
research projects to cure melanoma.
Harnessing new technologies, using innovative teaching methods
and thinking about business, law and social impact differently,
are central to building the next generation of change-makers,
according to 2012 Menzies Scholar Jessica Roth, who
is the founder and Director of the Social Impact Hub in Sydney.
Professor John Pimanda, haematologist and
2003 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, has been appointed head of
pathology at UNSW, expanding his role which already straddles
clinical and academic roles. John is head of the Adult
Cancer Program at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre, UNSW
and a haematologist at the Prince of Wales Hospital. But
when you talk to John about his work, it’s clear his research
work is his first passion and it’s the opportunity to make
transformational change which drives him. Read more here.
From campaigning for Hilary Clinton to tutoring in a local
correctional facility, Harvard Menzies Scholar, Sibella Matthews,
is making the most of every minute on her scholarship
in Boston and so far it has exceeded all of her expectations.
Read some more about the experiences of a scholar who
wants to change the juvenile justice system.
In the media
- As reported in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Menzies
Scholar in Medicine, Professor Robyn O’Hehir AO,
and her team at Alfred Health and Monash University,
is one step closer to a vaccine for peanut
allergy now that human trials have commenced.
- MMSA President and Menzies Scholar in Engineering,
Dr Adrian McCallum, has written
a piece for his local newspaper about living a life of adventure.
- Building on his extensive body of research and
experience with damaging virus cytomegalovirus (CMV), Professor Bill Rawlinson is one of the authors of new treatment guidelines
on CMV, recently published in the Lancet Infectious medical journal.
The paper contains consensus recommendations
for prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of CMV.
NHMRC/Menzies Fellow, Professor Matthew Kiernan,
appeared as part of a special on 60 Minutes,
talking about the mechanism of MND,
the latest research into treatment options
and the challenge of communicating a diagnosis
to a patient.
- In a Boston Herald opinion piece perhaps the US President didn’t read, Harvard
Menzies Scholar, Matthew Tyler, mounted the case for a clean energy future
in the US, saying renewable energy may prove
the key to Donald Trump’s White House Legacy.
- Menzies Scholar in Medicine, Professor Jamie Vandenberg,
helped Channel 7 viewers better understand research findings on the risk of cardiac arrest associated with
Menzies Institutes’ wrap
The Menzies Centre for Health Policy has asked us to pass on details of their call for
abstracts for its annual Emerging Health Policy
Research Conference, to be held at the University
of Sydney on Thursday, 27 July 2017. Abstracts are due Wednesday, 7 June 2017.
The conference will showcase the work in progress
of current masters, doctoral and early career research
workers, as well as those new to the field of health
policy research. MCHP is inviting research workers
from all areas of health policy - including (but
not limited to) international health, health systems,
history of public health, indigenous health, health
economics, health promotion and sociology - to
submit an abstract of their presentation. Details
The Queensland Government has announced $5 million
will go towards spinal injury research being conducted
at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery and
Menzies Health Institute Queensland,
who are looking to cure spinal cord injuries.
On World No Tobacco Day, Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin spoke to the ABC about the research they are doing into the
potential use of social media to help reduce
smoking rates in Indigenous communities.
Menzies Institute of Medical Research has
received $1 million from former AFL Footballer, Neale Daniher’s
FightMND fund, to build on the MND research
of Institute Deputy Director, Associate
Professor Tracey Dickson. The research
is exploring potential drug therapies for
Menzies Scholar Profile
Stephanie Ward, 2009 Harvard Menzies Scholar
Stephanie Ward was the 2009 RG Menzies
Scholar to Harvard where she completed
a Master of Public Health at the Harvard
School of Public Health. She specialises
in geriatric medicine and has recently
started a PhD looking into sleep apnoea
in older adults and cognitive outcomes.
Stephanie has some great things to
say about health and ageing.
How did your experience at Harvard shape your career? I
completed a Master of Public Health
and my degree had a focus on healthcare
management/ policy, although I also
did some more quantitative and research
oriented subjects too.
This experience has had a really significant
impact on my career. Prior to this,
I was primarily a clinician, and
since then I have been able to
broaden my career to include aspects
of clinical governance, training
and leadership, and in particular
experience in clinical trials and
epidemiology. My year at Harvard
definitely helped pave this direction.
First, there was the knowledge taught
through coursework in a variety
of subjects that expanded my viewpoint
well beyond that of an individual
clinician-doctor encounter, and
included broad areas like health
economics and ethics. Second I
was able to develop some useful
skills, in quantitative and research
aspects as well as further develop
teamwork and leadership skills.
Perhaps the greatest aspect was
just being immersed in this amazing
culture. My peers came from all
round the world, with many from
non-medical backgrounds, and made
for stimulating company both in
and outside the classroom.
The experience at HSPH was an all-encompassing
one; beyond classes, there were
regular visiting speakers and seminars.
I became really excited about being
amongst peers so active in public
health research and initiatives,
and I have sought to experience
that back in Australia.
At the time I studied at Harvard,
I had recently finished fellowship
training in geriatric medicine
and had started consultant
practise. Thus, when I returned
to Australia I had some flexibility
in the options I could explore.
So I maintained a part-time
clinical practice, but also
was offered an opportunity
to join the Monash Ageing Research
Centre (MONARC) at Monash Health,
where I was able to put my
interest and knowledge in patient
safety to work by participation
in clinical risk committees.
I also started to work with
the Monash University School
of Public Health and Preventive
Medicine (SPHPM) on one of
the largest clinical trials
ever undertaken in an older
population – the ASPREE study.
Through this I have had the
opportunity to be involved
with developing a questionnaire
on aspects of medical and social
health, join several sub-studies,
including one that I instigated
looking at sleep apnoea in
older adults and cognitive
outcomes (SNORE-ASA). I am
now a chief investigator on
3 NHMRC-funded sub-studies,
and 2 further randomised controlled
trials, that are evaluating
interventions in older populations.
Last year, I also took on the role
as a director of training for
geriatric medicine at Monash
Health, which is a really large
training site for geriatrics
in Australia with about 20
registrars, and I was also
a co-director of training for
the Victorian Geriatric Medicine
Recently I relinquished these
roles to I enrol in a full-time
PhD to devote my time and
energy into analysing data
from the SNORE-ASA study,
whilst I maintain one day
a week of clinical practice.
This is a good balance
for me, in particular as
I have a young family.
How do your research interests tie in with what you learned during the MPH at Harvard? One
of my favourite classes
at Harvard was on quality
improvement and patient
safety. It was, and is,
an area I am drawn to,
particularly because of
my clinical background
in the medical care of
older adults. Promoting
high quality in healthcare
and ensuring patient safety
is really an issue for
all of us involved in healthcare,
and particularly so for
those of us caring for
older adults who are often
quite vulnerable. Harvard
was one of the pioneers
in research into patient
safety, and it was really
inspiring to been taught
by such lions in the field
like Lucian Leape, Atul
Gawande and Don Berwick,
and to attend workshops
afterhours at the headquarters
of the Institute for healthcare
Improvement with then president,
When I returned to Australia,
I was really interested
initially in research
initiatives into patient
safety, and I was interested
to find out more about
the Monash University
Centre of Research
Excellence into Patient
Safety. Is was during
my investigations I
was introduced to the
ASPREE study, being
led in Australia by
the same school (so
I was slighted waylaid!).
However, I maintained
an interest in practical
aspects of patient
safety by becoming
involved in a clinical
risk committee at Monash
Health. I have also
had some initial collaborations
with the clinical registries
unit at Monash also.
My sleep disorders
after my time at
Harvard, and stemmed
from my work with
the ASPREE study.
What is your PhD topic and why did you choose it? My
PhD is investigating
as sleep apnoea)
in older adults
with the risk
and with changes
it is based
for a study
I had it
in my head
So I started
as we got
1 in 2
An ageing population is generating many challenges for Australia both economically and socially (in the form of providing carers, attracting nurses, hospital beds etc.). What do you feel are the major challenges, and how do you feel healthcare management and policy might be used/developed/modified to help us address these issues? An
Is there an area you hope to have a major impact in throughout your career? In 15 years’ time, what mark would you have liked to have left? This
Outside of work, what are your passions or interests? What is the book that has influenced you the most? Regarding
How Doctor’s Think by
Vale Dr James Upcher