Australia’s Ambassador for Italy praised the university’s contribution to the field of psychiatry yesterday, following Professor Diego de Leo’s conferral of the award of Officer of the Order of Australia.
The award was made to Professor de Leo, the director of Griffith’s Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP), in recognition of his distinguished service to medicine in the field of psychiatry as a researcher and through the creation of national and international strategies for suicide prevention.
“This award represents a significant recognition of achievement in psychiatry and is also a leading example of international relations between Italy and Australia,” said His Excellency Gian Ludovico De Martino di Montegiordano, speaking at a cocktail reception at Griffith’s Nathan campus.
An Italian Australian, Professor de Leo received an Officer in the General Division in the Order of Australia.
His AO, the second highest award available, was announced by the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce, AC, on Australia Day.
“I am delighted to receive such a distinguished award,” he said. “This was the last thing that I expected to receive and I owe a real debt of gratitude to Griffith University, as well as to this magnificent country of Australia which allows so much opportunity to so many.”
Professor De Leo’s research expertise includes definitional issues in suicidology, culture and suicide, international trends and national suicide prevention programs, making him one of the most pre-eminent figures in the field.
He has published extensively with over 700 publications, including 300 peer-reviewed articles, 150 book chapters and 33 volumes.