Prestigious Fenner Award to Chad Hughes

Burnet Institute

16 December, 2020

Burnet Institute Head, International Development, Chad Hughes, has been acknowledged for his two decades of HIV advocacy, strategic planning and policy development with the institute’s most prestigious internal prize, the Frank Fenner Award for 2020.

A public health practitioner, Mr Hughes has specific expertise in strategic planning for responding to the HIV epidemic, scaling up interventions and monitoring and evaluating programs.

From 2001-03 he established and coordinated a nationwide HIV prevention program in Nepal for people who inject drugs before moving to Myanmar with the World Health Organization as a technical adviser to the Ministry of Health on drug-related harm reduction and HIV prevention.

Mr Hughes joined Burnet to manage a portfolio of programs relating to HIV, and harm reduction programs for people who use alcohol and other drugs and has a keen professional interest in involving men to offer responses to the HIV epidemic.

Mr Hughes, who is also Burnet’s Deputy Program Director for Disease Elimination, and Regional Director, Mekong Region, said he was surprised but honoured to receive the award in a year defined by the global coronavirus pandemic.

“The Institute was very much founded in the early years around addressing HIV and that was the predominance of the work when I joined Burnet,” Mr Hughes said.

“Since then, Burnet has expanded and grown so much but HIV is still here and it’s still very much something that we as an Institute address.

“Coronavirus is not the only pandemic that we work on, HIV is something we’ve been working on for 20-something years and … there’s still more work to do.”

Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC described Mr Hughes as ‘a Burnet person through’ and praised his ‘amazing contribution to public health in this country and the region’.

“Chad has been such a key player in defining Burnet’s work in HIV, technically as well as culturally,” Professor Crabb said.

Mr Hughes said he felt privileged to have worked in a variety of roles around the world including Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

“Working in HIV you get to work with interesting communities and interesting people with interesting stories and lives,” he said.

“It’s an honour to be able to share the space around their lives and needs, and they are often the most vulnerable people in the world, which is why it’s so important for us to continue to focus on this virus.

“It’s nice to be able to accept this award … on behalf of everyone in this Institute who’s worked on HIV in the past and will work on it in the future.”

The Frank Fenner Award acknowledges significant contribution to Burnet’s vision and mission in the areas of medical research and public health, and is named after the great Australian virologist, the late Professor Frank Fenner AC.

Staff Member



Health Issue

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Chad Hughes

Head of International Development; Regional Director, Mekong




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