Professor Henry Burger AO awarded Doctor of Medical Science honoris causa

Hudson Institute Director Emeritus and Distinguished Scientist, Professor Henry Burger AO, has been awarded a Doctor of Medical Science honoris causa from the University of Melbourne.

The Honour was conferred in recognition of Prof Burger’s significant contributions to the area of reproductive endocrinology, his leadership and prominence in the development and support of clinical initiatives for the health and wellbeing of patients.

An honorary degree is the highest honour conferred by the University. It is awarded without the need for completion of the usual requirements of the degree – honoris causa is ‘for the sake of the honour’ in Latin.

The Doctor of Medical Science (Honoris Causa) is awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of Medical Science and to society.

A distinguished career

A University of Melbourne alumnus, Prof Burger graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery with first class honours and first place in Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1956.

After completing training overseas, he played a key role in the leadership and development of the Prince Henry’s Hospital Medical Research Centre (later the Prince Henry’s Institute, a predecessor of Hudson Institute). Prof Burger served as Director from 1969 until 1998, and oversaw the Centre becoming an Institute in 1990.

Prof Burger is responsible for some of the most significant contributions in the areas of menopause, infertility, and female sexual dysfunction.

From left: Associate Professor Peter Greenberg (Brownless Medallist), Professor Kathryn North (Hon DMedSc), Professor Shitij Kapur, Emeritus Professor Henry Burger (Hon DMedSc), Professor Kate Leslie (Hon DMedSc), Professor James Bishop (Hon DMedSc)

He was co-leader of the team which first successfully isolated the reproductive hormone, inhibin, and characterised its role, including in the diagnosis of some forms of ovarian cancer.

In 1971, together with the late Dr Jean Hailes AM, Prof Burger established Australia’s first menopause clinic at Prince Henry’s Hospital, filling previously unmet clinical needs for menopausal women, raising the profile of midlife changes and breaking the uncomfortable silence around the discussion of menopausal symptoms in society. He continues today as a patron of Jean Hailes for Women’s Health.

The great value of Henry Burger’s contributions to medical science has been extensively acknowledged by his peers and by the Australian community. Prof Burger has been awarded honorary doctorates from both Monash University and the University of Liege.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science.

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