Tuesday, 31 October 2023
Northern Communities Health Research Foundation 25th Anniversary Reception
Rod and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Northern Community Health and Research Foundation.
It is an honour to recognise such a significant milestone.
Many people in Adelaide, including myself, would have passed by what was the Northern Community Hospital on Main North Road, or, received expert care there in obstetrics, gynaecology and orthopaedics.
While the actual buildings no longer remain, what was within endures, albeit in a different way, through the Foundation: a dedication to bring good health and well-being to our northern metropolitan communities.
The sale of the hospital assets and investment of the proceeds has ensured that, since 1998, the foundation has been able to provide grants for health and medical research, invest in programs for better health, and partner with local communities.
This progress has been made possible over those 25 years by the vision and drive of past and present Boards, the generosity of donors and supporters who share your vision, and a community that cares.
So much so that the foundation has raised $5 million and has awarded over $1.3 million in research grants, community programs and other initiatives.
Further, these seed funds have resulted in more than $10 million of additional funds being secured by grant recipients.
That’s a substantial investment in our future.
From Rod and my visits to medical organisations in Adelaide such as SAHMRI in the Adelaide Biomed City hub, Tonsley Innovation District, and hospitals, I am confident that here in South Australia we are at the forefront of finding solutions where there is a compelling need.
I applaud the Foundation for being part of that concerted effort to tackle our current and future health challenges by fostering innovation and funding grants, awards, and scholarships.
After all, it is important that, as a society we invest in what we value. This is demonstrated in your research priority areas of indigenous health, mental health, palliative care, and cancer.
I know that palliative care is of particular interest to Professor Greg Crawford, one of your board members who is here today.
In the 2022 Australia Day Honours, it was my privilege to invest Professor Crawford as a Member of the Order of Australia for his outstanding work in this area.
Investment in our collective well-being, by necessity, demands co-operation, collaboration and commitment - all of which are exemplified by the Foundation.
In your 25th year, I commend your current focus on research and community programs in ageing.
This demographic shift in our population places many challenges before us.
Alongside the immediate health needs of our elderly, the Foundation has also recognised the need to encourage social connection and for services that foster healthy ageing to be joined up.
In that way we can begin to address what has been described as an epidemic of loneliness and isolation.
This is but one example of how the Foundation has remained relevant and flexible in serving the northern communities over the past 25 years.
I also commend your commitment to encouraging young medical scientists through the Derek Frewin Early Career Research Award, and I look forward to presenting the award shortly to Dr Jessica Stanhope.
In my role as Governor, and as a former Australian diplomat, I have often seen the benefits that people-to-people collaboration and strong relationship building brings.
With that in mind, I congratulate the Foundation on supporting the visits of overseas medical experts for advice, training and lectures.
We welcome Professor McDonald to Adelaide. I am sure many here will gain much from his interactions and lectures over the week he is here.
The foundation is much more than an organisation. It is the embodiment of people coming together with the community in their hearts.
And we are much richer for that.
Thank you for everyone’s unwavering commitment to the foundation over the past 25 years.
You are helping to build a thriving research culture, and healthier community in the northern area. Long may it continue.
I wish the Foundation well for its second quarter century.