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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
One of Western Australia’s most distinguished academics and general practitioners, along with an indigenous health champion were recognised for their distinguished careers at a Gala Dinner held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre by the Australian Medical Association (WA) at the weekend.
Emeritus Professor Max Kamien, who recently decided to restart his career as a GP in the town of Bourke at the sprightly age of 80, received the AMA Hippocrates Award for excellence in medicine. Prof Kamien is renowned for writing one of the most influential reports in Australian medical history; The Kamien Report, which is one of the major reasons that rural medical training is now seen as vital for every medical school.
The report found a chronic shortage of country doctors, and worse, no plans in the works to remedy this. Prof Kamien recommended the establishment of a West Australian centre of remote and rural medicine – today’s Rural Health West.
The AMA President’s Award, given to a non-clinician who has contributed greatly to health in Western Australia, was received by Associate Professor Ted Wilkes.
A/Prof Wilkes has collaborated with the AMA (WA) over many years to improve health outcomes for indigenous Australians, producing the landmark publication A Medical Practitioner’s Guide to Aboriginal Health in 1998 – a resource that is still considered vital by any doctor who has interactions with indigenous communities across the country.
A/Prof Wilkes is a member of the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs and was previously a member of the Australian National Council on Drugs, and Chair of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee. A/Prof Wilkes is currently employed at Curtin’s National Drug Research Institute where he is a leader of the Aboriginal Research Program, and plays an active role in capacity building and research.
The other two big winners of the night were Dr Melita Cirillo and Dr Paul Sander, who were joint recipients of the Camille Michener Legacy Award (Junior Doctor of the Year Award).
A member of the Doctors in Training (DiT) Committee, Dr Cirillo is a dedicated and hardworking junior doctor, whose advocacy against sexual harassment has resulted in the establishment of a Sexual Harassment taskforce. Dr Cirillo was also involved in the development of the Hospital Health Check Scorecard and Buildit– the AMA (WA) research portal for Doctors in Training.
Dr Cirillo shared the accolade with Dr Paul Sander, the current Chief Registrar at Princess Margaret Hospital.
A natural leader, Dr Sander established a peer mentorship program at PMH to improve doctor wellbeing. Called “Paeds in a Pod” the subcommittee ensures that junior doctors have an avenue to deal with the stress that comes with being a junior doctor.
“With the impressive accomplishments these two young doctors have already achieved this early in their careers, it is clear that the future of health in WA is in safe hands,” AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller said.
“It was also an honour to present awards to Professor Kamien and A/Prof Wilkes, who have done so much for health in this state.
“Their tremendous efforts in improving health outcomes for Australians throughout the country will be felt for generations to come,” Dr Miller said.
The dinner included a poignant event when doctors who had recently passed were remembered.
The AMA (WA) Annual Charity Gala Dinner and Awards Night is an annual event to recognise great achievements in health leadership, and medical research.