Distinguished Achievement Award

This award recognises, and honours exceptional achievements in the fields of sleep health and sleep science by ASA members. This award is presented by the Australasian Sleep Association at its annual scientific meeting.

It is awarded to an individual member who has either made: (i) a high impact, highly original and important contribution, or (ii) ongoing sustained, and significant contributions to the fields of sleep health and sleep science in Australasia and internationally.

These achievements may include, but are not limited to, research, education, policy development.

Distinguished Achievement Award Nomination form [PDF] - Members Only

Distinguished Achievement Award Nomination form [DOC] - Members Only


Worthy Recipients to date

2016: Professor Leon Lack, Flinders University

Leon Lack has played a pivotal role in the field of sleep, both nationally and internationally. He was a founding member of the ASA, the 3rd President of the association from 1992 to 1994, and has been actively involved in the association since its inception. Dr Lack has made a substantial contribution to sleep research in the fields of insomnia and circadian rhythms, obtaining over $20 million in major grant funding. He has authored 84 refereed journal articles, 14 book chapters and 4 books and made 18 keynote speeches and 300 presentations at national and international conferences and scientific meetings. Dr Lack has trained 14 doctoral students, 82 honours students, and has taught “Psychophysiology of Sleep” to undergraduate students at Dr Leon Lack has played a pivotal role in the field of sleep, both nationally and internationally. Dr Lack is active in clinical sleep medicine. He has been the Director of the Insomnia Clinic at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, Repatriation General Hospital. In this clinic he has treated hundreds of people with insomnia and circadian rhythms disorders and trained 15 clinical. Together with Dr Helen Wright, Dr Lack invented the Re Timer portable light device. He is active in the community, giving frequent public lectures, media interviews, and providing sleep education to GPs.

2015: Professor Matthew Naughton, The Alfred Hospital

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of sleep health. Matthew Naughton has published over 160 manuscripts, held 6 NHMRC project grants and attracted almost $4 million in competitive grant funding. He has served on the executive of numerous organisations including the ATS, TSANZ and is a past president of the ASA and has supervised and mentored numerous students including 7 PhD students and 1 post-doctoral fellow. He currently heads the General Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Service, within the Department of Allergy Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

2014: Professor Rosemary Horne, The Ritchie Centre

In recognition of her contribution to the field of infant and paediatric sleep medicine research and dedication to the training and development of early career sleep scientists. She has led the field in understanding the mechanisms which underpin the risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and has made a substantial contribution to our knowledge of both the physiological and psychological effects of paediatric sleep disordered breathing. Rosemary has supervised 15 PhD, 4 Masters and over 30 Honours students to successful completion of their programs.

2013: Dr David Hillman, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

In recognition of his many outstanding, high impact, original contributions to the fields of sleep medicine, sleep science and sleep health in Australia and internationally. He has been a key contributor to the growth of sleep medicine and sleep science in Australia, including the development of policy and clinical standards within our profession and industry. He has been a leader in sleep education and training in Australia and continues to be one of the strongest advocates for sleep health to the Australian general public and to our politicians. He has published extensively on respiratory and upper airway physiology and their relationship to sleep disorders and anaesthesia and is now leading an international effort to explore the substantial common ground that exists between anaesthesiology and sleep medicine and the anaesthetic and sleep states.

2012: Professor John Trinder, University of Melbourne, Dept of Psychological Sciences

John Trinder was a founding member of the ASA and has tirelessly worked towards an understanding of the muscles of the upper airway as they relate to sleep disordered breathing. His meticulous and detailed research looking at single motor units and mechanisms for airway obstruction has informed and guided the investigations of others. He has also worked towards an understanding of the psychological and neuropsychological deficits caused by sleep disordered breathing and other sleep disorders as well as mentoring and supervising numerous post-graduate students.

2011: Professor Doug McEvoy, Repatriation General Hospital, Adelaide

Doug McEvoy has been a highly productive clinical researcher in the field of Sleep Medicine across his career. He has held 15 NH&MRC project grants since 1994 including the largest NHMRC project grant ever given to the field of Sleep Medicine in Australasia for the SAVE project in 2010 ($3million). He has over 100 publications, many in high impact journals. He has held an NH&MRC Practitioner Fellowship since 2004. He has previously held significant voluntary positions, including President of the Australasian Sleep Association and Chairman of the Professional Standards Subcommittee of the TSANZ.

Two particular qualities about Doug have been of particularly great benefit to the Australasian Sleep Association:
1. Mentorship of younger and early career physicians and scientists.
Doug has been primary supervisor for over 20 PhD students. When he mentors somebody, he ensures that the work being performed is of the highest quality, providing an outstanding level of support for the individual involved in the often challenging process of a higher degree.

2. Leadership of multi-centre randomised controlled trials in Australasia and around the world.
Doug has led a number of these in the field of Sleep Medicine in Australasia and Internationally. These include randomised controlled trials around mild obstructive sleep apnoea, non-invasive ventilation in chronic airflow limitation (AVCAL trial), simplified management of obstructive sleep apnoea trials and more recently the SAVE trial. These have, apart from being the highest scientific quality and the contributing to the crucial level of evidence that randomised controlled trials produce; but also have also been very contributory to the excellent professional relationships within our ASA organisation as each trial has involved a number of centres in a number of different academic environments in Australasia.

2010: Professor Ron Grunstein Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW

A pioneer in the development of Sleep Medicine as a Discipline of Internal Medicine in Australia, Ron Grunstein has contributed enormously to the local growth of the ASA as the professional society representing sleep medicine and research. He is Chief Investigator for the NHMRC Centre for Clinical Research Excellence in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, and heads up the NHMRC Australian Sleep Health Clinical Trials Network, both of which have contributed substantially to the growth of sleep research in Australia. He is Director of the Woolcock Institute , Sleep and Circadian Group. Ron Grunstein has worked tirelessly to raise the international profile of sleep medicine and research in Australia as a co-chair of Worldsleep07, and his role as President of the World Federation of Sleep from 2007-2011.

2009: Professor John Wheatley

Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Westmead Hospital, NSW Professor of Medicine, in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney; Director of the Ludwig Engel Centre for Respiratory Research in the Westmead Millennium Institute, Director of the Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Westmead Hospital and a Consultant Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Physician at Westmead Hospital.

John Wheatley was nominated as the Distinguished Achiever in recognition of service to the ASA and sleep research and sleep medicine in Australia. This included a leadership role on ASA Executive and co-chairing Worldsleep07. John has made a significant contribution to the development of educational programs and training in the field of sleep medicine in Australia.

2008: Professor Colin Sullivan Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, NSW

A pioneer of the sleep field, with an extensive record of achievement in clinical and experimental research that pioneered the science of how sleep affects breathing. This fundamental work resulted in the invention of CPAP for treating Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, which is arguably the single most important milestone in the evolution of the sleep field into a clinical discipline.