I am delighted to have been appointed Chairman of the St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation. It is truly a privilege to Chair this outstanding organisation with its history and commitment to supporting ground-breaking medical research at St George and Sutherland hospitals.
I have big boots to fill, succeeding Professor John Edmonds AM, who has served the SSMRF as Chairman since its establishment in 2007. John has steered the Foundation from inception to its current position as a nationally recognised medical research foundation that has granted more than $7.8 million to a diverse range of medical research projects at St.George and Sutherland Hospitals. On behalf of the Board and all who have had the privilege of working with John over the past 13 years, we thank him for his invaluable contribution to the SSMRF and to medical research.
The Foundation Board is strongly committed to our mission of enriching the healthcare of the St George and Sutherland communities through medical research at St George and Sutherland hospitals. Our Board, comprised of pre-eminent medical professionals, business leaders, and community leaders, strongly endorses the strategy of our CEO Leanne Dib and her team, to build on our strong profile in south-east Sydney, and see our hospitals become nationally and internationally recognised centres of healthcare excellence.
The establishment in 2019 of the Microbiome Research Centre at St George Hospital was a significant breakthrough for medical research in the St.George and Sutherland area, and a major achievement of the SSMRF, in partnership with the South East Sydney Local Health District and the University of New South Wales. Led by Professor Emad El-Omar, an internationally recognised expert in the microbiota, the MRC is dedicated to undertaking research on the human microbiota, with research underway including studies into the effect of the microbiome in pregnancy, bowel cancer, and clotting and thrombosis. From its large clinical campus at Kogarah the MRC will collaborate widely not just across Sydney, but nationally and internationally.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the SESLHD, UNSW, and the many staff across St George and Sutherland hospitals for their ongoing support and commitment to helping the Foundation achieve its mission. Countless businesses and individuals, through their donations, help our grant recipients answer important clinical questions and bring research to life. The ongoing support of St.George Bank, Tynan Motors, Mayor Kevin Greene, Lugarno Lions, Sir Owen Glenn and many others is the life blood of our organisation. Thank you so much – your contributions make a critical difference to our Foundation and all we have been able to achieve.
The year to date has been like no other, and I and my fellow Board members are grateful that the SSMRF has been able to adapt and continue to operate through the considerable challenges of COVID-19. The team have responded with prudence and diligence, and we will continue to adapt to the impacts of COVID-19 on our organisation, as we continue to champion and support medical research for the benefit of the health and care of our community. I look forward to joining our community of supporters – and thank you in advance for any contribution you can make in 2020 to the important work of the SSMRF.