Chris O’Brien Award

Chris O’Brien Award – 2018 Recipient

Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology
Associate Program Director, Department of Otolaryngology
Co-Director Head and Neck Cutaneous Oncology Center
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA USA



Dr. Kevin Emerick is a head and neck surgeon in the Head and Neck Oncology Division at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. He received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine prior to completing his residency in otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and fellowship training in head and neck oncology and reconstruction at the University of Michigan. Now, Dr. Emerick is an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School, the founder and Co-Director of the Multidisciplinary Cutaneous Oncology Center at Mass. Eye and Ear and the Associate Program Director for the Harvard Medical School Residency Program. Dr. Emerick holds national committee positions in the American Head and Neck Society and the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.  Dr. Emerick has a large clinical practice dedicated to head and neck cancer care including high-risk cutaneous malignancy and complex head and neck reconstruction.  His research interests include sentinel lymph node biopsy in the head and neck region, identifying molecular targets and drivers for high-risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and supraclavicular flap reconstruction for head and neck defects.

Thursday 26 – Saturday 28, July 2018
Pullman & Mercure Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia

Chris O’Brien
Christopher O’Brien, AO. graduated in Medicine from the University of Sydney in 1976 and then completed his residency and surgical training at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH). He then completed clinical fellowships in head and neck surgery and oncology in England and the United States and, in 1987, returned to Australia, where he joined the staff of RPAH as a consultant head and neck surgeon. There he contributed to the expansion of the clinical service, making it one of the largest in the country. He also established a comprehensive head and neck database, a basic research program and an international clinical fellowship program under the umbrella of the Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute, which he founded in 2002.

He had authored more than 100 scientific papers and 17 book chapters and had been honoured with invitations to many countries and institutions as a Visiting Professor and guest lecturer, including invitations to give numerous prestigious named lectures: the Hayes Martin Lecture in Washington in 2004, the Eugene Myers International Lecture in Los Angeles in 2005, the Inaugural Jatin P Shah Lecture in Prague in 2006, and the Semon Lecture in London in 2006. He was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in recognition of his contribution to the training of young British Surgeons.

In 1988, Profession O’Brien founded the Australian and New Zealand Head and Neck Society, a multidisciplinary society comprising surgeons of all disciplines, radiation and medical oncologists, and allied health professionals. He was President of the Society in 2004. The Society is continuing to flourish and held its 15th Annual Scientific Meeting in 2013. Professor O’Brien was also a member of the American Head and Neck Society and was invited to join the Council in 2005.

In 2003, Professor O’Brien became Director of the Sydney Cancer Centre, based at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney, whilst maintaining all of his clinical, teaching, and research responsibilities. He had developed a proposal to transform the Sydney Cancer Centre into a $150 million world class comprehensive cancer centre, and that project is moving forward with great momentum, named as The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Centre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA).

Unfortunately, in November 2006, Professor O’Brien was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and despite receiving treatment, passed away in June 2009. Christopher O’Brien was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia posthumously “For continued service to medicine and to the community through advocacy and fundraising roles for the development of integrated care and clinical research facilities for people with cancer, particularly the establishment of the Life house Centre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital”.

Chris O’Brien Oration
In 2010, the Executive of the Australian and New Zealand Head and Neck Cancer Society (ANZHNCS) decided to dedicate the first lecture of each Annual Scientific Meeting as the Chris O’Brien Oration in celebration of his achievements.

2018 Chris O’Brien Award Recipient
Dr. Kevin Emerick (USA)