St George Hospital professor's significant work in health recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours 2018

Innovative fields: Professor Mark Brown has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for medicine. Picture: John Veage
Innovative fields: Professor Mark Brown has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for medicine. Picture: John Veage

Mark Brown says he is slightly embarrassed to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, but his life’s work in medicine shows that it is indeed a well-deserved recognition. 

The honour acknowledges his significant service in the field of nephrology and to medical research, particularly hypertension in pregnancy.

For 35 years, Professor Brown been based at St George Hospital, where he first began his career as a resident doctor.

The professor of renal medicine and medical director in the division of medicine has been instrumental in establishing the hospital’s renal supportive care program in 2009.

It’s integration with palliative care has given patients – mostly elderly who have advanced kidney disease, improved quality of life.

NSW funding has enabled treatment of more than 2000 patients in the past 18 months. 

Professor Brown, of Bangor, also set-up an award-winning outreach program for homeless men with Mission Australia. 

Its clinic has given men access to liver and Hepatitis C screening, and is launching influenza and Hepatitis B vaccinations during Men’s Helath Week (June 11-17).

The (recent) former president of the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy was also commended on his work in treating pregnant women who suffer from high blood pressure.

“In the 1980s when I first started at St George, babies were dying and no one really knew how to manage it,” Professor Brown said.

“Research was nearly non-existent, and there was an obvious need at a clinical level to improve outcomes for these women and babies.

“I’ve been trying to get more work in this area in Africa, India and South America, where they don’t even have blood pressure machines most of the time, and the diagnosis is made too late.”

He said a career highlight has been watching the development of junior doctors.

“I’ve always had a passion for education and mentoring,” he said.

“I’ve taught medical students since 1987 and still do.

“I’ve seen so many young doctors come through who have become consultants or professors.

“I look around and there are so many people I know who are doing such great work in different areas.

“I’ve been blessed to work with great colleagues at a hospital that always has a patient-first focus.”

Work life aside, the keen golfer and grandfather says having a strong family support network is vital.

“We did a survey at the hospital recently that showed a fairly high rate of doctor’s mental health concerns,” he said.

“So it’s really important to be able to switch off, and have that rock when you go home.”