2017 Carey Medallist
Michael was Victorian of the Year in 1996 and was recognised in the 2015 Australia Day Honours List as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medicine in the field of gynaecological oncology.
Michael is the parent of three Old Carey Grammarians – Natalie (1992), Caroline (1994) and Mark (1997). He was born in Glasgow and graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1973. Following his graduation, Michael became interested in obstetrics and gynaecology, leading to a research scholarship in Australia in 1978. In the decades since then, he has had a profound influence on the lives of countless women both here in Australia, and across the globe.
Throughout his career, Michael has played a key role in advancing Australian cancer research by initiating the Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre in Melbourne in 1996 and taking a lead in the formation of the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG) in 2000. Prior to the formation of ANZGOG, there was no national gynaecological trials group in Australia. At various points in his extensive career, Michael has been the Chair of ANZGOG, the Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ASGO), and Cancer Council Victoria.
In addition to personally undertaking a great amount of cancer research, Michael also has extensive experience in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in surgery and oncology. He has become an international representative on cancer committees around the world, including chairing the world’s largest gynaecological cancer trials group (GCIG) from 2012–14. Also around that time, from 2010–2014, Michael co-chaired the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) – responsible for the worldwide staging of gynaecological cancers.
As part of his work, Michael has written over 350 scientific papers, four books, two monographs, and numerous book chapters. He has also served on the editorial board of Gynaecologic Oncology and the International Journal of Gynaecological Oncology.
Back in 1982, Michael was responsible for the introduction of multidisciplinary care and tumour boards across Victoria. This model was eventually adopted in all gynaeoncology units and breast cancer care units in Australia. Also in the 1980s, Michael advocated for specialised gynaeoncology nurses, and organised the first nurse Pap smear training course in Australia with La Trobe University in 1989.
Michael held the position of the Director of Oncology and Dysplasia at the Royal Women’s Hospital Melbourne for 23 years, where he was not only the lead clinician, but also a mentor for numerous fellows, general trainees, and nurses. There are many women who are grateful for Michael’s personal approach while being their specialist.
Committed to providing a dedicated gynaeoncology unit at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Michael raised three million dollars and continues raising further funding through the Women’s Cancer Foundation, of which he was a founding member. Michael continues, at 68 years of age, to take on new projects to help improve the status and awareness of gynaecological cancer.
In order to generate funding for his research, and to help others in need, Michael has established numerous charity events – setting himself a new challenge every year. Not only does Michael organise these events, but he also takes an active role in them. These have included mountain climbs, marathons (10 in total – including London, New York, Venice and Melbourne), and bike rides in the UK and France (including one from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in the United Kingdom which was over 1,400km in 10 days). These fundraising endeavours are taken during personal holiday times.
The Carey Medal Committee believes that Michael is a very worthy recipient of the Carey Medal. He has made an exceptional contribution in support of better outcomes for women with gynaecological cancers, not only with his research and teaching but also through his personal endeavours to raise funds for research and health improvements globally.