The Board and staff of Burnet Institute are saddened by the passing of harm reduction advocate Jenny Kelsall due to liver cancer resulting from hepatitis C.
A former Burnet staff member, Ms Kelsall was the longstanding CEO of Harm Reduction Victoria, a former board member of Hepatitis Victoria, and worked tirelessly with the sector and wider community to raise awareness about stigma and discrimination around viral hepatitis.
Ms Kelsall once said: “I want to ensure that people who are at risk of contacting viral hepatitis and people who are living with viral hepatitis are all treated with the respect that they deserve.”
Burnet Deputy Director (Programs), Professor Margaret Hellard said Ms Kelsall was always extremely generous with her time and her wisdom, and made an enormous contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of people who inject drugs.
“Burnet Institute owes Jenny an enormous debt of gratitude for the work she did directly with us, but also her ongoing contribution to our research as an advisor and hard-working committee member,” Professor Hellard said.
“It strengthened the quality of our research, and helped its translation into beneficial changes of public health policy and practice with impacts in Victoria, Australia and globally.
“I remain forever grateful to Jenny for her assistance and contribution to my work personally, and Burnet research involving people who inject drugs.
“Her tireless advocacy and leadership, and grace and good humour, will be greatly missed.”
Harm Reduction Victoria, which is a partner with Burnet Institute in the Eliminate Hep C Partnership, aims to improve the way people who use drugs are treated by medical, community and government services, and increase awareness about issues relating to illicit drug use in the general community.