World-renowned mathematical physicist and biostatistician, Professor Robert Gibberd, has won the 2012 Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) Medal.

The Director of the University of Newcastle’s Health Services Research Group is internationally recognised for his work in measuring health processes and outcomes and the use of data to monitor trends in quality over time.

“We are delighted to present this award to Professor Gibberd for his significant work in statistical modelling that, through a range of specialist projects at both Commonwealth and State level, has resulted in improvements in both patient safety as well as quality in health care,” ACHS President, Adjunct Associate Professor Karen Linegar said.

“Professor Gibberd has been a forthright pioneer in promoting the value of measurement to drive safety and quality, a focus that is only now being universally accepted and implemented,” she said.

Professor Gibberd has served as the Director of the Hunter Health Statistics Unit and Director of the Health Services Research Group (HSRG).  In both roles he has contributed extensively to delivering data reports for States on quality, admission rates, readmission rates and evaluation of health services, as well as supervising health researchers and statistical and programming staff.

Through his key role in developing and designing statistical methodology to assess practice he was one of the principle investigators of the groundbreaking study Quality in Australian Health Care published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) in 1995, establishing a baseline for the incidence of adverse events in health care resulting in many improvements in the Australian health care system.

“This seminal study for clinical professions was a strong catalyst for both policy revision and changing attitudes to patient safety.  Listed in the top 10 papers published in the MJA, it is recognised by the British Medical Journal as being in the 10 most cited papers in quality in health care across all academic journals,” Professor Karen Linegar said.

Professor Gibberd, the medal’s 20th recipient, was awarded the gold medal at ACHS’s Annual Dinner, in Sydney.