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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
A pioneer in palliative care has been recognised by the Australian Medical Association (WA), receiving the Associations’ top medical award at the weekend.
Dr Doug Bridge, former head of palliative care at Royal Perth Hospital and medical director of the Cottage Hospice, has been instrumental in caring for thousands of West Australians over more than twenty years.
Dr Bridge was presented with the AMA (WA) Hippocrates Award, which recognises long term and long-lasting contributions to health and medicine in WA.
Previous winners of the award include Nobel Laureates Professor Barry Marshall and Professor Robin Warren, along with Professor Bryant Stokes and Professor Con Michael.
“Dr Bridge’s work has impacted positively on the lives of generations of West Australians and he has contributed not just to health care, especially palliative care, in WA, but has devoted many years to health in Bangladesh, China and Taiwan,” AMA (WA) President Dr Omar Khorshid said today.
“Dr Bridge has helped us develop our knowledge and understanding of life and death.
“He has not been shy of contributing to the current debate underway in WA on end-of-life-care and how we should approach possible legislative changes,” Dr Khorshid said.
Dr Bridge established the first palliative care consultative teams in WA, and one of the first in Australia, which he ran from 1989 to 1993. He also developed a project called “Conversations with the Dying” where he interviewed terminally ill patients who gave tremendous insights into the end of life and which became the basis of seminars for hundreds of medical professionals both here and overseas.
Federal Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, the Hon. Ken Wyatt assisted Dr Khorshid in presenting the award, in the presence of WA Health Minister the Hon. Roger Cook and hundreds of WA’s medical professionals.
AMA (WA) President Dr Khorshid described Dr Bridge as one of the most important voices in Western Australian medicine, someone who had helped change medical, public and legislative approaches to end-of-life-care.
Two other individuals were recognised during the night to reflect their magnificent contribution to health in Western Australia.
The Camille Michener Legacy Award, awarded to WA’s top junior doctor, recognises the significant and outstanding contribution by Junior Doctors in the areas of teaching and education, leadership and advocacy; and the well-being of doctors along with community service.
This prestigious award was presented to Dr Alison Soerensen for her passionate and conscious advocacy on issues affecting her fellow GP trainees, especially female practitioners.
The judges found that Dr Soerensen had demonstrated strong leadership and advocacy skills in harnessing a broad range of advocacy platforms from the AMA to the RACGP, using them to promote cultural change in the profession.
The AMA (WA) President’s Award – presented not to a doctor but to a great West Australian who has contributed to the health and well-being of all West Australians – was awarded to AMA (WA) Executive Director Paul Boyatzis.
After 30 years in the position, Mr Boyatzis has transformed the AMA (WA) into one of the strongest member-based organisations in the country, and has committed himself completely to improving public health outcomes in WA.
Mr Boyatzis has been instrumental in a number of positive outcomes in public health, ranging from anti-smoking campaigns to improving vaccination rates. He also played a pivotal role in getting rid of mandatory reporting in Western Australia, which has now been adopted by the rest of the country.
“Paul Boyatzis has done more for the health of Western Australians than any doctor in this room,” Dr Khorshid said.
The AMA (WA) Gala Dinner and Charitable Awards Ceremony is an annual event to recognise great achievements in health leadership, and medical research.
The Gala Dinner also aims to raise money for the AMA’s award-winning adolescent program, Dr YES, which every year strives to give young people, especially of high school age, the skills to handle life in a fast changing world.