A culture of enquiry and innovation drives top honours for ANU Associate Professor

Paul Craft, Australia Day Honours, AM, Order of Australia
29 January 2021

Associate Professor Paul Craft, an ANU graduate and honorary professor at the ANU Medical School, was awarded an Order of Australia for his significant service to medicine, oncology, and professional organisations – an award he is most humbled by.

“It is an honour to receive such an award and most unexpected. I received an email and for a while there I kept wondering if it was a hoax email,” he joked. “It may be an individual award but I am especially grateful to have the support of a dedicated team of clinicians, researchers, support staff and educators.”

Paul is Clinical Director of the Canberra Health Services, Canberra Cancer Centre, which includes oncology, haematology, radiation oncology, palliative care and immunology. Here, he leads a staff of more than 40 senior doctors and trainees to provide care for thousands of cancer patients every year.

“We provide comprehensive cancer care to the whole region, a population greater than 500,000 people across Canberra and South East NSW. We also teach medical students, train registrars, and undertake cancer research in collaboration with our ANU colleagues in the John Curtin School of Medical Research.

“We have a culture of enquiry and innovation at the Cancer Centre, and we’re passionate about bringing research into the clinical environment – to both learn and improve the quality of care we can provide.

“We work with ANU as much as we can to ensure synergy in our research; particularly important in cancer where it’s crucial that we develop projects that includes pre-clinical work, clinical samples and clinical outcomes as well.”

Paul’s goals are altruistic, and when it comes to his research, he is equally humble. His clinical research is predominantly in clinical trials in breast and prostate cancer and epidemiological research.

“My main goal was to be a good clinician and a good medical oncologist, and that means doing research. I strive to do that, albeit in a modest way, given the competing demands of my role” he says.

“I remain committed to facilitating research in the clinic, both to enhance the pace of discovery but also to give our patients the best care.

“Looking forward, my hope is that this award will help promote the goals of the Cancer Centre, in partnership with the ANU, to increase its research performance and further enhance patient care.”