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NSLHD Board honour roll


​NSLHD Board honour roll recognises exceptional and outstanding service provided by a person who has had strong involvement with NSLHD over an extended period​.

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​​ 2023 honour roll award​

​​Professor Michael K. Nicholas

In recognition of 30 years of exceptional and outstanding service to Northern Sydney Local Health District and pain services nationally and internationally, including people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and Indigenous groups. Professor Nicholas is commended for enabling a legacy of life-transforming, adaptable, and accessible programs of recovery for people living with chronic pain.

 Read Michael's biography

Michael is a Clinical Psychologist and since 1994 has worked at the Pain Management and Research Centre, RNSH, where he has clinical, research and teaching roles, as well as directing multidisciplinary pain management programs. He has also held a conjoint appointment with the Sydney Medical School (Northern), University of Sydney throughout this time and since 2012, he has also directed the Post-Graduate Pain Education unit which provides online degree and continuing education courses for all health disciplines.

Michael took up his clinical-academic position at RNSH in 1994, and since then he and his team has implemented and maintained a range of in-person and online group and individual programs. They have also provided skills training on pain management for all health disciplines across NSW, including community-based NSLHD Chronic Care Coordinators, and, with the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI), Aboriginal Health Workers in southern NSW and multicultural health workers to deliver pain management guidance to CALD communities.

Michael’s career has also included senior roles with the ACI’s Pain Management Network, advising NSW Health on pain services across NSW. His research and educational work has also been recognised internationally by the International Association for the Study of PAIN (IASP), and is reflected in his contributions to the development of the 11th edition of the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) on Chronic Pain Diagnoses, and, most recently, to the 2022 The Low Back Pain Clinical Care Standard for The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.​

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​​ 2023 honour roll award​

​​Professor Sue Kurrle AO

In recognition of over 35 years of exceptional and outstanding service to Northern Sydney Local Health District and contribution nationally and internationally. Professor Kurrle is commended for her work in areas including elder abuse, frailty, and nutrition, and goes above and beyond to contribute every day in every way imaginable.​

 Read Sue's biography

Sue is a geriatrician who has been practising at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital in northern Sydney for 36 years, and in an outreach capacity at Batemans Bay and Moruya Hospitals in southern New South Wales for 16 years. She holds the Curran Chair in Health Care of Older People in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney. Her research and practice interests centre on dementia, frailty, elder abuse, geriatric outreach services, successful ageing, and intergenerational programs, and her work focuses on translation of research into clinical practice. She has set up memory clinics at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital and Batemans Bay hospitals, and leads the dementia clinical drug trials unit at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital. She was awarded the 2022 Sidney Sax Medal for leadership in health services policy and delivery, for her development and implementation of geriatric outreach services, and in January 2023 she was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine as a geriatrician, and to research into dementia and cognitive function.​

Previous years​


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​​ 2021 honour roll award​

​​Deb Willcox​​ AM

​In recognition of exceptional, outstanding and compassionate service through her leadership of Northern Sydney Local Health District over her term as CEO and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.​


Deb was Chief Executive, Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) from November 2017- September 2022.

Deb’s career has included roles in both government and non-government organisations and her experience spans clinical, corporate services, government departments, the research environment and senior government advisor roles.

Prior to Deb appointment as the Chief Executive, NSLHD, Deb held a number of senior executive and leadership positions within NSW Health including the Director of Operations Sydney Local Health District and General Manager, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the Director, Customer Service and Corporate Governance HealthShare NSW, and Director Executive of and Ministerial Services, NSW Health.

Deb has also held senior positions in government both as Chief of Staff in the portfolios of Planning, Housing and Aboriginal Affairs where she played a pivotal role in the development and implementation of the Government’s policy agenda in the portfolios of Planning, Housing and Aboriginal Affairs, and as an advisor to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, overseeing clinical areas including planned surgery, critical care, and emergency departments for these portfolios.

Deb started her career in nursing at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and later studied law having been admitted as a Legal Practitioner in New South Wales.

Deb took up the position of NSW Health, Deputy Secretary Health System, Strategy and Planning after leaving NSLHD in September 2022.

​Looking to nominate someone?

Find out more information about on how to nominate someone for an NSLHD Board honour roll.​



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