‘Stalwart of general practice research’ receives award

Jolyon Attwooll

17/12/2021 4:55:25 PM

Colleagues and former students praise ‘well deserved’ recognition for Professor Chris del Mar.

Professor Chris del Mar receiving award
The Governor of Queensland, Dr Jeannette Young (right), has officially appointed Professor Chris del Mar (centre), a member of the Order of Australia.

Dr Jeannette Young, formerly the Chief Health Officer of Queensland, visited Professor Chris del Mar in person in her new capacity as the state’s governor to appoint him a member of the Order of Australia last month.
The award, announced in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List this year, is ‘for significant service to tertiary education, to health and medical research, and to professional bodies’.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price says the recognition for Professor del Mar is richly deserved.
‘He’s been such a stalwart of general practice research,’ Dr Price told newsGP. ‘His CV is highly impressive, and he’s also an extraordinarily decent human being.’
Dr Price said she has personally experienced Professor del Mar’s generosity with his time and expertise in the field of general practice.
‘Whenever I’ve spoken to him, he’s been engaging, warm, totally focused on the good of general practice through research … and [on implementing] policy on the basis of that research,’ she said.
Professor del Mar’s long-term friend and colleague Professor Paul Glasziou was also named in the same Honours List as an Officer of the Order of Australia for his distinguished service to medical education and standards, and to evidence-based medical research.
He describes Professor del Mar as an ‘affable’ academic who has successfully taught and nurtured generations of medical students.
‘He has been an influential teacher of general practice for a long time and inspired lots of current medical graduates across Queensland,’ Professor Glasziou told newsGP.
‘I think students enjoy the fact that he’s both approachable and a very good storyteller.
‘He has very good depth of knowledge, particularly in the areas of general practice. He’s a broad thinker in that area.’
Professor del Mar’s career has included much more than teaching, with an unusually wide range of research and education listed on his CV.
Having studied medicine at the University of Cambridge, Professor del Mar moved to Queensland in 1977, where he established his own general practice.
A former professor and head of general practice at the University of Queensland, he then moved to Bond University where he helped establish the institution’s medical degree and guided its first cohort of medical students to graduation.
He is also renowned as an expert in the management of acute respiratory infection in primary care as well as for his research into antibiotic resistance and shared decision making.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours List is the latest in a series of awards. In 2008 he was awarded the RACGP’s Rose-Hunt medal, while in 2014 he received the Bridges-Webb Medal for his contributions to academic activities in primary care.
Professor Glasziou said his colleague’s career and the awards he has received demonstrate a ‘rare combination’ of teaching and research skills.
‘People tend to excel at one or the other,’ he said. ‘To be a dean and to get the Bridges-Webb Medal [is] a pretty remarkable achievement.’

Despite a surfing accident in 2019 which caused a major spinal injury, Professor del Mar has continued to contribute to education and research through occasional Zoom lectures and conferences. He has also since worked on papers and supervised PhD students.
Several former students paid tribute to their old teacher on social media. One called the Order of Australia award ‘very well deserved’ and recalled Professor del Mar’s ‘big influence’ on their research and teaching.
‘[Professor] del Mar was our medical school evidence-based medicine lecturer and was fantastic,’ another said, praising her former teacher’s ‘engaging and practical lectures’.
‘I still reference them when approaching any paper I read or stats that I am studying.’
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Dr Martyn Taylor   19/12/2021 11:13:47 PM

I was also very lucky to have been a UQ Med student and taught evidence based Medicine by Professor Del Mar-I still have his lecture notes on statistics. His award is truly deserved for his knowledge, skills, research and contribution to General Practice and the education of many a medical student.

Dr Jitendra Natverlal Parikh   19/12/2021 11:30:57 PM

I must acknowledge fact that I have never heard of him

A.Prof Christopher David Hogan   21/12/2021 10:05:26 PM

Chris has been a dear colleague for many years & while we may not always agree with each other we have always had the most superb discussions.
Congratulations on the presentation of your award.