The Menzies School of Health Research is the only Australian health and medical research institute with a primary focus on the health of Indigenous communities and people living in tropical and remote areas.
The Menzies School of Health Research was a bold idea conceived in the early 1980s. In 2015 it celebrated 30 years of scientific discovery and public health achievement.
Originally, Menzies was a joint venture between the Menzies Foundation, the Northern Territory Government and the University of Sydney.
At the core of its early vision was a commitment to examining, understanding and improving Indigenous health, as well the health of those living in Northern Australia and the tropics.
Established as part of the Northern Territory University, now Charles Darwin University, Menzies’ path from inception to operation took roughly ten years.
Since 1983, the Menzies Foundation has contributed over $3.7 million in funding to the Menzies School of Health Research.
Menzies began its work in temporary facilities on the grounds of Royal Darwin Hospital in 1984 under the stewardship of its first director, Professor John Mathews.
Harry Christian Giese, AM, MBE
One of the key figures in the genesis of the Menzies School of Health Research was Harry Christian Giese, AM, MBE. Harry Giese was the Chairman of the Foundation's Northern Territory Committee from 1979 to 1985.
During this time, Mr Giese suggested that the time was opportune to find a working relationship between the embryonic Northern Territory University and the Menzies Foundation. His idea was to develop some tertiary structure that would examine those matters which had a significant bearing on the health and wellbeing of the people living in the north and the things that could be done to improve the quality of life for the people in this region.
His significant contribution was detailed by Dr Eric Wigglesworth, AM, after Mr Giese's death in 2000.