Originally joining Oceania University of Medicine in October 2020 as Associate Dean for Australia-Surgery, Professor Athol Mackay became Dean for Australia and New Zealand in September 2021, before his appointment to Vice Chancellor in December 2022. His short time with OUM has prepared him well to lead the University. During his tenure as Associate Dean, he served as OUM's Clinical Core Course Specialist for Surgery, focused on strengthening the surgical curriculum. As Dean, he expanded relationships with Australia and New Zealand placement providers to facilitate clinical rotations for OUM students and with the region's hospitals to explore internship opportunities for graduates in both countries.
Just prior to joining the University, after more than 50 years in practice, Professor Mackay retired from General Surgical Practice at Kooralbyn Family Practice and Maranoa Medical Centre, Roma. He was also Associate Professor at The University of Queensland Rural Clinical School, and an Instructor of the Clinical Rural Skills Enhancement Course at Cunningham Centre, Queensland Health's largest and most established Registered Training Organisation.
A former military surgeon, Professor Mackay spent five decades in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) from Army Cadet in High School to General and Trauma Surgeon, deploying overseas five times between 1990 and 2005. He received numerous ADF commendations ranging from the Australian Service Medal, Australian Defence Force Medal, and Australian Reserve Forces Decoration with Clasp, to the Commanders Commendation from the United States Navy.
The Vice Chancellor's previous positions include Chairman, Pediatric Staff Society and Chairman, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Mater Children’s Hospital — Surgical Registrar at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and Royal Children’s Hospital — Director of Medical Services, Roma Health Service District, and Medical Superintendent, Roma Hospital — Executive Director of Medical Services, South West Health Services, Queensland — and Medical Superintendent and GP in Biloela, Central Queensland.
Earning his BSc (Med) in Canada at the University of Saskatchewan, Professor Mackay earned his MBBS from The University of Queensland, and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Pediatric Surgery.
The Vice Chancellor has spent his entire career dedicated to medical education, supervising medical students and surgical registrars, teaching 75 trauma courses, and preparing junior doctors for service. After retiring from clinical practice, Professor Mackay is delighted to have been given the opportunity to continue educating tomorrow's physicians at OUM.