Profile photo of Inclusive Futures: Reimagining Disability Director, Professor Elizabeth Kendall.
Inclusive Futures: Reimagining Disability Director Professor Elizabeth Kendall AM.

Leading Griffith University disability researcher and advocate, Professor Elizabeth Kendall, has been honoured with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of her significant service to rehabilitation research, to people with a disability, and to tertiary education. Announced in the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours List, Professor Kendall AM has been acknowledged for her unwavering dedication to transforming the lives of individuals with disabilities and her relentless efforts in advancing rehabilitation and service systems for those managing serious injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions. 

As the Director of The Hopkins Centre and leader of Griffith’s Inclusive Futures: Reimagining Disability Beacon, Professor Kendall has been a prominent figure in advocating for an accessible and inclusive future. Her work has spanned across various domains, ensuring that people with disabilities receive the support and services they need to lead fulfilling lives. Her research has had a profound impact on improving the quality of life for countless individuals, making her a beacon of hope and change in the community. 

Reflecting on the honour, Professor Kendall AM emphasised the collective effort behind her achievements.

“This award belongs to so many people, not just me. I have been fortunate to have been given opportunities to thrive in my personal and work life, so I can make a difference. But not everyone is given the same privilege. Everyone with privilege should feel obliged to make the world better for those who are disadvantaged by the systemic and entrenched ableism that is a persistent feature of our society.”

Professor Kendall’s commitment to advocacy is deeply personal and extends beyond her professional role. She believes in the fundamental importance of creating an inclusive society where everyone, regardless of their abilities, has the opportunity to thrive. “Disability can affect anyone at any time, so it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that we have an accessible and inclusive future.”  

Acknowledging the support she has received throughout her journey, Professor Kendall expressed her gratitude towards her collaborators and supporters. “None of my work would have been possible without the long-term support of Griffith University and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission as well as the many inspiring organisations I link with every day, such as Queenslanders with Disability Network, Spinal Life Australia, Synapse, MetroSouth Health, Aspect and many more.” 

Dr Janine Porter-Steele, a current Senior Research Fellow in Griffith Health, was honoured with the Medal of the Order of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to nursing.

Along with her research at Griffith, Dr Porter-Steele OAM serves as the Clinical Nurse Manager at the Wesley Hospital Choices Cancer Support Centre in Brisbane, where she provides comprehensive support and information to individuals and families affected by all types of cancer. Her work focuses on interdisciplinary support and the health challenges faced by women, including managing menopause, sexuality, body image, and depression. Dr Porter-Steele OAM has also played a key role in the University’s Women’s Wellness Research Program, contributing to the development of resources and co-authoring journals.

Dr Janine Porter-Steele OAM

“I feel both privileged and humbled to have been nominated and received this award. I have been very lucky in my a role as both nurse specialist and a researcher to make a difference in people’s lives. I have loved my career and had so much wonderful support along the way from my family, friends and colleagues to achieve these outcomes,” Dr Porter-Steel OAM said.

The University also acknowledges other recipients including alumni, former staff and friends of Griffith who were honoured in this year’s list:

Mr John Reynolds – OAM for service to business – Adjunct Professor GBS

Mrs Lesley Ann Wolf – OAM for service to Indigenous health, and to rural and remote nursing – GCert Public Sector Leader (2004)

Ms Brianna Casey – AM for significant service to social welfare, to environmental conservation and to the community – B Science (1999)

Ms Kay Bryan – OAM for service to the arts community, and to education, through philanthropic contributions – Donor

Mr Edward Monaei – OAM for service to the Indigenous community, particularly through sport. Mr Monaei OAM is a member of Griffith University Elders and First Peoples Knowledge Holders Advisory Board. 

Professor Glen Gole – AM for significant service to ophthalmology, to tertiary education, and to professional organisations – Donor

Mr Phillip Harrison – AM for significant service to youth, and to outdoor and environmental education – M Outdoor Education (2001)

Ms Shauna Hicks – OAM for service to community history – MA Australian Studies (1997) Current PhD student

Chief Superintendent John Hallam – Australian Police Medal (APM) – Bachelor of Commerce (1994)

Mr Shaun Ferris – Public Service Medal (PSM) for outstanding public service in leading the Queensland resources industry response to COVID-19. – Bachelor of Engineering / Environment (1996)

Ms Selina Shea – Australian Service Medal (ASM) – Bachelor of Psychological Science / Bachelor of Criminology & Criminal Justice (2007)

10: Reduced Inequalities
UN Sustainable Development Goals 10: Reduced Inequalities