As the recipient of this year’s award, Associate Professor Eric Chow has been formally recognised as an emerging leader and star within the BBV and STI sector. This prestigious award within the sector, honours the legacy of the late Levinia Crooks, a pioneer and leader within public health and the ASHM CEO from 1999-2017. For over 30 years Levinia took an active role in recognising emerging leaders within the BBV/STI and viral hepatitis field, and had personally mentored many talented individuals, researchers and practitioners.
At the recent 2020 Australasian HIV&AIDS and Sexual Health Conference (Virtual) Dr Vincent Cornelisse (2019 LCELA awardee) presented the award to Associate Professor Chow and gave an Honourable mention to Dr Marcel Kalau recognising his significant contribution to the sector internationally.
During this presentation, Eric highlighted that receiving the LCELA was an important milestone within his career and considered this a “steppingstone to help me build more and work more in the HIV and STI field to improve people’s lives and wellbeing”.
During his acceptance speech, Associate Professor Chow gave an interesting snapshot of his pathway into sexual health. His journey began within forensic biology, biotechnology and bioinformatics, before moving into the public health sector. Eric completed his PhD with a focus on HIV/AIDS (The Kirby Institute) and has spent the last 5 years focusing his research interests on STI epidemiology and prevention, with an interest in kissing, exploring mouthwash as a novel intervention for gonorrhoea and HPV vaccination.
Eric is currently the Head of the Health Data Management and Biostatistics Unit at MSHC and is an Associate Professor at Central Clinical School, Monash University. Eric is also an Honorary Principal Fellow at the Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, The University of Melbourne and is the 2020 President of the Sexual Health Society of Victoria (SHSOV).
This year’s judging panel also felt it was important to formally recognise the important work by Dr Marcel Kalau within the sector internationally. Marcel is a GP who has been practicing in sexual and reproductive health, HIV and hepatitis medicine since 2014. He has worked in this field at the M Clinic in Perth, the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre and Northside Clinic, where he also focused on transgender medicine. He currently works in Melbourne at Thorne Harbour Health (formerly the Victorian AIDS Council) and as a vasectomist for Marie Stopes International.
Marcel’s international experience began in Tanzania in 2011 at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical HIV Centre. He undertook an internship at the World Health Organisation in Geneva in 2015, where he worked on the 2016-2021 Global Health Sector Strategies on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections. Since 2017 he has been a Sexual and Reproductive Health Consultant for ASHM facilitating mentoring programs and delivering transgender and key population awareness training in Papua New Guinea. He is currently completing his dual master’s degree in Global Health/Infectious Diseases Intelligence.
Congratulations to both Eric and Marcel on this significant achievement.