Importance of philosophy and ethics in Medicine acknowledged

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 4-5-2012

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Publication Place



Recognising the study of philosophy and ethics in Medicine each year at Notre Dame, two students from the University’s Fremantle Campus recently received prizes, sponsored by the Knights of Malta in Western Australia, for achieving excellence in these disciplines.

The Order of Malta is the world’s oldest Catholic charity with embassies in 104 countries. It has more than 13,500 members worldwide, including seven in WA.

The Order’s Mission is to offer assistance to the poor and suffering through humanitarian, medical and social activities carried out by its Knights and Dames.

This Mission reflects the old traditions of the Order which were established in the Middles Ages.

Second year Medicine student, Jacky Yeung, was presented the prize for Philosophical studies in Medicine on behalf of the Knights of Malta by Mr Kevin Hammond AO, a long-time supporter of Notre Dame.

Jessie Chennell, the recipient for the prize in Ethics for 2011, is currently placed at the Rural Clinical School in Bunbury and hopes to work as a rural GP obstetrician when she graduates next year.

Ms Chennell said winning the Knights of Malta prize was especially meaningful considering the extent of humanitarian aid the Order had provided to hundreds of countries around the world.

“The work of the Order, in particular their commitment to the provision of care to areas of need, is inspirational,” Ms Chennell said.

“It is also something that I feel quite passionate about and would love to emulate in my future career as a doctor. To be awarded this prize was incredibly humbling and exciting.”

Director of Mission at the School of Medicine in Fremantle and Coordinator of the Order of Malta members in WA, Dr Michael Shanahan, said it was important to acknowledge the significant influence of ethical practice in the delivery of medical support to patients.

“The ‘good’ doctor will find that for all the knowledge and skills attained, it is the wisdom, inspired by an understanding of philosophy and ethics that influence Medicine, which makes the doctor ‘good’,” Dr Shanahan said.

Fourth year student Kenric Smith was awarded four prizes for his work in third year Medicine in 2011, including the Best Student prize sponsored by the Australian Medical Association of WA.

Other students to receive prizes include Trenton Lee, Linda Vu, Dwain Burridge, Shahab Siddique, Aaron Esmaili, Claire Bertenshaw and Maeve Kiely.

Dean of the School of Medicine, Fremantle, Professor Gavin Frost said the University was appreciative of the continued support from donors who provided assistance to Notre Dame’s Medicine students each year.

“Prize giving is an opportunity to recognise those students who achieve excellence in a particular component of their four-year degree,” Professor Frost said.

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