ARARAT'S Michael Connellan has been recognised for his contribution to rural health at the annual Rural Doctors Association of Australia awards.
Dr Connellan was presented with the Rural Doctor of the Year award and was one of four doctors Australia-wide to be recognised.
Dr Connellan has been practicing in Ararat for 25 years as a GP anaesthetist and obstetrician, and is a partner at the Ararat Medical Centre.
He's involved in all facets of general practice, has Visiting Medical Officer rights to Ararat Hospital, and provides GP Anaesthetic services to the East Grampians Health Service with theatre lists each week.
Dr Connellan said he had "mixed feelings" when receiving the award.
"On the one hand, I'm extraordinarily honoured to be thought worthy by my peers, and at the same time asking why me?" he said. "When I go to rural medicine conferences ... and see so many energetic rural docs ... and the many arms of teaching, politicking, and keeping rural communities safe and serviced with high quality medical care despite the remoteness and isolation involved, I feel so humbled."
He also provides GP Obstetric services to the community, sharing a roster with two other local GP Obstetricians. In addition to this, he shares equally in the local on-call emergency after-hours roster.
Dr Connellan is passionate about training the next generation of medical professionals, as well as bringing services and practitioners to country areas.
"I do believe that the provision of procedural GP services, as well as hospital emergency and inpatient care is so important in rural and regional Australia," he said.
He's also mentored a number of Ararat-born medical students, and has been involved in mentoring a number of Overseas Trained Doctors who have successfully gained their Fellowship from the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine or Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Dr Connellan thanked his colleagues for helping him achieve so much.
"I thank my practice colleagues past and present, and pay tribute to the extraordinary staff at Ararat Medical Centre who make my working life easier and enjoyable," he said.
RDAA president John Hall said Dr Connellan was highly deserving of the award.
"He was selected from a very strong field of exceptional rural doctors," he said.
"He is the quintessential rural doctor - one who is dedicated not only to his patients and community, but also to ensuring that the next generation of doctors is able to experience rural practice in a friendly and supportive environment."
Read more: Wimmera pools to open soon
Outside Medicine, Dr Connellan said he has always enjoyed golf.
"But in recent years, the shortage of rural doctors has taken a toll on my handicap," he said.
"I also play tennis weekly with the Ararat Tennis Club, and in recent years I have extended my love of bush walking to doing some long distance hikes both in Australia and overseas.
"I have also been a member of our local wine and food society for more than 20 years. I have a particular liking for the great shiraz wines of our Grampians region, and at one stage owned a share in a local vineyard and winery."
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from the Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from Ararat and districts, sign up here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.