On 11 September 2019 I was delighted to present the inaugural Centenary of Anzac Centre Award for Excellence in Veteran Care to Dr Graeme Killer AO.
Graeme has had a varied and influential career: as a medical officer in the RAAF, as doctor to five Australian Prime Ministers, and as the Principal Medical Adviser to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for over 20 years, among many other highlights.
Phoenix Australia has enjoyed a special relationship with Graeme. He was instrumental in establishing Phoenix Australia in 1995 (in its initial incarnation as the National Centre for War-Related PTSD), and has been an inspirational source of sage advice to us since that time.
Graeme was also instrumental in the identification of the need for the Centenary of Anzac Centre to be established under Phoenix Australia, with a focus on improving mental health outcomes for veterans through providing multidisciplinary support to practitioners working with veterans with mental health problems, and researching innovative treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. I believe that without Graeme’s insight, advice and guidance the centre would not exist.
Together with the Expert Council which oversees the Anzac Centre, I wanted to recognise and mark Graeme’s enormous contributions to excellence in veteran care, by giving him this award.
We decided that a fitting occasion to honour Graeme and his contribution was the education and networking event held in Sydney in September for members of veteran and military special interest groups of the health professional organisations. More than 100 practitioners attended to meet together, engage with the work of the Anzac Centre, and hear presentations from Professors Paul Fitzgerald and Kim Felmingham on Advances in brain stimulation treatments and Advances in adjunctive treatments for PTSD.
So, to Graeme, a huge thank you on behalf of Phoenix Australia, the professional mental health community, and the veteran community. We look forward to maintaining a close connection into the future.
Written by Professor David Forbes, Director Phoenix Australia