At the frontline of melanoma research for 20 years, Professor Adele Green is the 2014 bmag Brisbane Person of the Year.

As head of cancer and population studies at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Professor Green’s ground-breaking research has been pivotal in convincing the sun-loving Australian community that putting on sunscreen is the best way to fight skin cancer.

Respected as a researcher, mentor and significant contributor to public health, Professor Green is the fifth Brisbane identity to be presented with the bmag Brisbane Person of the Year Award and the first female winner.

The award was presented by Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk at the Treasury Casino and Hotel, Monday evening 27 October, in front of Brisbane’s arts, sciences, business and community leaders and family members of the twelve nominated candidates.

In her acceptance speech, Professor Green said, “working with me is a team of people … I stand on the shoulders of giants.”

The hotly-contested titled featured an outstanding field of candidates for 2014, including:

  1. Dr Daniel Timms — The alternative heart inventor
  2. Brad Webb — Darb Couture
  3. Rosario La Spina —Tenor
  4. Mike O’Hagan — Mini Movers Founder
  5. Kate Miller-Heidke — performer/songwriter
  6. Dr Peter Stewart — eye surgeon / philanthropist
  7. John Curro AM MBE — conductor/musician
  8. Russell White — founder of Fatality Free Friday
  9. Professor Adele Green — skin cancer specialist
  10. Natalie Weir — choreographer
  11. Michael Tuahine – Community leader, Solutions founder
  12. Shelley Argent — PFLAG

Past winners include:

2013    Philip Bacon, art dealer and philanthropist

2012    Dean Merlo, businessman

2011    Danny Armstrong, SES rescue worker

2010    Darren Lockyer, sportsman (inaugural winner)

The award was judged by Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, media commentator and bmag columnist Greg Cary and bmag editor Helen Goltz.

Professor Green’s research established that daily sunscreen use can halve the risk of melanoma and set the benchmark for prevention. She notes a gradual change in attitudes; a shift from a sun-worshipping community to a sun-cautious community.

“Now we’re looking upstream, at what we can do better to lower the rates so that our children and our children’s children don’t have to think about treatment and cure, nor the money spent on the high incidence of this disease.

“My contention is that research is not proper research until it has gone full circle – looking at community health problems, solving those problems and then going back to the community with the answers.”

According to the Cancer Council Queensland, one in two Queensland men and one in two Queensland women will develop cancer in their lifetime.

Professor Green was presented with an advance framed cover of bmag (released 18 November), a cheque for $10,000 to be donated to the charity of her choosing and a commemorative trophy.