Professor Anthony Adams
I have spent my entire career in Public Health having undertaken postgraduate studies (MPH) at Harvard University School of Public Health immediately after graduation from medical school in Adelaide.
While working in public health in the USA in 1962 I attended the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Miami and was so inspired that I resolved to start a Public Health Association in Australia on my return to the School of Public Health in Sydney as senior lecturer in 1964.
Looking around Australia at that time I found a NSW PHA and a WA PHA plus the Queensland Society for Health but no national body. There was also no academic organisation that coordinated public health research in the country.
In 1968 I convened a meeting to establish the Australian (later Australian and New Zealand Society) for Research in Community Health (ASERCH then ANZSERCH) and - because the academics were initially reluctant to have public health workers join them - I also convened a meeting of the latter from around the country to form the "Australian Public Health Association".
So in 1969 I found myself secretary of both organisations. I made sure that Australia joined the infant World Federation of Public Health Associations originally the brainchild of Dr Hugh Leavell my former Harvard professor. Later of course both bodies merged and formed the PHAA and it has been enormously satisfying to watch the growth of the organisation over the years. Its importance remains as great as ever.
My career took me to Chief Heath Officer in NSW, Chief Medical Officer for Australia and back to academia as Professor of Public Health at the Australian National University.
I led the Australian delegation to the World Health Assembly and the Western Pacific WHO meetings for many years and am currently Chair of the Global Commission for the Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis - the largest public health program in history.
In 2001 I was awarded the Harvard School of Public Health Alumni Award of Merit for a "distinguished service in public health practice".
Being (semi) retired in Avoca Beach NSW I am still involved in local public health issues such as getting the benefits of fluoridated water to the last remaining areas in the state.
Tony Adams 18/2/06
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