RPA medicos past and present paid tribute to outstanding clinicians.

RPA Medical Board annual gala dinner

August 2018

RPA medicos past and present paid tribute to outstanding clinicians.

RPA medicos past and present paid tribute to outstanding clinicians.

RPA medicos past and present paid tribute to the outstanding clinicians who are hanging up their stethoscopes at the 2018 RPA Medical Board annual gala dinner.

Held at the Ivy, the dinner is an opportunity for doctors in all stages of their careers to get together and celebrate RPA’s longstanding tradition of excellence in medical education, research and practice.

Dr George Szonyi, Head of Geriatric Medicine at RPA and Director of Medical Services Balmain Hospital, praised each of the clinicians for their decades of service to public health and the community of Sydney, NSW and Australia.

The celebrated clinicians included:

  • Professor Brian Bailey. Appointed a staff specialist in cardiology in 1979, during his time at RPA he has been the director of the arrhythmia service, echocardiography laboratory and cardiac catheterization laboratories. He has overseen the introduction of modern imaging technology, the use of coronary stents, catheter treatment of congenital heart disease and hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. Brian was also a powerhouse of mathematical and computing knowledge and contributed to many research projects as well as writing many computer programs for data analysis and image storage that are used at RPA and other institutions in Australia and overseas. Brian has taught interventional and other cardiology skills to generations of cardiologists. He has had a lasting impact on the quality of care in Australia as well as the many countries that have sent fellows to learn from him.

  • Associate Professor Jonathan Ell. An exceptional clinical neurologist, Jonathan has been a stalwart of the RPA general neurology outpatients department for 35 years. With a specialist interest in hearing, balance and eye movement, he has also served as a subspecialist in the neuro-ophthalmology clinic. Jonathan co-founded the Neuro-otology Society of Australia. A committed teacher, he has trained countless neurology registrars and medical students and is known for his talents as a storyteller.

  • Professor Peter Kam. Initially appointed a Senior Staff Specialist in anaesthetics at RPA between 1990 and 1998, Peter returned to Camperdown in 2006 as the Nuffield Professor of Anaesthetics - Australia’s most distinguished academic anaesthetic position.  During this tenure he formed a strong clinical relationship with Professor John Thompson that extended to significant collaborations in melanoma research.  His textbook “Principles of Physiology for the Anaesthetist” was awarded the BMA Book Prize in 2008. Professor Kam is the consummate academic who has worked tirelessly for the promotion of education in anaesthesia and the basic sciences.

  • Dr Margaret Kearns is one of Australia’s most experienced general ophthalmologists with subspecialty expertise in cataract and refractive surgery, diabetic retinopathy and treatment of other retinal problems. She has been a visiting medical officer in the RPA Department of Ophthalmology for 35 years and served as the department head for several years. Margaret’s contribution has been outstanding in her dedication to teaching and the spirit of public health care. Those who have worked with her recognize her integrity and generously shared knowledge and experience

  • Associate Professor Lynne Pressley AM. Started at RPA as cardiology registrar in 1984 soon after completing her Rhodes Scholarship, one of the first women ever to do so. Appointed a consultant cardiologist in 1987, she was the only female consultant for decades to come. Throughout her career she went out of her way to foster junior staff. She started mentoring young trainees to help them prepare for their physicians exam, a process that morphed into the RPA mentoring scheme. She has been a champion for women’s cardiovascular health and the National Heart Foundation since the early 1990s and was their first female president.

  • Professor John Thompson AO. Apart from a stint in Oxford between 1981and 1984, John’s medical career has all been at RPA, initially as a Staff Specialist Surgeon in Transplantation before moving to the Department of Melanoma and Surgical Oncology. John has long been a world leader in melanoma research. He pioneered the novel technique of isolated limb infusion with cytotoxic agents for melanoma, a simpler, less costly form of treatment than conventional isolated limb perfusion, but one that is equally effective. John is the author of more than 800 peer-reviewed articles. His mentoring of generations of junior and senior medical officers that will have a long lasting legacy for RPA and Australia.

  • Lieutenant Colonel Peter Tralaggan. Commencing at RPA in 1988 in anaesthetics, Peter was chairman of the cardiac arrest committee for 25 years. He started the Wednesday intern training which continues today. He was nominated by RPA to be President Bill Clinton’s anaesthetist during his presidential visit to Australia in 1996. As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Australian Army, Peter served in Rwanda, the Solomon Islands, East Timor, Bougainville, Aceh, Afghanistan and Iraq. For decades he has supported the development of an anaesthetic department in a hospital in the Democratic Republic Of Congo. He is also a champion kayaker and cycling enthusiast.

Each clinician received an engraved silver RPA medal. To see photos of the gala dinner, click here.


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