Professor of Public Health Chris Del Mar AM FAHMS was a champion of evidence-based practice and much-loved mentor to many junior doctors and medical students. It is with great sadness that we share news of his passing, a loss that will be felt by many.
Professor Del Mar was elected to the Academy in 2015. He was an incredible contributor to the Queensland academic general practice community, and served as Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research), and simultaneously Dean of Health Sciences and Medicine at Bond University – where he successfully started the first private Australian university medical program.
Professor Del Mar was recognised as an expert in management of acute respiratory infection in primary care, and renowned for his work on antibiotic resistance.
In 2019, Professor Del Mar suffered a significant spinal cord injury in a surfing accident. Despite these challenges, he continued to mentor and support students, and contribute to research projects.
His work was recognised with many accolades: in 2021 he was named a Member of the Order of Australia for “significant service to tertiary education, to health and medical research, and to professional bodies”.
Professor Del Mar’s wife, Professor Tammy Hoffmann OAM FAHMS, said he had an insatiable desire to “do good”.
“In the last three years since his catastrophic injury, the courage and determination he showed is beyond compare,” she said.
“He was an original thinker and unafraid to challenge the evidence behind conventional beliefs and practices.”
Colleague Professor Paul Glasziou AO FAHMS said Professor Del Mar had left a significant legacy.
“Chris was a rare and remarkable blend of active general practitioner, clinical teacher, and GP researcher,” Professor Glasziou said.
“He championed general practice doing its own research to help better manage patients with the clinical conditions they see frequently. He was one of the earliest GP promoters of evidence-based medicine, and more recently shared decision making (but based on sharing the best evidence).
“Over the four decades of his academic career, he had an immense impact on primary care research and researchers that will live on with the many he mentored and influenced.
“He had a wonderful sense of play and fun at work, but with a sustained focus on improving patient care.”
Professor Adele Green AC FAA FAHMS said Professor Del Mar was “great to work with as a researcher because of his curiosity and drive, always leavened by his sense of humour”.
“He mixed his quest for knowledge with his passion to change primary care for the better, and his legacy will live on in his many contributions to improving public health and clinical practice in Australia.”
Our thoughts are with his friends, family and colleagues at this difficult time. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife, and AAHMS Fellow, Professor Tammy Hoffmann OAM FAHMS.