The Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences was officially launched by Ms Dianne Farmer MP, State Member for Bulimba, Deputy Speaker Queensland Parliament, on 11 April 2017 at the historic UQ Customs House building in the Brisbane CBD.

The launch event was attended and addressed, also, by senior members of Queensland Health and The University of Queensland:

  • Dr Jeannette Young PSM, Queensland Chief Health Officer;
  • Professor Aidan Byrne, Provost and Senior Vice-President, UQ; and
  • Professor Bruce Abernethy, Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, UQ.

The Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program in the United States, Dr Linda S. Birnbaum, delivered an address by pre-recorded video.

The inaugural Director of the Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences, Professor Kevin Thomas, made the following remarks during his address:

“I am truly honoured to be standing here in front of you this morning as the new director of the Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences. I am proud to represent an alliance of highly motivated and skilled researchers that through performing top class inter-disciplinary research will help create a healthier Queensland.

"I stand here as Director of one of the University of Queensland´s newest research centres, however at the same time QAEHS is an evolution of the National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology (Entox), which was one of the University´s longest running centres having originally started in the 1990s.

"I am passionate about the potential impact that QAEHS can have on understanding the impact that our environment can have on human health. My entire career has been motivated by a book that I read growing up in Wales in the 1970´s and 80´s. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson had a profound influence on my studies and subsequent career. It is interesting that over 50 years ago, she wrote:

“A Who's Who of pesticides is therefore of concern to us all. If we are going to live so intimately with these chemicals eating and drinking them, taking them into the very marrow of our bones - we had better know something about their nature and their power.”

"We have come some way to better understanding the effects that chemicals can have on us as humans and the wildlife that we share our environment. I think too that we better understand the enormity of the challenge we face. In everyday life we are exposed to thousands of chemicals, each and every one of us. This is augmented by whole host of other pathogens whether it be in the natural or built environment. The QAEHS recognises that the only way to tackle this complexity is through collaborative interdisciplinary research. To facilitate this the centre has seven themes; each led by an expert in their field.

“For a centre such as QAEHS to develop and thrive we need to work together and develop partnerships and collaborations across different sectors. We in fact already have a well-established and broad network of collaborators and funding bodies that help us deliver a broad portfolio of top class research that brings enormous added value to the investment made by Queensland Health and UQ.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank both QH and UQ for having the vision to support this exciting venture and the QAEHS staff for making me feel so welcome in these first months. I very much appreciate the level of motivation and engagement from all concerned and I look forward in working with you all in developing QAEHS into a world class research centre that contributes towards making a healthier Queensland. Thank you!”

 

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