News

University reaps Australia Day honours


29 January 2009

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence warmly congratulates Sydney University staff included in this year's Australia Day Honours list.

"The prominence of Sydney University staff in this year's Australia Day Honours reflects the breadth of quality research at the University, as well as our outstanding commitment to the community. The University is delighted its members have received such prestigious public recognition," Dr Spence said.

The members of the University staff included in the Australia Day Honours are:

Professor Colin Sullivan Head, David Read Sleep Laboratory at the Faculty of Medicine, was awarded the Officer (AO) in the General Division for service to medicine: sleep disorders, equipment, treatment practices.

As a young medical researcher and clinician at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Professor Colin Sullivan invented a revolutionary treatment method for the life-threatening condition Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). The method, called Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (Nasal CPAP), consists of a nasal mask attached to an air pump by means of an open respiratory circuit. Used during sleep, this maintains a slightly positive air pressure in the airway, while allowing the patient to breathe normally.

Since its 1980 invention, the treatment has been successfully used by millions of people worldwide. Nasal CPAP users experience an immediate benefit to their brain function with a return to a wakeful, energetic life, with a marked reduction in the adverse vascular events caused by untreated OSA, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.

Nasal CPAP has played a central role in the opening of a new branch of clinical medicine, Sleep Medicine. The invention also led to the establishment of thousands of sleep clinics and diagnostic laboratories.

In 1989, Professor Sullivan, along with Dr Peter Farrell, formed a company called ResCare (subsequently renamed ResMed).It entered the US market and quickly became the second-largest Nasal CPAP company globally.

Professor Sullivan's other important contributions include his pioneering use of masks with an open circuit method to provide assisted ventilation in sleep, and the invention in 1990 of the "self-sealing" or "bubble" mask, which increases the patient's comfort and their willingness to use the Nasal CPAP.

The following members of the University received Australia Day honours in the Member (AM) General Division:

  • Professor Jocelyn Valerie Chey (For service to education)

Professor Jocelyn Chey's career has been forged in the diplomatic service and in academic life in Australia. After working as a lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney, she moved to Canberra in 1973, when Australia first established diplomatic relations with China. For more than 20 years, she worked on Australia-China relations in the Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs. Professor Chey was posted three times in China and Hong Kong, concluding with an appointment as Consul-General in Hong Kong (1992-1995). She was the key administrative officer in the Australia-China Council at the time that it was founded in 1979.

From 1988-92 Professor Chey worked outside the public sector, as Director of the China Branch of the International Wool Secretariat. Now retired from the public service, she lives in Sydney, where she is a visiting professor at the University of Sydney and a consultant on Australia-China relations. She has led four study tours to China for the University's Centre for Continuing Education.

  • Professor Patrick Newport Parkinson (For service to the law and to legal education)

Professor Parkinson is a specialist in family law, child protection and the law of equity and trusts. He has served from 2004-2007 as Chairperson of the Family Law Council, an advisory body to the federal Attorney-General, and he also chaired a review of the Child Support Scheme in 2004-05. He is a member of the Australian Families and Children Council, a member of the Executive Council of the International Society of Family Law, and editor of the Australian Journal of Family Law.

Professor Parkinson is also well-known for his community work concerning child protection. He has been a member of the NSW Child Protection Council, and was Chairperson of a major review of the NSW law concerning child protection which led to the enactment of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998. He also works with churches on child protection issues.

  • Associate Professor Brian Charles McCaughan (For service to medicine in the field of cardiothoracic surgery)

Cardiothoracic surgeon Brian McCaughan is Clinical Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine. Based at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, he is recognised for his expertise in the management of lung cancers. He is also well known for his involvement in professional matters and for contributions to the improvement of health services in NSW. He has held a number of positions with the Royal Australian College of Surgeons, including serving as Chair of the NSW State Committee. He has held positions in a number of key NSW health committees, including membership of the Ministerial Advisory Committee of Quality in Health Care, and Chair of the Sustainable Access Health Priority Taskforce.

Professor McCaughan graduated MBBS (Hons) from the University of Sydney in 1975 and became a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons in 1982. His international experience includes fellowships at the Mayo Clinic in the United States, and at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York.

  • Professor Phillip  Harris (For service to medicine in the field of cardiology)

Phillip Harris is head of the Department of Cardiology at RPA, and Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Medicine.

  • Associate Professor Stephen  Lee (For service to medicine in the field of dermatology)

Stephen Lee is Clinical Associate Professor in Dermatology in the Faculty of Medicine. His research interests include melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, skin problems in diabetes and connective tissue diseases.

  • Neil McEwan (For service to music and to the community as an educator, researcher, choral conductor and musicologist)

Neil McEwan is a conductor known for his choral direction and a lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He specialises in Gregorian chant semiology and paleography and Early Music performance practice.

For nearly twenty years he worked in the Concert Music Division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, planning and programming for the six Australian symphony orchestras. During much of this time he presented the Sacred Music on ABC Radio.

  • Christopher Bowen (For service to choral music as a composer, conductor and director)

Christopher Bowen is Music Director of the Sydney University Graduate Choir. The Choir, Orchestra, Soloists and Graduate Choir, perform regularly at the University of Sydney's Great Hall. Christopher Bowen completed his conducting studies at the Vienna Conservatorium following his degree in music at Melbourne University. Since then he has conducted numerous orchestras and choirs in Austria and Australia. While in Vienna he conducted the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and was a staff member of the Vienna Conservatorium. Since his return to Australia he has worked with the Victorian State Opera; Opera Australia; the Australian National Orchestra and Choir and has been a staff member of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Contact: Sarah Stock

Phone: 0419 278 715

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