Vaccine expert SA's Australian of the year

SA's Australian of the Year provided COVID-19 advice to the state government during the pandemic.
SA's Australian of the Year provided COVID-19 advice to the state government during the pandemic.

Vaccination researcher Helen Marshall has been named the Australian of the Year for South Australia.

Specialising in vaccinology, public health and infectious diseases at the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute, Professor Marshall has been involved in game-changing studies that have had a global impact.

A focus of her work has been as a lead investigator in a study assessing the effectiveness of the meningococcal B vaccine on invasive meningococcal disease in Australian teens and young adults.

The study is the largest of its kind in the world looking at the herd immunity impact of the meningococcal B vaccine.

Since 2004, Prof Marshall has published 211 peer-reviewed papers and been awarded 17 research grants worth more than $33 million.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the 59-year-old has provided advice to SA Health Minister Stephen Wade and Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier.

In other awards announced on Thursday, educator, counsellor and author Mark Le Messurier was named the SA's Senior Australian of the Year, while dentistry consultant Trudy Lin was named the state's Young Australian of the Year.

SA's Lymphoedema Association president Monique Bareham, was chosen as the state's Local Hero for 2022.

Mr Le Messurier, 67, has worked to improve the self-worth, wellbeing, mental health and life outcomes of young people with a focus on those with disabilities or those suffering neglect or disadvantage.

Dr Lin, 29, provides oral healthcare to people with a disability, psychiatric illness or complex medical issues such as cancer and also treats people experiencing homelessness and domestic violence.

In her advocacy work, Ms Bareham, 50, a cancer survivor herself, was instrumental in securing a compression garment subsidy from the state government in 2020 for people suffering from lymphoedema - a chronic, debilitating and incurable condition caused by damage to the lymphatic system.

Before the subsidy scheme, SA was the only state not to offer financial assistance to people needing to buy the expensive compression garments.

All the SA winners will now represent the state in the national awards to be announced on January 25.

Australian Associated Press