ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his significant service to community health, particularly to people living with HIV, and to healthcare delivery.
In a career spanning more than three decades, Mr Parkhill has been a staunch advocate for the health and wellbeing of people in HIV-positive and LGBTQ communities. He has established a reputation nationally, regionally, and internationally, as a leader in the HIV sector and among civil society and community organisations in efforts to end HIV transmission, support people living with HIV and improve the health of LGBTQ people more broadly.
Mr Parkhill has served as the CEO of ACON since 2009. In that time, he has presided over several key milestones which have contributed to significant declines in new HIV notifications in NSW in recent years. These include the establishment of Australia’s first community based rapid HIV testing service, and the development of the multi-award winning and internationally recognised ‘Ending HIV’ education framework – subsequently used by NSW Health, other states and territories, and countries.
In partnership with other stakeholders, Mr Parkhill has also been instrumental in the rollout and widespread adoption of the HIV prevention medication PrEP in NSW, as well in efforts to get more people living with HIV to initiative treatment earlier to improve their health.
Under his leadership, Mr Parkhill has also led the expansion of ACON’s work into new areas including the establishment of ACON’s highly successful social inclusion initiatives for employers, sporting bodies and health and wellbeing organisations, cancer screening and prevention, and implementing a greater focus on the health of LGBTQ women, culturally and linguistically diverse people, and trans and gender diverse communities.
Prior to ACON, Mr Parkhill held a variety of senior management and policy roles for NSW Health and NSW Cabinet Office, and he is a former board member of ACON, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and the Asia-Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM).
ACON President Dr Justin Koonin said: “ACON commends Nicolas on this well-deserved recognition of his decades-long work in HIV, public and community health. His community leadership has been an extremely important factor in driving HIV transmission rates in NSW down to the lowest levels seen since records began in 1985, and have helped make NSW a global leader in efforts to end HIV transmission.
“Nicolas’ dedicated service over many years, utilising his skills in leadership, governance and policy, along with his long-standing passion and commitment to improving health outcomes, is an inspiration to many in the HIV sector and wider LGBTQ communities.”
AFAO President Mark Orr AM said: “The diverse communities ACON and AFAO serve and support are stronger and more resilient thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Nicolas. I thank him for his continued service to HIV and LGBTQ health over many years and congratulate him on receiving this prestigious honour.”
Mr Parkhill said: “I am deeply humbled by this honour. Working to end HIV transmissions and improve health outcomes for HIV positive and LGBTQ people, has been a great passion and privilege. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to do this work alongside some extraordinary mentors, colleagues and volunteers, and this honour is a reflection on their tenacity, spirt, sense of community, expertise and sense of purpose and justice. I am incredibly grateful to them all, and for our work to be recognised in such a way”.