Marjan Kljakovic was a general practitioner for over 30 years. He was Professor of General Practice at the Australian National University when he died on 14 August 2012, some 2 weeks after a devastating heart attack.
Marjan was a man of great passion and enthusiasm for life, and, beneath an often larger-than-life outward persona, a man of great sensitivity and thoughtfulness. He brought all of these qualities to his clinical practice and was a quintessential GP — ready to listen, to problem solve and to do his best for his patients.
Marjan was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1954 and emigrated to New Zealand when he was 2 years old. After graduating from Otago Medical School he chose a career in general practice and, in 1987, helped establish an academic department of general practice in Wellington. The growth in general practice research output and teaching in the following decade was due in no small part to his enthusiasm and commitment.
With his insatiable curiosity to understand the way that clinical practice worked, his research spanned themes from asthma to health informatics, and his PhD provided an explanation of the philosophy of science as applied to single case studies in general practice.
He took up the position of Chair of General Practice in Canberra in 2005, and became a citizen of Australia in 2009. He established PracNet, a regional general practice research network, seen as a model of how GPs can cooperate to produce quality, clinically relevant research. He authored more than 100 scientific publications.
He continually provided wonderful and quirky observations on medicine, philosophy and all aspects of life. He could at times be a minor rebel and creatively transcend the rules of both bureaucracy and accepted wisdom. He was once described as being “numerate, but not in any of the ways known to scientific orthodoxy”.