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District farewells Professor John Eastwood

Health expert dedicates career to caring for vulnerable families.

Man in a suit standing outdoors
SydneyConnect Image: Professor John Eastwood

Sydney Local Health District has farewelled internationally-recognised child health expert Professor John Eastwood, who has dedicated his career to improving the lives of children and their families.

Professor Eastwood, 65, is moving to New Zealand to take up a position as a public health physician with the Southern District Health Board, based in Dunedin, on the South Island.

"I'll miss my colleagues and the commitment everyone has to achieving our shared goal to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and their families," he said.

Professor Eastwood is the District's Executive Clinical Advisor, Clinical Services Integration and Population Health, the Executive Director of Community Health Services and the Director of Community Paediatrics.

"He's a passionate advocate for those in need. His drive has resulted in his vision for integrated, inter-generational primary health and social care for vulnerable families coming to fruition," Dr Teresa Anderson, the District's Chief Executive, said.

Professor Eastwood designed and evaluated the District's Healthy Homes and Neighbourhoods Integrated Care Initiative for vulnerable families in inner-western Sydney. It coordinates cross-agency care to ensure vulnerable families have their health and social needs met, and are better connected to the services they need.

In recognition of the Initiative's success, Professor Eastwood and his team won a Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management (Collaboration), a NSW Health Award and two District AGM Awards.

Professor Eastwood is also an advisor to the World Health Organisation, leading a consultancy focused on advancing child and adolescent health and wellbeing.

He's also leading the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for Care for People with Complex Multi-morbidities. The national research centre aims to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people in the community, focusing on reducing hospitalisation.

He's worked with colleagues from across the health and social care sector – including education, housing, justice and community services.

"John's work in the Healthy Homes and Neighbourhood project is innovative, world class and an exemplar for other Local Health Districts," Associate Professor Sue Woolfenden, a Senior Staff Specialist at the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network said.

The Acting General Manager of the District's Community Health Services, Paula Caffrey said "John's vision and ability to translate concepts and research into effective programs, at both population and individual levels, will be greatly missed."

And, Dr Jacqueline Small, a Senior Staff Specialist with the District's Disability Specialist Unit said "His drive is infectious and an inspiration for many younger colleagues. Most of all though, I take great pleasure in calling John and his wife friends."

Professor Eastwood's new role will encompass devising strategies to embed health care into all policy areas, to address the social determinants of health and to develop locality-based health care projects.

He will retain an advisory role at Sydney Local Health District.

To view more images of the Professor Eastwood's farewell, please click here.