Corporate Australia Continues to Offer Support


Corporate Australia Continues to Offer Support

The Investment and Financial Services Association continue to support the Institute.

The Investment and Financial Services Association (IFSA) continued their support of the Schizophrenia Research Institute and our community partner, the Inspire Foundation, at this year’s annual conference in the Gold Coast. The Institute was delighted to receive over $160,000 in gifts from a variety of IFSA members, bringing the total amount of donations over 3 years to $575,000.

We are especially pleased to welcome John Brogden as the new CEO of IFSA (pictured above with Prof. Vaughan Carr) – his insights and understanding of mental illness are a valuable addition to our ongoing partnership.

Cocktails & Consciousness Awards High Achievers


Cocktails & Consciousness Awards High Achievers

The Institute’s annual event to thank our supporters.

Dr Jenny Wong in the Schizophrenia Research Laboratory.

The Institute’s annual event to thank our supporters was held at Doltone House, Pyrmont, Sydney on 24th September. Professor Vaughan Carr gave a sneak preview on the Schizophrenia Library and Institute Chairman Peter Maher presented the annual Institute awards to our outstanding researchers.

Dr Jenny Wong from the Schizophrenia Research Laboratory won the 2009 Early Career Researcher award, and received $7,000 to support her schizophrenia research studies. The 2009 Postgraduate Student award was presented to Sharna Jamadar from the University
of Newcastle with an additional $3,000 towards her schizophrenia research.

Many thanks to our event partners, Ramsay Health Care, PIPC Pty Ltd and Turning Point for their support for the evening.

Farewell to Alan


Farewell to Alan

Professor Vaughan Carr and everyone at the Institute pay a fond farewell with deepest gratitude to Alan Tunbridge as he retires this month after dedicating the last 15 years to developing awareness for schizophrenia research. Below, Alan reflects on the earliest beginnings of the Institute.

Prof. Stan Catts and Alan Tunbridge.

A Spirit of Outrage

In 1994 I happened to be walking past the TV in my living room at the moment when the
NSW Labor Party’s Health Minister Andrew Refshauge appeared on screen with Dr Stan Catts
to pledge funding for a schizophrenia research institute.

Although a mere 20 seconds, it was an auspicious moment for me because my family had
been coping with a son with schizophrenia for about 4 years, and it was the first time I had
seen the illness mentioned on the TV news.

In those days schizophrenia was the ‘invisible illness’ – no one admitted to having it, nor to
having a relative who had it. This public stigma and the inadequate treatment my son had
received evoked a spirit of outrage in me.

I tracked down Dr. Catts at the Prince of Wales Hospital to offer him my professional help as
a copywriter/art director. I met the existing small band of scientists and parents who had
already managed to bring the imagined institute so far into reality that it had won a funding
pledge from the NSW shadow cabinet.

In those days we were rather like a terrorist cell, meeting at night in a variety of places to plot
our next move. My modest contribution was to write and publish the ‘HeadLines’ newsletter
– whose first few editions were filled with ‘news’ and diagrams of what we would do when
we got some money.

The Institute stepped fully into reality in 1996 – to steadily blossom into the internationally
recognised Australian research centre it is today. Well, our progress was actually more like a
series of explosions than a peaceful blossoming, but we still got here, and I’m still happy that
I walked past that TV screen and saw Stan Catts back in 1994.

I would like to thank Stan and all the other scientists who are devoting their careers to
stopping this horrible illness called schizophrenia. It’s been a privilege to help them.

Welcome to Our New Board Members


Welcome to Our New Board Members

Chris McDiven and Jill Wran join the Institute’s Board

The Institute is delighted to welcome two new board members, Jill Wran and Chris McDiven. Both women bring wide experience from the not for profit, government and business sectors.

Jill Wran.

Jill Wran is a well known contributor to the not for profit sector with twenty five years honorary service to a variety of arts organizations and the cultural life of New South Wales. She is Chairman of the Historic Houses Trust and also chaired its Foundation for five years. A Council member of the University of New England, she joined the inaugural board of NSW Cultural Management (Sydney Theatre) in 2003.

Jill is a former member of the boards of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Centennial and Moore Parks Trust and the Sydney Opera House Trust. She is an honorary Vice-President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

Chris McDiven.

Chris McDiven is a Company Director and manages a family property and investment trust. She was Federal President of the Liberal Party of Australia from 2005 until 2008, the first woman to hold this position in the Party’s 60 year history. Immediately prior to her election she served for nearly 5 years as the State President of the Party’s NSW Division.

A qualified teacher, she is President of the School Council of Kambala School, an Anglican school for girls in Rose Bay, NSW. She is also a board member of the Association of Independent Schools (NSW).

Chris has had an involvement with a wide range of community organisations and her previous board positions include The Australian Sports Foundation, The Keep Australia Beautiful Council, National Foundation of Australian Women and the Powerhouse Museum Fund-raising Committee. She was also an Ambassador for the Breast Cancer Network ‘Field of Women

Run for a Good Cause in City2Surf 2009


Run for a Good Cause in City2Surf 2009

Research Volunteer and Supporter Run to Support the Schizophrenia Research Institute

27 year old graphic designer Kathleen Smith is not a runner but she plans to walk the Sun Herald City2Surf on 9th August to raise $2,000 for schizophrenia research.

Kathleen Smith.

Kathleen was diagnosed with schizophrenia in April last year – which came as a shock to her and her husband. Luckily the medication has worked well, and after researching the disease on the Institute’s website, she decided to join the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank to be part of Australia’s largest brain project.

Being part of the research was important to Kathleen. “Research conducted now will bring better treatments in the future for me, and even the children we’d like to have”, she said.

Although Kathleen doesn’t usually run, her husband, her great supporter has been a regular jogger. Unfortunately due to an accident last year, running is no longer an option.

“I’m doing it for my husband because
he can’t, and I’m doing it for everyone who suffers from this illness. I know what it’s like because I’ve lived it too, and I feel that because I am lucky enough to function so well, this gives me a chance to make a difference….and the idea of walking for a purpose – to raise money for Schizophrenia Research – seemed like a very exciting thing to do.”

The Institute wishes Kathleen the best of luck.

Robyn Ladd has been taking part in the City2Surf for more than a decade. But 2008 was the first year she chose to gain sponsorship and raised over $2,500. “I always did the City2Surf with colleagues so when my employer, Ramsay Health Care, encouraged staff to raise funds for the Schizophrenia Research Institute, it became more personal,” she explained.

The 56 year old mother of three from French’s Forest is passionate about mental illness as her son was diagnosed eight years ago with schizophrenia at the tender age of 17.

“When well he is an affectionate, articulate, funny, sport loving, young man who has all the same dreams as anyone else for a normal life – to have a job, a social life, and holidays – and to get married some day.”

Robyn, who works as a Clinical Nurse Educator, understands the need for medical research and found that raising the money wasn’t hard and people were very generous. Her pre-event training included daily walks/jogging of 3-5 kilometres and she completed the course with 4 colleagues and 3 friends, enjoying the social after party hosted by Ramsay Health Care at Bondi beach.

“I just enjoy the scenery – when you get to Heartbreak hill and look down to the harbour it’s beautiful.”

Robyn is encouraging others to join her this year in the fun.

“From a work point of view it’s a good healthy social activity. And it’s a really worthwhile cause – hopefully one day there will be a cure!”

Loss of a Great Supporter of Schizophrenia Research


Loss of a Great Supporter of Schizophrenia Research

Richard Pratt was a great leader in Australian philanthropy

Richard and Jeanne Pratt at Spark of Genius Event in 2007.

The board, executive and staff at the Schizophrenia Research Institute extend kindest wishes to the family of Richard Pratt and offer their condolences on his recent death. Richard Pratt was a great leader in Australian philanthropy, a generous spirited man who has made a huge difference to so many lives.

The Pratt Foundation continues as a wonderful tribute to his life and his family. The foundation is a major supporter of the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank, a vital source for researchers worldwide that will live on in perpetuity.

SwearStop 2009


Give It Up!

Australians are all being urged to join celebrities, politicians, sports stars, musicians and chefs and join SwearStop to give up swearing for a week to raise money for the Schizophrenia Research Institute.

Media across the country is supporting this campaign to bring schizophrenia into general conversation with coverage in The Australian, Sun Herald, Daily Telegraph, The Age, Brisbane Times and broadcasters from Melissa Doyle to Alan Jones calling on the public to participate.

SwearStop ambassadors putting their habit to the test include the Bondi Rescue cast, Sydney FC star Terry McFlynn, celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue, choirmaster Jonathon Welch and C7 TV personality Glenn Wheeler who is encouraging everyone to get involved.

“Go on – I dare you! No %@#*! swearing for a week. Join me as we clean up our act and help us raise some funds for schizophrenia research,” said Glenn.

Anyone can get behind this campaign by nominating themselves or a friend to take part in the campaign from 18-24 May 2009 as part of Schizophrenia Awareness Week.

To get involved in SwearStop register online at then email your friends, colleagues and family to sponsor you for the week.

Schizophrenia is a lonely disease but sufferers are often plagued by voices that are constant and contain offensive language.

By giving up swearing, you will be helping to quieten these voices and give suffers the hope of silence – a luxury many live without.

Give it up Mr Rudd – SwearStop 2009


Give it up Mr Rudd – SwearStop 2009

Join ‘SwearStop’ and get your friends to sponsor you online to give up swearing for Schizophrenia Awareness Week

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is being urged to give up swearing to raise money for schizophrenia research, following a slip of the tongue on national television.

The Schizophrenia Research Institute has put out the challenge as part of its inaugural “SwearStop” campaign to raise money for research into treatments for Australia’s third leading cause of disability in young people.

All Australians are being encouraged to get behind this campaign by nominating themselves or a friend who often lets a naughty word slip to take part in the campaign from 18-24 May 2009 for Schizophrenia Awareness Week.

They can also show their support by voting for Australia’s most famous swearer by emailing

“Everyone lets slip occasionally so why not put you or your friend to the challenge of not swearing for an entire week and have some fun while at the same time raising some much needed funds for schizophrenia research,” said Helen Connealy, Partnerships Director, from the Schizophrenia Research Institute.

“Sufferers of schizophrenia are often plagued by voices that are constant and often contain offensive language. By giving up swearing, you will be showing your support to help quieten these voices and assist in finding a cure for the one percent of Australians affected.”

Workplaces are already getting involved with organisations such as Macquarie Group Foundation, Deutsche Bank, Ramsay Healthcare, NSW Health and Singleton Ogilvy & Mather agreeing to take up the challenge.

Schizophrenia costs the Australian community over $2 billion per annum in both direct health costs and loss of productivity.

To get involved in SwearStop register online at then email your friends, colleagues and family to sponsor you for the week to give it up. You don’t have to collect the donations yourself as all your sponsors will donate online.

A Hat Trick of Awards for Jack and Judy Gibson


A Hat Trick of Awards for Jack and Judy Gibson

Jack and Judy Gibson’s lifetime dedication to schizophrenia research has deservedly won them three awards in the last couple of months. The Institute announced the Inaugural Jack and Judy Gibson Fellowship for Schizophrenia Research at the annual supporters’ event, Cocktails & Consciousness in October. The Fellowship will be awarded to outstanding young scientists to support their early careers and Dr Elisabeth Frank from the University of Wollongong is the first Institute fellow to be appointed.

Dr Elisabeth Frank, Judy Gibson and Schizophrenia Research Institute Chair Peter Maher.

Jack Gibson, a hero to so many, dedicated much of his life with his wife Judy to raising funds and awareness for schizophrenia research, resulting in over $1.5 million in just over 10 years. The tragic death of their son in 1988 and his struggle with this disease, motivated the couple to create awareness of the need for better treatments and a cure.

As Judy continues their work the Institute also announced her as Life Governor alongside Don McDonald.The Institute is not alone in celebrating the success of the Gibsons. Research Australia presented the Macquarie Group Foundation Great Australian Philanthropy Award to Judy at its recent Thank You Day Awards Ceremony at Doltone House, Sydney. The award is in recognition of the tireless work that Jack and Judy undertook with scientists and parents to help establish the Schizophrenia Research Institute.

Accepting the awards, Judy commented:

“I am delighted to receive these awards. Jack would have been so proud – he never considered us philanthropists but this was about our son – and this disease didn’t just affect him but all our family. Schizophrenia is a terrible disease and mental illness has not been given the attention that it deserves. It has been a great experience over the last 12 years to watch the growth of the Schizophrenia Research Institute and to see this year, the start of its first clinical trial in an effort to improve patients’ lives. Thank you for this award and I hope you will join me in continuing supporting this great cause.”

The Institute currently has six Fellowships, two of which are already named. For further information on sponsoring a fellowship please contact Helen Connealy on 9292 8362.

Cocktails and Consciousness


Cocktails and Consciousness

Our annual supporters’ thank you event, Cocktails and Consciousness, was held on Tuesday, October 28 at the Garvan Institute Galleria. Around 150 guests were treated to canapes and cocktails, as ASRB volunteer Katrina Clutterbuck described her experience with schizophrenia and her involvement in research.

The Institute’s new promotional DVD was launched on the night and the audience received a sneak preview of the new Institute website.

Judy Gibson was announced as a Life Governor of the Schizophrenia Research Institute, in recognition of her, and husband Jack’s extensive fundraising support and promotion of the Institute over many years. To acknowledge and honour their support, the Institute also announced the Jack & Judy Gibson Fellowship for Schizophrenia Research, which was awarded to Dr Elisabeth Frank, University of Wollongong.

The evening drew to a close with music from the King’s School Senior Choir. Our thanks to all those who attended Cocktails. This evening provides an important opportunity for us to acknowledge our supporters, and for these people to meet with the scientists who are working hard to develop our understanding of schizophrenia.