School of Population and Global Health

Chair in Public Health

Chair in Public Health: 20 Years of Discovery and Advance

Chair in PH cover pageThe School of Population Health is proud to have hosted the State Government Western Australian Department of Health's investment in the Chair in Public Health during the first 20 years since the position was established in 1994.

We remain deeply committed to the role of public health and its many sub disciplines such as preventative and clinical epidemiology, health promotion and health economics, in strengthening the Faculty, forging productive links across the campus and bringing research and learning closer to the community through exciting partnerships with industry, government and community groups.

Public Health is the science and art of promoting health and prolonging life and improving quality of life through the organised efforts of society. To succeed in advancing the public's health requires attention to many general aspects of the physical, social and economic environments, as well as new policies and programs working across different sectors that achieve better health in a way that is fair to all sections of the population.

The Chair has a mandate to foster the academic discipline of public health in WA in a way that creates benefits for the general community, the health sector and students and staff at the University. This report describes the very considerable outcomes and benefits of the State's investment in the Chair in Public Health, arising in the first 20 years since Winthrop Professor D'Arcy Holman was appointed. These outcomes and benefits leave no doubt that the investment has been a wise and fruitful decision.

Professor Holman has had the privilege and responsibility of being the first occupant of the post to define the role's development. It is informative to see from this report what constitutes the work of a Professor of Public Health and the many ways in which this work has positively influenced policy and practice in the health system and in government. While the next Chair in Public Health will necessarily adopt new approaches to meet different challenges in the decades ahead, we trust that the high standards of professional dedication, scientific rigour and productivity that are exemplified throughout the report will endure.

We congratulate Professor Holman and the School staff, students and collaborators who have worked with him on the many contributions they have made - and will continue to make - to improving people's health in WA and abroad. 

Valedictory address

Winthrop Professor D'Arcy Holman received a standing ovation from a packed auditorium on Tuesday 29 July.

Professor Holman's Valedictory Address, on the eve of his retirement, was titled "Health, Political Arithmetic and Public Accountability: Bringing Down the Great Commonwealth-State Data Divide". His dynamic address brought past and present collaborators, colleagues and students to their feet in respect.

In what could be only a brief look at a stellar 40 year career in public health, D'Arcy looked at the Western Australian world of public health in the 20 years before and after the introduction of the WA Data Linkage System, highlighting the benefits and improvements in public health possible with linked data - and the even greater and more accurate benefits and improvements possible when the State and Cth data collections are also permitted to be linked. 

D'Arcy closed his valedictory address with a call to younger researchers to carry on the stellar work - and for the flawed double-system State/Commonwealth health to commence talking to each other for the good of all Australians.

See Professor Holman's full address below. 


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Last updated:
Friday, 1 August, 2014 12:34 PM