A Wagga respiratory and sleep medicine specialist has been recognised with one of the highest honours her peers can bestow.
Associate Professor Tara Mackenzie became the third woman ever to receive the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand's 2020 Society Medal at a virtual ceremony last week.
The society medal acknowledges excellence in fields other than research for the advancement of the practice of thoracic medicine or outstanding teaching or advocacy.
Associate Professor Mackenzie was awarded the medal at the same time as she and her Wagga Base Hospital colleagues are joining nationwide efforts to combat the coronavirus.
"I was nominated by colleagues. I think it's for my role in regional medicine as a respiratory physician, and also my role in education for respiratory trainees from around Australia," she said.
"I am absolutely humbled and honoured to receive this prestigious award.
"Following the example of my father and other mentors, I hope I have shown a passion for education and teaching, dedication to students and learning, leadership to ensure a culture that values education, and vision to see what can be. I am most fortunate to be part of such an amazing collegial group of medical professionals in the MLHD who share these principles."
Associate Professor Mackenzie said she was "humbled to be a part of an amazing group of medical professionals who have committed their hearts, souls and expertise to ensure that the care of our community exemplifies excellence, compassion and integrity".
"I'm a lung specialist, so I look after anybody who has any chronic or acute lung conditions. Obviously it is very timely with the coronavirus we have in Australia right now," she said.
"I'm one of four respiratory physicians in Wagga and I think it's very important to note, it's very much a team effort.
"Coronavirus affects our lower respiratory system, predominantly, which means cough, fever, sore throat. For most people, that's all they will have. But some will become more unwell with it and it will actually cause inflammation in their lungs and heart," she said.
"There's no definitive vital treatment for coronavirus, but we do have very good supportive care with oxygen and fluids and supporting the patients as best they can."
Murrumbidgee Local Health District chief executive Jill Ludford congratulated Associate Professor Mackenzie.
"We are so fortunate to boast the highest calibre respiratory physicians right here in Wagga," Ms Ludford.