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11 Nov 2019


Dr Barbara Ann Bauert  

AMA members, the broader medical profession, the Northern Territory community, her family, friends and family, her patients, and everybody touched by her kindness and generosity were saddened by the recent death of Dr Barbara Ann Bauert.

Dr Bauert was a former Vice President and multiple office holder of AMA NT. She also served on the AMA Federal Council and attended numerous AMA National Conferences representing Salaried Doctors.

Dr Bauert had a rich and rewarding life and made a huge contribution to medicine and the broader community, in the Territory and nationally. She made the world a better place.


Her life is encapsulated in the following eulogy, which was delivered at Barbara’s October funeral in Darwin by Dr Ann-Maree Berrill, a close friend and colleague dating back to their medical school days.

I first met Barb in 1973, the second year of the six-year University of Queensland Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery Degree. She had been enrolled in a Bachelor of Science Degree, which she was completing part-time whilst working at the Queensland Museum, and her outstanding results from her Science studies allowed her direct entry into second year Med.

Barb excelled in all her studies and from an early stage showed a particular interest in Social and Preventative Medicine.

Following graduation in 1977, Barb was one of 5 class members who accepted Resident Medical Officer positions in Darwin. She arrived in Darwin on 27 December 1977 and began work at the Darwin Hospital in Smith Street the next day.

Barbara rotated through all clinical areas, before developing a real interest in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

In 1980, Barb was the first Obstetric Registrar to work in Royal Darwin Hospital.

For the following three years, Barb worked as a Registrar in Anaesthetics in New Plymouth in New Zealand and then at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane.

Barb then returned to the NT and accepted a position as Senior Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

In 1984, Barb was awarded the Diploma in Obstetrics from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Barb became one of the first doctors to use Ultrasonography to assess the gestation of Aboriginal women. Her work was instrumental in improving the outcome for women and their babies, particularly those from remote communities.

Her passion for Public Health continued and she was awarded a Fellowship in the Australian Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

Her dedication to training of Public Health Physicians continued throughout her career and as recently as the week before her death she was actively advocating for improved resources in this area.

Barb was appointed the Director of Medical Education at the Royal Darwin Hospital in the year 2000 and continued in this role for the next 18 years.

During this time, she continued her Public Health advocacy through her involvement with the Australian Medical Association.

Barb’s commitment, particularly to Aboriginal health, has been recognised nationwide.

In 2008, Barbara was admitted to the Roll of Fellows of the Australian Medical Association. Her citation reads: “Dr Barbara Bauert has been actively involved with the AMA both locally and at a national level. During that period, she has taken on leadership roles including several terms as the Territory’s Vice President and Secretary, as well as representation on national committees. Dr Bauert’s work has benefitted a large number of doctors, most particularly those working in rural and remote areas across the Northern Territory. She was instrumental in establishing effective Aboriginal Interpreter Services in the Northern Territory Hospitals.”

In 2011, Barbara was the winner of the AMA Women in Medicine Award for her passion and dedication to improving the quality of services for doctors and patients in the Northern Territory. The Women in Medicine Award is made to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the medical profession. Her citation reads:

“Dr Barbara Bauert has advocated for doctors and their patients in remote areas of the Northern Territory for several decades. She is a respected member of her local community, representing them in discussions with the Northern Territory Government to increase recruitment and retention of doctors in remote areas. Nationally, her input into the debate on improving outcomes for Indigenous Australians and closing the life expectancy gap has been highly regarded. Dr Bauert was instrumental in establishing effective Indigenous Interpreter Services in Northern Territory Hospitals. Because of her persistence, passion, and dedication, more than 80,000 Northern Territory Indigenous Australians from over 65 different language groups now have access to improved communication services with their health care providers. Many Australians have enjoyed the benefits of Dr Bauert’s rich source of knowledge and continuing advocacy for better health services.”

Over recent years, Barb had devoted most of her energy and dedication to mentoring and supporting Junior doctors and medical students in the Northern Territory Medical Program.

In conclusion, I shall quote Professor John Wakerman, Professor of Remote and Rural Health Services Research. He says: “I was greatly saddened by the news of Barb‘s death. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Barb for several years in the NT Medical Program. I very much appreciated her sage advice, based on a deep understanding of local issues. I also appreciated her no-nonsense approach. It was a privilege to work with someone with such huge reserves of compassion and kindness, from which so many of the students benefitted in the early, sometimes difficult years of the NTMP. Many people in our sector owe her a huge debt of gratitude.”

Vale Barb, you were a remarkable Doctor.

Published: 11 Nov 2019