Professor Beverley-Ann Biggs honoured for 25 years of service

Professor Beverley-Ann Biggs leads a group of clinicians and researchers with interests in infectious diseases, maternal and child health, and immigrant health. Her international health activities are based in the Mekong countries and have focused on the introduction, evaluation and expanded use of new and under-utilised vaccines, strengthening the capacity for research and control of malaria and parasitic infections, the prevention of micronutrient deficiencies and helminth infections in women and young children, and integrated approaches for improved child growth and development.

Photo taken during implementation of a demonstration program to reduce the burden of anaemia and hookworm in women in Yên Bái Province, Viet Nam. Picture shows dirt road in the foreground, with a small tract of farmland interspersed with forested areas. There is a small village of three or four houses on the far-side of the farmland. The weather is cloudy.

Pictured: Photo taken during implementation of a demonstration program to reduce the burden of anaemia and hookworm in women in Yên Bái Province, Viet Nam.

This year she has been honoured for her 25 years of service to the University. Read the following tribute from the members of the Biggs group:

Over the past 25 years, Professor Beverley-Ann Biggs – ‘Bev’ to us - has made a significant contribution to the research fields of global health, refugee health and Aboriginal health. Her work has focused mainly on translational research addressing maternal and child malnutrition in low resource settings, with results providing evidence for large-scale public health interventions in places such as Vietnam, rural Bangladesh, Malawi, Thailand, and Cambodia. However, for those of us who work closely with Bev (and for several of us, this extends over a very long period), it is her incredible leadership and mentorship that we value the most. She has a great capacity to inspire a diverse team, which is made up of individuals with different research interests, skills and backgrounds and certain work styles and personalities. It is her ability to create positive relationships with those who work with her; and note the use of the word ‘with’ not ‘for’ in that expression, that is of the most importance as it underpins Bev's approach.

The Biggs group especially values Bev's inclusive approach, her openness to the ideas and reflections of others, and her active engagement with each of us individually and as a group. Bev encourages junior researchers and those who are further along in their research and academic careers; she builds on the strengths of her team and is supportive, working towards bringing out the best in us all as a collaborative unit, all the while cultivating the uniqueness of each individual. She prefers the collegial, collaborative approach when working with peers and her team, whilst maintaining rigorous academic standards from which we all learn and indeed benefit. Bev is academically brilliant. She has won multiple awards, awarded millions of dollars in grants and funding, authored 135 peer-reviewed articles, is the author of a parasitology textbook and 15 book chapters, chaired and has served on boards and committees including as a Member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Nutrition, Geneva, Switzerland. Bev holds senior positions within the University as Professor and Head of Unit. However, ‘leadership is action, not position’, and it is this statement that gives a true reflection of our colleague and friend, Bev.