Honorary Professor Tanya Buchanan

2023 Alumni Award for Social Impact

Doctor of Philosophy, 2021

Honorary Professor Tanya Buchanan is a respected global leader in public health, dedicating an exceptional career at the nexus of academia and professional practice to resolving key global public health challenges.

As Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Council Australia, a crucial and highly influential role in our national approach to cancer treatment and prevention, Tanya leads the organisation in its research, national public health campaigns, and provision of information and support to Australians impacted by cancer.  

In her first two years in the role, Tanya secured Federal government funding for public health and clinical programs, delivered major national public health campaigns, stewarded significant change management processes, and lobbied to secure Government and community support for evidence-based best practice public health policy. Her warm and inclusive approach also heralded a dramatic improvement in workplace culture that saw the organisation awarded Voice Workplace of the Year in 2022.

Tanya’s international leadership standing across community-based public health organisations is backed by an impressive track record in building finances, teams, reputation, and impact. Before joining Cancer Council, she excelled as CEO of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, Divisional Manager for Community, Cultural and Economic Development at Wollongong City Council, Inaugural Executive Director of the International Association for Public Participation, and CEO of Wales Action on Smoking and Health. She also held numerous key roles within the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and continues to contribute to a range of national public health panels.

Alongside all this, Tanya maintains active involvement in research. Her 2021 PhD thesis on implications for Australian tobacco control had a considerable impact on the national policy debate around future cancer control initiatives. She has also chaired numerous Medical Research Future Fund panels, published papers on cancer control strategies, and been an investigator on multiple competitive grant projects.

Honorary Professor Tanya Buchanan’s contribution to the field of public health through her leadership, research, and unwavering commitment to improving the health of Australians is both exemplary and enduring.