Around the universities and research institutes

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja18.1806C4
Published online: 18 June 2018

Associate Professor Julian Rait, OAM, from the University of Melbourne, is the new President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victoria, replacing Dr Lorraine Baker whose 2-year term has come to an end. Associate Professor Rait brings 25 years of clinical, research and leadership experience to the role. He is an eye specialist who joined the AMA as a young graduate from Melbourne Medical School in 1982. He most recently served the organisation as Chair of the Council of AMA Victoria and Chair of the Council of Private Specialist Practice for the Federal AMA. In the Victorian public health system, Associate Professor Rait led the Glaucoma Unit at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital for 12 years from 1993 to 2005. Other leadership roles have included being Chair of the Board of the medical indemnity organisation, MDA National from 2008 to 2014; Chair of the Victorian branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists; and Chair of Anglican Overseas Aid since 2013. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. On Australia Day 2018, he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to ophthalmology and to the development of overseas aid. Associate Professor Rait said that the priority for AMA Victoria for the next 2 years will be to provide strong health leadership on behalf of patients and the medical profession. Key areas of focus will include mental health, general practice, rural medicine and doctor health and wellbeing. Dr Roderick McRae was elected new AMA Victoria Vice President.

The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne has announced the winners of its annual Dean’s Honours, recognising recent graduates who have achieved the highest academic results in several of the Faculty’s flagship courses. Dr Callum Umstad has won most of Melbourne Medical School’s prizes, for his achievements in rheumatology, ophthalmology and surgery as well has having won the RMH Clinical School Long Case Prize, awarded to a second-year student who demonstrates outstanding ability to effectively communicate and interact with real patients while developing the aptitude of clinical reasoning. Dr Jeremy Clark impressed his professors with his ability to rapidly establish respectful, thoughtful relationships with patients. His clinical coach and ethics tutor, Professor Michael Pain, admired his inquiring and critical eye, saying Jeremy “frequently challenged me over clinical findings and we often disagreed on some ethical issues”. He also highlighted Jeremy’s appreciation of the “bigger picture” and his interest in medical history. Dr Daniel (Dong-Kyoon) Ko was previously awarded the RM Biggins Prize in Clinical Medicine, which is awarded to final-year students demonstrating both academic distinction and the “qualities of a future conscientious, generous physician”. From the School of Population and Global Health, You (Eunice) Wu was Treasurer of the Master of Public Health Student Association and worked as a research assistant for the Health Economics Unit in the Centre of Health Policy. In her final year, she completed a large project at PriceWaterhouseCoopers; contributing to a report that provided system-wide recommendations in order to improve outcomes in musculoskeletal health in Australia. From the School of Biomedical Sciences, Richard Yan, who started at the University as a Chancellor’s Scholar and is now in his first year of Medicine, is a previous recipient of the TF Ryan Prize for Anatomy, and the Ian Holmes Medal for Virology. In 2017, Richard was Treasurer of the Biomedicine Students Society, which raised $20 000 for Muscular Dystrophy Research. After a few years as a research assistant at the Burnet Institute and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), Joy Liu completed an Honours project on the parasitic worm ascaris, which causes chronic disease in children in low to middle income countries. In July, she returns to WEHI to start a PhD on an imaging-based project.

Bond University medical student Sean Adcock had the opportunity to experience the politics of health at the highest level when he joined Australia’s delegation to the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva late in May. Sean, 22, was one of four students Australia-wide to receive a Global Voices Scholarship to attend the annual decision making congregation of the World Health Organization. Sean’s scholarship preparation got underway in early May with a 3-day pre-departure briefing in Canberra, where he was introduced to Australia’s WHA delegation, along with Senior Advisors to the Ministers for Health, Aged Care, Indigenous Health and Rural Health.

Four students at Flinders University’s College of Medicine and Public Health have been awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence: Dr Qi Yang for her thesis entitled Identifying untapped microbial resources in the marine sponge microbiome supervised by Professor Chris Franco and Professor Wei Zhang (College of Medicine and Public Health); Dr Suvimol Charoensiddhi for Process development for functional food ingredients with gut health benefits from the brown seaweed Ecklonia radiata supervised by Professor Wei Zhang and Professor Chris Franco; Dr Katherine Morel for Parthenolide in the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer supervised by Professor Pam Sykes and Associate Professor Sonja Klebe and Dr Rebecca Ormsby; Dr Leena Baghdadi for Studies exploring the relationship between methotrexate use and blood pressure and arterial function in the rheumatoid arthritis population supervised by Professor Arduino Mangoni, Professor Richard Woodman and Professor Michael Shanahan.

  • Cate Swannell



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