19 July 2024

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Albert Park parishioner’s service to medicine celebrated

Professor Jo Anne Douglass is a long-standing member of the Parish of the Parks. Picture: supplied.

Jenan Taylor

13 June 2024

Albert Park parishioner and specialist physician Jo Anne Douglass has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Professor Douglass was named in the King’s Birthday Honours for her distinguished service to medical research, to clinical immunology and allergy, to respiratory medicine and to tertiary education.

She holds leadership roles in hospital and academic settings and on advisory boards, and gave expert witness in the coroner’s court about food allergies and thunderstorm asthma.

Professor Douglass said the strong Christian values she was raised with, including kindness and truth, underpinned her career path and all her work choices.

She said she was fortunate to have a long, varied medicine career that enabled her to see patients, do research, and grow hospitals and clinics.

But she said her work was challenging at times and could involve long, hard hours.

Read more: ‘Quiet’ parishioner, Supreme Court justice recognised in Australia Day Honours List

Professor Douglass said her involvement with the coroner’s court was focused on making sure Australia could learn from the anaphylaxis and thunderstorm asthma events.

She said this work included salutary experiences that showed her that sometimes good things might arise from the lessons some tragic events yielded.

A member of St Silas’ and St Anselm’s, Professor Douglass said she grew up attending church regularly.

She said she left it behind for part of her life, and returned when she had children.

“I really needed to think about what was worthy for the future generation and what values I wanted to give my children in terms of how to live a good life. I started to look to the church for that at that time of my life and found it immensely comforting,” Professor Douglass said.

She said she has become less career-driven over the years, and was beginning to count time and see how precious it was.

Read more: ‘The Rev’ recognised in Australia Day lists

Professor Douglass said she looked forward to doing other things with her time, including spending more of it with her husband and family, when she eventually retired.

Parish of the Parks vicar the Reverend Sophie Watkins described Professor Douglass as a person who should be awarded for least seeking the attention of awards.  

She said Professor Douglass downplayed any mention of her excellent contributions, yet exuded wisdom gleaned from years of experience caring for others.

Ms Watkins said she was grounded, compassionate and diligent, and worked with deep humility to care for people in a multitude of ways.

She said the long-standing parishioner served as a reader, administered communion and would give other members lifts to church.

“We are so proud to celebrate this recognition of her work and swell with delight to see those letters after her name,” Ms Watkins said.

Associate Professor Christine Rodda was also recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours List. 

Do you know of any other Melbourne Anglicans who have received King’s Birthday Honours? Email us at editor@melbourneanglican.org.au.

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