October 27, 2023

Professor Peter Brooks AM: Academic, Researcher and Clinician

To do justice to a career as extensive and illustrious as that of Professor Peter Brooks AM, one would require much more than a column of this size. Having published over 400 papers over the past five decades, Peter’s curriculum vitae reads more like a medical journal than a resume, and that is the condensed version.

Professor Peter Brooks AM MD FRACP is an extraordinary academic figure who has made significant contributions to the fields of education and research. With his immense knowledge, passion, and dedication, he has become a respected authority in his numerous areas of expertise.

After graduating from Monash University, Peter went on to hold hospital and university posts in Hobart and Glasgow, training initially as a rheumatologist. He has held professorial appointments at many of Australia’s leading universities including University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, Flinders University, and University of Tasmania. He has been widely published in the areas of musculoskeletal diseases, health education and more recently on health care and health workforce reform.  He is also a respected commentator on health policy and the importance of developing an evidence base in this area.

Those who know Peter, would be aware of his long-standing interest in digital health. It pleased him to see Northern Health lead the way with the rapid deployment of telehealth during the pandemic, and the subsequent investments by Northern Health and the State Government in the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED) and the creation of digital pathways to access healthcare.

It is fair to say that Professor Brooks has been instrumental in laying the foundations for the strong research culture that is currently being built at Northern Health. When I asked Peter about key highlights in his time with us, he cited Research Week, the PhD scholarships, and the annual Research Dinner as being amongst his most memorable. He is also very proud of the partnerships with academic partners University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, RMIT, and Swinburne. But perhaps what he is most proud of is the Health Navigator Program with Swinburne University and Medibank Private, with Dr. Rebecca Jessup as the lead.

Peter’s passion for research and his desire to make a difference have earned him numerous accolades throughout his career. In 2010, he featured on the Australia Day Honours List as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). The citation read ‘for service to medicine, particularly in the field of rheumatology, as an academic, researcher and clinician’.

Professor Brooks is not only a distinguished and revered academic but also a compassionate individual. I have had the pleasure of knowing Peter since we served on the Foundation Board together over many years, where he shared his skills, knowledge, expertise and passion for medical research to stimulate and encourage philanthropy in this area. We are extremely grateful for the significant contribution Peter had made to the Northern Health Foundation.

There is no question about the impact Professor Brooks has made to both the academic community and society as a whole. On behalf of everyone at Northern Health and Northern Health Foundation, I applaud Peter on a stellar career and thank him for sharing his wisdom and knowledge so we can continue working towards the ultimate vision of providing outstanding healthcare for our community, and significantly growing our research capabilities.

Please join us this evening, as Professor Catherine Itsiopoulos delivers the Professor Peter Brooks Oration and my colleague on the Foundation Board, Peter McWilliam, will pay him a special tribute.  Professor Brooks will thereafter present the inaugural research award named in his honour.


Pina Di Donato

Executive Director

Public Affairs and Foundation