Professor Jane Gunn, Dean receives King’s Birthday Honour for service and leadership to medical administration, education and research

Congratulations to Professor Jane Gunn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, who was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the King’s Birthday Honours for distinguished service to medical administration in leadership roles, to tertiary education and research, and to the community. She was also recognised for her contribution to Australia's pandemic response on the COVID-19  Honour Roll.

The AO is fitting recognition for Professor Gunn’s many contributions including her work in primary care and community health, her contributions to research in general practice, particularly mental health, her service to the health sector more broadly, and of course her long-standing contribution to the university through education, research and leadership. It is very apt that the faculty’s first female Dean received her award in the first year that women led men in the Honours list.

Professor Jane Gunn AO

Professor Gunn is a distinguished academic general practitioner and the first woman Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at The University of Melbourne. Born and raised in the regional town of Sale, Victoria, her parents Alfred and Violet, both teachers, instilled in her the ‘importance of inquiry’ from an early age – a mantra that led her into an outstanding medical and research career and one that she uses to this day.

As Dean of the largest faculty in the university, Professor Gunn provides strategic vision and leadership while fostering a collegial and dynamic environment for more than 2,500 staff and 8,300 students. As a member of the University Executive, she contributes to strategy and decision making across the University.

In her role as Dean, she further serves the community on several boards (Children’s Campus Council, Doherty Council, The Florey, Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (MACH), Royal Melbourne Hospital (Melbourne Health), Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) which aids in maintaining effective relationships across the health and medical research sector.

A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Professor Gunn has current and past service as a director on primary care, hospital and medical research institute boards. She has served two terms on the NHMRC Research Committee and is current member of NHMRC Council.

She led the Diagnosis, Management and Outcomes of Depression in Primary Care (diamond) study, a longitudinal study aimed at developing models of care to transform primary mental health care, focusing on depression and multimorbidity. This study has twice been included in the NHMRC ‘Ten of the Best’ collection.

At the time of Professor Gunn’s enrolment in her medical degree, less than 45% of medical students at the University of Melbourne were female (only in 2017 did female GPs outnumber males in Australia). Her commitment to the importance of primary care for the community led to her PhD and pioneering career in the field of academic general practice.

Professor Gunn holds an MBBS (1987), a Diploma in Obstetrics (1991) and a PhD (1998) and is a Fellow of both the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (1994) and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (2016).

Professor Gunn’s leadership of her discipline and in traversing the research-practice gap has raised the profile and rigour of primary care research in Australia. She led the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne for ten years and has made significant contributions to the quality of primary care research undertaken in the community setting, both in Australia and worldwide, consistently working at the forefront of innovation in clinical practice and research - a reflection of her passion for providing the best and most evidence-based care.