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A tribute to...

Dr Ian Steven (MB, BS Adelaide, MD, MPH, FRACGP, FAFPHM)

Published: Sat 15th Aug 2020

DOCTOR, author, researcher, birdwatcher, gemmologist, lecturer, and avid traveller.

For Dr Ian Douglas Steven his passions for healing, learning and adventure made every one of his 75 years a reason to celebrate.

His early schooling was at St Peter's College before boarding at St Mark's College to study medicine at Adelaide University. Here, he won the 1969 St Mark's Collegians Prize for outstanding undergraduate student.

Ian gained his Bachelor of Medicine in 1970 and headed first to Sydney, then London, where his passion for travel was fuelled. He bought an old Land Rover and fitted it out to drive across the Sahara Desert to Ethiopia to volunteer as a medical officer on a famine relief team - a time that he told friends he experienced "extraordinary pathology".

Enraptured by Africa, Ian stayed on after his job ended and travelled extensively. He formed a bond he kept for the rest of his years and later donated 707 items including jewellery and Coptic crosses, that he'd collected on his travels to the South Australian Museum.

When Ian returned to Adelaide, he joined a practice in Evandale, before opening his own at Collinswood where he worked as a G.P. from 1978 to 1996. He also studied and was awarded a Doctorate of Medicine in 1984 and Master of Public Health Medicine in 1993.

In 1985, Ian had a brief brush with fame, winning Sale of the Century and recording the highest score ever in one night and becoming the first contestant to win without buying a single gift shop.

In 1994 he was appointed a Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, University of Adelaide. After 12 years teaching there, he moved to Flinders University as Clinical Associate Professor, School of Medicine - a role he held until 2019.

Over the years Ian authored or co-authored more than 70 published papers. He was twice awarded the Wellcome Prize for Research and twice awarded the F H Faulding Memorial Fellowship Award for his research work in general practice.

He published a medical text: Patient Presentations in General Practice - a Comprehensive Guide to Diagnosis and Management, and worked with medical bodies, including roles as Director of Research for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and as consultant to the SA Health Commission, the National Health and Medical Research Council, Drug and Alcohol Services, W.H.O, Anticancer Council of Victoria and the Australasian Association for Quality Assurance in Health Care (life member). He was also a Visiting Medical Consultant for Workcover South Australia.

From 2010, he moved to work in specialist practice in the area of workplace injury and pain management.

Outside of all things medicine, Ian had a fascination with minerals and gemstones, and a love of birdwatching. Adding to his list of qualifications he gained a formal gemmology qualification, winning the Stevenson Prize for the highest aggregate marks for practical and theory and then going on to teach gemmology.

Ian and his wife Marg were passionate birdwatchers. A hobby that inspired travel within Australia and globally, including exotic locations - Costa Rica, Cuba, and Madagascar. Together, they visited 46 countries, but the pull of Africa was ever present and they returned there on numerous occasions.

Ian is survived by Marg, Aunt Izzy, his cousins and their families.


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