Brian Wall, a member of the GI Cancer Institute’s Consumer Advisory Panel, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science by Curtin University on 31 August. The Doctorate was awarded to him by Acting Chancellor Ms Sue Wilson, in recognition of exemplary achievements in pharmacy administration and education, and of major outcomes and achievements in public health administration and health improvements in Australia.
Brian has had a rich and varied career in healthcare. He received a Master of Pharmacy from the Western Australia Institute of Technology and a Master of Applied Science from Curtin University. He worked at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Royal Perth Hospitaland for the Western Australian Health Department, as head of the Pharmaceutical Services and Environmental Health branches and the Public Health division.
Later in his career, Brian went on to work as a consultant in public health policy and administration including consultancies in cancer policy and many other areas. He has also been a member of the WA Northern and Remote Health Services Council.
After a lifetime of working in the health system, two years ago Brian found suddenly found himself experiencing it as a patient. Brian had a positive result to the national bowel cancer screening test, and was diagnosed with early stage colon cancer. He credits the test to saving his life – his cancer was caught at an early stage and only required surgery.
During his address at the graduation ceremony, Brian stressed the importance of participating in the bowel cancer screening program.
“Colorectal cancer is the second-most common cause of death from cancer in Australia,” he said. “However, fewer than 40% of people who receive a detection kit use it. This is a failure to promote and implement what we know works.”
After his experience as a patient, Brian applied to join the GI Cancer Institute’s Consumer Advisory Panel. As a CAP member he advises on research directions and priorities, and identifies unmet needs in the community.
In his address, Brian spoke about the importance of evidence and ethics in healthcare.
“A commitment to evidence-based practice is essential to high quality care,” he said.
He also spoke about the heavy ethical responsibility that healthcare professionals have to their patients, noting, “The promotion or supply of treatments where evidence of benefit is lacking is a significant ethical issue.”
Quoting Mozart, he encouraged graduates to continue to learn and exchange ideas to advance the sciences and arts.
Brian’s expertise and personal experience has been valuable to the GI Cancer Institute’s Consumer Advisory Panel. His receiving this award reflects a lifetime of contribution to healthcare, and his dedication to improving the health of the community.