Thursday May 21, 2015
A Bay of Plenty paediatrician says his receipt of a prestigious Australasian award for services to rural medicine is a reflection of teamwork rather than individual accomplishment.
Consultant paediatrician John Malcolm will receive the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Rural and Remote Medal 2015 at a gala ceremony in Cairns, Australia, on Sunday (24 May). He says he is humbled by the award.
"I feel a bit embarrassed," says John. "There is a sense of pride of course but I do feel like there's still a lot of unfinished business. I suppose you can look at it as a compliment to work in progress."
John - who has given 25 years' service through Bay of Plenty hospitals in both Rotorua and, for the last eight years, in Whakatāne - says the award reflects collective achievement.
"My willingness to accept it is largely as recognition of the teamwork it represents. It's a reflection of the paediatric team here and the community where we work. Any ventures we have successfully undertaken have been down to our involvement with the community and other healthcare providers including GPs, the Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance (EBPHA) and Hauora."
He says the award, for which he was nominated by colleagues who also cited his contribution to Māori health, helps keep rural medicine in the spotlight.
"It flags rural and provincial health needs. A lot of our work focusses on metropolitan services being accessible to rural patients and part of that includes measures to ensure clinical workforce recruitment and retention."
His involvement in work on acute rheumatic fever has proven a career highlight says John; especially the early indications of a probable decline in acute rheumatic fever rates in the Bay.
In 2012, John also received the Auckland University Distinguished Clinical Teacher Award. As an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Otago and Auckland universities he is involved in undergraduate curriculum development and teaching, as well as supervision and mentoring.
Moving forward, John says his focus remains on serving rural and remote communities.
"I am humbled and honoured by the award but if I was asked which I get the bigger kick out of, community recognition or peer recognition, I would say the community. You go to Taneatua and in a crowded room you're working with the EBPHA, public health, six iwi-based Hauora and other health providershelping improve the health of school kids, that's very gratifying."