John Murtagh was a science master teaching chemistry, biology and physics in Victorian secondary schools when he was admitted to the first intake of the newly established Medical School at Monash University, graduating in 1966. Following a comprehensive postgraduate training program, which included surgical registrarship, he practised in partnership with his medical wife, Dr Jill Rosenblatt, for ten years in the rural community of Neerim South, Victoria.
He returned to Melbourne to take up an academic position at Monash University and was eventually appointed Professor of General Practice and Head of Department in 1993 until retirement in 2010. He is now Emeritus Professor at Monash University. He is also Adjunct Clinical Professor, University of Notre Dame and Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, and Guest Professor, Peking University Science Centre, Beijing.
He was appointed Associate Medical Editor of Australian Family Physician in 1980 and Medical Editor in 1986, a position held until 1995. In 1995 he was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia for services to medicine, particularly in the areas of medical education, research and publishing.
One of his numerous publications, Practice Tips, received the British Medical Association’s Best Primary Care Book Award in 2005. In the same year he was named one of the most influential people in general practice by the publication Australian Doctor. John Murtagh was awarded the inaugural David de Krester medal from Monash University for his exceptional contribution to the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences over a significant period of time. Members of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners may know that he was bestowed the honour of the namesake of the college library.
Today John Murtagh continues to enjoy active participation with the diverse spectrum of general practitioners—whether they are students or experienced practitioners, rural or urban based, local or international medical graduates, clinicians or researchers. His vast experience with all of these groups has provided him with tremendous insights into their needs, which is reflected in the culminated experience and wisdom of Murtagh’s General Practice and his other titles.