Staff at the Centre for Remote Health would like to express our sincere sympathies to our colleague Toby Speare and his family on the recent loss of his father, Rick Speare.
A much loved and devoted family man, Emeritus Professor Rick Speare was also a highly awarded and internationally respected researcher and educator who impacted the lives of a great number of people. Rick was a medical practitioner, a veterinary surgeon, a public health physician, great friend, colleague, supervisor, mentor, role model and inspiring teacher to many.
Rick’s main interests involved the control of communicable diseases in human and in animal populations and included applied research on communicable diseases, with topics ranging from experimental hookworm infections in humans to global strategies to control chytridiomycosis, a pandemic fungal disease of amphibians.
One of Rick’s great passions was to understand and improve the health of people and animals in the Pacific. In recent years he was central to establishing the Atoifi Health Research Group in the Solomon Islands. This Group brings together people from community, health services, research institutes, universities and professional organisations in a remote provincial setting that face numerous health challenges. The Atoifi Health Research Group is committed to train and support a generation of young Pacific Islander health professionals and researchers to investigate local health issues and create locally appropriate solutions to those problems.
A charitable fund, Rick Speare Memorial Fund has been established in his name, with funds raised to support continuation of his work in the Solomon Islands. Donations are tax deductible.