Simon Finfer, professorial fellow in the Critical Care and Trauma Division at The George Institute, was recently appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (General Division) in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list.

Dr. Finfer, a critical care physician, has been working with The George Institute for 20 years and during that time has led transformational studies in critically ill patients to reduce mortality and shed light on one of the world’s most serious silent killers–sepsis. His work has been instrumental in demonstrating that robust, high-quality randomized controlled trials could be done in the critical care population and lead to improved mortality.

Working with The George Institute Principal Directors, Robyn Norton and Stephen MacMahon, Finfer and others designed and conducted the SAFE study, recognized as the world’s first intensive care unit (ICU) mega-trial, demonstrating clearly that robust, high-quality research could be done in ICUs and benefit critically ill patients.  The success of that trial led to numerous other guideline-changing ICU studies until Finfer found himself coming full circle to focus on a condition about which he had led pioneering research many years earlier as a founding member of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group.

His major research interest is the design and conduct of large scale randomized controlled trials in critical care. Finfer is active in forging major international research collaborations that have conducted large scale clinical trials and epidemiological research to improve the treatment of critically ill and injured patients. He has been a part of more than 150 peer reviewed publications, many in the most prestigious journals in the world, and is frequently invited to lecture at major international conferences.

His 2003 study of the epidemiology of sepsis showed that this life-threatening condition was one of the major issues that needed to be tackled if ICU mortality rates were to be reduced. So began his special interest in not only reducing mortality from sepsis but also raising awareness of the condition both in our region and on the global stage.

In 2015, Finfer co-chaired an international meeting of sepsis experts to develop a path to reduce the global burden of sepsis. This meeting initiated a collaboration that led to the first truly global assessment of the burden of sepsis culminating in the publication of an authoritative report in The Lancet in January 2020.  In 2018, he led efforts to establish the Asia Pacific Sepsis Alliance leading the Bangkok Declaration – a call to action for a regional alliance to reduce the burden of sepsis in the Asia Pacific. He is a member of the executive committee of the Global Sepsis Alliance, which initiated the push for the WHO resolution.