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 ISCFS Tessier Medal 2019

The fifth recipient

At its 2019 Paris Biennial Conference, the International Society of Craniofacial Surgeons (ISCFS) paid tribute to the leadership and work of Australia’s Professor David David. The Society awarded him its most distinguished honour, the prestigious Tessier Medal. The Tessier Medal is one that is rarely given, having only now been awarded 5 times in its 33-year history. The ICFS was founded in 1983 with Professor David being one its founding members and a Council Officer. He has also founded the Asian Pacific Craniofacial Society and the Australasian Craniofacial Society. His influence in the field has been world-wide.


Working in accordance with 6 key principles

The Society’s decision was a unanimous one, made in recognition of Professor David’s special contributions to the field of craniofacial surgery. Professor David was the founder of the Australian Craniofacial Unit, the only unit OF ITS TYPE in the southern hemisphere. It was classified as a centre of excellence by the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council. His untiring work promoting the 6 principles of care has not gone unnoticed by his esteemed colleagues in the field. These 6 principles put patients at the centre of decision-making and underscores the importance of teaching and research as a part of clinical management. Many of Professor David’s colleagues were the beneficiaries of his training. While greatly influential in the clinical sphere, his influence extended more broadly to political diplomats, such that he was warmly received by many underprivileged nations where he travelled to train their clinical workforces and help them set up their own craniofacial specialty units. Ultimately, it was the citizens of these nations struck with the effects of the most complex disorders who benefited greatly from this vastly different approach to the delivery of healthcare.


The Paul Tessier legacy

Professor David was inspired by and privileged to be able to learn from Paul Tessier. Tessier is known throughout the world as the father of craniofacial surgery. He was a trauma clinician whose multidisciplinary approaches to treatment were bold and controversial but led to milestone advancements in surgical outcomes. The shattering disfigurement experienced by military personnel and civilians arising from World War II injuries inspired Tessier to focus on creating the specialty of craniofacial surgery, using the techniques like cleft palate surgery already being advanced for the treatment of other craniofacial disorders. Professor David very early recognised how much more could be achieved working outside of traditional clinical silos and by being pushed to consider alternative perspectives through different mindsets. This motivated a desire to establish this approach to treatment in the southern and Asiatic regions.


A tribute to colleagues

Professor David is globally well known for his contributions to medicine but very quickly points out that what he has achieved and been recognised for would never had been possible without the bravery of other clinician personnel to step outside of their traditional silos. So many individuals make up the success of a first-class craniofacial team be they surgeons, medical clinicians and allied health personnel. They enter this collaborative craniofacial workforce being held in high regard for their expertise, known to possess the highest ethical standards and being willing to acknowledge that all clinical decisions about the patient must be patient focussed. Great advances happen when each specialty input is given equal weighting in deliberation. Professor David is of the view that the awarding of this medal is an equal tribute to all those who have worked in collaboration with him. He is a man of very high standards who has demanded the same of all who have worked with him and they have indeed stepped up to that challenge most admirably. May it long continue.


Written by the Board of Management of Craniofacial Australia as a tribute to its

Chairperson, Professor David David.

Craniofacial Australia a charitable foundation that funds patient clinical care, teaching and research and we are honoured to have Professor David as our Chairperson. As a charitable foundation, our fundamental purpose is to seek to restore people suffering from craniofacial deformities or injuries to their full place in society, with renewed hope and restored dignity. Professor David’s wise counsel in pursuing this goal in accordance with the highest ethical standards is greatly appreciated.


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Craniofacial Australia has been supporting those with craniofacial conditions for over 40 years in Australia and Overseas.

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