Rick Speare Oration 2024 - Professor Maxine Whittaker

Key Information


14th August 2024

5pm - 8pm


Online | James Cook University, Australia, Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas




Alumni; Current Students; Public and Community; Research and Industry; Staff


Tegan Hewson |

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About this Event

The Rick Speare Oration, established in 2022 by the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, honours the late Professor Rick Speare and his remarkable contributions to the field of One Health. This annual lecture serves as a platform for invited scientific presentations, emphasising the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health within the realm of One Health.

Professor Rick Speare was a distinguished Australian public health physician and veterinary surgeon who dedicated his career to researching and combating infectious diseases, particularly in the tropics. He possessed extensive knowledge and expertise in human parasitology, amphibian diseases, and the interface between human and animal health. As an esteemed teacher and director of the JCU School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Professor Speare played a vital role in training postgraduate health professionals and strengthening research capacity in local researchers.

The Rick Speare Orations aim to carry forward Professor Speare's legacy by highlighting the importance of One Health research and its impact on the health of people in tropical regions. By featuring renowned external speakers in the field of One Health research, these orations not only contribute to the recognition and reputation of James Cook University but also commemorate Professor Speare's significant role in establishing and enhancing the research mission of the College. Through these annual lectures, the orations seek to inspire further advancements in One Health research and promote interdisciplinary collaboration to address the complex health challenges faced by communities in the tropics.

About Professor Maxine Whittaker

Professor Maxine Whittaker (ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1677-2991), public health physician, applied medical anthropologist and health and community systems teaching/research academic is Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases and former Dean of the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences at James Cook University. She focusses on a) improving accessibility and acceptability in/of health systems/services and b) One Health social sciences and systems. She works with the Civil Society Platform for Health Equity and Inclusiveness in the Greater Mekong Subregion and supports strategic planning/GEDSI for mosquito borne diseases in the Pacific. She holds roles with One Health High Level Expert Panel (for the Quadripartite of FAO, WHO, WOAH and UNEP), Partnerships for a Healthy Region Technical Reference Group (Australia)Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee (Queensland); Monash University’s Centre to Impact AMR Advisory Council; Chair Reaching the Unreached Technical Working Group (WHO WPRO); Senior Editor CABI One Health; Independent Reference Group member for Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, contributor to FAO RAP discussion paper/information brief/workshops on Health, Wildlife and Livelihoods and co-author/editor of One Health: the added value of integrated health approaches 1st/2nd editions (CABI)Since 2010, Professor Whittaker has been Principal/ Co-Investigator national/international competitive/industry/other research grants ($85,000,000) (Goggle Scholar h index 35, i10 index 86). She has lived/worked in Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Zambia, Zimbabwe and worked in several Asian, African and Pacific nations on health/development project/programme design. In 2017 she was awarded the Royal Australasian College of Physicians International Medal in recognition of outstanding service in developing countries.

When registering for this event you can chose to select in-person or online attendance. If you select in-person attendance and find yourself no longer able to attend in person, please re-register for online attendance and contact the event coordinator, Tegan Hewson -