Robert Bohdan Mikolaj (Bob) Ravich was born on 26 August 1937 in Gdansk, Poland. He immigrated to New Zealand after World War II and later studied medicine at the University of Otago, graduating in 1962. He was a resident at Christchurch Hospital, then a senior medical registrar and senior registrar in haematology. In 1968 he took up an appointment in Australia as a senior research fellow in haematology at the Kanematsu Institute, Sydney Hospital, and became an honorary visiting physician at the hospital in 1970. After taking up a position at the University of Michigan in the United States between 1970 and 1971, Bob was made a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1972.
In 1971, Bob established a private practice as a consultant physician in clinical haematology and general medicine in Macquarie Street, Sydney, later moving to St Leonards and Crows Nest, where he continued to build a thriving practice with an ethos of excellence in patient care, until handing over to colleagues on his retirement in 2006.
During his years in practice, Bob was appointed to the Mater Hospital as an honorary visiting medical officer in 1972, and as a visiting medical officer in haematology and medicine at Royal North Shore Hospital in 1978. Bob’s contribution to the Mater Hospital was significant. He served as Chairman of the Division of Medicine from 1986 to 1993; Chairman of Medical Staff from 1991 to 1993; and as a Director of the Board from 1993 to 2001. In 1994 he conceived of and founded the Department of Cancer Medicine, which was structured to provide total and multidisciplinary care for patients with cancer from the time of diagnosis to cure or death. Initially centred around a converted Edwardian house, “Chemotherapy Cottage”, it laid the foundation for the future development of cancer care at the Mater, including the establishment of the Patricia Ritchie Centre for Cancer Care and Research and the Poche Centre to house the Melanoma Institute Australia.
Bob practised and taught the art of medicine at the highest level, with discernment, perspicacity and empathy, integrating a prodigious knowledge of human anatomy, physiology and psychology with current medical science.
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