Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Celebrating John McNeil’s 30 years at the helm of SPHPM

Last week staff and students gathered together to celebrate Professor John McNeil’s milestone of 30 years as Head of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. 

Professor Michael Abramson, Deputy Head of the School delivered a speech reminiscing about the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (DEPM) the School's first incarnation and its modest office and small team when he came on board in the early 90s. He reflected on the impressive growth the School has seen in the last three decades as a result of Professor McNeil’s leadership and vision.

“Current staff might find it hard to believe that in those days, all 11 staff used to fit on half of the fourth floor of the old medical school building at the Alfred. Under John’s leadership, we have grown into a large School with over 350 staff, 160 PhD candidates, and 460 other postgraduate students at many sites,” Professor Michael Abramson said.

SPHPM is now one of the largest Schools of Public Health in the Asia Pacific Region, and has become a leader in the establishment, management and analysis of clinical registries in Australia, housing 22 clinical registries.


Professor McNeil was appointed Head of DEPM in 1986, and subsequently served as Head of the School from the time of its formation in 2008.

Professor McNeil thanked staff involved in organising the morning tea and all those who joined him to celebrate the occasion.

“It has been a great privilege holding a leadership position amongst such enormously talented staff and students. Working with you all has been an inspiration and I am very proud of your achievements, particularly given the fact that we all work in one of the most competitive areas of research,” Professor McNeil said.

Last year Professor McNeil was honoured for his career contribution to Monash University by being appointed as a Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor.

He joins just a small handful of staff recommended by their Dean for this high level of professional recognition, the title is highly distinguished and only granted to eminent professors of exceptional distinction who have made an outstanding contribution to their field or discipline and to Monash University.

SPHPM is internationally recognised for the high quality of epidemiological research informing public health and clinical practice, and has forged many significant research collaborations with national and international research institutes, Monash-affiliated hospitals and public health institutes across Australia.

“It is fitting to acknowledge my gratitude to my extraordinarily accomplished and capable senior colleagues and our wonderful administrative support staff, many of whom have also spent a significant proportion of their careers with the School,” said Professor McNeil.

Professor McNeil has achieved many great things for the School and the fields of public health and epidemiological research as Head of SPHPM. We thank him for his vision and continued support, both of which make SPHPM a great place to work.

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