Farewell Robert Hall
– Truly One of a Kind
On 13 February 2014, the worlds of academic general practice, community health and rural health lost an extraordinary contributor with the passing of Robert Hall.
I first came to know Robert in the early 1970s when I was a Monash medical student and he was a National Medical Educator for the RACGP Family Medicine Programme (FMP). Robert quickly became a mentor to me and I felt I never stopped learning from him. He introduced me to the Tune In Empathy Training course which I studied for my Bachelor of Medical Science with Robert as a supervisor. After I graduated, I worked for a time with Robert in the Hall Medical Centre in Box Hill.
When he was Director of Vocational Training at Box Hill Hospital, Robert organized my placement at the hospital in Taunton, Somerset where I met Sarah who was to become my wife and life partner. Subsequently, Robert moved to Gippsland as a goat farmer’s husband and was instrumental in recruiting Sarah and me to Moe. He succeeded me as FMP Gippsland Regional Coordinator and subsequently was a major driving force in establishment and development of the Monash University School of Rural Health. After my move to Canada, Robert visited and provided invaluable assistance with curriculum development for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
Over the years, Robert Hall was involved in developing a range of new models of community health/general practice services, always with an emphasis on education and research. Robert provided significant leadership in education, particularly vocational training, and in research/development projects including the Rural Hospital Quality Assurance Project with the West Vic Division of General Practice, the Extended Latrobe Valley Injury Study, the Rural Men’s Health Project, and the Moe After Hours Medical Service.
A true family physician, Robert was passionate about providing holistic, team-based care and educating medical students and young doctors to be resourceful, caring and effective health promoters. At the official opening of the Monash Rural Health facilities at Latrobe Regional Hospital in 1998, I recall describing Robert as epitomising the spirit of rural health in recognition of his pivotal role in developing academic rural health not only for Monash but at national and international levels.
Robert Hall was remarkable for his irrepressible creativity, boundless enthusiasm for innovation, and tendency always to think outside the box. His passing is a sad loss for us all.
Professor Roger Strasser
Dean and CEO
Northern Ontario School of Medicine