Message from the Executive Dean

2020 has been a year like no other. Every aspect of the Faculty of Medicine’s activity has been stress tested and I am delighted to report that, although we are tired and in need of a rest, we have had an exceptional year. Our key relationships have been strengthened, our research performance significantly increased, and our teaching programs effectively delivered with empathy and innovation. So why has this occurred? The simple answer is people. Our professional and academic staff, students and key partners have worked together to achieve our goals and continue to serve our community. This edition of UQmedicine highlights the achievements of a few of our highly able staff. I would, however, like to thank our entire team for their contribution to the mission and values of the Faculty of Medicine in 2020. The end of the year is always a time to reflect on the year that has been and plan for the years ahead. I thought I would do a little of both in this editorial. 

The year began with the completion of the Mayne Medical Building renovation. This spectacular Art Deco building completed in 1938 was in need of some attention and, with the assistance of Heritage Queensland, the University and a dedicated team of builders, we now occupy a building with restored function but retention of the exquisite features that define the building and its era. The Mayne Medical Building is the home of the Faculty of Medicine and its restoration allows many more to use and enjoy its functionality. Of particular note is the event space on level 4, which in the future will be the site of many gatherings. The Marks-Hirschfeld Museum of Medical History is another important component of retaining the legacy of the Faculty and will ensure we consider what we have learnt from history as we look forward. If you have a chance, please visit and enjoy the revival of an iconic building. 

The Mayne family are an important part of our history and it is noteworthy that this year we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Mayne bequest. Established in the wills of Dr James and Miss Mary Emelia Mayne, the Faculty of Medicine has benefited from the support of the bequest for the key Professors of Medicine and Surgery as well as research and teaching activity. We are particularly grateful to Mr John Moore, the Mayne Bequest Trustee, for his stewardship of this important resource. 

Transitions in leadership are also important events to acknowledge. For the School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS) we said farewell to Kaye Basford earlier in the year and welcomed Lizzie Coulson as the interim Head of SBMS. More recently, Charles Gilks concluded his term as Head of the School of Public Health (SPH) and we welcomed Liz Eakin as the new Head of SPH. I would like to sincerely thank Kaye and Charles for their sustained and effective contribution within and outside their schools. I am also delighted to report the appointment of Karen Moritz as our new Associate Dean (Research). 

Our alumni are an important part of our legacy and I am delighted to report that two of our medical alumni, John Maunder and Michael Bonning, were acknowledged at the recent Courting the Greats event at Customs House. Both have made substantial contributions well beyond their vocation and are wonderful ambassadors for UQ. 

Similarly, heartfelt congratulations to Kaye Basford AM, Ranjeny Thomas AM and Jeffrey Lipman AM, who were recognised in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Awards and to Lisa Dingwall MStJ, who was recently awarded the Order of St John for consistent and outstanding service, having tirelessly volunteered as a first-aid medic for the past 11 years.

So what of the future? The Faculty of Medicine and UQ are in a very strong position to embrace the current opportunities in education and research. Our understanding and application of new ways of teaching has been accelerated this year and we are embracing the best of this new approach. Our future in education will be a purposeful blend of face-to-face and online activities, which will result in better outcomes for our students with increased flexibility. In research, we are well poised to expand on our strengths and build on our partnerships. With our fellow universities, medical research institutes and health service partners, we will enhance our collaborations to ensure our research is impactful. Our breadth of research, from discovery to translation and policy, is our great strength and will serve us well for the future. 

To conclude, I commend this edition of UQmedicine. It continues the theme of celebrating our people and their endeavours, and looks optimistically at the future and what we can achieve together. 

Professor Geoff McColl 

Executive Dean, Faculty of Medicine 


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