Dr Eberhard Wenzel (2nd January 1950 – 21st September 2001) worked in public health for over 20 years. He was well known to many through his work at Griffith University, Queensland, his prolific work on the International Public Health Watch web site and email list serve, and the development and maintenance of the Virtual Library on Public Health, a site which under the period in which he moderated it, earned a rating of the best in the field by the medical journal The Lancet. After the passing of Eberhard the Virtual Library on Public Health was hosted by the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of NSW for several years as a project of the South-West Pacific Region of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education. Eberhard was an inspiring advocate for the socio-ecological view of health promotion as it was described over 20 years ago in the Ottawa Charter. This health promotion represented a significant move away from a medical view of health promotion that focused primarily on disease prevention.
Eberhard was an inspiring advocate for health promotion as it was described over 20 years ago in the Ottawa Charter. This health promotion represented a significant move away from a medical view of health promotion that focused primarily on disease prevention. Eberhard was highly critical of recent trends, both nationally and internationally, that signified a step backward to such a medical paradigm of health promotion.
Eberhard was not afraid to speak his mind about what he saw as the critical failings of health promotion and public health. His thoughts were often challenging and sometimes controversial. However he could be relied upon to question accepted dogma, bring a different perspective, challenge accepted beliefs or practice, and to stimulate new ways of thinking. Eberhard's students and others touched by him carry on this legacy of critical thinking.
Following Eberhard's death in September 2001, the Australian Health Promotion Association endorsed the establishment of an annual oration in his memory. With this memorial oration, the Australian Health Promotion Association hopes to stimulate a culture of critical and reflective discussion for the advancement of health promotion in Australia.