FORMER MP for Flinders Greg Hunt has been appointed foundation chair of the Monash University-based Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health’s advisory council.
Hunt’s appointment was made by the university’s chancellor Simon McKeon who said the former federal health and aged care minister would bring to the position “a wealth of knowledge and experience in international health care policy and research”.
Research by the The Turner Institute is dedicated to preventative brain and mental health research, treatment and education.
“I was delighted to be invited to assist the Turner as they build on their research and community role,” Hunt, who retired at the 2022 federal election, said.
“They are already international leaders but have the capacity to be one of the world’s foremost centres for prevention and treatment of brain and mental health conditions.
“The Turner has set out a vision focused on applying their research to clinical practice. This approach can make a real difference to the lives of those with mental health challenges.
“Mental health is a long standing deep, personal passion. It stems from the family experiences I had growing up where my mother struggled with bipolar.”
Turner Institute director Professor Kim Cornish said Hunt’s “deep understanding of the mental health landscape in Australia and his passion for empowering the community to live well makes him an outstanding candidate for the inaugural chair of the” advisory council.
“Greg will lead a group of strategic advisors that bring exceptional skills and networks in health and medical research, government, industry, philanthropy and lived experiences.”
Hunt said an example of the institute’s ground-breaking research was its Living Lab study, which will follow thousands of residents for 10 years in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs monitoring and treating the signs of mental illness, dementia and other brain conditions.
“At the same time there is enormous scope for an enhanced focus on the substantive areas of suicide prevention, eating disorder treatment, age-based mental health and Indigenous mental health,” he said.
Hunt said that he wanted to concentrate his philanthropic work on mental health through the Turner Institute.
“At this point, I want to focus my philanthropic work on one primary role in the mental health space,” he said.
“Within that field, the Turner presented itself as a unique opportunity to work with the University, researchers, practitioners and the lived experience community.”