Honorary awards

Emeritus Professor Trevor Heath OAM

The degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science (honoris causa) was conferred upon Emeritus Professor Trevor Heath OAM at the Faculty of Veterinary Science graduation ceremony held at 2.00pm on 18 December 2009.

Emeritus Professor Trevor Heath OAM

The Chancellor Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO conferring the award upon Professor Heath, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Chancellor, I have the honour to present Trevor James Heath for admission to the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science (honoris causa).

Professor Heath is a first class honours graduate of the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science (BVSc 1960), who has gained national and international distinction for his work in animal health research and education. Professor Heath completed a PhD in experimental pathology in 1964 at the Australian National University followed by two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco. Professor Heath was appointed to a Senior Lectureship at the University of Melbourne when the Melbourne Veterinary School was re-established after which he moved to the School of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of New South Wales.

After a period at Michigan State University as a Fellow in Medical Education, Professor Heath was appointed Professor and Dean of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland, a position he held from 1973 until 1980. After completing his term as Dean, Professor Heath held a Chair in Veterinary Anatomy until 1998. During this period he was Deputy President of the University of Queensland Academic Board and Chair of the Postgraduate Studies Committee for the University.

Professor Heath was appointed an Emeritus Professor of the University of Queensland in 1999 and has served as an academic consultant to Kings College from 1999 until the present. Apart from his scientific contributions, what has marked Professor Heath’s career is his mentorship of veterinary students and young veterinary graduates who have gone on to make outstanding contributions to animal health in Australia and internationally.

Professor Heath has published 85 papers in international science journals such as the Journal of Anatomy, American Journal of Anatomy, Nature, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology and the Anatomical Record. However, it is his passion and commitment to undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary students that has led to an impressive body of work in veterinary education that stretches over 30 years and has made a distinguished contribution to veterinary science.

He set up the world’s first longitudinal study of veterinary students, seeking information on their background, opinions and aspirations in 1985 and 1986. At intervals of 5 years, Professor Heath has resurveyed this cohort and this research has provided unique insights into career longevity and change in the veterinary profession. Professor Health has also initiated unique research into veterinary sociology, which focused on understanding veterinarians in rural areas, veterinarians who work with horses and veterinary employers as well as recent graduates.

Emeritus Professor Trevor Heath has had an outstanding career as a scientific researcher, academic leader and mentor of hundreds of veterinary undergraduates and graduates. His unique research in the field of veterinary education and veterinary sociology, which continues to this day, has had international influence and he is a pioneer in this field.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting to you, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science (honoris causa), Trevor James Heath.