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Faculty of Pain Medicine
A heartfelt thanks to faculty anchor Milton Cohen
During the July FPM Board meeting Milton Cohen announced that he would be standing down as the FPM Director of Professional Affairs (DPA). Milton was a board member at the faculty’s first board meeting in February 1998 and this was to be his last, 24 years later. For this edition of the ANZCA Bulletin I have asked past FPM deans to make a few comments about Milton, starting with Meredith Craigie’s Robert Orton Medal address and ending with his old friend David Jones. Leigh Atkinson refers to Milton as the unseen keel and Brendan Moore sees him as the tillerman. In my view Milton was the unseen keel at the birth of the faculty while as dean he was very much the tillerman. He transcended to become the wind that blew the faculty forward as it grew and gained speed. Milton has always encouraged and supported me as I have worked my way through the various committees and working groups, only to leave as I became dean − there might be something in that! After joining the board my first experience of Milton’s notorious linguistic precision was when I worked with him and Frank New on writing the specialist international medical graduate regulations for the faculty. A line-by-line discussion on sentence construction and meaning sounds like a treatment for insomnia but with Milton it became an intellectual joust. I enjoyed it so much I put my hand up to work with Milton again when the training and accreditation regulations needed re-writing. As a faculty we are indebted to Milton for our current and previous training program, in particular our curriculum which defines our profession and is the cornerstone of training. It is easy as a fellow to never look at the curriculum, but I would highly recommend that you do as it is a systematic construction of the component parts of the knowledge required to be a specialist pain medicine physician. Everything else in the training and assessment process comes from the curriculum, and not only did Milton construct ours in 2014 he reviewed and renewed it again between 20192021. Those that follow have a high bar to attain but have been left with a launchpad from which to achieve it. Of the many contributions Milton has made to the faculty, becoming the first DPA and using the role to raise the profile of the faculty outside ANZCA is possibly the least known about. Fellows are not always aware that government organisations from Australia and New Zealand are frequently seeking submissions and opinions − from Medicare Benefits Schedule changes to Therapeutic Goods Administration regulations. For the past 14 years those requests have gone to Milton to construct a position statement that the dean and board of the day were comfortable to stand behind. In New Zealand Milton took the Sapere report and worked his magic on it with the result that it helped generate government interest in pain medicine in a way that had never happened before. I am sure we will continue to meet Milton at future faculty meetings and I would encourage younger fellows to stop and talk to him.
If there is one constant about Milton it is that his wisdom is something he is always happy to share. As the current dean I would like to thank Milton for the time, effort and passion he has given in making our faculty a leader in pain medicine. Dr Kieran Davis FPM Dean
“In my view Milton was the unseen keel at the birth of the faculty while as dean he was very much the tillerman. He transcended to become the wind that blew the faculty forward as it grew and gained speed.”