Doctor of Health Sciences awarded to Elizabeth Koff AM

10 May 2023
Former Secretary of Health for NSW and Sydney alumna celebrated
The University of Sydney awarded Elizabeth Koff AM a Doctor of Health Sciences (honoris causa), recognising her outstanding contributions to healthcare and shaping the future of health in Australia.

Elizabeth Koff AM was admitted Doctor of Health Sciences (honoris causa) during a ceremony held on 9 May at the University of Sydney, presided over by Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AC.

“Elizabeth’s contribution to healthcare in New South Wales is significant, and it’s an honour to award her with a Doctor of Health Sciences to celebrate her tireless work and the immense undertaking of navigating the challenge of leading the health sector through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chancellor Hutchinson AC.

Elizabeth completed a Bachelor of Science in 1980 and a Diploma of Nutrition and Dietetics in 1981 at the University of Sydney. After completing a Master of Public Health at Monash University in 1994, she began her celebrated career at New South Wales Health.

Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AC (left), Elizabeth Koff AM (centre), and Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott AO posing together.

Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AC (left), Elizabeth Koff AM (centre), and Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott AO.  

She took on roles including Director of Health Service Development for South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service and was the founding Director of Population Health, Planning and Performance for South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service.

In 2007, she managed 21 hospitals and 14,000 employees when she was appointed Director of Clinical Operations for the South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service. Following this role, she became the Chief Executive of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network (SCHN), which combines the Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as a single entity, the largest paediatric facility in New South Wales. 

Then in 2016, Ms Koff stepped into the role of Secretary of Health for NSW, and she was responsible for managing the NSW health system, which had a $30 billion budget and 124,000 full-time employees. She oversaw several key initiatives and changes, including the NSW government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was a key advisor to the NSW crisis cabinet on managing COVID-19 in NSW and the vaccine role out.

In April 2022, she welcomed a new appointment as the Managing Director of Telstra Health. She continues to champion digitalising and integrating health systems to improve patient outcomes, a pursuit she embraced as Secretary for NSW Health.

Elizabeth’s contribution to healthcare in New South Wales is significant, and it’s an honour to award her with a Doctor of Health Sciences.
Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AC.

Ms Koff is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She was the NSW President of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and Chair of the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council, including its subsequent iteration of the Health Chief Executives Forum.

She is committed to the advancement of women in business and is a member of the Champions of Change Health group and Chief Executive Women.

In 2022, Ms Koff was featured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list as a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of significant service to public health administration and governance.

Faye Couros

Assistant Media and PR Advisor (Central)

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