Jean Hailes for Women’s Health has named Dr Vanda Fortunato as its next CEO, effective from 20 November, 2017. Dr Fortunato has spent the last 20 years in executive and strategic leadership roles in Australia and overseas, with significant experience in public health, primary care, not-for-profits, medical training, academia, pharmaceuticals, health insurance and consulting. She has extensive CEO experience in both the not-for-profit and commercial sectors. Most recently, Dr Fortunato was CEO of Macedon Ranges North Western Medicare Local in Victoria. Her experience also includes high-level roles in Medibank Private, Advanced Paediatric Life Support and Victoria University. She has also been a project director at the World Bank in Egypt and Pakistan. Dr Fortunato took over from Janet Michelmore, AO, who stepped down after several years as CEO during a period of significant organisational growth and development.
The Melanoma Institute of Australia founding father, Professor William McCarthy, AM, has been awarded the Tom Reeve Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cancer Care by the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia. The award is given annually to a national leader who has made a significant contribution over a long period of time to cancer care through research, clinical leadership and community service. Professor McCarthy graduated from the University of Sydney in 1958 and trained in surgery at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. He then obtained a Master’s Degree in Medical Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and worked in various surgical registrar postings in the UK. Returning to Sydney in 1968, Professor McCarthy was appointed a lecturer in Surgery at the University of Sydney and a Visiting Medical Officer at Sydney Hospital where he worked with Professor Gerry Milton in the Sydney Melanoma Unit. His academic achievements include some 180 peer-reviewed publications over a span of 50 years. He was promoted steadily in the University, becoming Professor of Surgery (Melanoma and Skin Oncology) in 1990; a post he held until his retirement in 2005 when he was appointed Professor Emeritus. His contributions were recognised by appointment as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in 1993 and receipt of the World Health Organization Melanoma Award in 2001. He served on the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Council and was President in 1992 and 1993.
The Cancer Institute of NSW has presented the Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Research. Professor Richard Kefford, AM, was named Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year for his work in the field of melanoma. He has been a principal investigator on over 40 clinical trials exploring new immunotherapies. Professor David Goldstein won the Professor Rob Sutherland AO Make A Difference Award, for his work in the field of pancreatic cancer. Professor Richard Scolyer and Professor Georgina Long from the Melanoma Institute Australia won the Excellence in Translational Medicine Award for their key discoveries and transformative care for people with melanoma – from early stage disease to those with advanced stage disease. The Central West Cancer Care Centre won the Outstanding Cancer Clinical Trials Unit award for doubling the number of clinical trials open for recruitment. Professor Helen Rizos from the Melanoma Translational Research Team won the Wildfire Highly Cited Publication award for her study which was the first and largest to document the mechanisms of resistance in a large cohort of melanoma patients treated with the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib. It has had 124 citations since publication on 1 April, 2014. Rebecca Poulos won the Rising Star PhD Candidate award for her research using “big data” to study DNA mutation and repair processes in regulatory regions of cancer genomes. Her research output includes seven first-author publications, including publications in the journals Nature and Cell Reports, together with a review article, invited editorial and invited book chapter. Dr Marina Pajic was named the Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow. As part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium sequencing effort, Dr Pajic has established a unique personalised medicine project for pancreatic cancer, and leads the Personalised Cancer Therapeutics Group at the Garvan Institute for Medical Research.
Associate Professor Anne Cust from the University of Sydney and the Melanoma Institute Australia is the new president of the Australasian Epidemiological Association. A/Professor Cust leads the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health. Her research focuses on melanoma epidemiology, prevention, early detection and survivorship, with a strong emphasis on translational outcomes.
Cardiologist Dr Bo Remenyi has been named as the Northern Territory’s Australian of the Year, for her “work in early detection, diagnosis and treatment [of rheumatic heart disease], as well as her advocacy for the communities she serves, [raising] awareness both nationally and internationally, leading to new treatments and better outcomes for patients”. Dr Remenyi came to Australia from Hungary as a child and became one of the country’s first paediatric cardiologists, inspired by her first job in a remote community — filling out the death certificates of children who’d died of preventable heart disease. “I really hope to use this award in the prevention of rheumatic heart disease,” she said. “Today we have a lot of focus on surgery and advanced management but really we need to take a step back and prevent this preventable disease.”