A lifelong commitment to delivering high quality health services in Australia, and particularly in rural communities, has been acknowledged by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), in its awarding of the Sidney Sax Medal for 2013 to John Smith, West Wimmera Health Service Chief Executive.

The award recognises outstanding achievement in, and contribution to the development and improvement of the Australian healthcare system – and while there are many very dedicated professionals who are worthy of such recognition, John Smith stands out in the crowd.

John’s 50-year career has seen him serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Nhill Hospital for 30 years, and subsequently as Chief Executive Officer of the West Wimmera Health Service, a position he holds to this day. John has played an active leadership role throughout his profession, serving as chairman of the Victorian Hospitals’ Association Honorary Board of Directors until 1997, after which he was appointed as the President of the AHHA, a role that he held until 2000. He continues to provide leadership to the health sector as the AHHA’s representative on, and Vice President of, the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

Throughout his career, John has taken every opportunity to represent the views and the needs of health consumers and communities, particularly in rural areas, and in doing so has gained the respect of his colleagues,” says Alison Verhoeven, AHHA Chief Executive.

Over the course of his career, John Smith has demonstrated that he has the interests of rural communities at heart and works with the utmost commitment to ensure that their future is assured. It is with this sentiment and with recognition of his contributions across the health sector that the AHHA is pleased to award John with the 2013 Sidney Sax Medal.”