Professor John Chalmers AC



Mr Chancellor, 

It is difficult to think of many major national developments in Australian medicine in recent times, be they in medical education, medical research or medical administration, that do not bear the stamp of John Chalmers. From his base as Foundation Professor of Medicine at Flinders University since 197 5, Professor Chalmers has infused energy, commitment and vision into field after field, organisation after organisation, project after project. 

To take but a few examJ?les. He was for over a decade in the 1980s a leading figure in theNationalHealth & Medical Research.Council of Australia: His w0rk as Chairman of the Grants Committee stands as the model which other scientific granting agencies in Australia °(including _the Australian Research Council) have sought to emulate in their procedures. As Chairman of the Medical Research Committee, his interactions with government led to major increases of medical research funding, often to the chagrin of the other agencies. As the first independent Chairman of the Council itself, he changed the public image of NHMRC from an organisation dealing with archetypal laboratory-based research (never a very accurate description) to that of a more open and responsive body, giving clear leadership in the development of national policies for Health Care. 

A similar pattern has characterised his involvement with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, of which he is the incumbent President. He reorganised its administrative structure and helped tum it from a somewhat inward looking professional body to one with a high profile in the public arena of health, and with innovative programs in postgraduate professional education, continuing education, and quality assurance. 

Professor Chalmers has many accomplishments other than an ability to organise others, formidable though he is at that. These include an outstanding career as a medical research worker in the field of hypertension, culminating in his election to the Australian Academy of Science in 1987 and the Presidency of the International Society of Hypertension in 1992. He has also made many innovative contributions as, a teacher of medicine at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. 

Professor Chalmers has been awarded many honours. He is the recipient of the Wellcome Medal for Original Discovery in Medicine, and of honorary fellowships from several Colleges of Physicians in both the United Kingdom and the United States. He was recently appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in the General Division. 

Mr Chancellor, for his distinguished services to medical education, research and _ administration in Australia, I present to you John Phillip Chalmers, Companion of the Order of Australia, Bachelor of Medicine, Surgery and Medical Science of the University of Sydney, Doctor of Philosophy of the University of New South Wales, Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, for conferral of the degree of Doctor of Medicine, honoris causa, to which he has been admitted by the Senate of the University. 


Doctor of Medicine honoris causa