Visit to QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Council Chair, Professor Arun Sharma; Director and CEO, Professor Fabienne Mackay; Deputy Director and Chief Scientist, Professor Grant Ramm; Chief Operational Officer, Mr Lee Bruce; staff and supporters, good morning.
I begin by acknowledging the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, traditional owners of the lands on which we gather and pay my resects to elders, past, present and emerging.
I am delighted to join you today at QIMR and to explore this world class medical research centre.
While, this time, I may be visiting as Governor of Queensland, you all know that I was, and remain, a passionate healthcare advocate.
The medical and science communities have faced a barrage of challenges over the past three years.
2020 marked the 75th anniversary of QIMR.
Speaking of this, a very special guest joins us today, Mr Ian Cook, who joined QIMR as a 17-year-old cadet in 1947, merely two years into the Institute’s life.
Your twenty-year tenure is highly commendable, especially starting at such a young age.
I am very pleased to shortly present Mr Cook, with a framed photograph, taken all those years ago.
I am sure it will bring back many remarkable memories.
While 2020 marked 75 years of QIMR, it also marked an increase in focus on public health challenges with the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As with human responses to many unknown phenomena, the public’s first reaction to COVID was fear.
But, thanks to countless hours of research undertaken across the globe, including here at QIMR, the public response to COVID turned, for the most part, from fear and anger to trust in the healthcare system, in research, and in those who work in the public health system.
As CHO, one of my biggest professional challenges was leading the public health response to COVID.
Perseverance became one of my closest friends.
I am sure it was too for many of you, as you undertook research to find cures and vaccines for this terrible disease.
I thank you for your efforts and selfless contributions, they do not go unnoticed.
Of course, as the pandemic has worn on, more public health crises have emerged.
The latest of which have been the floods, and my heartfelt condolences go out to those who have been impacted, and Japanese Encephalitis.
I was excited to tour the mosquito laboratory where important research is being undertaken to hopefully stop infections of this deadly and highly damaging disease.
I am hopeful that, with the assistance of the marvelous research undertaken at QIMR, we are on the path to a new normal and that, one day, diseases such as COVID and encephalitis will be less impactful on lives globally.
Thank you for all that you have accomplished and continue to achieve for the sake of science, medicine and health.
In recognition of the outstanding contributions that QIMR makes to the community, I am very proud to present a Certificate of Vice-Regal Patronage to your Chair. Thank you.