As ASHM enters its fourth decade serving the sector, we want to acknowledge the significant contribution and untiring dedication of 6 ASHM members – who have played a crucial role in achieving our mission over the last 30 years.
Associate Professor Edwina Wright
Edwina’s longstanding leadership role within the sector has strongly influenced clinical guidelines in HIV medicine for the past 30 years. Her tireless dedication to ASHM (as a former director, vice-president and president) has been instrumental to our success.
Associate Professor Wright is an infectious diseases physician who specialises in HIV medicine and HIV clinical research in the Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital, Monash Central Clinical School. She is also Honorary Principal Fellow and Co-Head HIV Elimination Program, Burnet Institute and Honorary Associate Professor, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
Associate Professor Wright’s clinical research interests include HIV prevention involving pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and early HIV treatment, HIV cure and HIV- associated neurological disorders. Dr Wright has led national and international clinical trials including a large PrEP trial in Australia, which enrolled over 5,000 participants.
Professor Basil Donovan
Professor Donovan is a pioneer of sexual health research in Australia, being appointed to the country’s first ever academic post in the discipline. He made key discoveries in HIV, such as the primary HIV illness and its characteristics, and was among the first to document the effects of concurrent HIV infection on hepatitis B virus infection.
As a founding member of ASHM, his contribution to both the organisation and the sector over the last 30 years has been substantial. The combination of Professor Donovan’s frequently first‐in‐world achievements (amidst his many broader contributions within the scientific and community sectors) and his high standing in the field both nationally and internationally, make him a valuable addition the ASHM Honorary Membership list.
Professor Richard Doherty
With a career spanning over 30 years working within the HIV and other BBVs sector, Richard was the one of the founding members who assisted with the creation of ASHM, as a society back 1988. Richards ASHM membership commenced in 1991 (when a formalised membership structure was introduced) and 30 years on he is still a current member and valuable supporter of ASHM and the sector.
His research interests have included basic and clinical virology, particularly of HIV, HTLV-1 and Herpes Simplex virus as well as studies of immunological responses to viruses in vitro and in vaccine studies.
Dr Annie Balcomb
Dr Annie Balcomb is a rural based GP based in Orange NSW who has been closely involved in treatment of chronic hepatitis C since 2008, undertaking her shared care training in 2007 and then participating in the GP initiation pilot in the days of interferon. She was instrumental in re-establishing a hepatitis C service in collaboration with local gastroenterologists based in an opiate replacement setting. Since 2016 she has run a dedicated viral hepatitis clinic in Orange.
Annie has contributed extensively to ASHM’s viral hepatitis programs as a writer, reviewer and presenter of both education and resources. She has contributed to ASHM advocacy efforts to broaden prescriber eligibility for hepatitis B and C. Her boundless energy in delivering clinical services to her patients, promoting the benefits and availability of care and treatment, as well as educating and upskilling her peers has had an enormous impact on ASHM’s efforts towards the objects of the organisation.
Dr Virginia Furner
Dr Furner has dedicated most of her working life to looking after people affected by HIV. She was instrumental in establishing the Albion Centre as an HIV testing and treatment centre in the 1980s and has continued to provide expert care for her patients continuously since then. She ran the Centre’s clinical service for over 15 years and has specialised in the care of women with HIV infection. Virginia is a quiet achiever who has constantly volunteered for increasing clinical duties as well as training clinicians both nationally and internationally in HIV management. She has maintained a heavy caseload of over 400 complex patients despite most of her peers having retired.
Virginia has shown her commitment to teaching by upskilling other clinician and being a regular tutor at ASHM courses. She willingly gives up her weekends and evenings to tutor those interested in improving their skills. Virginia has also been a committed ASHM ordinary member for 21 years, first joining back in 2000.
Dr Arun Menon
Dr Menon has worked to improve the health outcomes of people living with HIV in the Pacific and Papua New Guinea (PNG) in various capacities with ASHM for over 15 years. During this time, he has both developed and delivered important training and mentoring to sexual health and HIV workers within the region.
Dr Menon’s has been working as the clinical lead on ASHM International’s long-term project in PNG, the Collaboration for Health Project in PNG (since 2005), the Sexual and Reproductive Health Integration Project in PNG and the Pacific Sexual Health Workforce Capacity Building Project. Arun’s tireless commitment to vulnerable populations (in some of the most remote areas of the world) ensure these individuals have access quality sexual health services.
It is fair to say that our achievements over the last 30 years would not have been made possible without the generosity of time, input, and expertise of our 6 new Honorary Life Members.