Associate Professor Bruce Chater: 40 years of service to the rural community

25 Jun 2021

Bruce and AnneDr John Ridler and Clare Butters were fortunate to attend a “surprise celebration” recognising Head of Mayne Academy of Rural and Remote Medicine Associate Professor Bruce Chater and his wife Anne Chater’s 40-year contribution to rural medicine and the Theodore community.  The celebration, held 5 June, was attended by friends, family and many colleagues from organisations such as Health Workforce Queensland, CQ Rural Health, RDAQ, JCU and CQHHS.

Over his career, Bruce has been recognised for outstanding service and advocacy to rural medicine and the community with an OAM and AMA Queensland Rural Health Medal. Along with other colleagues, Bruce took a lead starting the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland, Rural Doctors Australia, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, the National Rural Health Alliance and, at the request of the then Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, the Statewide Rural and Remote Clinical Network. Bruce has been President/Chair and secretary in all these organisations. Bruce is the Chair of Rural WONCA (World Organisation of National Colleges and Academies of General Practice and Family Physicians). Put simply, this means he is the current Chair of the International Rural Doctors Association.

Bruce’s rural medicine career started with less fanfare on Australia Day weekend 1981. Brisbane-born and raised, and having been married for just 10 days, Bruce and Anne arrived at Theodore and were handed the keys by the locum as he drove out of town. The last 40 years he has demonstrated his commitment to patients and the Theodore community through his untiring energy and drive to ensure all rural people have access to services and well-trained doctors. He has put himself out on a limb many times to stick up for the rights of rural communities and has handled major challenges, including the 2011 floods which nearly destroyed 30 years of work.  It was an honour and a privilege to see the town of Theodore came together to celebrate the local, national, and international contribution of Bruce and Anne Chater.