Big-hearted cardiologist recognised for a lifetime of service

18 Feb 2016

A lifetime of service to cardiovascular medicine as a clinician, researcher, academic and mentor has earned cardiologist Professor Malcolm West recognition as an Emeritus Professor within the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (M+BS) at The University of Queensland.

M+BS Dean, Professor Nicholas Fisk said Emeritus Professorships were rarely awarded and only bestowed on those professors who were retiring or leaving the university after having served at an exceptional level.

“Being recognised as an Emeritus Professor is a tremendous achievement and certainly not a normal expectation for professorial staff who leave or retire from the University,” Professor Fisk said.

“Professor West is now part of an exclusive group within our faculty as one of only 34 people to be awarded an Emeritus Professorship since 1990.

“Malcolm has been an integral part of medical research and education at UQ for many decades and it is our honour to recognise his career achievements in this way.

“During the course of his illustrious career, Malcolm has earned significant academic acclaim while at the same time making an enormous contribution to medical teaching within the School of Medicine.”

Professor West was appointed as a Professor in UQ’s Department of Medicine in 1989 and then went on to hold many influential roles over subsequent decades, including as Head of the Department of Medicine and Head of the Discipline of Medicine. 

This high-flying cardiologist also played an integral role in the establishment of School of Medicine clinical schools in Brunei and New Orleans, USA as well as regional centres on the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay.

Professor West said he was honoured to be recognised as an Emeritus Professor and was looking forward to continuing his long association with UQ.

“I have enjoyed many years of association with medicine at UQ in teaching, research and leadership roles,” Professor West said.

 “My association with UQ started in 1999 when I moved my family to Brisbane to take up the appointment of Chair of Cardiovascular Research – a position funded by the Heart Foundation through government funds granted to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary.

“On my arrival, I had the opportunity to get involved with a review of the medical school curriculum to promote the UQ Medical School to leadership in medical education and to incorporate problem oriented approaches to learning. 

“My most rewarding initiative was the establishment of a multidisciplinary Marfan syndrome and aneurysm disease clinic at Prince Charles Hospital in the early 1990s to better understand inherited connective tissue disorders that involve the heart and blood vessels.

“That clinic provided a reference point for patients and medical practitioners throughout Australia as well as a research focus during a period of unprecedented development in the understanding of the biology of these conditions and treatment approaches.

“The contributions of my colleagues including Professor Kim Summers, now at Roslin Institute, Edinburgh; Dr Jim McGill; Dr Denis Stark; Dr Madelyn Peterson; Dr Maria Nataatmadja, and Professor Philip Walker - now deceased;  and particularly Mrs Jennifer West, our Clinic Coordinator - were critical for the success of the Clinic and its ongoing work. 

“I have been fortunate my work environment has provided the best in teaching hospital traditions where interactions between clinical medicine, teaching and research are important drivers of innovation.”

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Contact: Kate Gadenne, Snr Communications and Marketing Officer, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, m: 0438 727 895,