15 December 2016
A Victorian radiation oncologist who has been working to encourage superannuation funds to go tobacco-free has been named this year’s winner of the prestigious Bob Elphick Medal.
Dr Bronwyn King, Founder and CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios, accepted the 2016 award at a breakfast in Perth today.
“I’m thrilled to receive this honour, joining many others who I deeply respect for their commitment to addressing one of the greatest health issues of our time,” Dr King said.
“From the moment I started my medical career I witnessed the devastating impact of tobacco on our community.
“It is vital for clinicians to share the stories of their patients to encourage reform and accelerate change in the tobacco control arena.”
Dr King embarked on the Tobacco Free Portfolios initiative in 2010 after discovering that she owned shares in several tobacco companies, via her superannuation fund.
“For an oncologist, someone who knew only too well the profound suffering caused by tobacco, it was not something I could accept,” she said.
“At that very moment, I decided to try to do something about it. I had no idea of what lay ahead, but I knew that I had found a problem, which needed to be addressed.
“There are now 35 tobacco free superannuation funds in Australia, representing more than 40 per cent of institutional investors. I am currently engaged with many more funds and the conversations over the past few years have shifted from ‘should we go to tobacco free’ to ‘how and when should we go tobacco free’.
“I’m optimistic that ‘tobacco free’ will one day be the new baseline standard in the finance industry. There is a long way to go, but we’ll get there.”
The Award was presented to Dr King by Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC, Governor of Western Australia (and Patron of ACOSH).
Governor Sanderson paid tribute to Dr King and congratulated her on receiving the award.
“Dr King’s work has been both inspirational and courageous in an area of public health that continues to require strong leadership, commitment and energy,” she said.
ACOSH President Maurice Swanson also congratulated Dr King on the award.
“Dr King is an outstanding recipient of this award and her work to encourage the finance industry to partner with health and government sectors in addressing the tobacco epidemic is to be highly commended,” he said.
The Elphick Medal is awarded annually in memory of Dr Bob Elphick, a pioneering chest physician who was President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) from its inception in 1971 and remained a driving force in tobacco control and advocacy throughout his life.
For more information please contact:
ACOSH President Maurice Swanson 0401 090 915