01 March 2021

Research grant pays tribute to the late Dr Harry Nespolon

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is inviting GPs and GP registrars to apply for the RACGP Foundation Harry Nespolon Research Grant.

The research grant of up to $60,000 will be offered for a period of 12 months to fund a research project into the wellbeing of GPs and/or GPs in training including factors that support the wellbeing of GPs, GP self-care and peer support. Applications for the grant open today and close on Monday 3 May.

It commemorates the late Dr Harry Nespolon, who served as RACGP President until his death from pancreatic cancer in July last year.

The RACGP In Memoriam page, which honours the legacy of the late President, features many stories and reflections that highlight just how many lives Dr Harry Nespolon touched during his 57 years.

RACGP President Dr Karen Price said that research grant is a fitting tribute to a giant of general practice.

“Harry was an inspirational leader, a tireless advocate for general practice and someone who is missed by many people,” she said.

“He stepped up during the twin health crises of the 2019-20 summer bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic and fought to the very end for GPs and the patients they care for.

“From start to finish, Harry cared deeply for the health and wellbeing of his peers. He understood that GPs can only provide the best possible standard of care for their patients if they have the right kind of care and support to lead full, healthy, and balanced lives.

“I can personally attest that being a GP is an incredibly rewarding profession; however, it can prove stressful and challenging, particularly during a health crisis such as a pandemic. GPs work incredibly hard to help people from all walks of life, but they need to look after themselves too.

“Speaking about the CrazySocks4Docs movement, which does an outstanding job raising awareness of the mental health of doctors and health practitioners around the world, Harry reminded GPs that the most important patient is yourself.

“That is why the inaugural Harry Nespolon grant will fund research into the wellbeing of GPs. It will be research by GPs for GPs – Harry wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

“This is an area of research that is vital for the future of primary care and patients across Australia.”

RACGP CEO Dr Matthew Miles encouraged interested GPs and GP registrars to apply.

“My message to all GPs and GP registrars who have a potential proposal in mind my message to you is simple - please put your hand up and apply,” he said.

“It could make all the difference, particularly since the successful applicant will have the opportunity to present their work to leadership at the RACGP. This will help inform future policy and programs for the general practice community.”

More information concerning crazysocks4docs can be found here.

This grant is made available through the generosity of Medibank Better Health Foundation, the RACGP, and kind donations made by family, friends, colleagues and patients of Dr Harry Nespolon as well as Sonic Health and RACGP members to continue his work and honour his vision.

For more information about applying for the research grant, visit: https://foundation.racgp.org.au/grants.

RACGP President Dr Karen Price is available for comment.

Media enquiries

Journalists and media outlets seeking comment and information from the RACGP can contact:

John Ronan

Senior Media Advisor