RANZCO’s first female president has joined a Sydney ophthalmologist, one optometrist and an orthoptist in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Melbourne’s Associate Professor Heather Mack, who led the college from 2018-2020, was made a Member in the General Division (AM) for significant service to ophthalmology, particularly to professional colleges.
She joined Bellevue Hill eye doctor Dr Michael Newman, who was awarded a Medal in the General Division (OAM) for his contributions to ophthalmology, as well as South Australian optometrist Associate Professor Anthony (Tony) Phillips (AM) and NSW’s Ms Shayne Brown (AM) for her service to orthoptics.
The four eyecare professionals were among 1,190 Queen’s Birthday Honours recipients this year, which had the highest ever percentage of women (44%) recognised through the General Division of the Order of Australia.
In addition to being RANZCO’s first and only female president in its 52-year history, Mack has held numerous roles within the college since joining as a fellow in 1992, and has been involved with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, International Council of Ophthalmology, Victorian Surgical Consultative Council and the University of Melbourne.
A medical retina specialist, she is currently a senior associate at Eye Surgery Associates in Melbourne, and honorary researcher at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) where she is leading a world-first study into the perceptions of Australians with inherited retinal diseases regarding gene therapies.
Meanwhile, Newman’s contributions to ophthalmology include Cambodia Vision where he has been chief surgeon since 2014, as well as other overseas initiatives such as such the Eyes on China Program, Papua New Guinea Eyecare Project, and as a volunteer surgeon and trainer in Burma in 2010. He’s worked in private practice at Miranda Eye Surgical Centre, Sydney, since 1991.
Brown was recognised for significant service to medicine through orthoptic associations. This includes as past president of the International Orthoptic Association (IOA) from 1983-87, and as the IOA Australian representative between 1975-83.
For Orthoptics Australia, she served as the national secretary and as a board member, and was president of the NSW branch (1974-77 and 1978-81). She was also orthoptist in-charge at Sydney Eye Hospital (1978-85), past research assistant at CERA. A strong interest in orthoptic research has seen her publish 42 scientific journal articles, including 19 in the Australian Orthoptic Journal, and in 2019 she co-authored the book Rear Vision: A History of Australia’s Early Orthoptists.
Phillips, a Craigburn Farm optometrist and contact lens expert, received his AM for service to optometry, and to professional optical societies.
Most notably, he was president of the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia in 1989 and 2007. As well as being the former head of contact lens teaching at Flinders, he has previously led the medical contact lens units at the Flinders Medical Centre and the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s hospitals.
He is the co-editor of the standard optometric textbook Contact Lenses, now in its sixth edition. Phillips also founded the private optometry practice Adelaide Eye Care in 1982 before it was taken over by husband-and-wife optometrists Mr Rene Malingre and Ms Liz Capper in 2003.
The full list of recipients can be found here.