Charles Darwin University
enews home

Menzies Director receives national health science award

By Richmond Hodgson

Menzies Director Professor Alan Cass Menzies Director Professor Alan Cass

One of Australia’s leading kidney specialists has been recognised with a prestigious national award for his contributions to kidney health and advancing Indigenous health.

Menzies School of Health Research Director Professor Alan Cass has been awarded the 2013 TJ Neale Award by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology (ANZSN) as part of its 49th Annual Scientific Meeting held in Brisbane.

The TJ Neale award recognises outstanding contribution to the field of nephrological science.

Treatment of kidney disease costs the health system more than $1 billion each year.

The incidence of end-stage kidney disease, where the kidneys fail and a person needs dialysis or a transplant to stay alive, is 10 times higher among Indigenous Australians than it is among non-Indigenous Australians.

ANZSN President Professor Rowan Walker said Professor Cass was a deserving recipient of the award.

“The awards committee was impressed by the calibre of applicants and there were many worthy winners, speaking to the strength and health of renal science in Australasia,” he said.

Professor Cass has been involved in kidney health research for 15 years. He has led large-scale clinical trials, documented the economic burden associated with kidney disease and pioneered the use of qualitative research to understand the impact on individuals and their families of living with kidney disease.

In welcoming the national recognition of his peers, Professor Cass said there was much more to be done.

“The burden of kidney disease amongst Indigenous Australians remains extremely heavy,” Professor Cass said.

“My clinical research is about being part of the solution – working with Indigenous researchers, patients and community organisations, as well as with health service providers and governments, to develop strategies and new models of care that improve health.”

Professor Cass was previously the Director of the Renal Division at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney. He has published 180 academic papers and government reports.