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Diana Lennon ONZM


Inducted 2011
Student at Marsden 1955(Primers) – 1966 (UVI)


Receives this award in recognition of her work in children’s health especially in the area of infectious diseases

Diana, the eldest of four daughters, completed all her school education at Marsden leaving as the 1966 Dux.  A medical degree at Otago University followed, beginning a distinguished academic and medical career. Paediatrics was always an interest and after further study in the United States Diana returned to New Zealand to devote her time, research and energy to improving the health of New Zealand children as Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Infectious Diseases in 1982. She was appointed Professor of Paediatrics at Auckland University in 1988 and later in 1996, the Professor of Child and Youth Population Health. She is also the Paediatrician in Infectious Diseases at Starship hospital.  She was Plunket Woman of the year in 1992, received the Dame Metge Medal from the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2008. In 2005 Diana was been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science and health.

Research in support of medicine has always been a priority for Diana. Her primary area of interest is infectious diseases in children and young people and their control by vaccine or other means. To this end she was closely involved in the nationwide meningococcal B vaccination programme and is currently working on a variety programmes to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever in children.  Her concern is largely for reducing healthcare access and housing disparities especially in Maori and Pacific populations.
Informing the profession by a variety of methods has also been important for Diana so that standards of care can be improved and knowledge shared. 

When speaking of her rheumatic fever work Diana re-iterated a theme common in her career in the prevention of infectious diseases “Eradication must be a high priority for our community and should be a measure of how much we actually care for our children”.