November 25, 2023
The medical profession is mourning the shock death of Professor Dennis Pashen on Thursday evening after a tragic accident in Tasmania.
Prof Pashen was a former Director of Medical Services for the South Burnett and was key to the establishment of the Rural Doctors Association and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).
He served terms as president of both these associations.
“There were few people who could match Dennis’ gravitas, experience, or strategic insight into the role and importance of rural generalism for the health of rural and remote communities,” Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) vice-president Prof Michael Clements said.
“He could connect the dots between clinical practice, academic research and politics.
“He was a mentor and inspiration to many of the current leaders in rural health and rural advocacy.”
Prof Pashen later became a senior lecturer at the University of Queensland and was the founding director of the Mt Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (now the Centre for Rural and Remote Health).
He led the push for formal recognition of Rural Generalist Medicine as a new speciality field within general practice.
Sadly, he died before a decision on this has been made.
The Medical Board of Australia is currently accepting submissions on a joint application from ACRRM and RACGP on the proposal.
“‘He was a mentor, a fierce advocate, and a clinician who inspired more than one generation of GPs and rural generalists,” RACGP president Dr Nicole Higgins said.
Prof Pashen was born in Cloncurry and spent most of his career in Queensland, including a long stint as a GP in Ingham.
He moved to Tasmania in 2006, and last year was named Tasmanian Rural Doctor of the Year.