Flinders University offers its warmest congratulations to South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier, who has been awarded academic status as Professor in the College of Medicine and Public Health in recognition of her considerable and meritorious public service.
As the Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Spurrier has accountability for public health and communicable disease issues. This includes leading South Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chief Public Health Officer also advises the Minister and the Chief Executive of SA Health about proposed legislative or administrative changes related to public health and about other matters relevant to public health.
Professor Spurrier’s contribution to the State during this critical time is commendable and the University is extremely proud to have her in a senior leadership position.
Initially training in medicine and working as a paediatrician, Professor Spurrier says she very early on decided she wanted to do public health, treating not individual patients but whole populations.
In particular, she’s inspired by the preventative aspect of public health and stopping people getting sick in the first place. In her view, most people don’t like to get sick and it’s almost always better to have a prevention rather than a cure.
Professor Spurrier reflected warmly upon her award in an interview with The Advertiser, including her mother’s delight that both her daughters are professors now!
In a happy reflection of the talent Flinders is home to, Professor Spurrier’s sister is Strategic Professor in Eye and Vision Health and Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor Justine Smith.
“I used to work at Flinders University before I had the job in the department so I had the title of Associate Professor because of the work that I’ve done there. I’ve got a research background and I used to run the medical student program up at Flinders in paediatrics for a long period of time, and it’s something that I enjoyed doing.
“I still have medical students who come and help me in my clinic when I’m doing a paediatric clinic at Flinders, unfortunately I’ve had to give that up because of the enormous workload at the moment.
“But I also enjoy doing research and I still have some research publications. I’ve managed to get one research publication with a student this year, which was very nice.
“Flinders University contacted me and said ‘we’d like to promote you to full professor’ which I think is marvellous and a real honour. One thing, it makes it easier than saying Associate Professor, plus makes it is easier for my staff when they do the signature block on any letters, and of course my mum was really proud.”
“It has also made me reflect on what a wonderful time I had working at Flinders Uni, developing many enduring friendships across different disciplines, and I am looking forward to future exciting partnerships and opportunities” Professor Spurrier says.