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We remember Joe as a pioneer of emergency medicine in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally, and as a mentor to the generations of emergency medicine physicians who followed him.

Joe will be remembered as a tireless and passionate figure whose vision and determination enabled both the establishment of our college, and its maturation into the established and respected entity it is today.

Over a distinguished career, Joe was prominent in the field of emergency medicine, prior to being elected a Foundation Fellow of ACEM in 1983.

In addition to serving as College President from 1988 to 1992, Joe was also the recipient of the ACEM Medal, and a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

In 2000, Joe became a Fellow of the International Federation for Emergency Medicine. He also served as Chair and, more recently, patron of the ACEM Foundation, among numerous other roles during his long involvement with the College.

In recent years, Joe remained a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in EM practice and leadership, and improved Indigenous health engagement and outcomes.

A short video introduction to the recent International Conference on Emergency Medicine was prepared on behalf of Joe, welcoming delegates to the event, and thanking Joe for his immense contributions.

ACEM President Dr Clare Skinner said: “We offer our deepest condolences to Joe’s family and friends, as well as the countless colleagues and emergency medicine practitioners whose lives he touched.

“On a personal level, I will remember Joe as a friend and role model, especially as I stepped in to the ACEM President role.

“While we are deeply saddened by the loss, we are grateful for his contributions, which gave so much to our college and specialty, not only in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, but internationally.”

Former ACEM President Dr Simon Judkins said, “I immensely enjoyed the conversations we had when Joe frequented the ACEM offices in an official ACEM role or, quite often, just to drop in for a chat. His depth and breadth of knowledge and experience meant that he always gave sage advice when we were tackling the politics of health.

“His advocacy for equality and access to healthcare, social justice and his passionate support of Indigenous Australians has left a mark on us all. He will always be in our hearts and our history.”

FACEM and long-time colleague Professor Anne-Maree Kelly said, “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.

“There will never be another Joe.”

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