Dame Jean Macnamara Wiki – Dame Jean Macnamara Biography
Dame Jean Macnamara was a medical scientist and Australian doctor whose contributions to the study of polio are particularly relevant today.
As the world awaits a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, it can turn to medical crises of the past for consolation that the great thinkers of the sciences usually find a cure.
According to Google, Macnamara “applied her tireless work ethic to better understand and treat various forms of paralysis including polio.” It was her work that helped lead to the development of a polio vaccine in 1955, helping put an end to that scourge.
Dame Jean Macnamara Age
According to Ann G. Smith, writing for the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Macnamara was born on April 1st, 1899 in Beechworth, Victoria and died on October 13th, 1968.
Dame Jean Macnamara Google Doodle
Google has honored her with a Google Doodle on what would have been her 121st birthday. In 2018, when she was honored in Melbourne, her daughter, Merran Samuel said, “Dame Jean was a humble and shy person, who was driven by a sense of duty and service. Educated on a scholarship, she was one of the first two women residents at the Royal Children’s Hospital.”
Macnamara “applied her tireless work ethic to better understand and treat various forms of paralysis including polio” as per Google. It was her work that helped lead to the development of a polio vaccine in 1955, helping put an end to that scourge.
Dame Jean Macnamara Early life and education
Annie Jean Macnamara was born on 1 April 1899 to John and Annie Macnamara in Beechworth, Victoria. Her family moved to Melbourne when she was seven and she attended Spring Road State School. She received a scholarship to study at the Presbyterian Ladies’ College. She entered the University of Melbourne at age 17 and graduated M.B. and B.S. in 1922; other notable Australians who also graduated in her class included Kate Isabel Campbell, Lucy Meredith Bryce, Jean Littlejohn, and Frank Macfarlane Burnet.
Dame Jean Macnamara Family, Parents
According to Ann G. Smith, writing for the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Macnamara was born in 1899 in Beechworth, Victoria.
Her parents were “Victorian-born.” Dad was a clerk of courts named John Macnamara, and mom was Annie. According to Smith, Macnamara’s parents came from different religious backgrounds. Her father was Catholic and her mother Presbyterian. She was influenced by both but raised in her mother’s religion.
In 1907, Macnamara’s family moved to Melbourne. She won a scholarship to Presbyterian Ladies’ College. She edited the magazine there and her determination and “seriousness of purpose” grew during times of war. She attended the University of Melbourne eventually becoming a “resident medical officer” at a Melbourne Hospital, wrote Smith.
Dame Jean Macnamara Career
Following graduation, she became a resident medical officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. In 1923, Macnamara became a resident doctor at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Hospital authorities had at first been reluctant to employ her on the grounds that it had no toilet facilities for women doctors. During her time at the Children’s Hospital, there was a polio outbreak. She and Burnet demonstrated that there was more than one strain of the virus, a fact that would be important in the later development of the Salk vaccine. Between 1925 and 1931 she was a consultant and the medical officer responsible to the Poliomyelitis Committee of Victoria, and between 1930 and 1931 was an honorary adviser on polio to official authorities in New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania.
In 1931, she received a Rockefeller Fellowship to travel to England and the United States to study orthopedics. When she returned to Australia in 1934 she married dermatologist Joseph Ivan Connor, and they had two daughters, Joan and Merran. She conducted a successful orthopedic work, and for this contribution was created DBE in 1935. Although she was considered the foremost Australian authority on the treatment of poliomyelitis, she continued to recommend the use of convalescent serum and splinting to immobilize limbs long after these treatments were abandoned in America.
In the 1930s, she encouraged the Australian government to trial the myxoma virus to combat the Australian rabbit plague. Although trials were initially unsuccessful, she lobbied that they be continued, and when the virus became epizootic in 1951, the mosquito vector spread the virus among rabbits, causing the successful reduction of wild rabbit numbers.
Dame Jean Macnamara Death and legacy
Macnamara died at the age of 69 from cardiovascular disease in 1968.
Seven other Australian medical scientists were commemorated in the issue of a set of four Australian stamps released in 1995. She appears on the 45 cent stamp with fellow University of Melbourne graduate, Frank Macfarlane Burnet.
In 2018, the Australian Electoral Commission renamed the federal electoral division of Melbourne Ports to Macnamara in her honor.
A suburb of Canberra was named Macnamara, Australian Capital Territory in commemoration of Jean Macnamara. Macnamara Place, in the Canberra suburb of Chisholm, is also named in her honor.
On April 1st, 2020, Google honored her 121st birthday with a Google Doodle.
Dame Jean Macnamara Awards and honors
In 1935 she was made a Dame Commander and in 1966 she became the first woman to be awarded an honorary doctorate of laws at Melbourne University,” the obit reads.