Chairman's Report

This is my first report as Chairman of the ANZAC Health & Medical Research Foundation, the legal structure and board of management for the ANZAC Research Institute (ARI), following the retirement of the previous chairman, Dr Felicity Barr, who served the Institute magnificently over the maximum term allowed by our constitution. She leaves big shoes to fill, both at ANZAC and at the Australian Association of Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI). The constitution thoughtfully provides for an orderly retirement of long-serving directors and, during the past two years, the board has been able to secure the services of Professors Arthur Conigrave and Ben Freedman from the University of Sydney; Emeritus Professor Michael Field; Dr Teresa Anderson, Chief Executive of the Sydney Local Health District together with Gary Miller, then Matthew Swanborough & now Tim Sinclair in their roles as General Manager of Concord Repatriation General Hospital (CRGH); Ms Kerry Hogan-Ross, a senior solicitor with a major law firm; and Mr Paul Levins, a one-time chief of staff for a NSW Health Minister & now in public affairs & marketing. Such board renewal infuses new ideas and energy into this vital governance function for any medical research institute (MRI).

It was with great shock that the Board learned of the appalling motor vehicle accident involving Eve Bosak, a stalwart board member, chair of finance subcommittee & all-round tower of strength for the ANZAC Board. During the past 18 months she has gradually been regaining her strength after a gruelling period of intensive care & lengthy rehabilitation. Our thoughts & good wishes are with her husband Myron & family over this difficult time of slow but successful recovery.

The Board has continued to work closely with CRGH and the Sydney Local Health District at all levels and the University’s Sydney Medical School. In these roles ANZAC Research Institute is somewhat unusual amongst MRIs given that it not only aims to achieve excellence in health & medical research, but specifically provides research facilities to serve the diverse research needs of Concord Hospital’s clinicians and academics. Hence it has avoided binding itself to any restrictive “themes” which form such an important mission of the MRIs clustered around the larger academic campuses.

The Board (along with boards of the other independent MRIs) is involved in ongoing negotiations with the University of Sydney concerning the best way to move forward in the context of the University’s new economic model, and was pleased to contribute to the review of health & medical research at the University of Sydney chaired by Mr Peter Wills AC which highlighted the University’s priority to develop its new Charles Perkins Centre as a centre for wide-ranging medical research into obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The Board is pleased to note that SLHD has agreed to accept novation of the contract for construction of the Translational Research Facility (TRF), originally granted by the Commonwealth government to provide a state-of-the-art animal facility for the Bernie Banton Centre building, which houses both the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) as well as ANZAC2 laboratories. SLHD is well suited to handle such capital works, and this will ensure the facilities are built on time and within budget. Both ADRI & ANZAC Research Institute are most grateful for this move and look forward to the timely completion of the project. During the last 2 years, ADRI Board has appointed as its Chairman, J John O’Meally, a retired judge of the NSW Compensation Court and President of the Dust Diseases Tribunal, with whom the ANZAC Board Chairman & Deputy meet regularly.

I would like to register my sincere thanks to Prof Robert Lusby for accepting the Deputy Chairmanship of our Foundation, as well as being the ANZAC nominee on ADRF Board. Without his cheerful dedication we would all be far the poorer.

On behalf of the Board, I congratulate the Director, Professor David Handelsman, the research group leaders and all staff of the Institute on their strong achievements for the period covered by this report. I would also like to thank the ANZAC Research Institute’s administrative staff for their support to the Board, especially Julie Taranto, Tracey Dent, Annet Doss, Candice Chang and Justin Crosbie.