Congratulations Professor James Best

Professor James Donovan Best (MBBS 1972, MD 1989) has been appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours List. This award is made in recognition of his distinguished service to medicine, particularly in the area of endocrinology, to medical education as an academic, researcher and administrator, and to rural and Indigenous health.

Professor Best’s research into diabetes, insulin resistance, lipid disorders, renal and cardiovascular disease risk has encompassed patient studies, basic physiology and biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology. His findings have improved the health and wellbeing of patients, addressed the health disparities that compound disease in rural and Indigenous communities and won wide international recognition.

As Chair of the NHMRC Research Committee over six years in two successive appointments – a highly unusual occurrence – he oversaw the largest government research-funding scheme in Australia and provided important advice and advocacy over a period of considerable organisational change for the Council.

Professor Best represented Australia internationally, negotiating with funding bodies in the formation of the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease, working with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International and other international bodies on the funding of Australian health and medical research – work that has been extremely important, as has his major role in reforming clinical trials with the World Health Organization.

Professor Best oversaw the introduction of the Melbourne MD graduate medical course as Head of the Melbourne Medical School since 2007 to 2014 with specific responsibility for the integration of a research component into the revised curriculum. The interweaving of research, clinical practice and teaching that is a signature feature of the Melbourne MD adds important scientific weight to the qualification and is contributing to the transformation of medical education and practice in Australia. Throughout this period the Melbourne Medical School maintained its precedence in Australian medical education and it continues to be recognised internationally among the best medical schools worldwide.

Professor Best has been Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, since mid-2014.