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TRAM Track alum receives prestigious Member of the Order of Australia award

Hannah McLean · July 27th, 2023

It comes as no surprise that one of our exceptional 2023 TRAM Track cohort members has been recognised for her outstanding contributions in her fields of dentistry and the arts. Sharonne Zaks has been given the prestigious Member of the Order of Australia (AM) award for meritorious service to her field.

With so many commitments on the go around her, we were fortunate to get the chance to squeeze in a quick catch-up with Sharonne, delving into the significance of her award and its impact on her future endeavours going forward. Read on for the interview with her below:

1. What is the requirement to receive such an award? What did it take to get here?

I believe it is quite a process! A person who remains anonymous (and for whom I am filled with enormous gratitude) filled out a large volume of paperwork to nominate me. I was told that a dedicated team from the Australia Council then contacted all the referees and carried out research about me over the following 18 months to 2 years, building up an extensive document in the process. This went through several levels of approval, with the final sign off from the Governor General.

2. How was this award received? Was there a celebration or ceremony?

The announcement was made on the King’s birthday holiday, with the list of honours recipients published widely across the media and government channels. This prompted many interviews and moving messages of congratulations. There will be an investiture ceremony later this year at government house, where the awards will be given officially.

3. What does this achievement mean for you?

It has been overwhelming and it's hard to put into words! I’m immensely honoured and humbled, and full of gratitude for everyone who has contributed to me, including my wonderful mentors, family, friends, and patients. It’s incredible to have my life’s work recognised at this national level. I’m particularly chuffed to have my music and comedy acknowledged as part of this.

4. What does this achievement mean for Trauma-Informed Dental Care?

I am very excited about the potential of this award to propel Trauma-Informed Dental Care forward and feel a great responsibility to use it to help more people and make a bigger contribution. I hope it helps to raise awareness of the links between a history of trauma and dental anxiety, the importance of oral health for our mental and general health, and the power of the compassionate dental relationship to help heal trauma and transform lives. It would be phenomenal if this award opens up opportunities for us to access the funding and support we need to establish our social enterprise. Thanks to the fantastic TRAM Track program we have a clear plan, and resources like digital assets ready to present.


A heartfelt thank you to Sharonne for taking the time out of her busy schedule to have a chat with us. We are looking forward to witnessing the continued impact of her research entrepreneurial journey.

Interested in becoming a part of TRAM Track? Applications for Semester 2 are now open. Learn more and apply here:

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