MBBS, MD, BSc, BEd, FRACGP, DipObstRCOG
Emeritus Professor in General Practice, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria
Professorial Fellow, Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Adjunct Clinical Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Western Australia
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 10 years in the rural community of Neerim South, Victoria.
Dr Murtagh was appointed Senior Lecturer (part-time) in the Department of Community Medicine at Monash University and eventually returned to Melbourne as a full-time Senior Lecturer. He was appointed to a professorial chair in Community Medicine at Box Hill Hospital in 1988 and subsequently as chairman of the extended department and Professor of General Practice in 1993 until retirement from this position in 2000. He now holds teaching positions as Emeritus Professor in General Practice at Monash University, Adjunct Clinical Professor, University of Notre Dame and Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne. He combines these positions with part-time general practice, including a special interest in musculoskeletal medicine. He achieved the Doctor of Medicine degree in 1988 for his thesis ‘The management of back pain in general practice’.
Professor Murtagh 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. In 2019 he was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine and to medical education in the field of general practice and to professional groups.
Practice Tips, one of Professor Murtagh's numerous publications, was named as the British Medical Association's Best Primary Care Book Award in 2005. In the same year, he was named as one of the most influential people in general practice by the publication Australian Doctor. John Murtagh was awarded the inaugural David de Kretser 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. In 2018 he was awarded the Australian Medical Association's Gold Medal for exceptional and longstanding contribution to general practice and advancing the profession through medical education.
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 John Murtagh's General Practice and Patient Education.