Australia Day Honour for Dame Carol Kidu

Burnet Institute Patron, Dame Carol Kidu DBE, and former honorary staff member, the late Professor George Patton are among eminent Australians acknowledged for their outstanding community service in the 2023 Australia Day Honours.

And we offer our warmest congratulations to associates and collaborators with close ties to Burnet who were also recognised, including:

  • Former CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Warwick Anderson AO, for distinguished service to health and medical research organisations, and to professional associations;
  • Australian Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sonya Bennett AM, for significant service to public health in leadership roles;
  • Health economist and Health and Aged Care Director at the Grattan Institute, Stephen Duckett AM, for significant service to public health policy and management, and to tertiary education;
  • President of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Jane Hemstrich AO, for distinguished service to the community through medical research administration, the arts, and business roles;
  • Head of Research and Molecular Development at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, Professor Stephen Locarnini AM, for significant service to medicine as a virologist, and to medical research; and
  • ABC broadcaster Dr Norman Swan AM, for significant service to the broadcast media as a science and health commentator.

The Patron-in-Chief of Burnet’s Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies (HMHB) Program, Dame Carol Kidu was appointed an Officer in the General Division (AO) for distinguished service to human rights, to community development, and to international relations.

One of Burnet’s flagship programs, HMHB aims to arrest a maternal mortality rate in Papua New Guinea (PNG) that’s one of the highest in the world and 80 times worse than Australia’s.

Dame Carol is a former PNG Member of Parliament and served as Minister for Community Development in the Government of Sir Michael Somare from 2002-2011.

She also founded the Safe Motherhood Alliance of PNG with the aim to build sustainable solutions to the problems of child and maternal health.

Born and now having returned to live in Queensland, Dame Carol became a naturalised PNG citizen after marrying Buri Kidu, who was knighted upon his appointment as PNG’s first indigenous Chief Justice.

Dame Carol was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005.

Professor Patton was appointed an Officer in the General Division (AO) for distinguished service to psychiatry and developmental epidemiology, to youth health and wellbeing, and to mental health research.

As an adolescent psychiatrist and psychiatric epidemiologist, Professor Patton’s outstanding research career focused on improving the health of adolescents in Australia and across the globe.

He was an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, and Director of the Centre for Adolescent Health from 1997 to 2003 before transitioning to Director of Adolescent Health Research at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne.

He’d been a friend, colleague, and collaborating partner of many at Burnet well before his appointment as an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute in September 2020.

He passed away in December 2022.

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