This is the latest edition of the Menzies Brief - Vol 19, No. 6, 2016
Message from the President
What an opportunity
It’s a great honour for me to take on the role of President of the Menzies Memorial Scholars’ Association for the coming year. Thank you for the opportunity; I look forward to serving your interests well. I would like to acknowledge Dr Josie Barbaro’s enormous devotion to the MMSA and the Menzies Foundation Board over the past two years; thank you Josie for the effort you exerted in representing the interests of Menzies Scholars over that time.
I would also like to welcome a fellow Queenslander, Dr Sheree Hurn, as our new MMSA Secretary. Sheree was elected at the recent AGM in Sydney; she is a podiatrist and the 2010 Menzies Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences. Sheree has already made valuable contributions as a member of the Alumni Advisory Group and I’m sure that she will prove to be a great asset to the MMSA and the Board.
It was a great honour to serve as MC at our scholarship awards evening in Sydney recently. It was a privilege to welcome some outstanding new scholars into the Menzies Alumni family and it was also terrific to catch up with many of you again, albeit briefly.
I hope that you will have received the minutes from the MMSA AGM which was also held in Sydney. There are a number of important considerations for how we, the Scholars, might best ‘fit’ within or support the broader strategic initiatives of the Menzies Foundation. I hope that you might take the opportunity to peruse these words and consider your stance on how we might best mobilise the strengths that we hold as an alumni community.
The Menzies Foundation Board will be working through a new strategic plan in early 2017 and it would be terrific to garner your opinions on our future direction. The Foundation team in Melbourne is gathering some input and the links to provide feedback are below.
For those who went to Sydney we’re also seeking some brief responses on the events too.
For those who were unable to attend, we'd appreciate your perspective via this simple question.
Sheree and I look forward to keeping you abreast of any strategic changes that may have implications for Scholars.
As 2016 draws to a close I would like to wish all of you a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year period.
I look forward to engaging with more of you in 2017 as together we continue to chart the future direction for our Association.
In closing, please enjoy some of the images from our Sydney scholarship awards; you might just find yourself there somewhere. For more images see...
Dr Adrian McCallum President, Menzies Memorial Scholars’ Association
Backing our scholars’ community leadership
Disability Sports Australia, the Heartbeat of Football and the Satellite Foundation have been awarded the inaugural Menzies Alumni Community Leadership Grants, to support their work and that of Menzies Scholars who volunteer their time and expertise to help them achieve their goals.
A new initiative, the Menzies Alumni Community Leadership Grants enable our scholars to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to a community organisation with which they have an existing relationship.
The 2016 recipients are:
The Heartbeat of Football nominated by 1989 Menzies Scholar in Medicine Professor Jamie Vandenberg, will initiate a program of health checks for mature aged football players at football grounds. Read more.
The Satellite Foundation nominated by 2004 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Dr Kerry Proctor will run a 12 month program called SELFies (Satellite Engaged Leaders of the Future leadership and mentoring program) for 8 young people who live with a parent with a mental illness. Read more.
Disability Sports Australia nominated by 2005 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Dr Leanne Hassett, will run training courses for physiotherapists and other health professionals working with adults with physical disabilities. They will also develop resources to help health professionals determine appropriate sporting opportunities for their clients. Read more.
Congratulations to our scholars who utilise their professional expertise in important community work. Thank you to all of you who submitted applications; the standard was very impressive. It was great to hear about your community interests and involvement.
Welcoming the latest alumni
From an engineer who hopes to reshape the energy sector to a physiotherapist exploring the pain experience of those from different cultural backgrounds, the class of 2017 Menzies Scholars gathered in Sydney for the annual Menzies awards celebration.
100 guests from around Australia gathered at Pier One to welcome the newest alumni and to reconnect with fellow scholars, board member and invited guests.
We opened the night with our ‘Leadership takes many forms’ video and guests were also entertained by guest speaker Narelle Hooper, who addressed a range of leadership topics, including how to best manage your own energy as a leader in order to get the best from the people around you.
Thank you to everyone who joined us and here is a reminder again of our remarkable young scholars:
Bernadette Brady– 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences –Bernadette will continue her research and PhD on ‘The inequities of chronic pain - responding with culturally responsive physiotherapy’ through Western Sydney University and Liverpool Hospital.
Olsen Garland– 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Scholarship in Engineering –Olsen wants to help bring cheaper, more efficient, zero-emission electricity to markets at home and abroad by combining business nous with his electrical engineering skills and will complete an MBA at the London Business School to help him achieve that goal.
Nathan Van Wees – 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Scholarship in Law –Nathan was awarded the Menzies scholarship to complete a Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford University.
Lyndon Goddard– 2017 Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholarship in International Law –Lyndon has been awarded the International Law scholarship to complete a Master of Laws at the University of Cambridge and hopes to contribute to the development of our refugee policy and create greater awareness of Australia’s international legal obligations during his career.
Natasha Kennedy-Read – 2016 Fielding Menzies Tertiary Scholar, from Stawell Secondary College –Natasha is an aspiring journalist with an interest in politics and gender studies and has started her Bachelor of Arts with a major in Media and Communications at the University of Melbourne.
Ethan Koschitzke– 2016 Fielding Menzies Tertiary Scholar, Warracknabeal Secondary College – Ethan is pursuing his love of science through a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne.
Andrew King– 2016 Menzies Centenary Prize winner –Andrew was the 2015 school captain and dux at Dimboola Memorial Secondary College and is now studying Engineering at Monash University and living on campus in Mannix College.
New Fellow deciphering cellular immunity around the clock
Understanding the circadian cycles of immune cells and the genes that control them may play an important role in combating and treating inflammatory and chronic diseases.
In the same way that when we suffer from jetlag we don’t function properly, when circadian cycles are disrupted in immune cells or organs such as the liver, they begin to function less effectively. This contributes to the development of metabolic and autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Research on these circadian cycles is the focus of Dr Kevin Man from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) who has been awarded the NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellowship for 2016.
Victorian Barrister and 1997 Menzies Scholar in Law, Stephen Donaghue QC, has been appointed to the second highest legal position in the country and will become Australia’s next solicitor-general when he takes up the role in January. The Government’s announcement was met with a very positive response from the legal profession.
Having just co-founded a Melbourne-based biotechnology company called oNKo-innate, looking to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer, 2006 NHMRC/Menzies Fellow, Dr Nick Huntington, was awarded the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s prestigious Burnet Prize, for his pioneering early career research into innate immunity and immunotherapy. More.
Expect to hear the name Dr David Riglar some more in coming years. The 2013 NHMRC/Menzies Fellow is currently working at a synthetic biology lab at Harvard Medical School, trying to engineer bacteria to better understand the mammalian gut. This research could reduce the need for invasive gut tests like colonoscopies and lead to better management of inflammatory bowel disease. David has also established a not-for-profit called ‘Future of Research’, to help give voice to young scientists. More.
1994 Menzies Law Scholar, Dominique Hogan Doran, was appointed as an Arbitral Panel Member for NBN Co, which means she will be a member of a pool of arbitrators who determine disputes that may arise under or in relation to wholesale supply arrangements between the Australian telecommunications industry and NBN Co.
Just half way through his NHMRC/Menzies Fellowship, Dr Si Ming Man added to his growing list of accolades when he was awarded the Milstein Young Investigator Award for 2016 by his peers in the US.
In the media
ABC Radio National tracked down Harvard Menzies Scholar, Sibella Mathews (pictured), who had been out on the campaign trail for Hilary Clinton.
Allied Health Scholar, Dr Sally Gainsbury, spoke to ESPN about sports betting advertising in the US, comparing the Australian experience. You can also read Sally’s latest research on problems among social casino gamers, which has just been published.
Menzies Square redevelopment opens in Jeparit
A tribute to the Menzies Family and the role they played in the small rural town of Jeparit – birthplace of Sir Robert Menzies – was the feature of the Menzies Square redevelopment, officially opened in Jeparit last week.
The Menzies Square redevelopment, funded by the Hindmarsh Shire and the Victorian State Government, with additional funds from the Menzies Foundation and Federation University, brings alive the centre square of Jeparit, whilst marking some of the most notable achievements and moments in the life and career of its most famous export.
Speaking at the opening, Menzies Foundation CEO, Sarah Hardy said “We share two things in common with the town of Jeparit, and that is … to keep the ambition and legacy of Sir Robert Menzies alive, for the communities who hold the history – obviously Jeparit being one of them – and to create relevance for those people today who visit this town.”
The Menzies Foundation contributed $35,000 to early stages of the project.
“For us at the Foundation that’s about extending the legacy of education and telling the story that reflects his own personal journey.”
In congratulating the Hindmarsh Shire, Ms Hardy said “we are very proud of how you’ve captured the old and the new to support the legacy of Sir Robert.”
Sir Robert’s eldest grandson, Alec, said it was 50 years since he had visited Jeparit with his grandfather. “When you think about what it must have been like to come from Melbourne in the early days, you can only look back and admire the pioneers and the huge efforts they made.” Alec’s great grandfather James was a mayor in the region and ran the Jeparit general store, which is depicted in the new Menzies Square redevelopment.
The story and photos in the Dimboola Courier have it all covered and they were put together by none other than Menzies Centenary Prize winner, Andrew King…helping his dad out with the news over summer while he takes a break from engineering study at Monash University.
The State Government of Victoria was the major funder of Menzies Square, with $165,000 granted from the Putting Locals First program managed by Regional Development Victoria.
Alec Menzies presents Menzies Centenary Prize
This year’s Menzies Centenary Prize-winner, Andrew King, had a special medal presentation when he went back to visit his old school last week and give the students of Dimboola Memorial Secondary College a taste of life at Mannix College at Monash University.
The young engineering student had his medallion presented by the eldest grandson of Sir Robert Menzies, Alec Menzies, who made the trip out to the Wimmera as part of the celebrations to acknowledge his family’s contribution to the region.
The VIP guest stepped in to represent the Menzies Memorial Scholars’ Association and present the medal to Andrew.
During his speech to his former school mates at DMSC, Andrew thanked the Foundation and the Scholars' Association for the prize and spoke of his recent trip to Sydney as part of the annual awards presentation.
“Also tonight I would like to sincerely thank the Menzies Foundation for their assistance with my study in the form of the Menzies Centenary Prize, which is assisting me to live on campus.
“I attended the official presentation of this award in Sydney last month, and one of the key things I remember from the evening is the incredibly high calibre of postgraduate scholars who were welcomed into the Menzies Foundation family. To have been in a room and spoken with people who have done so well and who have such incredible ideas to help people was an enlightening experience,” Andrew said.
Photo of Alec Menzies and Andrew King, courtesy of the Dimboola Courier.
Menzies Institutes’ wrap
It’s been a very successful time for the Menzies health and research institutes around the country:
Menzies Health Institute Queensland has been awarded a $2.8 million NHMRC grant to establish a new world first Centre for Research Excellence in Prostate Cancer Survivorship to pursue prostate cancer research at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus. Professor Suzanne Chambers, MHIQ Director and Menzies Foundation Professor of Allied Health Research is an expert in this field and will be co-lead on the project.
In a significant finding, researchers at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania have discovered that the age at which multiple sclerosis symptoms first start is strongly linked to the latitude where the patient resides. Based on the research of 22,000 patients in 21 countries, those furthest from the equator experience an onset of their symptoms almost two years earlier than those closest to the equator.
Facebook could help lower Indigenous smoking rates (which is three times the national average in remote communities) according to researchers from the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. The preliminary finding is based on the fact that Aboriginal people use the social media site at higher rates than the overall population and it is therefore useful as a tool to reach out and communicate.
Professor Adam Elshaug, Co-Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, was part of the Capital Markets CRCHealth Market Quality Team who WON the inaugural Data Innovation Award at the Research Australia Awards, for their inventive data interpretation.
National History Challenge
An exploration of Sir Robert Menzies’ role in the Maralinga nuclear tests has won young Biruk Kahsay from St Monica’s Catholic Primary School in Footscray, Melbourne, the Menzies special category prize in the National History Challenge.
Coming from an Ethiopian background, Biruk had a lot to learn about Australia’s history and chose to focus on the Maralinga bombings in South Australia between 1956 and 1963 as part of the special category of the History Challenge, which focuses on Sir Robert’s legacy as prime minister.
The Menzies Foundation sponsors the special category ‘Robert Menzies and today’s Australia’ to help school children learn about the former prime minister and the significant changes which occurred in Australia under his 18 years of leadership.
1997 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Professor Colleen Canning, is the Professor and Head of the Discipline of Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney. She has a particular focus on research and intervention to improve mobility and reduce falls in those with neurological conditions. She leads the Parkinson’s disease research team at Sydney University. She also takes a leading role in the direction of the education of physiotherapists as secretary and executive member of the Council of Physiotherapy Deans of Australia and New Zealand.
What are the biggest challenges in your career right now? Juggling my strategic responsibilities, staff development, mentoring, research and teaching roles, as well as managing the day to day business of the largest Physiotherapy School in Australia.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work? Nurturing the next generation of outstanding researchers, teachers and leaders in health; and watching them fly!
Who influences (has influenced) your career? How? Professors Janet Carr and Roberta Shepherd have had a profound influence on my career. In the 1970’s they challenged the assumptions underlying neurological physiotherapy practice and led the paradigm shift to science-based and evidence-based physiotherapy. I chose to work at the University of Sydney (formerly Cumberland College of Health Science) as a deliberate strategy to learn from them. Their influence fuelled my passion to generate new knowledge which directly impacts physiotherapy practice and improves outcomes for people with neurological disorders.
Who has provided you with inspiration (career or personal) and why? No doubt my parents were my most inspirational mentors. They taught me to strive for my goals and the value of persistence, perseverance and patience. I aim to model these qualities, and I gain great satisfaction in seeing these values being embraced by my staff and students.
How has the Menzies Scholarship helped you? I received the Menzies Scholarship in 1997, when I was enrolled in my PhD full-time, working part-time and (with my husband) bringing up our three daughters (Christina, aged 8, and twins, Zoe and Annabel, aged 6). The Menzies Scholarship allowed me to fully focus on my PhD and made attendance at international conferences feasible, which was critical to developing collaborations with international experts in our increasingly global world.
Who would you most like to meet and why? If he were alive today, I would love to meet Louis Pasteur and invite him to speak to our students, ie, the next generation of physiotherapists. In 1854, he noted that “in the field of observation, chance only favours the prepared mind”. This is a motto that has guided my career and it resonates in two ways. First, physiotherapy is an applied science that relies upon excellent observational skills, and, second, observations are best interpreted by a disciplined and prepared mind. So opportunities or findings attributed to chance are not ‘just lucky’, they are the result of strategic thinking and positioning to be in the right place at the right time with the knowledge to interpret and understand.
What are your passions outside of work? Spending time with family and friends, playing golf, reading, travel, enjoying good food and wine, to name a few!
The secret to work-life balance for me are my husband, Ian Yum, and my daughters, Christina, Zoe and Annabel. When the girls were young, work-life balance was critical to their development and to the well-being of our family and I think this remains the case today.
Currently, I am enjoying the experience of learning and playing golf. As movement scientists, physiotherapists teach a broad range of motor skills, often to people with substantial physical and cognitive impairments. Learning golf provides me with insights into the challenges that people with mobility problems deal with every day and enhances my understanding of how difficult it is to learn complex skills. This experience can be both elating (when you have a good round) and humbling (when you don’t) and continues to inspire me to learn more!
How do you describe leadership? I am continuing to grow and develop as a leader personally and I am passionate about contributing to the development of future leaders. Some key components of my approach to leadership include:
understanding and adopting the values and strategic direction of the organisation, ensuring this is consistent with my personal values
providing a collegial, positive and supportive environment where academic staff, professional staff and students can flourish
ensuring values are a key reference point - modelling appropriate values, behaviour, and practices; acknowledging and celebrating successes and addressing behaviour that lacks respect and/or integrity
developing a strategic leadership team including trusted advisors and future leaders
showing willingness to include staff in important decision making processes - open and responsive consultation and communication with staff at all levels
seeking and being open to opportunities for advancement of staff in their career progression.
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