Oceania University of Medicine has appointed Professor Frederick Anthony “Hugh” Bartholomeusz, OAM, RFD, MBBS, FRACS to the role of Vice Chancellor.

Professor Hugh Bartholomeusz

Joining the University in July 2020 as Dean for Australia, Professor Bartholomeusz is also a retired Air Vice-Marshal and former Surgeon General, Australian Defence Force Reserves. A military health practitioner and plastic surgeon, renowned nationally and internationally, he was promoted to Deputy Vice Chancellor (Clinical) in April 2021.

“We welcome Professor Bartholomeusz to his new position, and we look forward to his implementing more of the excellent and successful programmes that have marked his time with the University,” said Mrs. Taffy Gould, Chairman of the OUM Council.

Despite the pandemic’s challenges, Professor Bartholomeusz has been extremely successful in strengthening relationships with Australian hospitals and private specialist medical practitioners, both urban and rural, to expand the medical school’s clinical rotation network and significantly increase the quality and number of placements available to OUM students. He has also worked with several hospitals to explore internship opportunities for OUM’s Australian graduates and recruited an impressive group of faculty members to join him at the University.

In addition, Professor Bartholomeusz has consolidated student learning opportunities within OUM’s innovative hybrid medical course. He has strengthened individual clinical student mentors who support the development of critical thinking skills which are required to integrate with the sound academic knowledge taught in Year 1 of the course. These clinical mentors meet with students face to face, weekly or fortnightly, in their own medical practices, from Year 2 through the remaining three years of their course.

Raised in Brisbane, Professor Bartholomeusz earned his medical degree from the University of Queensland where he was also an Associate Professor. Obtaining Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1984, he was in private plastic surgery practice in Brisbane and the West Moreton Region from 1985 until June 2020 and was a former Head of Plastic Surgery at Greenslopes Private Hospital. This is where his vision for extensive teaching in the private medical sector was developed.

“My strong and dedicated plan for the University is to continue delivering high quality, accredited medical education which will produce exceptional clinicians and ambassadors for our university,” said Professor Bartholomeusz. “The clinical and academic initiatives which have proven successful in Australia and New Zealand will be progressively rolled out in North America, to ensure university-wide holistic medical training and the highest benchmarks of educational excellence. My aim is to ensure that as leaders in hybrid medical education, we are also ranked equally highly amongst our peer medical schools for continuous quality improvement and worldwide standards.”

Unmatched experience – military and academic medicine

Professor Bartholomeusz was originally commissioned into the Australian Air Force Reserves in 1972, eventually appointed Director General Air Force Health Reserves, and promoted to Air Commodore in 2007. In November 2011, he was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal, serving as the Surgeon General, Australian Defence Force Reserves until 2015, and the Chairman of the Australian Air Force Cadets National Council until 2019.

As a clinical teacher at the University of Queensland, Professor Bartholomeusz managed placements and taught medical students from the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and overseas medical schools in the operating theatre, during ward rounds, and in outpatient facilities at his own day hospital and at Ipswich General and Greenslopes Private Hospitals. He was also a Clinical Supervisor for Interns, Junior Medical Officers, Principal House Officers, and plastic surgery trainees.

His mature leadership credentials have been gleaned from his military experience and numerous board and chairmanship positions within plastic surgery, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and day surgery and civilian organisations.

This appointment followed the resignation of the previous Vice Chancellor, Professor Randell Brown, who is pursuing other academic opportunities.

(October 2021)

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