The Overall Winner of the 2019 Advance Awards has been announced as US-based Australian neuroscientist and physical therapist Dr David Putrino. The award makes Dr Putrino Advance’s Global Australian of the Year. Dr Putrino has been recognised worldwide for his game-changing work at the Abilities Research Center a laboratory devising innovative ways to use virtual reality and video games to improve patient health and rehabilitation, based in New York.
Dr Putrino was awarded this great honour at the Advance Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner in Sydney last night, which recognises and celebrates the outstanding achievements of Australians living and working offshore. He was also awarded the Healthcare category award for his exceptional commitment to research and development of innovative technology solutions for individuals in need of accessing better healthcare.
Dr Putrino’s work explores the use of virtual reality as a low-cost and scalable treatment for chronic neuropathic pain: a condition affecting millions of people worldwide with few effective treatments. His game-based interventions have been shown to accelerate the process of neuroplasticity and lead to faster rehabilitation for patients with significant injuries, including spinal injuries, or illness.
Dr Putrino worked as a clinician in Australia, before moving to the United States to study computational neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, MIT and NYU. He has served as a faculty member at Weill-Cornell Medicine and Burke Medical Research Institute. He is currently the Director of the Abilities Research Center and is an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai.
The Advance Awards Overall Winner is chosen from ten diverse category winners and three special award winners, representing an extraordinary group of talented Australian leaders and innovators who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields on the global stage, ranging from technology innovation, financial services and healthcare, to social impact, sustainability, and the arts.
Advance Chairman Yasmin Allen said, “We are delighted David has been selected as our Advance Global Award winner. He is an inspiring global entrepreneur and innovator who is using unique technology to make people recover and rehabilitate faster from illness or injury, as well as to enhance athletic performance.
At Advance, we know it is critical to recognise and celebrate the work of Australians like David and create an opportunity for them to remain connected with their ecosystem back home, for the benefit of all Australians.
All our game-changing Award winners have again inspired, humbled and captivated us.
Each year we build on this community to give Australians access to the very best thinking, opportunities and ideas, offshore and at home.
We congratulate all our winners, and in particular David and look forward to continuing to connect Australia to our diaspora, making them household names back home.”
More than 200 nominations were received from all around the world and winners of the Advance Awards were selected by a judging panel of renowned Australians who represent the country’s diverse entrepreneurial culture.
Chaired by Advance Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Ken Allen AM, the judging panel includes Maggie Beer AM, Jillian Broadbent AO, Darren Burns, Doug Elix AO, Michelle Garnaut AO, Alexie Glass-Kantor, Sir Michael Hintze AM, Bob Isherwood, Andrew N. Liveris AO, and Carla Zampatti AC.