Dr Betty Marks, Image courtesy of Tweed Daily News

Registrar Dr Nispa Krongkaew pays tribute to her Supervisor, Dr Betty Marks, the North Coast medical legend who retired recently at the age of 90.

This year marked the end of an era for Murwillumbah, and the Northern Rivers, when Dr Betty Marks, the longest serving doctor in town, hung up her stethoscope and celebrated her retirement at the age of 90, after devoting 66 years of her life to patient care. The retirement party, held on 19 July at the Murwillumbah Golf Club, received over 200 attendees.

Dr Betty, as she is affectionately known, is a living legend. After graduating from Sydney University in 1948, Dr Marks (nee McEwan) worked in Sydney for five years before moving to Murwillumbah with her late husband, Dr Jim Marks.

A true general practitioner and family doctor, Dr Betty has treated local patients and families over four generations, delivered over 1,000 babies, given countless anaesthetics, attended all emergencies and performed house calls any time of day or night. Only recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a 97-year old lady - still proud to tell the story 60 years on - who underwent a nephrectomy operation in 1954 performed by Drs Jim and Betty Marks.

The New England Journal of Medicine has recently published the St Louis Contraceptive CHOICE Project results. The study found that LARCs offered at no cost as part of a contraceptive education program were the most popular. The use of an intrauterine contraceptive device or implant reduced the pregnancy rate by 80%. Births and abortion rates were reduced by a similar percentage. 

Attendees at the ‘R U Appy’ launch in Lismore on 2 October 2014.

In advance of Mental Health Week from 5 to 10 October - the latter date marks World Mental Health Day - the launch of a Commonwealth funded training program to help Aboriginal and other health professionals better use apps and internet-based programs with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients was held in Lismore. 

R U Appy’, the North Coast Aboriginal e-Social and Emotional Wellbeing Training Program, brings together work done by the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH), the Menzies School of Health Research (NT) and Queensland University of Technology. Additional input was received from the Black Dog Institute, Macquarie University and the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council

Joint Medical Educator winners… Northern Rivers Dr Genevieve Yates and Dr Gerard Ingham from Victoria.

Medical Educator and Associate Director of Training for North Coast GP Training (NCGPT), Dr Genevieve Yates has been awarded the prestigious General Practice Education Training (GPET) Australian Medical Educator of the Year Award. 

Ballina based Dr Yates was acknowledged for her work training the next generation of doctors for the Northern Rivers Region.

In addition to her work for NCGPT, she works for MDA National (designing and delivering medico-legal education), the Royal College of General Practitioners (as an educator and examiner) and as a medical writer (columnist, novelist and playwright). She also plays violin, piano, and sings. 

Clinical director David Godden in the superb setting of the Nungkari Treatment Centre.

It is billed as “an integrative holistic residential treatment centre providing specialised support services for individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, trauma and co-dependency.”

However, Nungkari (the word means an Indigenous traditional healer) can be described more simply as a touch of paradise in the Byron Bay hinterland where a clinical team can draw on the environment to assist the recovery and sustainable wellbeing of their patients/clients.

Conditions addressed also include Trauma/PTSD, Sex Addiction, and Pain Management.

Although situated in a quiet setting with million-dollar views, the purpose-built treatment centre, whose doors open on 9 October, is not aimed at rich celebrities seeking a luxury detox, according to clinical director David Godden.