DLS researcher recognised for her outstanding contribution to health law in Australia.
A/Professor Sonia Allan and the Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau at Government House on 2 April 2019 (Photographer Kit Haselden).
Deakin Law School (DLS) researcher Associate Professor Sonia Allan has been awarded one of country’s highest honours, a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), for her service to tertiary education and the law.
Receiving the award at Victoria’s Government House on Tuesday 2 April, Dr Allan was recognised for her outstanding work in health-related ethical, legal, and social issues, the regulation of emerging and existing health technologies, and public and global health law.
Her research has been published nationally and internationally and her expertise lies in the areas of assisted reproduction, donor conception, gene technologies, research and experimentation on human embryos, children's health and wellbeing, public health, and access to health care and medicines.
Dr Allan’s work has been influential in law reform and she has participated in numerous federal and state government inquiries on health law matters.
From 2015 to 2017 she led a review of the South Australian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act and in January 2018, she was appointed by the Government of Western Australia to lead a review of the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 and the Surrogacy Act 2008.
Leading this review, with its broad terms of reference and within a very tight time frame, was a challenging but very interesting task she says.
‘The most rewarding aspects of leading such a review include consulting with people who are affected by the currently regulatory regime, conducting research into matters that are challenging ethically, legally and socially, and developing recommendations to government which will hopefully lead to improvements to the system - especially for people born as a result of ART, donor-conception, and/or surrogacy, and people who seek treatment.’
Dr Allan has held senior roles in academia including Head of Department of Health Systems and Populations and Deputy Chair of a large Human Research Ethics Committee (Clinical Medicine) at Macquarie University and she regularly consults with the private and public sector on health law and regulatory matters.
She says the field of health law crosses multiple areas of law and can impact systems, laws and policies that can lead to the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
‘I enjoy that I engage a lot with law reform to achieve this. I also really enjoy teaching students about health law, discussing issues that are relevant to their lives, their families, their communities, and beyond. I especially love when they realise they can use the law as a tool to make people healthier and happier.’
Reflecting on the award, Dr Allan says it is great honour to be recognised for her work.
‘For me such recognition is humbling, and I am grateful to have been nominated and supported by all those involved. Beyond this, such recognition is an opportunity really, to further my work and to continue to strive for positive impact upon health law and policy, for individuals and communities.’