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Iconic GP’s refresher still on course after three decades

20 November 2008

Professor John Murtagh AM reached a milestone in medical education when he convened his 30th Annual Update Course for General Practitioners.

It is a rare GP who doesn't have a copy of Murtagh's General Practice stored in his or her bookcase. The countless contributions of Professor John Murtagh to education and professional development in this demanding, diverse field of medicine include numerous academic roles at Monash University, his expertise in musculo-skeletal medicine and, of course, his seminal textbook, now translated into 10 languages.

Still working tirelessly in the field of general practice, despite retiring in 2004, Professor Murtagh recently convened his 30th Annual Update Course for General Practitioners, a three-day continuing education program. Attending doctors travelled from as far away as Queensland and New Zealand to listen to speakers discuss developments in areas such as obesity, men's health, palliative care, complementary medicine and clinical genetics.

The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Professor Steve Wesselingh, celebrated Professor Murtagh's ongoing contribution to general practice and presented him with a commemorative plaque for the anniversary.

"Many in this room would consider Professor John Murtagh to be their mentor and friend, and clearly the fact that this course has been running for thirty years and has become more and more popular is entirely due to him. On behalf of the Faculty, I congratulate Professor Murtagh for his enormous input into this area," Professor Wesselingh said.

Professor Murtagh's relationship with the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences dates back to 1961, when he gave up his career as a science teacher to commence studies within the first cohort of Monash medical students.

After graduating, he trained in surgery, worked extensively in general practice in rural Victoria, and developed a special interest in musculo-skeletal medicine. He has since taught over 3000 GPs the basic skills of mobilisation and joint injection, and has completed a doctorate on the management of back pain in general practice.

Professor Murtagh is the author of more than 150 journal articles and six books, including General Practice, and continues in an educational role in the Faculty's School of Primary Health Care.


S. Wesselingh and J. Murtagh

Professor John Murtagh receives a commemorative plaque from Professor Steve Wesselingh, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.