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Thorne Harbour Health mourns the loss of HIV/AIDS community leader Professor Jim Hyde

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Today, Thorne Harbour Health has lost a tireless leader, community activist, and gay community advocate with the passing of Professor Jim Hyde.

At the time of his death, Jim was an active and vigorous board member. His almost 30-year involvement with the organisation has been characterised by passion, intelligence, strategic insight, and a fierce commitment to the HIV and AIDS sector as well as the LGBTI community as a whole.

Jim was a life member of the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) and was, in fact, the General Manager of the organisation from 1990 to 1994. During that time, he guided the organisation in its development from our modest premises in Collingwood to our relocation to Claremont Street in South Yarra, where we remained for 23 years. He was also at the helm in 1993 when the first Positive Living Centre opened on Acland Street in St Kilda. Jim was a founding member of the AIDS Council of South Australia and the South Australian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.

Jim held senior policy positions in both the New South Wales and Victorian Departments of Health, including serving as Victoria’s Director of Public Health where he brought his grassroots activism and community awareness to bear on matters of high level public policy.

He was awarded the inaugural Rainbow Award for Leadership in the Gay Community in 1993 and the PLWHA Victoria President’s award for Services to the Positive Community in 2008.

Jim was an Adjunct Chair at the University of Western Sydney, an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Monash Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society, and a Professor of Public Health Policy at Deakin University.

Jim could be seen by some as provocative in his relentless pursuit of issues related to the health and wellbeing of LGBTI communities. He could be a fierce opponent and a formidable ally. Jim always said, “I try to contribute as best I can.” Through all his endeavours, he sought to make our community a safer, healthier, and more secure place.

“He was a great strategic thinker, a skilled negotiator and policy expert, as well as a generous elder of our community,” said Thorne Harbour Health President Chad Hughes.

“Whenever we came across complex issues related to the organisation, Jim was always ready with sage advice and critical insights that I personally, and the organisation as a whole, benefitted from. From the sale of our previous premises in South Yarra to our recent rebrand and countless other matters, his legacy is significant.”

Thorne Harbour Health CEO, Simon Ruth added, “Jim’s insights were always informed by a keen sense of where the organisation had been historically, what it needed in the present, and how we needed to develop for future sustainability. He brought to our organisation, and LGBTI people more generally, a deep community knowledge informed by passion and determination. He will be missed.”

Jim is survived by his daughters, Sophie and Alice, their families, and his partner Glenn.

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