Honorary awards

Professor Phyllis Watson AM

The honorary degree of Doctor of Health Science was conferred upon Professor Phyllis Watson AM, MSc New York CertMedRecordAdmin RPAH, at a conferring of degrees ceremony held on 23 April 2001.


Chancellor, I have the honour to present Professor Phyllis Watson AM for the conferring of the degree of Doctor of Health Sciences (Honoris Causa).

Professor Watson has worked tirelessly to make the University of Sydney a leader in health information management education in Australia. From 1970 to 1977, she was Director of Training in the School of Medical Record Administration at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and, later, a lecturer in the School when it amalgamated with the Cumberland College of Health Sciences, a move for which
she prepared the submission. In 1983, she became Head of the School of Health Information Management at Cumberland, a role she continued from 1990 to 1997 when the School had become part of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

She was responsible for upgrading of the Associate Diploma to a Bachelor’s degree and for the introduction of a Graduate Diploma of Applied Science, a Master’s Degree in Applied Science, and two special courses for overseas students which have been used extensively by the World Health Organization to educate health record workers in developing countries.

During her professional career, Professor Watson has made an outstanding contribution to the Health Information Management profession having held many offices, including the role of president, in state, national and international professional associations. She was awarded life membership of the Health Information Management Association of Australia for distinguished services to the profession. In 1990, she successfully proposed the establishment of the National Coding Centre within the School of Health Information Management at the University of Sydney.

Professor Watson has raised the status of health information management to a professional level and thereby attracted world-wide acclaim. She was made an Honorary member of the International Federation of Health Records Organizations in 1993 for her extensive involvement with them. In the same, year she was made an Honorary member of the German Association of Medical Documentalists. She continues to accept international consultancies under contract to the World Health Organization, the most recent in the Solomon Islands, and is an Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, The People's Republic of China.

Professor Watson was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1994 for national and international services to medical record administration. Her remarkable contribution as a national and international advocate for the health information management profession brings great credit to the University of Sydney.

Chancellor, I have much pleasure in presenting Professor Phyllis Watson AM for admission to the degree of Doctor of Health Sciences (Honoris Causa).