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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
Recently retired WA Health Department acting director general Professor Bryant Stokes along with two additional esteemed medical practitioners were recognised for their distinguished careers at a Gala Dinner held at the Crown Perth by the Australian Medical Association (WA).
Initially appointed as Acting Director General for a six month term, Prof Stokes remained in charge of WA health for two and a half years, demonstrating just how highly valued his leadership is. Prof Stokes is now the only clinician to ever receive the AMA (WA) President’s Award – an honour that is unlikely to be repeated.
One of the states’ most respected paediatricians, Dr Jacqueline Scurlock, was awarded an AMA Hippocrates Award for excellence in medicine for her work in improving Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rates in WA. Dr Scurlock is also renowned for her strong advocacy for children, irrespective of age. Thanks to the work of Dr Scurlock and her colleagues, SIDS rates in WA have fallen from 2/1000 live births to 0.3 per 1000 live births.
Professor Kingsley Faulkner received the other AMA Hippocrates Award on offer for not only his work as a life-saving surgeon, but also his instrumental roles in education, public health and advocacy. Awarded an Order of Australia for his services to medicine as a surgeon, Prof Faulkner’s long record in health advocacy stretches back to 1983 and his work as Chair of the Australian Council of Smoking and Health (ACOSH).
Dr John Zorbas, who was named as this year’s Junior Doctor of the Year, received the Dr Camille Michener Legacy Award. The award recognises the significant and outstanding contribution of junior doctors to the medical profession and the community in areas such as teaching and education; leadership and advocacy; and doctor’s wellbeing and community service.
A natural leader and Co-Chair of the Doctors In Training (DiT) Committee, Dr Zorbas is a dedicated and hardworking junior doctor, whose advocacy for safe working hours and leave provisions has resulted in significant improvements to junior doctor rostering in public hospitals
“It was a true honour to present these awards to West Australians who have had such a tremendously positive impact to health care in our state,” AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said.
“It is through their often thankless efforts that we get to live in one of the healthiest parts of the world”, he said.
“It was appropriate that special mention went to Professor Bryant Stokes on the night – his leadership has seen the health department through numerous storms unscathed, and while we have every confidence in his replacement, Prof Stokes will be remembered as the best DG of Health this State has seen,” Dr Gannon said.
The dinner included a poignant event when doctors who had passed on during the past year were remembered.
The AMA (WA) Gala Dinner and Charitable Awards Ceremony is an annual event to recognise great achievements in health leadership, and medical research.