The staff of the Prevention Centre would like to extend our sincerest thanks to our departing Co-Directors Professor Andrew Wilson AO and Professor Lucie Rychetnik for their leadership of the Prevention Centre.
When the Prevention Centre was formed 10 years ago, prevention of chronic disease was still struggling for recognition, systems approaches were in their infancy, and co-design between researchers and policy makers was an emerging concept.
Andrew’s appointment as Chief Investigator on the original NHMRC grant was an inspired choice. With a background as a clinician, he had a special research interest in chronic disease prevention and had been Deputy Director General, Policy, Planning and Resourcing at Queensland Health and Chief Health Officer, and Deputy Director General, Public Health, at NSW Health.
From the beginning, Andrew told the investigators that the Prevention Centre would be different: its aim was to go beyond research, it wanted to change the system.
Throughout two NHMRC grants and funding from the MRFF, Andrew has guided the Prevention Centre to become Australia’s leading prevention body that is highly regarded by jurisdictions around Australia.
He has brought policy makers and practitioners to the table, viewing their work not just as a context for implementation, but also as a gateway to scientific discovery. He has ensured our policy funders have amplified their research investments and have been supported to come together in a more coordinated way to focus on common policy challenges occurring across the country.
On a personal level, the staff of the Prevention Centre have loved Andrew’s insight and commitment, his support for the work of every member of the team, his calm reassurance and, most of all, his humour.
Lucie joined the Prevention Centre as a systems expert in its early days, then returned from a stint overseas as Co-Director in 2018.
Under her leadership, the Prevention Centre has extended its networks to more than 900 researchers, policy makers and practitioners. She has nurtured the next generation, with a strong focus on emerging leaders in prevention and the creation of the Collaboration for Enhanced Research Impact.
Lucie has made a significant academic contribution to the field of systems science and has championed a dynamic, systems-based approach to the prevention of chronic disease, making a major contribution to the shift in the prevention field nationally to a more systems-based approach.
She has a special interest in knowledge mobilisation and has developed numerous mechanisms for translating research in collaboration with decision makers, ensuring it is relevant and more likely to be incorporated into policy. The repository of resources for policy on our website is testament to her support for science communication in particular.
Lucie has also been the most wonderful boss, always respectful of our different roles and expertise, full of encouragement, and with an uncanny knack for inspiring others to work beyond what they consider to be their capabilities.
Andrew and Lucie, we will miss you, and look forward to building on your incredible legacy in the next generation of the Prevention Centre.