2016 RG MENZIES SCHOLARSHIPS TO HARVARD
Harvard scholars set their sights on fixing our juvenile justice and chronic disease management systems
Two outstanding achievers who have a drive and vision for how we can improve our juvenile justice and chronic disease management systems in Australia have been awarded the prestigious RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard for 2016.
Sibella Matthews, a 26-year-old Sydney solicitor and policy advisor is passionate about the juvenile justice and child protection systems within Australia and plans on using her expectant degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to better protect children’s rights. Sibella’s ambition is to use innovative policy reforms to bring the states and territories together to decrease the number of children in need of protection caught up in the criminal justice system.
A consultant and business analyst with McKinsey & Co in Sydney, Dr Nick Gattas, 26, is a graduate of the University of Queensland and holds degrees in Arts and Medicine. He plans to use his expectant MBA at Harvard Business School to complement his medical degree and one day open a private hospital as a prototype for all hospitals in Australia, utilising the highest degree of technology in the treatment and prediction of chronic illnesses.
The scholarships valued at US$60,000 each are Australia's most prestigious national awards for postgraduate study in the United States and are jointly awarded by the Harvard Club of Australia, The Australian National University and the Menzies Foundation.
What the 2016 scholars have in common is a commitment to excellence and a focus on significantly improving systems in Australia which are currently under strain and not serving community need as well as they should.
Sibella and Nick will start at Harvard later this year. The scholarship selection panel was impressed by their vision for how they might improve current systems based on their early-career experiences, and how they could use international knowledge not currently maximised in Australia.
Not only did both scholarship recipients have a vision for some desperately needed advances in health and juvenile justice, but they could also articulate how they would implement local pilot models and scale them up for national benefit.
Sibella, who holds a double degree of Bachelor of Economic and Social Sciences and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from The Australian National University, has strong ideas and opinions on the role of the state in protecting and advancing children’s rights.
These views have been influenced by a range of experiences including working on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Australian Human Rights Commission and volunteering as a mentor at the Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre for girls and as a telephone crisis supporter with Lifeline. She would like to use her Harvard experience to develop the skills and leadership to drive transformational change in Australia’s approach to child protection and juvenile justice.
“I hope to address the structural deficiencies in our society that further punish and marginalise children born into situations of socio-economic disadvantage and neglect. I am driven by my personal philosophy that the most valuable investment a society can make in the pursuit of social justice is in the wellbeing of its children,” Sibella said.
Sibella was the Associate to the Hon Justice Melissa Perry in the Federal Court of Australia last year and is currently working as a Policy Adviser to the New South Wales Attorney General, the Hon Gabrielle Upton.
Dr Nick Gattas plans to combine his medical experience and considerable expertise in digital innovation and data to improve the quality, access and cost of healthcare in Australia. He has big plans.
“I intend to use the MBA to enter a leadership role where I can directly change the model of care for patients with chronic disease, with a greater focus on data-enabled prevention, telehealth, and innovative funding models.”
He feels that one way to do this would be to develop the model of care for a single hospital and then expand it across Australia. Nick will also look at the possibility of launching a start up at Harvard Business School to address a specific problem, such as delivering specialist diabetes care to patients in remote areas, while developing a solution which can be scaled both in Australia and abroad.
“The challenge facing all health systems is providing healthcare to an ageing population burdened by chronic disease, in a world where more funding is simply not sustainable. How can we consistently provide high quality care to those who need it, using the few resources we have available?
“Addressing this challenge is my passion in life.”
Both scholarship recipients have also dedicated significant time to volunteer activities in the community in line with their professional passions.
Extended bios follow.
BACKGROUND ON THE SCHOLARSHIP
The RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard
The Robert Gordon Menzies Scholarships to Harvard are Australia's most prestigious national awards for postgraduate study in the United States. Inaugurated in 1967 by prominent Australian alumni of Harvard to honour the Australian statesman and longest-serving Prime Minister, the Menzies Scholarship grants at least one annual award to talented Australians who have gained admission to a Harvard graduate school. The ideal candidates for the Scholarship are Australians whose primary objective, after completing their studies at Harvard, is to make a significant contribution to this country's development.
Awarded in partnership with The Harvard Club of Australia, the Menzies Foundation and the Australian National University, the scholarship is administered by the ANU for postgraduate study in the United States.
The scholarship has been awarded to over 75 scholars since 1968.
The Selection Committee may award up to two Menzies Scholarships valued at up to US$60,000 each. An additional Menzies Scholarships valued at US$60,000 may be offered every second year by HCA Philanthropy - 'Class of 1970', for a Menzies Scholar to study at the Harvard Business School.
The Harvard Club of Australia RG Menzies Scholarship has primarily been funded this year by endowment funds contributed by HCA members in Australia and the USA, with a contribution from the Menzies Foundation.
BACKGROUND ON THE 2016 SCHOLARS
2016 RG Menzies Scholars to Harvard
Sibella Matthews – Sydney
Sibella will study for a Master in Public Policy (MPP) at the Harvard John F Kennedy School of Government specialising in social and urban policy.
Sibella has been interested in social justice and human rights from a young age, having participated in international model UN conferences at Harvard University and The Hague.
Her intellectual curiosity about the world around her led to a study exchange at Utrecht University in the Netherlands where she took a course on “Children and the Law”. Sibella immediately began to develop strong ideas and opinions on the role of the state in protecting and advancing children’s rights, and is pursuing a Master in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government to further her knowledge in this area. She hopes to return from Harvard University with the policy-making and leadership skills required to drive transformational change in Australia’s approach to child protection and juvenile justice.
Sibella volunteered as an intern in the Children’s Rights Team at the Australian Human Rights Commission where she worked with the inaugural National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell. Sibella also worked as a Legal Officer at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, where she helped draft the Commissioners’ Case Study Reports and Interim Report to Government. In her spare time, Sibella volunteered as a mentor at the Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre for girls. Her strong interest in the social policy underlying juvenile justice and child protection has also seen her publish journal articles in the field.
Following a highly rewarding education at North Sydney Girls High School where she was elected School Captain, Sibella completed a double degree of Bachelor of Economic and Social Sciences and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney. In addition to receiving First Class Honours in Law, Sibella received awards for academic achievement including a Merit Scholarship, Judicial Conference of Australia Scholarship in Social Justice and a Finalist Award for the University of Sydney Convocation Medal in 2014.
Sibella’s community and volunteer pursuits have seen her serve as the President of the United Nations Youth Association of NSW and as the President of the University of Sydney Union, Australia’s oldest and largest student union. More recently, Sibella has dedicated her time as a volunteer Telephone Crisis Supporter at Lifeline. Sibella has received recognition for her extensive community involvement including a Union Blue Award for an outstanding contribution to the life and culture of the University of Sydney Union and University of Sydney community.
Sibella was admitted as a lawyer in the New South Wales Supreme Court in 2014, and has worked as a solicitor at Allens where she practiced litigation and dedicated her time to pro bono clients through the Homeless Persons Legal Service. In 2015, Sibella was the Associate to the Hon Justice Melissa Perry in the Federal Court of Australia.
Sibella is currently working as a Policy Adviser to the New South Wales Attorney General, the Hon Gabrielle Upton.
Dr Nicholas Gattas - Sydney
Nicholas will undertake a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Harvard Business School, specialising in healthcare-focused electives.
Nick’s career goal is to improve the quality, access and cost of healthcare in Australia using digital innovations such as big data analytics, automation and mobile connectivity.
Nick is currently a Business Analyst in the Sydney office of McKinsey & Company.
Since joining McKinsey, Nick has worked in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. As part of this work, he has advised health systems in Victoria and South Australia on improving their clinical operations. His particular focus has been on innovating models of care for surgical patients, so that they can return home sooner after surgery, and hospitals have more capacity to treat patients for elective procedures. While at McKinsey he has also advised on technology-enabled outreach models for chronic disease in remote Indigenous communities, recruited patients into a randomized control trial testing outcome-linked funding models for diabetes care, and led Movember fundraising to improve awareness of mental health in the workplace.
Nick holds a Bachelor of Arts (Russian, Islamic Studies), a Graduate Certificate in Executive Leadership (Healthcare) and Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (Hons 1) from the University of Queensland, where he graduated as valedictorian and dux of his medical cohort. While at UQ, he established a research collaboration between Leeds General Infirmary and Imperial College London to create Europe’s leading research unit in paediatric robotic surgery. He has co-authored papers with Lord Ara Darzi of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery and completed a thesis on the history of nationalised healthcare in Queensland. Other research experience includes internships in the genetic profiling of breast cancer at UQ Centre for Clinical Research, and teaching anatomy and physiology in the UQ School of Biomedical Sciences.
Outside of his university studies, Nick served as a Councillor of the Australian Medical Association (Qld) and a Director on the board of Australia’s largest medical student charity. While at the AMA, Nick assisted with development of workforce planning policy to improve accessibility and sustainability in Queensland’s public healthcare system. His professional experience at university also includes advising the marketing strategy of a national medical indemnity insurer and founding an educational start-up for disadvantaged high school students.