Mark Middleton awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia

Icon Writers / 13 6 月, 2022

Healthcare CEO recognised in Queen’s birthday honours

Icon Group CEO, Mark Middleton has been awarded The Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) at today’s (13 June 2022) Queen’s Birthday Honours. This prestigious award recognises individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service, or exceptional achievement worthy of particular recognition.

In his 25-year career, Mark has made a significant contribution to Australian cancer care. Having grown up in regional Victoria, Mark had seen the stark healthcare gap faced by regional communities and wanted to change that reality. In 2007 he co-founded Radiation Oncology Queensland (ROQ) opening a radiation oncology facility in Toowoomba, Queensland where patients were previously travelling long distances into Brisbane. This centre rapidly improved local care and increased access to cancer treatment for Toowoomba and the entire Darling Downs region, this soon extended to more centres in Queensland followed by what would become Icon Group in 2016.

Today under his leadership, Icon Group has extended that expertise to New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Mainland China now totalling over 2.5 million patient interactions annually. This award is a testament to his dedication and commitment to healthcare, but for Mark, this recognition belongs to the efforts of Icon.

“I am deeply humbled by this honour, but it would not be possible without Icon’s team whom I am enormously proud to lead. Having access to cancer care wherever you live should not be remarkable. Yet, making it a reality has proven to be revolutionary. Icon has done this by building an integrated, comprehensive cancer care model that dissolves barries and enables access to care for patients anywhere in the world,” said Mark.

While Icon is entering a new phase of growth and expanding services internationally, Mark continues a commitment to regional Australia.

“I am passionate that regional cancer care isn’t just about treating cancer or installing a treatment machine in a regional setting; it is always about community. Investing in the infrastructure that surrounds their care and being an active part of that community is how we establish successful centres.”

“I’ve always said we don’t grow for the sake of growth – we grow because there are more people who need our help. We will double down on our commitment to regional Australia, and we will bring that same level of care to more places here and overseas.”

Radiation Oncologist and one of the founding doctors of Icon, Prof Michael Poulsen believes the group will continue to thrive under Mark’s leadership.

“From day one, the mission to help patients hasn’t changed and that is testament to Mark’s vision. He and Icon have changed the face of cancer care and there is no doubt Icon will continue to bring more care to where it’s needed for many years to come,” said Prof Poulsen.

“He is a remarkable healthcare leader deserving of such an honour.”

Prof Poulsen shares more of Mark’s career to date in the below reflection.

An inspirational healthcare leader

A tribute to Mark Middleton
By Prof Michael Poulsen, Radiation Oncologist

Mark Middleton is one of the most inspirational leaders I have met throughout my 40 years in healthcare. I have witnessed firsthand his talent in providing leadership to a diverse range of professionals including radiation therapists, nurses, medical physicists, pharmacists, oncologists, researchers, and emerging business leaders. He has the ability to inspire and empower individuals to work together as a team, achieve their personal best and to make a meaningful difference to healthcare on a global stage.

I first met Mark in 2007 when an Australian Commonwealth tender to build a regional cancer centre in Toowoomba, Queensland in a Public Private Partnership was awarded to Radiation Oncology Queensland (ROQ) and St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital.

We needed to appoint a chief radiation therapist in what would be a pivotal role in developing the new service and were particularly impressed by a confident young radiation therapist from Ballarat, Victoria who was full of enthusiasm and big visions for this small regional centre. It was the best decision we ever made!

ROQ quickly expanded under Mark’s leadership and went on to build centres in Cairns, Gold Coast, Springfield, and Greenslopes. Little did we know that these events would change cancer services in Australia and form an important part of an incredible Australian business success story – the beginnings of Icon Group, a full-service cancer care provider bringing together all aspects of care including medical oncology, haematology, radiation oncology, pharmacy, and compounding.

We had thought the name Radiation Oncology Queensland was generous enough in terms of a growth plan, but stepping back and seeing what we have achieved today, I think ‘Oncology Global’ would have been a more fitting name. In 2015, Mark was appointed Icon Group’s CEO and from his time leading the good ship ROQ, there was never a doubt that his optimism, passion, clinical knowledge, and endless motivation would lend itself to successfully leading an international company.

Mark has been unrelenting in his goal to provide quality cancer care closer to people’s homes. Thanks to his vision and drive, Icon has been able to improve patient outcomes for more regional communities. That same drive and determination has also empowered Icon Group to be a formidable force on the global stage with centres now in Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Mainland China. While today Icon delivers care all around the world it is clear the mission has always remained front of mind and Mark’s commitment to regional Australia has never wavered.

He has had many career highlights including being in the top 25 companies for Business Review Weekly, State Finalist in Australian Institute Management Queensland Manager of the Year in 2014, and regional winner of AIM excellence award in 2015, and CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year finalist in 2016 and 2019. He is also enormously proud of being a Director on the inaugural Board of City Cancer Challenge (C/Can), an organisation which aims to improve cancer care in lower- and middle-income countries. In 2018 he personally started a scholarship in his family name, the Middleton Scholarship, supporting his lifelong passion for learning, and mentoring, providing the next generation of healthcare leaders with unique professional development opportunities.

During the COVID pandemic, Mark was able to safely steer the organisation through these challenging times and maintain staff morale. In these uncertain times he ensured he was across operational changes, led the executive team with confidence and prioritised the safety of Icon’s teams and patients.

He saw the need to keep morale high and maintain connection, so every morning Mark committed to sharing a morning motivational email throughout the long lockdown period.

In these emails he shared many personal stories about himself and brought a sense of normality and humanity to unprecedented times, a feat not many CEOs would commit to, or be brave enough to do.

These stories were published in his first book in 2021 Good Morning-how a crisis delivered inspiration to lead, a book that once again reflects his passion for leadership and learning.It is these personal acts and unending dedication that makes Mark a true leader, one worthy of accolades and national recognition.

Mark is a dedicated family man and despite his gruelling work commitments he is always there for his family. His wife Susan, his children Ava and James are among his biggest fans, and I am sure they are enormously proud of this moment.

Mark’s endearing qualities of loyalty, hard work, fairness, and kindness make him an ideal recipient of this award, one that is well deserved.

About Prof Michael Poulsen

Prof Poulsen is a radiation oncologist with over 40 years’ experience across public and private oncology. In 2007 he co-founded Radiation Oncology Queensland (ROQ) (now Icon Cancer Centre) alongside A/Prof Kumar Gogna, A/Prof Jonathan Ramsay and Mark Middleton. He has held clinical positions in Australia and the United Kingdom and is extensively published, with over 150 peer reviewed publications. Prof Poulsen has been involved with the Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG) as principal investigator on several clinical trials and continues to play an active role with The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) and holds Life Membership. In 2020 he was awarded RANZCR’s Roentgen Medal in recognition of Fellows who have made a significant contribution to the College.

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