Entry is free at the door. There will be refreshments with discussion before and after the lecture.
‘Aboriginal health, public health and tropical medicine’ - Fifty years of contributions by Dr Cecil Cook (1897-1985)
Dr Cecil Cook, from Queensland, graduated from the University of Sydney in 1920 (MB ChM) and completed his residencies primarily in rural and remote Queensland towns. He earned his DTM&H (Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene) (London) in 1923 and was appointed Demonstrator at the London School. While he was there he was awarded the Wandsworth Scholarship for three years of funded research. On the suggestion of Dr JHL Cumpston, Director-General of Health, Cook researched leprosy in all Australian states during 1923-5,completed the Epidemiology of Leprosy in Australia (1927) and was awarded MD (Sydney) in 1929. He completed his DPH (Diploma of Public Health) in 1930 and undertook studies in Anthropology at the University of Sydney (1930) and in Malaria Control at the League of Nations in Malaya (1935). Dr Cook was awarded the Cilento Medal in 1935 and the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1936 for his services to Aboriginal Health. He was made a Member of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners in 1959 and a Fellow in 1969, not for practising as a GP, but for his role in establishing the College as advisor to the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) on Preventive Medicine. For two years before his retirement as Director, Division of Public Health, Department of Health, in 1962, he was a member of nine committees and chaired seven. He continued on in two of these - Tropical Physiology and Epidemiology, for seven years after his retirement.
The presentation will briefly cover the highlights of Dr Cook’s career as Chief Medical and Health Officer in the Northern Territory (1927-39), the AAMC (Australian Army Medical Corps (1941-5), W.A. Commissioner of Public Health (1946-9) and Department of Health, Canberra (1950-62). The conclusion to the lecture will reflect on various historical themes that developed in medicine and health through the fifty years from 1920-1970, in areas such as government policy, quarantine and disease prevention, the diagnosis of tropical diseases, healthcare funding, public health after Chadwick’s sanitation, infant mortality and epidemiological research. The audience will be invited to comment on these historical themes and their development.
Background of Speaker
Barry Leithhead is a retired management consultant, specialising in corporate governance in the private and public sectors. A private interest is the history of golf, collecting and playing with hickory shafted golf clubs. Over the past five years, Barry has researched Dr Cook’s career, cataloguing his extensive archive of correspondence, papers, books, NAA (National Archives of Australia) files and writing his biography, publication of which is expected in 2014. His partner, Robin McIntyre, was Dr Cook’s daughter.