Nutritional psychiatry pioneer awarded Queen’s Birthday Honour

Media release

14 June 2021

Deakin University congratulates all those in its community who have been recognised in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday honours. 

This year's recipients include Professor Felice Jacka, a global leader in nutritional psychiatry and Director of Deakin’s Food and Mood Centre in the Faculty of Health, who has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Across a ten year career, Professor Jacka, an Ocean Grove resident, has been at the forefront of ground-breaking research linking diet and nutrition to the cause and treatment of mental disorders. This includes the first studies to document the role diet plays in depression in adulthood, adolescence – the primary age of onset for many mental disorders – and early life.

Professor Jacka led the first study to identify maternal and early life nutrition as important predictors of children’s mental health. She also conducted the internationally recognised SMILES (Supporting the Modification of Lifestyle in Lowered Emotional States) trial, which was the first to show that dietary improvement can treat even severe clinical depression.

Founder and president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research, Professor Jacka is a leader in nutritional psychiatry, conducting ground-breaking research across many different countries and age groups, with the ultimate goal of developing new, evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies for mental disorders. Her extensive research has now influenced clinical guidelines in psychiatry in Australia and elsewhere and continues to influence policy and practice around the globe.

Professor Jacka is also the immediate past president of the Australian Alliance for the Prevention of Mental Disorders and has been widely published. She has produced nearly 200 scientific articles and features in the highly-cited list, placing her work in the top 0.1 per cent of cited research worldwide. In addition, she has a strong focus on science communication, authoring two books: one for a general audience called ‘Brain Changer: The Good Mental Health Diet’; and another with her husband, an illustrated children’s book titled ‘There’s a Zoo in my Poo’ that helps kids “get to the guts” of what they need to know about gut health and healthy eating.

Professor Jacka said that it was a tremendous honour to receive an OAM. She hoped it would provide even greater opportunities for her to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of diet in psychiatry.

“I want to inspire people to prioritise healthier eating to protect their mental and brain health over their lifespan,” she said.

“I’m also absolutely passionate about helping policy-makers bring about changes to improve the global food environment. Unhealthy foods are the cheapest, most ubiquitous, heavily marketed, socially acceptable and designed to be very difficult to resist. My life’s dream is to help transform the food system and environment into something that, across the board, is working in the best interests of individuals and families.”

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said that Professor Jacka was a leader in the international research community.

“It is wonderful to see this recognition for her outstanding work over many years. I congratulate Professor Jacka and all of this year’s Queen’s Birthday award recipients from the Deakin community. While we are very proud of the impact our researchers and educators are making on the national and global stage, external awards such as these bring their findings to an even wider audience.”


Deakin's 2021 Queen’s Birthday honour recipients:(Please note: this list will continue to be updated as additional Deakin-connected recipients are identified)


The Most Reverend Dr Phillip John Aspinall – For eminent service to the Anglican Church of Australia, to the development of ecumenical relationships and professional standards, and through commitment to social justice and welfare.

Mr David Graeme McAllister – For eminent service to the performing arts, particularly to ballet both nationally and internationally, to artistic directorship and dance education, and as a mentor.



Professor Adrian Bauman – For distinguished service to public health, to the prevention of chronic disease, and to tertiary education. Adjunct Professor of Exercise Sciences, Deakin University, 1997-2003.

Ms Janine Anne Kirk – For distinguished service to the community through leadership and advisory roles in not-for-profit organisations. Vice-Chancellor's Distinguished Fellows Award, Deakin University, 2016.

Ms Christine Nixon - For distinguished service to law enforcement, to women in policing, and to tertiary education.



Dr Ian Charles Baldwin – For significant service to critical care nursing, and to medical research. Honorary Adjunct Professor of Nursing, Deakin University, since 2014.

Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition Professor Kylie Ball – For significant service to physical activity and nutrition education.

Emeritus Professor David John Carter - For significant service to tertiary education, and to cultural and literary studies.

Mrs Elizabeth Ann Cousins - For significant service to the community through charitable initiatives.

Mr David Ian Gibbs - For significant service to the community, and to the chartered accounting profession.

Professor Rosemary Sylvia Horne – For significant service to paediatric medicine, and to infant mortality prevention. Research Officer, Deakin Institute of Nursing Research, Deakin University, 1992-1995.

Mr David Fletcher Jones - For significant service to the museums and galleries sector, and to the community.

Ms Maree Anne McCabe – For significant service to people living with Alzheimer's and Dementia, and to the aged care sector. Board Member, Digital Enhanced Living Hub, Deakin University, since 2019.

Mr Peter Godfrey McMullin - For significant service to business, to the law, and to the community.

Dr Elizabeth Anne Rushen - For significant service to community history and heritage preservation.

Dr Sarah Anne Ryan - For significant service to the environment, to education, and to the community.

The Honourable Sydney James Stirling - For significant service to the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, and to the community.



Clinical Professor Eugene Athan – For service to infectious diseases medicine. Clinical Professor in Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Deakin Medical School, since 2008. Current member, Curriculum Committees for Pre-Clinical and Clinical Programs, Deakin Medical School.

Emeritus Professor Diane Robin Bell – For service to literature. Deakin University Professor, Australian Studies, 1986.

Ms Susan Campbell - For service to youth through Guides.

Mr Dean Joel Cohen - For service to people with disability, and to the Jewish community.

Dr Craig Cormick - For service to science, and to the community.

Mr Andrew Hugh Craig - For service to veterans and their families.

Dr Elizabeth Anne Crock - For significant service to nursing, particularly to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Mr Philip Leslie Emery – For service to the community of Greater Geelong. Deakin University simulated patient volunteer, Geelong Clinical School, since 2014. Member, Barwon Health Human Research Ethics Committee, current.

Dr Teresa De Fazio – For service to tertiary education. Member, Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies Consortia, Deakin University, current.

Clinical Professor Peter Colin Gates – For service to neurology. Deakin University, Geelong - Clinical Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine, since 2010.

Ms Elizabeth Ann Gosper - For service to people with disability through sport.

Sister Adele Howard - For service to the Catholic Church of Australia, and to the community.

Professor Felice Jacka – For service to nutritional psychiatry research. Director, Food and Mood Centre, since 2016. Professor of Nutritional and Epidemiological Psychiatry, since 2010.

Ms Rosanne Phyllis (Rosie) King – For service to sports administration. Former Community Advisory Committee Member, School of Medicine, Deakin University.

Mrs Elaine Myfanwy Mitchell - For service to the performing arts.

Mr Arthur Papadimitriou - For service to the galleries sector.

Ms Robyn Lee Porter - For service to science, and the community.

Clinical Professor Alan Michael Wolff – For service to medicine. Clinical Professor, Faculty of Health, Deakin University.



Commander Moses Raudino - For outstanding achievement in the field of Navy training.

Brigadier Michael Edward Garraway - For outstanding achievement in the application of exceptional skills, judgement and dedication as the Commander of Joint Task Force 1110, Operation BUSH FIRES ASSIST 2019-2020 and as Commander of Joint Task Group 629.1, Operation COVID-19 ASSIST.

Brigadier Christopher John Mills - For outstanding achievement as the Director-General Force Options and Plans through the application of exceptional skill, judgement and dedication in the planning and delivery of the 2020 Defence Force Structure Plan.



Colonel Nicholas James Foxall AM - For distinguished leadership in warlike operations as Commander Task Group Taji X in the period November 2019 to March 2020.



Air Commodore Damien Raymond Keddie AM - For exceptional service to the Australian Defence Force in combat aircraft acquisition and sustainment, and organisational capability development.

Commodore Timothy Alan Brown AM - For exceptional service to the Royal Australian Navy, principally in leading submarine capability development.



Superintendent Lauren Jane Hill – Supt Hill has coordinated with external professionals, including Deakin University, reviewing Investigative Interviewing practices to develop a quality assurance framework within the operational policing environment, and she was key to updating training for the Advanced Practice in Forensic Interviewing of Children.

Detective Superintendent Gail McClure.



Ms Alison Jayne McMillan - For outstanding public service to driving the Government's national health response priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly to infection prevention measures.

Professor Nicola Jane Spurrier - For outstanding public service to community health in South Australia.

Ms Linda Joan Weatherson - For outstanding public service to social welfare initiatives in Victoria.

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