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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
Two of Western Australia’s most respected medical figures were awarded the AMA (WA)’s highest accolade at a Gala Dinner and WA Award ceremony on Saturday night.
Professor Alex Cohen and Doctor Michael McCall both received the AMA (WA) Award (popularly known as a Hippo after the’ father of medicine’, Hippocrates) at a glittering ceremony held at Perth’s Hyatt Hotel.
The award is presented to those medical figures who have made a significant impact in advancing the cause of medicine and improving the health and quality of life – for those resident within WA and beyond.
Previous winners include Australian of the Year Dr Fiona Wood, West Australian Citizen of the Year Professor Bruce Robinson and Nobel Laureates Professor Barry Marshall and Professor Robin Warren.
AMA (WA) President Dr Richard Choong said both awards went to men acknowledged as having contributed immeasurably to medicine in WA.
“WA is a healthier place due to their work that amounts to a combined record of almost 120 years.
“There is no higher award that can be won by medical professionals in this state and both men have shown their dedication by committing their lives to medicine,” Dr Choong said.
The first recipient on Saturday night was Professor Alex Cohen for his outstanding contribution to diabetes research in Western Australia. Through his career Professor Cohen has been an AMA (WA) President, Chancellor of the University of Western Australian, (the only medical graduate to hold the prestigious position), President of the Diabetes Research Foundation of Western Australia (DRFWA) and Director of Postgraduate Medical Education at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. He also received an Order of Australia medal for his efforts in improving diabetes research and care in the State in 1995.
Professor Cohen was instrumental in setting up the Centre for Diabetes Research at UWA, and due to his efforts the Alex Cohen Scholarship was set up by the DRFWA to honour his contributions in the field. The Alex Cohen Scholarship was created for the purpose of providing top-up scholarships to students in receipt of an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) conducting research based around clinical, cause, complications or psychological aspects of any form of diabetes at the University of Western Australia.
The second AMA (WA) award was presented to Dr Michael McCall for his contribution as an administrator, researcher and teacher in WA, as well as recognising his extremely successful stint as acting Health Commissioner of Western Australia and head of the Justice Department.
His medical contributions include initiating clinical epidemiology at UWA in 1965, and in the same year was a Foundation Member, along with founder Dr Kevin Cullen and others, of the ground breaking and continuing Busselton Population Studies Group, serving as Chairman in the early seventies.
Dr McCall wrote more than 60 research papers on a host of issues including heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, preventative medicine, multiple sclerosis and high blood pressure. Dr McCall was made a member of the Order of Australia for his, “services to industry and the community, particularly through the provision and development of health care in Western Australia.”
Professor Cohen and Dr McCall join a list of extraordinary healthcare professionals who have dramatically advanced the quality of research and care provided in Western Australia.
“All medical professionals in WA pay homage to the contribution made by both awardees. We are certainly in awe of these two true medical heroes,” Dr Choong said.
Please check the upcoming edition of Medicus for more photos and details on the AMA (WA) Annual Gala Dinner.