June 2016 | Issue 24
Professor James Best appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours

On 13 June, LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his distinguished service to medicine, medical education and efforts to rural and Indigenous health.


Prof James Best, Officer of the Order of Australia

The appointment, made by the Governor-General of Australia, recognises exemplary individuals for their distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large every year. Queen Elizabeth II, who is Head of the Commonwealth, celebrates a milestone birthday at 90 this year and this announcement, which coincided with her birthday celebrations, lauds the efforts and achievements of 771 Australians.

The Australian honours system, which was set up in 1975, confers appointments to the Order of Australia, which include Companion, Officer, Member and Medals for civilians, as well as a separate set of appointments for members of the Armed Forces. The appointments confer the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service.

In particular, Prof Best’s distinguished service to the field of endocrinology was cited for his appointment. His appointment also recognises his efforts to medical education as an academic, researcher and administrator, as well as his efforts to rural and indigenous health.

Prof Best getting to know the School's bright students

In announcing the awards, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove offered his deepest congratulations to honourees for their contributions at home and overseas.

Sir Peter said, “We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to dedicate themselves to the betterment of our nation and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian Honours system.”

A graduate of the University of Melbourne in 1972, Prof Best has practised in the discipline of Endocrinology in Australia, Hong Kong, the USA and the UK. He trained in Endocrinology at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital and in diabetes research at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. Having worked as an Endocrinologist at St Vincent's from 1982 to 1989, he joined the University of Melbourne staff as Deputy Head of the Department of Medicine (St Vincent's Hospital) and in 1999 was appointed as Professor of Medicine and Head of Department. He has also been Deputy Dean of the Faculty from 2004 to 2006 and subsequently Associate Dean (Resources). 

In July 2007, he was appointed as Head, Melbourne Medical School (MMS), a School that was established in 1862, and today ranks among the top 20 medical schools worldwide by the Times Higher Education. In 2014, he moved to Singapore after being appointed the first resident Dean of LKCMedicine.

On receiving this appointment, Prof Best said, “I have been fortunate to have many valued colleagues throughout my career who have provided great encouragement and support. That academic collegiality now extends to my role in Singapore, for which I am very appreciative.”

Prof Best has taught extensively during his career, especially on the topic of diabetes and metabolism, as well as on the medical interview. His research has involved physiological and molecular studies of glucose disposal, as well as studies of lipid biochemistry and epidemiological and clinical studies of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in diabetes. His current research is predominantly in healthcare delivery for diabetes prevention and management.


Prof Best talking about LKCMedicine to interested students at the recent NTU High Tea 2016

Besides showing exemplary work in the medical field, Prof Best has been on the Board of Directors of three different Health Services and a Medical Defence Organisation in Australia. He is currently on the Board of St Vincent’s Institute (Medical Research) and on the Heart Foundation (Australia) Research Committee. In 2006 he was appointed to the Council of Australia’s peak funding body for medical research, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and from July 2006 to June 2012, served as Chair of the NHMRC Research Committee. Prof Best is also an Honorary MD from St Andrews University. Since moving to Singapore, Prof Best has also been appointed as the Deputy Chairman of Nanyang Technological University Institutional Review Board, the Chairman of National Healthcare Group’s Board Research Advisory Committee, and a member of Medical Undergraduate Training Standing Committee Singapore.