Dr Martin McNamara to lead next phase of Institute’s development

An exciting transition is approaching that will usher in a new phase for the Sax Institute, following the appointment of Dr Martin McNamara as the Institute’s next Chief Executive Officer.

Dr McNamara, who has been the Institute’s Deputy CEO since 2018, will take over in January from outgoing CEO Professor Sally Redman, who has announced her retirement after 20 years at the helm. The appointment was announced this week by the Chair of the Sax Institute Board, Professor Ian Olver AM.

An experienced health executive, Dr McNamara joined the Institute in 2016, following a number of senior executive roles at organisations such as the National Health Performance Authority and within health service organisations in NSW. As well as being the Deputy CEO of the Sax Institute, he heads the Institute’s Research Assets Division and is Chief Investigator of the 45 and Up Study, one of the largest longitudinal health studies in the world.

Dr McNamara says the CEO role presents a great opportunity to build on the Sax Institute’s strong reputation and maximise the value it offers to decision makers in government and elsewhere, as well as researchers.

“Over the last 20 years we have built a great portfolio to support decision-making and help address challenges in the health sector,” Dr McNamara said.

“Our expertise is broad ranging, from complex modelling through to rapid evaluation and knowledge synthesis, and to the use of large-scale datasets. We are leaders in co-production, as demonstrated through the close partnerships we have forged in many areas, and we are particularly proud of the long-term relationships we have with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

“And we complement that broad internal expertise through working in partnership with the research community to bring the strongest methods and minds together to tackle complex problems.  We have developed an ongoing national network of more than 65 Member organisations – which is one of the ways that we access Australia’s top research expertise.

“Importantly, the capabilities of the Sax Institute allow us to specialise in identifying and mobilising evidence regardless of the health problem. This approach gives us independence and an ability to bring new thinking to ongoing problems – it also makes us well-suited to help address the hard-to-anticipate policy challenges that will emerge in coming years.”

Dr McNamara paid tribute to Professor Redman’s achievements since she became the Institute’s inaugural CEO in 2002, saying she had “successfully driven an agenda to ensure the evidence emerging from research is better utilised by and made more accessible to decision makers”.

“That is a tremendous accomplishment and so important to making the most of our investment in research and improving health outcomes in Australia,” Dr McNamara said.