This has been a significant year for many reasons. As Professor Brian McCaughan steps down from his long-serving position as Chair of the joint Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) and Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) Board, Dr Jean-Frédéric Levesque (ACI) and Carrie Marr (CEC) reflect on Brian's leadership and contribution to our organisations and the broader health system.
Beyond being our Board Chair, Brian has made a wide and far-reaching contribution to NSW Health. His clinical career spanned 40 years as a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Concord Hospital. In addition, he has held management roles at the hospital, district, state and commonwealth level.
Brian’s early career fellowships at the Mayo Clinic and Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Centre in the USA had an impactful and enduring influence in the many positions and advisory roles he has held throughout his career.
He is a respected voice and advisor to senior leaders within the health system in NSW. His career-long commitment and passion for patient care is clear to everyone who works with him, including the staff in our two organisations where he provided a strong narrative to put the patient and the family at the centre of the healthcare system.
One of Brian’s hallmark messages to our organisations has been about the importance of delivering care to patients that is both safe and compassionate.
In 2014, he worked closely with the Ministry of Health to develop the Small Acts of Kindness video; a signature initiative for NSW Health with a message that has an enduring message meaning for health workers and the broader health community today.
Outside of the two pillars, Brian’s work reflects his high standing in the clinical community. He has served on many Boards, including the NSW Medical Board, NSW State Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Committee (Chair), Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, and continues to contribute as a Member of the Judicial Commission of New South Wales. In 2009, he became a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to medicine.
In 2020, Brian established The Daniel Comerford Medal for extraordinary leadership and commitment to improving health outcomes for the people of NSW. The medal seeks to recognise others who have a long-standing impact on the health system. In January this year, we were pleased to see Brian present the medal to Professor Ian Harris as the inaugural recipient.
On behalf of the ACI and CEC, we thank Brian for the many years of his leadership that he has afforded our organisations. We look forward to being able to wish Brian well in person at an appropriate time.