Our School came into being on April 1, 2008. Under direction from the Dean, the School was created to give the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences a public health presence in the rapidly expanding public health arena. Professor John McNeil served as Head of School from formation until 2019, previously serving as Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (DEPM).
In early 2019, Professor Sophia Zoungas stepped into the role of Head of School. Professor Zoungas is a clinical endocrinologist with a strong interest in research, and runs the School’s Metabolism, Ageing and Genomics Division, and the Statins in Reducing Events in the Elderly (STAREE) clinical trial.
The School’s predecessor was the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, inaugurated under its foundation Professor and Head, Dr Basil Hetzel, in June 1968. Over time the department expanded, first becoming the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, and then the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in 2008. We’re now one of the largest schools of public health in the Asia Pacific Region, and were the first Victorian university to offer a Master of Public Health qualification.
The School and previous departmental iterations boast a formidable array of outstanding alumni whose achievements include demonstrating the link between iodine and thyroid disease, revolutionising the treatment of heart failure with beta-blockers, and establishing the link between climate change and disease. Notable graduates and former staff include:
- Dr Basil Hetzel AC, Foundation Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine
- Prof Louis Opit, second Professor of Social and Preventive Medicine
- Prof Henry Krum, Head of Clinical Pharmacology
- Prof Damien Jolley, Biostatistician
- Prof Amanda Thrift, Divisional Head, Monash School of Clinical Sciences; Director, National Stroke Foundation
- Prof Tony McMichael, Monash’s first PhD student in epidemiology
- Dr Noni Holmes, Health and safety researcher and breast cancer advocate
- Prof Chris Silagy AO, pioneer in evidence-based medicine and founder of Cochrane Australia
- Prof Christopher ‘Kit’ Fairley, Director of Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic
- Prof Richard Southby, Executive Dean Emeritus, George Washington University Medical Centre, USA)
- Prof Joan Ozanne-Smith AO, Professor Emerita at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine
- Dr Andrea Hinwood, Victoria’s inaugural Chief Environmental Scientist
- Dr Sandro Demaio, Head of VicHealth
The Department of Social and Preventive Medicine (our School's predecessor) was inaugurated at Monash University under its foundation Professor and Head, Dr Basil Hetzel in 1968. He has had a profound impact on public health, particularly in his development of iodized oil injections which has helped combat iodine deficiency disorders worldwide. Prof Jane Fisher, Prof Hetzel's stepdaughter, is Professor of Global Health and Head of the Social Sciences Division at the School. Her daughter Dr Rosie Dwyer is a registrar in emergency medicine. Watch the clip to see how three generations have flourished at Monash Public Health.