The 2010 Blake medalist: Ray Avery

 From L to R: Lady Susan Satyanand, Governor-General, Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, Lady Pippa Blake, 2010 Blake Medallist Ray Avery.

Ray Avery is a pharmaceutical scientist and social entrepreneur whose groundbreaking work and visionary leadership is improving the lives of millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

As a founding member of the University of Auckland School of Medicine and Department of Clinical Pharmacology, and as a former Technical Director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Ray made a major contribution to the New Zealand pharmaceutical industry over a thirty-year period.

Working throughout Africa and Asia during his career, Ray was exposed to the raw and real shortcomings in healthcare on those continents.  With a firm belief in the need for greater global equality, he resolved to use his knowledge of pharmaceuticals, science, and product design to tackle big health issues endemic throughout the developing world at a practical sustainable level.  He then sent out a call to action for others concerned about the plight of the world’s underprivileged majority and encouraged them to follow his example.

In 2003, Ray founded Medicine Mondiale, a global network of experts who donate their time and skills to creating sustainable solutions to global poverty through the development of innovative medicine and technologies which have application in both the developed and developing world.  By making quality healthcare accessible to the world’s poorest societies, and by developing self-sustainable solutions, Ray hopes to narrow the equality gap and to give more people the tools and solutions to improve their own lives.

Among Ray’s own innovations is the development of low-cost intraocular lenses which, at less than $6, make modern cataract surgery available to the poorest of the poor.  With two intraocular lens laboratories – designed and commissioned by Ray – in Nepal and Eritrea, it is estimated that 30 million people suffering from cataract blindness will benefit from his lenses by 2020.

His other revolutionary healthcare innovations include the Acuset IV Flow Controller to administer intravenous fluids and medicines; Proteinforte – a nutritious food product for treatment of malnutrition in children; and a low-cost infant incubator, specifically designed for use in the developing world.

Ray believes passionately in the talents, ingenuity and generosity of New Zealanders and in using this nation’s endowments to affect positive global change.   Through his example of compassionate leadership, he has motivated countless New Zealand professionals to use their own skills to improve the lives of those less fortunate.

Ray also gives a great deal of his time to mentoring young people, speaking regularly to students at schools and universities about how they might use their skills and experience to make the world a more egalitarian place.

Ray is Chair of the World Class New Zealand Steering Committee and Patron of the Non-resident Nepali Association of New Zealand – a position previously held by Sir Edmund Hillary.

"Leaders propel the human race forward, not through the sum of their own endeavours but by acting as a focusing mechanism for the skills and vision of everyone they touch.  By harnessing this collegiate power, they nourish the human spirit and, in doing so, leave the world a better place than when they found it."

Tours of Government House Wellington for the public, schools and community groups are being offered, starting in the New Visitor Centre.

Find out more.

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