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Lambie Dew Oration - SUMS
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Lambie Dew Oration

The Lambie Dew Oration is an annual public event held in honour of Professors Charles Lambie and Harold Dew, the first Bosch Chairs of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Sydney. It is an opportunity for the Sydney University Medical Society (SUMS) to invite a speaker who has made a major impact in health to address an audience in the formal surroundings of the Great Hall and represents one of the key scholarly events organised by SUMS.

The story of Lambie and Dew harks back to a vastly different era and illustrates just how far medicine and medical education have progressed in this country. Upon their appointments in 1930 and 1931, Lambie and Dew became the first full time professors of Medicine and Surgery at any Australian university. By the end of 1932, they had entirely reshaped the medical curriculum at the University of Sydney in such a way that it was left largely unchanged for over 40 years. Together they helped build the foundation of a world renowned institution in medical research and education. It is for this reason that their legacy is celebrated with this annual oration named in their honour.

The Oration itself boasts an esteemed list of recent past speakers, including: Ms Helen Clark (Administrator of the United Nations Development programme), Dame Valerie Beral, Professor Peter Doherty (Nobel Laureate), Dr Fred Hollows, the Hon Michael Kirby and Professor Marie Bashir (Former Governor of NSW). The topics of past orations present snapshots in a fascinating history of significant medical and social issues.

Professor Fiona Wood

“Striving for excellence in health care”, 2017


We are delighted to announce and welcome Professor Fiona Wood to deliver the 59th annual Lambie Dew Oration in 2017. Professor Wood is currently a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Fiona Stanley Hospital (previously at the Royal Perth Hospital) and Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. She is also Winthrop Professor in the School of Surgery at the University of Western Australia where she is actively involved in teaching and training of students and staff. In addition to this, Professor Wood is the current Director of the Western Australia Burns Service (since 1991) and Fiona Wood (formerly McComb) Foundation.

Initially graduating from St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School in London, UK, in 1981, Professor Wood moved to Perth with family in 1987 and attained her training in plastic surgery, becoming Western Australia’s first female Plastic surgeon in 1991. From there on, Professor Wood quickly developed a reputation as a highly skilled and respected plastic and reconstructive surgeon and as a world leading burns specialist through her innovative research and technological developments in burns medicine.

Professor Wood is well-known for the development of the revolutionary ‘Spray-on-Skin’ (ReCell®) technique which has dramatically reduced the time taken to produce autologous skin cells for use on major burns. Publicly, she is well known for continuous campaigning for increased public recognition and knowledge for burns medicine and through her ability to coordinate major medical response operations to worldwide traumatic events involving Burns victims such as the Bali bombings in 2002.

Professor Wood was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2003, and named Australian of the year in 2005 for her tireless contributions to Medicine in the fields of Burns research. She is also an ‘Australian National Living Treasure’.

Recent Orators

Professor Gordian Fulde

“The meaning of life”, 2016


Professor Fulde is the Director of the Emergency Department at St Vincent’s Hospital and Sydney Hospital, and the 2016 Senior Australian of the Year. He is the longest serving Emergency Department Director in a major hospital in Australia, having served in this role for more than three decades. He is actively involved in teaching and training students and staff in many facets of medicine and emergency medicine as well as consistently contributing and offering his time to many schools and organisations in the Community. He is a member of the curriculum committee for the Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales. He is a founding father of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) and has played an integral role in establishing the ACEM training course. He continues to examine for the College, as well as the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the University of New South Wales and the University of Notre Dame, and has published many articles as well as several textbooks on emergency medicine.

Also a member of the Board of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, Professor Fulde used his experience of running one of Australia’s busiest emergency departments to warn of the dangers of a binge drinking culture, which is overwhelmingly the main cause of injury and trauma in modern Australia. This was especially true of the emergency department at St Vincent’s hospital, located near the city’s red-light and clubbing centre, Kings Cross. He was a central figure in advocating for changes to liquor laws in NSW that were passed in 2014, with a subsequent decline in alcohol-related serious trauma and injury presentations at his hospital. It was for this and his tireless work in emergency medicine that he was awarded the well-deserved honour of Senior Australian of the Year in 2016.

Professor Fran Baum

“Creating healthy and fair communities: personalised medicine or collective public health?”, 2015


Professor Baum is a Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Public Health and is one of Australia’s leading researchers on the social and economic determinants of health. Professor Baum’s numerous publications relate to the social determinants of health, including Aboriginal people’s health, health inequities, primary health care, health promotion, healthy cities, and social capital. Her textbook ‘The New Public Health’ is widely used as a core public health text. Furthermore, her significant contributions to the field of Public Health led her to being appointed as a Commissioner on the World Health Organisation’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health from 2005-08.

Professor Baum’s numerous academic and political appointments have not hindered her research interest and output, as she continues to publish on the most fundamental subjects that underlie our health system. Her responses to the 2014 federal budget were widely reported and her recent publications have argued for the need to provide comprehensive primary health care, as well as addressing the social determinants of health within an Australian context. Professor Baum’s speaking engagements have been numerous and impressive – including at the 2008 Fullbright Symposium, the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, and the Global Forum on Urbanization and Health, and of course the 2015 Lambie-Dew Oration.

Dr John Yu

“Community values and the challenges of change.”, 2014 | Photos


Dr John Yu is a distinguished paediatrician and Sydney University Medical Program alumnus. He was formerly the Chief Executive Officer of Westmead Children’s Hospital where, as an expert on decorative arts, he helped to create a paediatric hospital that integrates art, design and high quality medical care for the benefit of young people. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Yu served as the Chancellor of the University of New South Wales. He has been a part of various organizations in support of Asian culture and relations between Australia and China. Dr Yu’s commitments to Medicine and the Arts were recognised in 1996 when he was awarded Australian of the Year, and in 2001 when he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Ms Helen Clark

“A vital crossroads: health & human development for a new century.”, 2013 | Photos


Health and well-being are key drivers and outcomes of sustainable human development. In global consultations aimed at shaping the goals and targets that will succeed the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) post 2015, health consistently emerged as a top priority around the world. However, health inequities remain pervasive, and addressing these inequities demands cross-cutting, integrated policy approaches. In this lecture, Helen Clark set forth a vision for sustainable human development, underpinned by a human rights based approach, that integrates and advances health across all sectors and among all populations.

Dame Valerie Beral AC

“Up and up: challenging myths of Australian health in crisis.”, 2012


Born in Australia and a graduate of the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine, Dame Valerie Beral is the Head of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University and Principal Investigator for the Million Woman Study – famously studying links between HRT and breast cancer. Professor Beral has served on numerous World Health Organisation committees and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2010 for her contributions to science. Dame Valerie Beral discussed the main reasons for the substantial and continuing improvements in the health of Australians.

Past Orators


2011 – Professor Jim Bishop

2010 – Professor Patrick McGorry

2009 – Dr Rowan Gillies

2008 – Professor Ian Frazer

2007 – Professor Chris O’Brien – “The need for change in cancer care: an appraisal of organisational and treatment paradigms from both sides of the fence.”

2006 – Professor Graeme Clark – “The multi channel Cochlear Implant: the sensory interface between the world of sound and human consciousness.”

2005 – Reverend Tim Costello – “Social health and social change.”

2004 – Dr Jeff McMullen – “Walking in the footsteps of Fred Hollows: his vision twenty years on.”

2003 – Professor Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO

2002 – Nance de Vries – “The stolen generation.”

2001 – Dr Alex Wodak – “Responding to illicit drugs as a health and social issue.”

2000 – Professor Ann Sefton – “The reflections of a life-long learner.”

1990 – Professor John Chalmers – “Challenges facing medical research in Australia.”

1980 – Dr Dayalan Devanesen & Johnny Briscoe – “The aboriginal health worker training program in central Australia.”

1970 – Sir Lorimer Dodds – “Research and serendipity.”

1960 – Professor John McMichael – “Research from Genesis to Revelation.”

1958 – Professor Maxwell Wintrobe – “Medical practice and medical research.”