Dr James Muecke AM
2020 Australian of the Year, Chairiman – Sight For All
Dr James Muecke AM is an Adelaide-based eye surgeon. He graduated with Honors from Adelaide University Medical School in 1988. Following his internship at Royal Adelaide Hospital, James lived and worked as a volunteer doctor in Kenya in 1989.
After completing ophthalmology training in Adelaide in 1995, James worked as an eye surgeon in Jerusalem for 12 months. James furthered his expertise with a Fellowship in Ocular Oncology at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. He returned to Adelaide in 1998 where he has been a
Visiting Consultant and Senior Lecturer at Royal Adelaide Hospital (retired 2020) and Women’s & Children’s Hospital (retired 2016). James established the Ocular Oncology Units at these two centres upon his return.
James has taught the diagnosis and management of eye cancer in ten countries in Asia. He founded not-for-profit organization Sight For All in 2008, turning his boundless energy into a fight against blindness in the Aboriginal and mainstream communities of Australia and many of the poorest countries of the world. Sight For All’s comprehensive and sustainable projects are now impacting on the lives of over one million people each year.
His commitment to social impact and humanitarian endeavors has earnt him several awards
including an Order of Australia in 2012, the Australian Medical Association’s President’s Leadership Award in 2013, and Ernst & Young’s Social Entrepreneur for Australia in 2015.
James is Australian of the Year for 2020 for his 32 years of humanitarian work. He is using this powerful platform to raise awareness of our poor diet, laden with sugary drinks and ultra-processed foods, which is devastating the health of Australians.
Awards and honors:
• Appointed Lieutenant Governor of South Australia in January 2022
• Degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa), University of Adelaide, 2021
• Australian of the Year, 2020.
• South Australian of the Year, 2019.
• University of Adelaide Distinguished Alumni Award, 2019
• Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Australia, Social Category), 2015
• Finalist, Pride of Australia Medal, 2014
• President’s Leadership Award for blindness prevention in developing countries – Australian Medical Association, 2013.
• Rural Health and Wellbeing Award for service to Aboriginal eye health in South Australia, 2012.
• Member of the Order of Australia for the provision of eye health services to Asian and Australian Aboriginal communities, 2012.
• Outstanding Service to the Prevention of Blindness Award – Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, 2011.
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