Harry Christian Giese AM MBE (1913-2000) played a key role in the establishment of the Menzies School of Health Research, chairing its founding committee and bringing together its stakeholders. Its early development was ‘a tribute to his vision, enthusiasm and advocacy’ wrote a Menzies colleague in 2000. ‘He vigorously pursued the School’s establishment and strongly supported its work.’ From the late 1970s to the 1990s Giese, a pioneer of health and education in the Territory, served on the Board and National Executive of the Menzies Foundation.

Dr Bianca Middleton  is the 2022 winner of the Research into Action Award. She will lead community stakeholders to adapt the Vaccine Barriers Assessment Tool (VBAT) to measure the causes of under-vaccination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under five years. Immunisation is one of the most effective public health strategies for the prevention of childhood death and disease. Those living in remote and rural Australia continue to experience hesitancy and delays in vaccination, and so suffer a disproportionate burden of infectious diseases. These can be prevented by vaccine.

The VBAT tool will facilitate, for the first time, population-level views, evaluation and improvement of vaccination programs, at state and regional level. Its use by local clinicians and vaccine providers will improve levels of immunisation.


Past winners of the award are continuing with their work at Menzies.

2019 - Dr Nick Fancourt

Dr Fancourt is currently leading a  collaboration between the Menzies School of Health Research, Maluk Timor and the Paediatric Department and nutrition department at Hospital Nacional Guildo Valadares (HNGV) which aims to strengthen the referral and discharge processes for children diagnosed with Severe Acute Malnutrition between HNGV and Community Health Centres in Dili Municipality, Timor-Leste. Faced with some of the most severe child malnutrition in the world, they are working with local community health centres in Timor-Leste to improve continuity of care after discharge from hospital, and education for families.

2018 - Dr Kamala Ley-Thriemer

Dr Ley-Thriemer says that COVID has had a major impact on international programs, so most of the overseas activities of her teams were halted for almost all 2020-21. But they prepared for the re-start during that time, and have refocused operations using more online resources, generating a large range of online training materials. See Menzies Malaria-YouTube. They are also gaining increasing experience using digital platforms to train overseas collaborators. Because travel to study sites has not been possible, they have now moved to online monitoring, even for clinical trials. Most of the digital work has been focused on study staff and collaborators, but they are keen to expand this to patients and community members, and are exploring using digital resources to reach those most in need.

2017 – Dr Renae Kirkham

Dr Kirkham is co-leading a project to enhance models of care for Indigenous youth with Type 2 diabetes, their families and health professionals involved in the delivery of their care, across northern Australia. So far, the project has implemented new clinical guidelines and referral pathways, along with documenting increased prevalence of this kind of diabetes.

2016 – Associate Professor Jaqui Hughes

Associate Professor Hughes continues to lead programs for renal health, focusing on listening to, and incorporating, perspectives of Indigenous patients’ experience of chronic kidney disease. During 2021, her team designed and delivered an integrated COVID-safe dialysis patient transport service, and physiotherapy for adults after starting dialysis. Findings will be published in 2022.

2015 Professor Gail Garvey

Professor Garvey has taken up a post as Professor of Indigenous Health, Research School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland. She is one of four research leaders of a project to establish a national network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers.

2014 – Associate Professor Matthew Grigg

Associate Professor Grigg is involved with three multi-disciplinary projects in zoonotic malaria, with an expanding team of three post-doctoral scientists and five PhD students. The first project, ZOOMAL, is evaluating zoonotic malaria and land use in Indonesia, with studies on improving diagnostic and surveillance tools in large human surveys, integrated with monkey, mosquito and geospatial risk mapping. The second project, on Plasmodium knowlesi genetic studies, is looking at how severe disease occurs in humans, through correlating the genetics of both parasites and humans, and then developing genetic tools to understand large geographical patterns of transmission. The third project, involving state-wide malaria surveillance in Malaysia, has recently received further five-year NIH, National Institute of Health funding to support public health programs in Sabah, to understand and control emerging zoonotic malaria.    

2013 – Dr Gabrielle McCallum

Dr McCallum continues to lead teams combating lung disease. Bronchiectasis is a major contributor to chronic respiratory disease and death, and action management plans have proved crucial to alleviating it. Between June 2018 and December 2021, a multi-centre randomised controlled trial, BAMP, was conducted for children up to 18 years old with bronchiectasis in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland. Menzies PhD student Kobi Schutz and Gabrielle report that the BAMP will now be published in an open access Tier 1 journal and across platforms; shared with medical and academic communities through conferences and education sessions for doctors, nurses and Aboriginal health workers; and incorporated into Websites and as part of international guidelines.

The Menzies medallion is awarded by the Menzies Board to groups or individuals who have made a considerable contribution to health, of relevance to the Northern Territory.

In 2020, the winner was: Associate Professor Kelvin Kong for his leadership in Aboriginal health service delivery, advocacy and research, in particular his work to improve ear health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Past medallion recipients:

  • Professor Peter d'Abbs
  • Professor Paul Torzillo
  • Professor Peter Morris
  • Dr Christine Connors
  • Dr Vicki Krause
  • June Oscar AO
  • Dr John Boffa
  • Associate Professor Susan Sayers*
  • Yalu' Marngithinyaraw Indigenous Corporation
  • Ms Stephanie Bell
  • Dr Valerie Asche*
  • Ms Margaret Brewster
  • Professor Bart Currie
  • Father Frank LFlynn MSC AC*
  • Mr Harry Giese AM MBE*
  • Professor Michael Good
  • Professor Richard Gye AO
  • Dr John Hargrave AO MBE*
  • Mrs Susan Hutton
  • Professor David Kemp FAA*
  • Professor John Mathews AM
  • Dr Brian Reid
  • Dr KS Sriprakash
    * Deceased

The Ryan Family Prize is an internal annual award that recognises outstanding contributions to Menzies – individuals or groups who go above and beyond and help make Menzies a great place to work and/or to help Menzies achieve excellence.

The successful nominee is awarded with a $3000 prize and presented with a perpetual trophy.

The Companion of Menzies was created in 2018 to recognise exceptional contributions and support to the continued development and success of Menzies School of Health Research.

2019 recipients of the Companion of Menzies are: 

Pat Anderson AO
Pat Anderson’s leadership over many years in the establishment, growth and sustainability of Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) and the Lowitja Institute helped contribute to developing a cohort of leaders in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research and community-driven approaches. She is a powerful social justice advocate who works tirelessly to improve health, education and protection outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples.

Professor Tony Barnes
Tony Barnes in his role as Director provided leadership of the CRC for Aboriginal and Tropical Health and maintains strong research collaborations and institutional engagement with Menzies through his leading role as a statistician and in exploring the demography of the Northern Territory at the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University.

The inaugural recipients are:  

Dr Val Asche 
Dr Asche was the head of the microbiology research unit at Menzies School of Health Research from 1986 to 1994 under its founding director Professor John Mathews. She continues her support for Menzies and we have the annual Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence. 

The Hon Austin Asche AC QC
Austin Asche was Former Northern Territory Administrator, Chief Justice and Inaugural Chair of the Northern Territory University whose support over the years has been wonderful for all of us at Menzies.

Richard Ryan AO 
Richard Ryan also has a long association with Menzies Chair for numerous years before becoming the inaugural Vice Chancellor of the Charles Darwin University (CDU). Richard returned to us from CDU and makes sure he keeps the wheels running as our treasurer and co-chairs our finance committee.

The Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence:

Education and Training of the Menzies School of Health Research acknowledges the importance of recognising outstanding achievement by a student undertaking a coursework award.

The Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence is awarded on an annual basis at the end of each academic year.

Dr Valerie Asche (Deceased) was the head of the microbiology research unit at Menzies School of Health Research from 1986 to 1994 under its founding director Professor John Mathews. Dr Asche supported this award for 19 years before sadly passing away in 2019. Dr Asche's family maintains an interest in education and continues to support academic excellence among Menzies students.

Established in 2001, the award is presented each year to a student whose academic performance in a completed course has been outstanding. The student is awarded with $250 towards study materials and books.

  1. Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence 2020

    2020 Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence: Congratulations to Dr Matthew Nesbitt, Tarah Fantis and Jessica Harkness who have each been awarded the 2020 Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence. The Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence is awarded...

  2. Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence 2019

    Congratulations to Alexander Wetten, Hannah Singleton, April Carpenter and Fiona Johnson, who have each been awarded the 2019 Val Asche Memorial Prize for Academic Excellence.

  3. Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence 2018

    Congratulations to Alison Fitzgerald, Clare Brown, Dr Eswaran Waran and Judith Watson, who have each been awarded the 2018 Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence.

  4. Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence 2017

    Congratulations to Gerrard Murray, Catherine Connolly and Chevy Brown who have been awarded the 2017 Val Ashe Prize for Academic Excellence.

  5. Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence 2016

    Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence: Congratulations to Emma Grimes, Jodi Phillips and Leigh Moore who have been awarded the 2016 Val Ashe Prize for Academic Excellence. The Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence is awarded annually to recognise outstanding achievement by...

  6. Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence 2015

    Congratulations to Josie Povey and Alexis Harper who have been awarded the 2015 Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence.

  7. Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence 2014

    Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence: Congratulations to Heather Wallace and Camille Mewett who have been awarded the 2014 Val Ashe Prize for Academic Excellence. The Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence is awarded annually to recognise outstanding achievement by students...

  8. Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence 2013

    Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence 2013

    Date

    Congratulations to Rachel Conn and Zeina Hayes who have been awarded the 2013 Val Asche Prize for Academic Excellence.