Her smile will be missed by many
The well–known and well–loved Associate Professor Amanda Jane McBride passed away on 13 July 2016 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
'She was born in Sydney on 7 August, 1955 and had two younger sisters, Wendy and Penny.
She completed her secondary schooling in Parkes, as a weekly boarder while her family lived on a farm at Manildra. In her final year, she was the school captain.
During her time studying medicine at Sydney University (1978), she was known as the girl with the long blonde hair and the big smile.
On St Patrick’s Day during her internship year at RPAH, she was driving home from work when she was hit by a car driven by drunk Irishmen. The big smile never failed, despite her serious arm and neck injuries. Her orthopaedic surgeon was Bruce Shepherd, 12th president of the AMA and a father of two deaf children. They became friends, and Amanda subsequently became GP to Bruce’s wife Annette. Amanda was also actively involved with the Shepherd Foundation which provides services for deaf children, being on the fundraising committee from the 1990s to 2005.
Her enthusiasm was sparked for medical politics, starting with the Australian Medical Association. She was a member of the AMA NSW Council 1987-2001 and member of the AMA Federal Council 1987-1993. She has been a member of the Australian Doctors Fund since 1990, and an executive member 2008-2014.
Immediately after her residency year, Amanda opened her General Practice in Miller St, North Sydney, something which is no longer possible. She worked in the area with associates from 1981-2008 and then moved part-time to Woollahra General Practice. Her patients often thought of her as their friend, possibly because her care seemed limitless, from house calls for the seriously ill to role-playing with patients for their job interviews.
In 1985, she married her husband Peter and the couple remained devoted to each other until her death. Although they had no children of their own, they were closely involved in the lives of many of their young friends.
Amanda’s big smile and positive energy gave her a bouncy persona but this covered a person physically fragile from her MVA injuries and her brittle asthma and osteoporosis. She once described herself as ‘an indoor plant.”
However, her enthusiasm never waned and she never stopped giving, so the number of boards and committees to which she contributed are too many to number.
The Medical Services Committee recently honoured her with an award for “over 30 years of voluntary service to the Committee for patients, medical practitioners and public health.
Through her personal support for breast cancer patients she became a regular fundraiser for the annual Breast Cancer Breakfasts, and then ironically she was Senior Clinical Advisor for Cancer Australia for 2 years.
Her passion was for medicine and people was neatly encapsulated in her involvement in ASPOG, the Australian Society of Psychosexual Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She was on the organising committees for the annual scientific meetings when they were held in Sydney in 2009 and 2013. She taught the SCORPIO gynaecology program to medical students at Sydney University and the University of Notre Dame and had extensive involvement on government committees for breast and cervical screening, along with many publications on those topics.
She also taught, and had a strong belief in, the importance of communication skills. This combined with her big smile made her a great networker. From 2000-2012 she appeared intermittently as Dr Amanda, the radio doctor on the 2GB program, Your Health. This continued with involvement in other videos designed for GPs including Drivetime radio CD.
Most recently, much of her effort was invested in her role as Head of General Practice at the School of Medicine, Sydney, University of Notre Dame. She was involved from 2005 in the initial set-up phase of the School, and continued on to give lectures and devise small group tutorials for students. She was responsible for GP placements and professional development of the GP teachers, and for promoting research in general practice. She completed a Masters of Medical Policy. One of her roles was to recruit GPs as tutors, not a difficult task for someone with her networking skills, and Amanda was the common link for many of the doctors employed there. Again, her big smile and warmth endeared her to the students. Many were distressed at the news of her illness, sending personal cards and forming a donation to the Garvan Institute for pancreatic cancer research.
There will be a perpetual prize - the Amanda McBride Award for Excellence in Primary Care and Prevention, won by a graduating MD student with best research project in these areas. This will be financed by a foundation in her memory. Contributions can be made tax-free; for further information please contact:Michelle Scandrett on:
(02) 8204 4454
This tribute is written by friend and colleague, Dr Carolyn Bennett.
This tribute originally published in 2016 on the NSW&ACT Tributes page.