“Unexpected” – that’s the word used by those special people who received awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Professor Jonathon Clark, a head and neck cancer specialist at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in this year’s list.
“It’s really quite an honour and not something I expected at all,” he said.
“I was very pleased.”
Professor Clark joked it was such a special occasion; he even got a phone call from his parents.
He received recognition, not just for his medical work, but also as the founder of the Beyond Five charity organisation, which supports patients with head and neck cancer, as well as caregivers, families and health professionals.
“Being able to change the outcomes for patients, where five to 10 years ago we may not have been able to, that’s very rewarding,” Professor Clark said.
“We’ve come a long way and made a lot of progress, particularly with jaw reconstruction which is a particular area of interest for me.
“With cancer treatment, we often look at the ‘five year’ survival rate, but Beyond Five is about the long term – we look at the ongoing and emotional support that patients need and the lifetime effects of cancer.”
Professor Clark co-ordinates the Sydney Head and Neck Research Group and is a founding member of the Sydney Facial Nerve Service.
“(Head and neck) is an area of cancer treatment that has struggled to attract funding and struggled to get strong support in the community,” he said.
“I mean, there are 10 different types of cancers plus many subsets of those cancers that affect that area so that diversity has made it difficult to attract research funding.
“But certainly I hope the AM will help to promote this area more and attract that research funding we need.”
Icon Group co-founder, Cathie Reid, was also made an AM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for her services to healthcare delivery and philanthropy.
“It’s an incredible honour,” she said.
“I almost can’t believe it’s happened. It’s just amazing to be recognised in this way, I’m quite speechless.”
Starting her career in community pharmacy in country Victoria, she established ActiveCare Pharmacies, alongside Stuart Giles, her business partner and husband.
They founded Icon, which brought together medical oncology, haematology, radiation oncology, chemotherapy compounding and pharmacy.
The couple also started the Epic Good Foundation, which supports greater health outcomes for all Australians, with a goal of seeing a balance in gender equality and closing the gap in Indigenous health.
“Stuart and I both grew up in families where the importance of giving back and making a positive contribution to the community, was really paramount,” Ms Reid said.
“So we’ve always had that mindset that it’s an important part of what you do.
“Particularly as we’ve been fortunate enough to be successful in business, that obligation increases and it’s something that we’ve always been very committed to making a positive difference in whatever way we possibly can.”
Icon Group CEO, Mark Middleton, said he was thrilled to congratulate Ms Reid on her Member of the Order of Australia.
“Cathie’s drive, leadership and positive spirit truly embodies Icon’s values,” he said.
“It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside Cathie; sharing in her knowledge, learning about her journey and seeing her passion for healthcare and endless generosity.
“She is an inspiration, and truly deserves this prestigious honour.”
For the staff of the Lions Eye Institute (LEI), it was a double celebration, with two researchers recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Professor David Mackey, a world-leading researcher into the genetics of eye disease and head of the LEI’s Genetics and Epidemiology research group, was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
He was awarded the honour for services to medicine and medical education.
Professor Dao-Yi Yu, head of the LEI’s Physiology and Pharmacology research group, was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
He received his honour for significant service to ophthalmology and education.
LEI acting managing director, Professor Bill Morgan, said the honours were a “wonderful recognition” of two researchers who were committed to preventing and curing blindness and eye disease.
“Both David and Dao-Yi have made a significant contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge in Australia,” he said.
“Their work is making a tangible impact on our understanding of many serious eye diseases and how we might develop the treatments and cures of the future.
“On behalf of all at the LEI, I congratulate them both on this great honour.”
Other private hospital staff and clinicians recognised in the Honours include:
Dr David Martin, Sportsmed
Dr Robert Stunden, Peninsula Private Hospital
Dr Michael Hollands, Westmead Private Hospital
Dr Ian Cook, St George Private Hospital
Dr Sumir Ibrahim, Northpark Private Hospital
If we have missed someone, please let us know so we can update the list.