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New members of the AMA Roll of Fellows

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Two former State AMA Presidents and a leading GP advocate were inducted into the AMA Roll of Fellows at the AMA National Conference.

In a formal ceremony highlighting the outstanding contribution they had each made to the AMA and medical profession, former AMA Queensland President, Dr Alex Markwell, former AMA Victoria President, Dr Stephen Parnis and leading GP advocate Dr Stephen Wilson, were added to the Roll of Fellows by outgoing AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton.

“The new Fellows have all excelled in their medical careers, across many specialties,” Dr Hambleton said. “At the same time, they have dedicated themselves to working to improve conditions for doctors, and to make the Australian health system work more effectively for patients and communities.”

The following are excerpts from their citations:

Dr Alex Markwell

Ever since graduating from the University of Queensland in 2002, there have been two enduring threads running through Dr Markwell’s work and activities – a commitment to the well-being of her patients and the broader community, and a determination to improve the lot of the medical profession.

As President of AMA Queensland in 2012 and 2013, the emergency physician was a tireless champion of policies to improve well-being, including by enhancing health literacy and tackling the social determinants of health to reduce the burden of preventable disease, most notably trauma-related injury and death, and lifestyle-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes.

Dr Markwell has also been a consistent and effective advocate for improved medical education, including as Chair of AMA Queensland’s Council of Residents and Registrars, and later as Chair of the Federal AMA Council of Doctors in Training. She has fought hard on behalf of junior doctors to increase clinical training capacity, improve work hours, and safeguard doctor health. This commitment has also carried through to her work as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland.

In recognition of her selfless and tireless efforts, which embody the AMA’s ethos of integrity and care for both patients and members, Dr Markwell has been appointed the inaugural Ambassador for the AMAQ Foundation.

Dr Stephen Parnis, MBBS DipSurgAnay FACEM

Throughout an interesting and varied medical career that has taken him across the country and across the world, Dr Parnis has had a keen and abiding interest in medical education and training.

Through more than a decade of activism, the emergency physician – who recently completed a two-year term as AMA Victoria President – has been at the centre of big issues that have shaped and, at times, threatened to derail, medical education.

As current Chair of the AMA Council of Salaried Doctors, an Australian Salaried Medical Officer Federation Councillor, a long-serving Chair of the AMA Victoria Industrial Relations Subcommittee and a member of the Medical Training Review Panel of Australia, Dr Parnis helped see off Federal Government plans to cap tax deductions for self-education expenses (the successful ‘Scrap the Cap’ campaign), helped medical trainees win representation in medical Colleges, and led the successful negotiation of ground-breaking enterprise agreements for doctors in training and medical specialists in Victoria.

Important as this work has been, Dr Parnis has also thrown himself into promoting public health. He is a vigorous and resilient advocate who has been at the forefront of AMA Victoria efforts to reduce the harm caused by smoking and alcohol, stamp out attacks on health workers and improve end of life care.

Dr Stephen Wilson

General practice can have few more passionate and effective advocates than Dr Wilson.

The Perth-based GP, who has been in practice for almost 30 years, is active at all levels of the AMA and Government advancing the interests of general practitioners and their patients.

The former AMA WA Vice President is a long-serving Chair of the AMA WA General Practice Council, and since 2008 has also been an important member of the Federal AMA Council of General Practice.

Dr Wilson’s keen sense of justice and fairness has led him to practise in less affluent communities where the need for his services has been greatest, and he has been a prominent critic of policies that increase health costs.

In keeping with his concern about access to health care, Dr Wilson has long pushed for GP shortages in regional areas to be addressed, and is a knowledgeable advocate for better use of information technology in providing health care.

Adrian Rollins

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