Vice-Chancellor of AUT
Lifetime Achievement Award 2021
Derek’s impact on eMental Health domain development, not only in New Zealand but around the world, cannot be underestimated. While he would never claim to have made such an international impact, it is nevertheless the case. His support and encouragement were crucial in getting eMHIC successfully established and it is for this that he is being recognised.
Without Derek’s, values and commitment to eMental Health, eMHIC quite simply would not exist. His support – both financial and ‘in kind’ – provided that much needed foundation for what eMHIC has become today. He enabled an environment for eMHIC’s founder, Anil Thapliyal, to pursue his vision for international collaboration, learn what works, and evolve and grow eMHIC’s unique proposition.
What always shines through with this Special Lifetime Award recipient is his innate ability to encourage and develop new leaders. Through eMHIC and within the university he leads, Derek has created a unique and exciting environment for emerging leaders and learning through collaboration across international borders.
Back in 2015, Derek enquired with Anil on his thoughts around AUT’s point of difference above other universities. When Anil suggested that AUT leans into the emerging arena of eMental Health implementation science, he immediately saw great value in that. Over the years of his forward-thinking leadership, AUT has developed an internationally renowned reputation in the eMental Health domain and been a bedrock for our growing eMHIC community.
The exchange of ideas and knowledge that eMHIC drives will play an increasingly vital role in a world of growing mental distress and over-burdened health systems.
This award symbolises our gratitude for his pivotal role in the inception of eMHIC and the eMental Health domain.