Professor Dan Lubman Appointed Member of the Order of Australia
Professor Dan Lubman has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medical education, research, treatment and policy in the field of addiction.
Professor Lubman is thrilled and humbled to be recognised in this way, and says the acknowledgement is a reflection of how perceptions of addiction are changing.
“Addiction remains the most stigmatised health condition, but to be honoured in this way recognises the importance of addressing a public health issue that costs Australia and Australian families so much. I'm just delighted that our continued efforts to improve health outcomes for Australians affected by addiction have been recognised in this way.”
David Plunkett, Chief Executive of Eastern Health said, “Congratulations Dan, this is an incredible achievement and a testament to your tenacity and leadership. Your unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries, and saying we can do better, has led to an incredible change locally and nationally in the way we treat, research and educate our workforce relating to addiction.”
Dedication and tenacity
Professor Lubman completed his medical training in the United Kingdom and had been completing a specialty in addiction when he moved to Australia in 1999.
He was shocked to find that the landscape for addiction treatment looked very different in Australia; addiction wasn’t a medical specialty and there were no funded positions in the public health system that reflected his expertise.
Since then, Professor Lubman has been a major driver in elevating addiction as a genuine medical specialty, and working across the sector to build the capability of medical, nursing and allied health workforces in responding to Australians with addiction.
He is also a highly cited medical researcher, with over 500 research publications, and has driven research examining the relationship between substance use, gambling and mental disorder, as well as the development of targeted telephone, online and face-to-face intervention programs within community, school, primary care, mental health and drug treatment.
Professor Lubman has also led state and national research programs that have directly informed policy making, and regularly contributes to State and Commonwealth expert reference committees.
Advocate for change
Professor Lubman is keen to set the record straight about the reality of addiction and the people it affects.
“What people don’t seem to realise is that nobody I see wants to continue drinking, using drugs or gambling at levels that cause them harm; they want help, but unfortunately addiction is often not seen as a legitimate health disorder,” says Professor Lubman.
He was also the driving force behind Turning Point’s involvement in the 2020 SBS ground-breaking series, Addicted Australia. The docu-series followed ten Australians and their families through a unique six-month treatment program.
“Addiction has a terrible image problem”, says Professor Lubman. “We blame and demonise. Despite the issue of addiction being front page news, we almost never hear stories of success and recovery. The focus is either about the criminality of users or a focus on the lack of residential rehab beds.”
“This presents a bleak and inaccurate picture of what both addiction and recovery looks like. Working with Blackfella Films and SBS gave us the opportunity to start telling the real stories of addiction, counter the many myths that are out there and confront stigma head on.”
The recently formed Rethink Addiction campaign is a culmination of many years of work for Professor Lubman and his peers, bringing together more than 40 organisations all dedicated to having addiction recognised and accepted as a health disorder.
The campaign calls for a national action plan for addiction treatment and advocates for a change to Australia’s attitude and response to addiction. It also encourages anyone who has been touched by addiction or is passionate about reducing stigma to share their story and get involved in making the case for change.
About Professor Lubman
Professor Dan Lubman is a Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Specialist, he is the Executive Clinical Director of Turning Point, Director of the Monash Addiction Research Centre and Professor of Addiction Studies and Services at Monash University.
Over the last 20 years he has published over 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers, book chapters and major reports, and was Chair of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ (RANZCP) Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry for over a decade.
He is regularly contacted for policy advice and community comment, and sits on numerous State and Commonwealth expert reference committees. He has received numerous awards, including the Senior Scientist Award from the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs, as well as the RANZCP Senior Research Award.
About the Order of Australia Awards
The Order of Australia recognises Australians who have demonstrated outstanding service or exceptional achievement. These honours are all nominated by peers and is an opportunity to recognise their hard-work, service and dedication to their chosen field.
You can view the full Honours List here.