Two distinguished leaders at The Royal Melbourne Hospital have been recognised in the prestigious Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Professor Frank Vajda AM, a neurologist at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to medical education in the field of clinical pharmacology and the genetics of epilepsy, and to the promotion of humanitarian values.
Professor Vajda has dedicated his life’s work to helping women with epilepsy have children. Internationally, he has led the charge in understanding the complications associated with epilepsy drugs and pregnancy.
His work in the area of epilepsy and pregnancy has provided critically important insights into the effect of drugs on unborn babies. He was one of the first investigators to actively study this question by setting up the Australian Pregnancy Registry (APR), the world’s most comprehensive pregnancy epilepsy database, which is now based at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Professor Vajda has also dedicated his life to honouring Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews during World War II, including Professor Vajda, then aged nine, and his mother. In 2013, Professor Vajda was instrumental in the decision by the Australian Government to bestow honorary citizenship on Mr Wallenberg.
Professor Rinaldo Bellomo is an Intensivist and Research Adviser in The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). He was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to intensive care medicine as a biomedical scientist and researcher, through infrastructure and systems development to manage the critically ill, and as an author.
Professor Bellomo is an experienced intensive care clinician and is the most published author in the world in the field of critical care medicine. He was the first biomedical researcher in Australia and New Zealand to have more than 1000 journal publications and for three years in a row (2014-2016), Prof Bellomo was named one of the world’s most influential scientific minds of our time.
Professor Bellomo has been involved in the design, execution, supervision and publication of many large randomised controlled trials published in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine that have enrolled more than 20,000 intensive care unit patients, many of which the RMH ICU has been a part of.
Congratulations to Professor Vajda and Professor Bellomo on these prestigious and very well deserved honours!