Queen's Birthday Honours

Photo of Professor Christine Phillips, AM

Congratulations to our Medical School staff who have been recognised in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours List:

  • Professor Christine Phillips (AM) honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to medical education, to migrant and refugee health, and to medicine,
  • Professor Paul Smith (AM) honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to orthopaedic medicine as a surgeon, and to medical administration; and
  • Professor Walter Abhayaratna (OAM) honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to medicine in the Australian Capital Territory.

Professor Christine Phillips, AM

Christine has been instrumental in the development and teaching of the Social Foundations of Medicine program at the Medical School. Through her research, which focuses on organisational studies in primary health care, and her dedication to education she has significantly contributed to the learning and development of students, higher degree researchers and clinicians.

As a General Practitioner with over 25 years of experience in primary care, and in her role as Medical Director of Companion House, (the ACT's refugee health care service), Christine’s leadership and expertise has resulted in refugee and migrant populations having access to evidence-based, quality health care.

“For the last 25 years I’ve worked with incredibly resilient people who manage to survive and thrive in circumstances of disadvantage. They are often people who have fallen through the social safety net and who aren’t recognised, or are invisible, in public discourse – it’s been an honour and privilege to work with that group of people” said Christine during a Medical Republic interview. You can read more about Professor Phillips' work here.

Professor Paul Smith, AM

Paul is a Professor at ANU Medical School and specialises in orthopaedic and trauma surgery. In between his other commitments Paul has a full time clinical role and is one of Australia’s most experienced hip and knee surgeons, having performed over 5000 hip and knee replacement procedures. When he's not practicing, he is eagerly researching and teaching. He's the founder and Director of the Trauma and Orthopaedic Research Unit based at the Canberra Hospital and at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, and Orthopaedic Unit Director at the Canberra Hospital. 

He is the only Australian surgeon to have been awarded prestigious The Knee Society Insall Fellowship, receiving this fellowship award in recognition of his research in the area of knee kinematics. In 2016 Professor Smith established the Canberra Orthopaedic Research and Education (CORE) Foundation to provide support for research in orthopaedic surgery in the ACT. 

Professor Smith is passionate about community and has a major commitment through his role as chair of the John James Memorial Foundation (JJMF), the ACT regions largest health and medical charitable foundation. You can read more about Paul's achievements and work here.

Professor Walter Abhayarantna, OAM

Walter is a senior staff specialist, consultant cardiologist and Clinical Director of Medicine at Canberra Hospital and Health Services and Professor at the ANU Medical School. His PhD at the Australian National University was in the field of cardiovascular epidemiology and echocardiography, and he completed a 3-year fellowship in the Echocardiography Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA. He holds a number of NHMRC research grants for clinical research into the prevention of cardiovascular disease and is the Director of Clinical Trials at ACT Health.

During an interview with RiotAct Professor Abhayarantna said “When you go on a round, treating the heart attack is relatively easy, putting a stent in is relatively easy. You’ve done it thousands of times before. But I don’t want to do it. I’d rather the heart attack never happened in the first place. It’s preventable."

“What I prefer is talking to patients. Connecting with people and supporting them to change their whole mindset—as well as their lifestyle—so they’re not back in the hospital next month. That kind of communication and connection, it’s the art, not the science, of medicine.”