Chisholm, Donald John

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MB BS 1963 MRACP FRACP

Donald Chisholm is a leader in the fields of diabetes research, patient care and medical education. He established the Diabetes Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, the first Centre in Australia to conduct diabetes management entirely on an ambulatory basis.

In 1971 Donald became Physician in Charge in the Endocrinology Unit of St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne. Whilst in Melbourne, he also began his academic career becoming First Assistant (equivalent to Associate Professor) in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne.

Returning to Sydney in 1978, Donald was appointed Assistant Director of the newly established Garvan Institute of Medical Research at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. Concurrently, he became Joint Head of the Diabetes Research Group. In 1980, he was made director of the Diabetes Centre at St Vincent’s. At the same time, he became conjoint Associate Professor at the University of NSW, fulfilling both of these roles until 1991.

From 1990 until 2002, he was the Head of the Diabetes and Metabolism Program at the Garvan Institute. Donald was also Head of the Metabolic Orthopaedic Gerontology Institute at St Vincent’s from 1992 to 1995. From 2001 to 2005, he was Chair of the National Diabetes Strategy Group for the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, and in 2002 became Head of Clinical Diabetes Research for the Diabetes and Metabolism Program at the Garvan Institute.

Donald has served on numerous committees and reference groups including being President of the Australian Diabetes Society, and Vice President of the International Diabetes Federation. He was a Member of the Board of Directors of St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, and has been a Member of the National Board of Directors for the Sisters of Charity Health Service from 1996 to 2005. He has published over 200 original articles, reviews and book chapters.

In 1995, he was awarded the Sir Kempson Maddox Award from Diabetes Australia (NSW), and received the College Medal from the Royal Australian College of Physicians for ‘outstanding service’ in 1998. In 1999, Donald was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for “service to medicine and medical research, as a leader in the fields of diabetes research, patient care, medical education and the organisation of medical services”.[1] He received the Kellion Award from the Australian Diabetes Society for his outstanding contribution to diabetes research, clinical and service areas in 2001, and was granted Honorary Life Membership in 2004.

Donald remains Head of Clinical Diabetes Research at the Garvan Institute, along with his roles as Staff Endocrinologist at St Vincent’s Hospital and Professor at the University of New South Wales.

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Citation: Mellor, Lise (2008) Chisholm, Donald John. Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive, University of Sydney.

An alternate version appears in: Mellor, L. 150 Years, 150 Firsts: The People of the Faculty of Medicine (2006) Sydney, Sydney University Press.