February 2, 2024  Print

Congratulations to WIMR’s Professor Anthony Harris who has been recognised as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List.

Professor Harris is the Co-Director of WIMR’s Brain Dynamics Centre, and the Order of Australia has been awarded for his “significant service to mental health as a clinician and academic.”

Professor Harris is a consultant psychiatrist with a special interest in early intervention in psychosis and psychotic disorders.  His primary clinical and research interests include psychophysiology, neuroimaging, and treatment of first-episode psychosis, schizophrenia, and major depression.

Professor Harris’ work has made significant contributions to the understanding of functional neurological changes associated with psychotic illness and led to advances in the psychosocial treatment of schizophrenia.

Professor Harris is currently leading the Voices Study at WIMR, which aims to identify the neural mechanisms of auditory-verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.  The study will measure the changes that occur when someone hears an auditory hallucination – a voice or sound that no one else can hear.  The goal of the Voices Study is to gather information that will lead to earlier diagnosis and the development of better treatments for schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

Professor Harris said, “It is a real honour to be awarded an Order of Australia and I am very grateful for it. 
“Early in my career, I became aware that neither the research basis, or the care provided for people with a severe mental illness was adequate.  Since then, most of my career has been spent working to improve that situation.

“The research and teaching, especially at WIMR, has seen steady gains in understanding, and in the basic investigation techniques for the brain and mental illness.  However, the health care available to anyone with serious mental illness in our community remains limited.  Through my research, clinical practice and work in the NGO sector, I continue to battle to improve treatments and outcomes.”

WIMR’s Executive Director, Professor Philip O’Connell said, “Professor Harris is a dedicated, respected and pioneering psychiatrist and neuroscientist, and an outstanding leader and mentor.  This award is well-deserved recognition of his tireless work to improve mental health treatments and outcomes for people living in Australia and around the globe.

“I extend my sincere congratulations to Professor Harris, and my gratitude for his ongoing commitment and leadership at WIMR.”

WIMR would also like to congratulate Clinical Associate Professor Judith Kirk and Clinical Professor Paul Harnett, both longstanding affiliate members of WIMR’s Centre for Cancer Research, who were also recognised as Members of the Order of Australia.

Clinical Associate Professor Judith Kirk is a leader in cancer genetics and Director of Westmead Familial Cancer Service. She received her AM for significant service to medicine, and to medical research, particularly in the field of cancer genetics.

Clinical Professor Paul Harnett is Director of the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre.  He received his AM for significant service to oncology as a clinician and researcher. 

Congratulations to all recipients.