Message from the Head of School

Professor John Prins
Head of Melbourne Medical School, Professor John Prins

And so we come to the end of another year and a remarkable decade. From the birth pangs of Electronic Medical Records to the rise of clinical tools connected to smart devices, the digital transformation of healthcare has arrived for all of us, with profound implications for our teaching, research and clinical practice.

Reunion Weekend

In late November, at the second annual MDHS Reunion Weekend I had the opportunity to talk with alumni about the work towards the new MD in 2022. One of our priorities is to foster in students the appetite and entrepreneurial skills to do remarkable things at the intersection of medicine and disciplines such as engineering. So it was apt that we heard from Kyle Slater, of tech firm Seer, which is developing devices to diagnose and manage epilepsy (Professor Mark Cook is a co-founder). Kyle was also co-founder with MMS alumnus Dr Luke Campbell of the Nura adaptive headphones, which recently won the Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation. We have high hopes of providing an enabling environment for more of this crosspollination.

Indigenous Connections

Another Reunion Weekend highlight was the Extending Indigenous Connections event, which brought together Indigenous staff, alumni and students from across the faculty. There is incredibly important work being done across MDHS and in the School, by people such as Associate Professor Luke Burchill and Dr Ngaree Blow to grow the ranks of Indigenous clinicians, researchers and (a new area of focus for the School) clinician-researchers.

Research highlights

In a competitive research funding environment that increasingly prioritises demonstrating impact, the second annual MMS Research Symposium (see story) was a storytelling tour de force. We heard from professors Sue Walker and Natalie Hannan, and Dr Vanessa Cropley, about their remarkable research journeys, and our early career researchers were recognised for some ground-breaking work. Many thanks to Nicola Lautenschlager, David Lane and team for pulling together an event that both educated and enlightened.

In other research news, I'd like to congratulate the four recipients of the Faculty Trust Fellowships:

Dr Amit Lampit, Department of Psychiatry – CR Roper Fellowship

Dr Hamish Graham, Department of Paediatrics – David Bickart Clinician Research Fellowship

Dr Jessica Howell, Department of Medicine – CR Roper Fellowship

Dr Yasmin Jaysasinghe, Obstetrics and Gynaecology – Winter and Glover Fellowship

New MD video and presentation

As we progress through the consultation and design process for the new MD, demand for information is high. The video, on the MMS Vimeo page, and presentation give a good summary of the philosophy and approach we will take. There has been wide consultation, with the consensus so far that this will provide a differentiated product that will take appropriate advantage of the UoM opportunities. Feel free to use these in your presentations.


It was with mixed feelings that we farewelled our much-respected School Manager Grace Sanna. A farewell event held on the eve of Cup Weekend paid tribute to her superb people and organisational skills. We wish her all the best in her new role at La Trobe.

Finally, as the year draws towards a close, I would like to thank you all for your outstanding efforts in 2019, some of which you can read about below. MMS has clearly achieved strong outcomes and is making a real difference in the health of our communities. I wish you all well for the holidays and hope you have a relaxing and restful break.

  • Head of School message