Talk on Dr Cecil Cook

J W Bleakley and right, Dr Cecil Cook on the Barkley Tableland 1928 (NAA A263, ALBUM)

J W Bleakley and right, Dr Cecil Cook on the Barkley Tableland 1928 (NAA A263, ALBUM)

The Royal Australian College of Physician’s final lecture for 2013 will be delivered by historian Barry Leithhead on Monday 25 November 2013 at the RACP Education Centre, Level 8, 52 Phillip Street, Sydney. Barry will be speaking on ‘Aboriginal health, public health and tropical medicine: 50 years of contributions by Dr Cecil Cook (1897-1985)’

Dr Cecil Cook, from Queensland, graduated from the University of Sydney in 1920 (MB ChM) and completed his residencies primarily in rural and remote Queensland towns. He earned his DTM&H (Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene) (London) in 1923 and was appointed Demonstrator at the London School.  He completed his DPH (Diploma of Public Health) in 1930 and undertook studies in Anthropology at the University of Sydney (1930) and in Malaria Control at the League of Nations in Malaya (1935).

This talk will briefly cover the highlights of Dr Cook’s career as Chief Medical and Health Officer in the Northern Territory (1927-39), the AAMC (Australian Army Medical Corps (1941-45), WA Commissioner of Public Health (1946-49) and Department of Health, Canberra (1950-62). The conclusion to the lecture will reflect on various historical themes that developed in medicine and health through the 50 years from 1920 to 1970, in areas such as government policy, quarantine and disease prevention, the diagnosis of tropical diseases, healthcare funding, public health after Chadwick’s sanitation, infant mortality and epidemiological research. The audience will be invited to comment on these historical themes and their development.

Barry Leithhead is a retired management consultant, specialising in corporate governance in the private and public sectors. A private interest is the history of golf, collecting and playing with hickory shafted golf clubs. Over the past five years, Barry has researched Dr Cook’s career, cataloguing his extensive archive of correspondence, papers, books, NAA (National Archives of Australia) files and writing his biography, publication of which is expected in 2014. His partner, Robin McIntyre, is Dr Cook’s daughter.

The talk will be held on Monday 25 November 2013 at 6.30pm at the RACP Education Centre, Level 8, 52 Phillip Street, Sydney (opposite the Museum of Sydney, down towards Circular Quay from Chifley Square). Entry is free with refreshments and discussion before and after the lecture.

Contact the RACP Librarian on 02 9256 5413 or David.Russell@racp.edu.au for further information and bookings.

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