Monash Health recognised in 2024 Australia Day Honours

Monash Health individuals who have been recognised in the 2024 Australia Day Honours List.

Congratulations to Dr Jane Fox, Professor Barbora de Courten, Mihiri Dissanayake and Professor Michelle Giles for their richly deserved recognition in this year’s Australia Day Honours list. 

The Australian Honours and Awards system acknowledges the outstanding service and contributions of Australians. 

We are proud to honour our colleagues who have worked tirelessly to improve local communities and make Australia a better place.  

Dr Jane Fox, Member of the Order of Australia 

Dr Jane Fox AM looking at the camera

Dr Jane Fox AM has been awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to medicine, particularly as a breast surgeon, researcher, and educator”. 

For over 25 years, Dr Fox has made life-saving improvements and created impactful progress in both the early detection of breast cancer and the care patients receive while being treated for breast cancer. 

As the Director of Breast Services at Monash Health, Jane is responsible for breast surgery and the Monash BreastScreen program (part of BreastScreen Australia). 

Through Jane’s leadership, the program has become one of Victoria’s largest screening programs and the first in the country to achieve accreditation with commendation. 

Dr Fox shared how the inclusive culture at Monash Health has supported her in her career.  

“I have had the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants,” she said. 

Jane is also a senior lecturer in the Monash University Department of Surgery and is a member of committees and groups involved in improving outcomes for patients with breast cancer. 

“Working in Oncology, it is a privilege to engage so deeply with individuals… helping them regain their equilibrium and autonomy at vulnerable moments.” 

Congratulations to Dr Jane Fox on this extraordinary achievement. 

Professor Barbora de Courten, Medal of the Order of Australia 

Professor Barbora de Courten OAM smiling at the camera.

Professor Barbora de Courten OAM, has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for “service to medical research and healthcare”.  

Barbora is a specialist physician in internal medicine in the Department of General Medicine, runs a diabetes clinic and does ward service across Dandenong Hospital and Monash Medical Centre.  

She is also Associate Dean and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at RMIT University and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University and University of Queensland.  

“I was quite surprised to receive this honour. I am very humbled by it,” said Professor de Courten. 

Professor de Courten’s seminal research identified chronic inflammation as a predictor of insulin resistance and later development of type 2 diabetes. 

“The award is a great acknowledgement of what I have done up until now, and also gives me agency to do more… for the greater good of society and the medical profession,” she said.  

Congratulations to Professor de Courten on this outstanding achievement.  

Mihiri Dissanayake, Medal of the Order of Australia 

Mihiri Dissanayake OAM smiling at the camera
Photo: Gary Sissons, Dandenong Star Journal

Mihiri Dissanayake OAM has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for “service to the Sri Lankan community of Victoria”. 

Mihiri has worked at Monash Health since 2014. She is currently an Administration Officer at Berwick and Casey Hospitals, but her work extends well beyond. So much of her personal time is spent volunteering – advocating and caring for others. 

From teaching English to new migrants, door-to-door walking with the Red Cross, volunteering at Dandenong Police Station and fundraising for bushfires and floods, she is unstoppable.   

“It’s nice to be appreciated for what you do, but that’s not what I do it for,” she said. 

Mihiri is heavily involved in volunteering with the Lions Club charity, particularly their SightFirst program, which supports cost-effective and sustainable eye projects. She has fundraised for major eye surgeries for individuals in Sri Lanka and received the Melvin Jones Fellow award from Lions International for her efforts. 

What motivates her to do so much for others? 

“The inspiration I get is from the inner happiness I can give people. I don’t expect anything in return for what I do.”  

Congratulations to Mihiri on this impressive achievement. 

Professor Michelle Giles, Medal of the Order of Australia

Professor Michelle Giles OAM smiling at the camera

Professor Michelle Giles OAM, has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for “service to medicine”.  

Professor Giles is an infectious diseases physician-scientist specialising in infections in pregnancy and maternal immunisation. She has worked at Monash Health for over 20 years and is the Director of our Infections in pregnancy service.  

Professor Giles’ clinical research focuses on blood-borne viruses in pregnancy, such as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and maternal immunisation.  

She is committed to ensuring all pregnant women have access to accurate, timely information to make informed decisions about their health in a non-judgmental and supportive environment. 

Professor Giles said she is honoured to receive recognition in the Australia Day Honours List.   

“I am extremely grateful for this award. As a doctor who has committed the last 20 years to providing care, reducing stigma, and supporting women with infections in pregnancy, I continue to be inspired by my patients and the people I work with.” 

Professor Giles is also deputy chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and served as a public health response senior advisor to the Victorian Department of Health from 2020-2021. 

Congratulations to Professor Michelle Giles on this incredible achievement. 

 

Approved by Matt Mahon, Acting Executive Director Communication and Engagement