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Climate change and health pioneer dies

Public health experts from around the world have paid tribute to Australian epidemiologist Professor Tony McMichael, whose pioneering work on the links between climate change and health helped inform the AMA’s policy on the issue.

Professor McMichael, who was Professor Emeritus of Population Health at the Australian National University when he died from complications associated with pneumonia in late September, has been hailed for his world-leading work in epidemiology, including his efforts from the 1980s to draw international attention to the health effects of climate change.

His world leadership in this area of work was acknowledged when he appointed the chair the committee assessing health risks for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change between 1993 and 1996, and he continued to contribute to the stock of knowledge about how climate change is and will affect health right up until his death.

Among those to benefit from his scholarship was the AMA.

Professor McMichael was one of the principle speakers at the AMA Environmental Health Summit in November 2002, and his research was drawn upon by the AMA in the development in 2004 of its Climate Change and Human Health Position Paper (revised in 2008).

Professor McMichael, who was 71 when he died, is survived by his wife Judith and two daughters.

Adrian Rollins