Two Board members of the International Skills Training and Institute in Health (ISTIH) were recognised for their achievements in this year’s Australia Day Honours list.

Winthrop Professor Bruce Robinson was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), and Dr Andrew Robertson received the Public Service Medal (PSM).

Professor Robinson was awarded the honour in recognition of his leadership of groundbreaking research into new treatments for mesothelioma.

Professor Robinson leads a large research team studying cancer immunology and asbestos diseases. The team is based at the University of Western Australia and Sir Charles Gardner Hospital, Nedlands, where Professor Robinson is a Consultant Physician.

His team have made many discoveries, including the first blood test for mesothelioma, and have conducted many world-first treatments, including Australia’s first cancer gene therapy trial.

Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Professor Robinson joined long-time friend and West Australian business entrepreneur Adjunct Professor Henderson to co-found ISTIH. The new Institute was designed to act as a point of central coordination for various Western Australian-based humanitarian aid, disaster relief and medical skills training initiatives in the Asia Pacific region.

Professor Robinson has made numerous humanitarian and teaching visits to areas within the Asia Pacific region on behalf of ISTIH, including Aceh, Jakarta, Meulaboh and Papua New Guinea.

Dr Andrew Robertson was cited for outstanding public service as Director, Disaster Management and Preparedness within the Western Australian Department of Health, a role he has held since 2003.

Dr Robertson has successfully led and built up the Disaster Management Directorate to ensure health services in Western Australia are adequately prepared and supported in times of disaster, incorporating a number of areas including disaster operations and logistics, risk management, event management, and training and development.

Dr Robertson has also led the development of the State Health Incident Coordination Centre, established in 2011 to house the latest technology for emergency planning and response. The centre serves as a central communication point where Department of Health staff can work with key stakeholders including St John Ambulance and the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.

Widely respected as an expert in the field of disaster management, Dr Robertson has led two international humanitarian medical teams following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and the Indonesian earthquake of 2006.

Chairman of ISTIH, Adjunct Professor Michael Henderson, said “on behalf of the Board of Governors, we extend our warm congratulations to our friends and colleagues Professor Bruce Robinson and Dr Andrew Robertson who have been recognised for their various achievements including their tireless efforts and valuable contributions to ISTIH”.