Five current and former Royal Melbourne Hospital staff members have been recognised in the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours list for their outstanding contribution to medicine, research, nursing and great care.

OAM Accru Melbourne

Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)

  • Professor Jo Douglass AO is the Executive Director of Research at the RMH  and current James Stewart Chair of Medicine – a joint role across both organisations. She was recognised for distinguished service to medical research, to clinical immunology and allergy, to respiratory medicine, and to tertiary education.
    With a background in respiratory medicine and allergy, Professor Douglass has worked across Melbourne and the UK, including previous roles of Head of the RMH Department Immunology and Allergy from 2012-2020 and Director of Medical Education at Monash University and the Alfred Hospital from 2007-2009.
     She holds an MD by research in translational immunology and has published more than 140 original papers with current interests in Thunderstorm Asthma and Primary Immune Deficiency diseases. Professor Douglass serves on numerous speciality, government and industry advisory boards and is a past president of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.

Member of the Order of Australia (AM)

  • Professor David Russell AM was recognised for significant service to general medicine, to clinical education, and as a mentor. He held the position of Director of General Medicine for over 25 years until 2018 and remains the Director of Clinical Nutrition Service, and a Principal Fellow in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne.
    Professor Russell began his career at the RMH as a medical student in 1972 and went on to undertake his internship, physician training and speciality training in gastroenterology at the RMH. A past president and longstanding council member of the Australasian Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Professor Russell is an international expert in parenteral nutrition, also recognised for his passion for teaching and patient care.
  • Professor Daryl Williams AM was recognised to significant service to anaesthesiology and pain medicine. He has been Director of Anesthesia and Pain Management since 2017, previously serving as part of the RMH Executive team and Divisional Director for both Surgery and Medicine. His clinical and research interests include neuro-anaesthesia, resuscitation, trauma medicine and advanced airway management.
    Professor Williams most recently played a leading role during the COVID-19 pandemic supporting staff safety and education around personal protective equipment (PPE), and creation of the Respiratory Protection Program for ongoing staff mask fit-testing and support.

Member of the Order of Australia (OAM)

  • Associate Professor Denise Heinjus OAM was Chief Nursing Officer of the RMH from 2007 to her retirement in 2022 and currently serves on board at Ambulance Victoria. She was awarded an OAM for service to nursing.
    During her tenure she led and supported a workforce of 5000 nurses, and drove strategies to support wellbeing, mentorship and development. A/Prof Heinjus played a leading role in establishing the RMH’s first Reconciliation Action Plan and Disability Action Plan, and growth in telehealth services.
    A/Prof Heinjus also served as Emergency Controller, most prominently during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the community clinical support at public residential housing towers and more than 90 public and private residential aged care homes. Prior to the pandemic, A/Prof Heinjus also led and managed incidents including the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, thunderstorm asthma events and 2017 Bourke St tragedy.
  • Dr Richard Harrod OAM is being recognised for a his service to emergency medicine – a career he spent much of at the RMH before retiring. Dr Harrod became the first emergency medicine registrar in 1985 and the first full-time Fellow of the Australian College of Emergency Management (ACEM), by exam, in 1989.
    Dr Harrod was a leading member of the RMH Emergency team and a mentor to many trainees, supporting research and development of future emergency specialists.
    A surveyor for the Australian Council of Healthcare Standards, Dr Harrod was also the recipient of the ACEM Distinguished Service Award in 2018.

The RMH congratulates these distinguished staff and thanks them for their contribution to advance health for everyone, every day.

Mobile Stroke Unit with Ambulance Victoria paramedic and the RMH Stroke team
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