Changing clinical practice on a global scale

Professor Simon Finfer of The George Institute received an Honorary Doctorate from the Faculty of Medicine of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena earlier this month.

Professor Finfer was awarded the Honorary Doctorate for his outstanding work as a clinician and researcher, said Professor Kondrad Reinhart, Director of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, who gave the Laudatory speech in honour of Professor Finfer.

"Professor Finfer, along with his Australian and New Zealand clinical study (ANZICS) group, have inspired and influenced the field of intensive care medicine more than anybody else in the world over the last twenty years," Professor Reinhart said.

"Professor Finfer is highly esteemed because he made major contributions to evidence-based medicine in the field of intensive care," he said.

"The results of his research have changed daily clinical practice on a global scale."

"Professor Finfer has made major contributions to evidence-based medicine in the field of intensive care.

"His scientific achievements and contribution to evidence-based medicine have helped to bring intensive care medicine up to equal level with other medical fields."

Professor Reinhart explained how it took over 50 years to find out that synthetic colloids, a fluid used in intensive care, have no benefit and cause harm.

"The research of Professor Finfer contributed significantly to identifying these uncertainties and replacing them with robust clinical data that helped to make the practice of medicine safer for patients and less costly," Professor Reinhart said.

"Professor Finfer understood very early that evidence-based medicine requires the organization of large-scale clinical trials with many thousands of patients."

"He also understood that meaningful clinical research requires a collaborative, multi-centred approach and the support of skilled epidemiologists and biostatisticians."

"Under the leadership of Professor Finfer, the ANZICS clinical trials group has become a role model because of its cohesive spirit, its sense of mission to achieve shared research goals, and its acknowledgment that such an organization is much more than the sum of its parts," Professor Reinhart said.

"This group has inspired investigator-driven research groups all over the world."

An honorary doctorate is the highest academic degree that can be granted by a university. The Medical Faculty at Jena University awards this honorary degree every 10 years or more.

"It was a daunting experience as the honour is only given once every ten years or so, but it was also very enjoyable," Professor Finfer said. "I considered I was accepting the honour in recognition of the work of many people at The George Institute for Global Health, Royal North Shore Hospital and the University of Sydney".

Professor Simon Finfer is a Professorial Fellow with the Critical Care and Trauma Division of The George Institute for Global Health, a Professor at Sydney Medical School at The University of Sydney, and a Senior Staff Specialist in Intensive Care at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and Sydney Adventist Hospital.