MOUNT Martha resident and former Voices of the Peninsula candidate for the federal election, Claire Boardman, has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday list with a Public Service Medal for her outstanding contribution to public health.
Boardman is recognised as an Australian leader in the field of infection prevention control. She is currently deputy public health commander and executive director of the Victorian Department of Health Infection Prevention Control Advice and Response (IPCAR) unit.
Boardman said she was honoured to be recognised for her 20-year commitment to public health management and work in improving health outcomes for whole populations.
Although known for her work during the height of the COVID pandemic, Boardman says she is particularly proud of working alongside Indigenous health workers in the Torres Strait and Northern Territory on prevention, education and treatment of rheumatic heart disease.
Indigenous populations have the highest rate of rheumatic heart disease in the world, largely linked to disadvantage.
“It’s really important for us to work with locals to help them take carriage of their health, so a lot of what we do is education, communication and prevention,” Boardman said.
“My role has also involved advocacy and raising awareness so as to empower people.”
Boardman said it had been terrific to “stand alongside other health workers who have been honoured and recognised for their work”.
More recently, Boardman has been involved in formulating the vital elements for effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, building the IPCAR team by recruiting experts, introducing IPC training and building capacity in nurses to create outbreak response squads.
Her nominee, colleague Jodie Harrison, said Boardman’s strategy to build IPCAR using education and training, data and quality, response, IPC advice, and research and policy, had created a team with strong results.
She also included a targeted communications team to inform and educate across government, inter-sector and in the community and her leadership during the unfolding pandemic had been instrumental in the way Victoria controlled infection and managed community transmission.
Boardman’s contribution as inaugural president of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) has been recognised by naming the college’s highest honour the Claire Boardman CICP medal for leadership.
Boardman has held state and national appointments, including president of ACIPC and was a member of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) Antimicrobial Resistance. In 2013 she won a Council of Executive Women scholarship to attend the UNSW’s graduate school of management women in leadership course and in 2014 was a Northern Territory finalist for Australian of the Year awards.
While she was “disappointingly” forced to pull out of the May federal election candidacy because of the demands of the Omicron strain of COVID, Boardman said she still had her sights on federal politics and had secured a scholarship to Melbourne University’s pathways to politics for women.
“I think the federal election was an excellent outcome for the Teal movement and giving a voice for change,” she said.
“My interests are climate change, which directly relates to health outcomes, household costs and housing affordability.”