Dr Ian Darnton-Hill Recognised by Governor-General in Australia Day Honours
31 January 2012
Dr Ian Darnton-Hill has been recognised by the Governor-General in the 2012 round of Australia Day Honours for his significant contribution to the international community in the areas of public health and nutrition. Praised by his colleagues as an outstanding nutritionist, nutrition officer and nutrition administrator in and for developing countries and malnourished people around the world, Ian has had an amazing career (so far).
Working in the Human Nutrition Unit at the University from 1978 to 1986 Ian coordinated the graduate Dietetics course and taught in the Masters of Public Health. Concurrently Ian was conducting research specifically concerned in community projects, with school children and teenagers, and Aboriginals. He then did a consultancy to Western Samoa in 1974, and became Honorary Secretary of the organizing committee for the 2nd International Symposium on Clinical Nutrition (1985), which was later published as a book.
A particularly special project of Ian's was on the nutritional and social state of homeless men in Sydney, the results of which appeared in his M.Sc(Med) thesis. Even in Sydney, Ian was already applying his medical and nutrition skills to try and help the most neglected members of society. His data on the thiamine status of homeless men was one of the major pieces of evidence underlying mandatory fortification of bread with thiamine in Australia in 1991.
Ian moved in 1987-88 and worked as Assistant Director in Research for Helen Keller International in Bangladesh where he was involved with prevention of Vitamin A deficiency. Shortly afterward in 1989, Ian was appointed WHO Medical Officer for Non-Communicable Diseases in Fiji before becoming WHO Regional Adviser in Nutrition for the Western Pacific between 1990 and 1995. He then took to New York City to work in International Management with Opportunities for Micronutrient Interventions (OMNI) from 1995 to 1998.
Appointed Vice President for Programs and Director of Health and Nutrition at Helen Keller International's head office between 1998 - 2001, he then became Senior Global Health Leadership Fellow with WHO's Nutrition and Non-Communicable Disease Prevention. Until 2009 he then played the part of a senior Nutrition administrator at UNICEF in New York and before his recent retirement he was Acting Director of Nutrition at the UNICEF head office.
Ian has worked in many developing and least developed countries including Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Myanmar, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. He has published in international publications on Vitamin A deficiency, micronutrient deficiencies, iodine deficiency, iron nutrition, zinc deficiency, childhood obesity, nutritional crises, nutrition planning and devising food tables for Bangladesh. After being posted overseas earlier in his career, Ian also returned to Australia every year or two to occasionally give a lecture or partake in conferences such as the Nutrition Society of Australia's Annual Conference in 2006.
Ian's dedication and service have been outstanding. He has made a remarkable contribution to world health and nutrition as an Australian. Well done on this extraordinary achievement Ian.