Burnet Senior Principal Research Fellow Professor Steve Graham has been honoured with one of the premier global prizes for tuberculosis research, the Karel Styblo Public Health Prize.
The Karel Styblo Public Health Prize acknowledges a health worker or a community organisation for contributions to tuberculosis control over a period of 10 years or more.
The award was presented to Professor Graham at The International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union) World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, South Africa.
And former Burnet researcher, Dr Helen Cox, now with the University of Cape Town, was awarded The Union Scientific Prize at the Conference.
Professor Graham said he’s honoured to receive such a prestigious award.
“Child tuberculosis and pneumonia are major causes of child mortality globally, but often neglected, and so I am delighted to have even this small recognition of these challenges at the global lung health conference,” Professor Graham said.
“I have worked in child health in low-resource settings for over 20 years and am still a clinician at heart – but proud to have been able to effectively translate clinical observation and research to policy and to practice, which is very much the ethos of organisations such as The Union - pioneered by Dr Karel Styblo - and Burnet Institute.
“It has been a particular privilege to work with so many wonderful colleagues for more than a decade around the globe to successfully include the needs of children in the global tuberculosis control agenda and to put tuberculosis into the child health agenda.”
Professor Graham is a paediatrician with more than 20 years of clinical and research experience in the field in a range of settings in the African and Asian-Pacific regions.
He is Professor of International Child Health at the University of Melbourne, honorary research fellow and international child health group leader for Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, and a senior consultant in child lung health with The Union.
Earlier this year Professor Graham was appointed to lead the Burnet TB Initiative, an acknowledgement of tuberculosis as the most important health problem in our region, and an enhancement in the Institute’s capacity to carry out TB research and development.
The Director of Scientific Activities at The Union from 1979 to 1991, Dr Karel Styblo played a central role in developing The Union TB control model that was later branded by the World Health Organization (WHO) as DOTS (directly observed treatment, short course).
The award consists of a full fellowship to attend Union World Conference on Lung Health (including full delegate badge, travel, accommodation and per diem), US $2,000 and a certificate presented at the conference.
A milestone of this year’s conference is the launch of a child-friendly fixed dose combination for the treatment of tuberculosis in children.
This is just one example of the fruitful collaboration driven by the child tuberculosis community that Professor Graham has had the privilege to lead.
The Scientific Prize acknowledges researchers at any stage of their career for work in lung health published in the past five years.
Dr Cox’s research interests include the diagnosis, treatment and epidemiology of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB).
She is currently involved in a large study to assess linkage to DR-TB treatment for diagnosis in South Africa.