Vale Associate Professor Joseph Epstein

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of Joe Epstein.

Few people had such a varied and inspiring professional career as Joe Epstein: surgeon, emergency physician, President of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, founding signatory of the International Federation of Emergency Medicine, director of the State Retrieval Service, advisor to ministers and governments, enthusiastic and generous teacher, academic mentor, inspirational leader, trusted advisor, force of nature, philosopher and raconteur, to name but a few of his guises.

Initially a surgeon at Western Health, Joe became a long serving ED director and established Footscray Hospital’s ED (Sunshine was not built then) as a leader of Emergency Medicine practice and education for both doctors and nurses. His mentorship has led to Western Health clinicians taking up senior leadership positions throughout the health system, carrying on his legacy of providing the best care for all, no matter what their personal circumstances.

Joe’s concern for First Nations people, particularly expressed through the ACEM Foundation, has contributed to significant increases in awareness of health inequity in emergency care and efforts to increase the number of emergency clinicians of First Nations heritage.

Emergency Medicine flowed through Joe’s veins. His passion and energy for emergency medicine as a specialty for doctors and nurses and his care and advocacy for his patients were second to none.

Fittingly Joe was honoured at last week’s International Conference on Emergency Medicine held here in Melbourne where delegates from around the world acknowledged his contribution to improving care for emergency patients everywhere.

Personally, he was an exceptional mentor and friend. There will never be another Joe.

Professor Anne-Maree Kelly
21st June 2022