Gastroenterologists named in Australia Day Honours

A number of gastroenterologists have been recognised for their contributions to the specialty in the 2023 Australia Day Honours.

Among those honoured was Dr Melvyn Korman, Dr Mark Stephens and the late Dr Donald Cameron.

Dr Korman was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to gastroenterological and hepatological medicine”, following more than five decades of work in Australia and overseas.

Dr Melvyn Korman

A doyen of Australian gastroenterology, he created one of the country’s first specialist gastroenterology units at Prince Henry’s Hospital, Melbourne, in 1974, serving as its director until 1991.

He then joined Monash Health, where he continued his clinical role until 2005, being named emeritus director of gastroenterology and hepatology in 2007.

Now retired, he said he felt “honoured and extremely humbled” at the accolade, saying he was proud to have been involved in key reforms to patient care, particularly the development of acid lowering drugs.

Other major changes to gastroenterology over the course of his long career included the introduction of endoscopes and colonoscopes, both of which were unheard of when he started out in the 1970s.

He said he had also dedicated his life to the research across gastric physiology, gastrointestinal hormones, effectiveness of acid lowering drugs, GI bleeding and bowel cancer prevention.

And he multiple high-level positions in Australia and overseas, including seven years on the GESA council, as a researcher at the Mayo Clinic and on numerous international advisory boards.

Also recognised was the late Dr Donald Cameron, who was president of GESA from 2013 to 2015 and who died in October 2021, following a diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.

He was granted an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to paediatric gastroenterology, following more than 40 years in the specialty.

Dr Donald Cameron

In a tribute posted after his death, the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, noted he had been involved in all areas of gastroenterology with special interests in coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, endoscopy and endoscopy training.

He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of Coeliac Australia, Chair of the national colonoscopy quality committee, and a former Chairman of the Conjoint Committee for endoscopy training.

It added his colleagues remembered him as a warm and very talented individual to whom the well-known expression “Is Don is Good” could genuinely be applied.

Meanwhile, Dr Mark Stephens was granted an OAM for “service to the community through a range of organisations”.

The principal of Chesterville Endoscopy in Melbourne since 1987, Dr Stephens has also chaired a gastroenterology clinical indicators review for the Australian Council of Healthcare standards and sat on the Australian Day Hospitals Association board from 2002.

Dr Stephens was also known for his community work, particularly with Rotary International, through which he had volunteered with projects in Cambodia since 2009.

He is also current president of the Rotary Club of Brighton North and former president of Rotary Club of Port Phillip.

Each year, the limbic scours the lists for specialists joining the Order of Australia honours. If you believe someone has been left off, please get in touch at [email protected]

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