Announcement: Dr John Edwards ONZM – Memorial Lecture

Article by Belinda Mellowes

In 2020 Dr John Lewis Edwards ONZM of New Zealand sadly passed away and our specialty lost one of its finest founding fathers. His contributions to ANZAOMS and to the specialty generally, over a period of almost 60 years, were exceptional. It is with great pleasure that ANZAOMS welcomes the establishment of the John Edwards Memorial Lecture, an initiative of John’s wife Margaret and family.

The lecture will form an integral part of the program for the annual New Zealand Branch Scientific Meeting, with a bursary to be provided to support an international guest speaker to the event each year.

John’s Curriculum Vitae is as impressive as it is diverse and extensive. He had significant involvement in organised dentistry within the NZDA. John was New Zealand Vice President (1994 – 1997) and then President of ANZAOMS (1997 – 1999). He was awarded a Distinguished Service Award by ANZAOMS in 2003 and subsequently chaired the ANZAOMS/ACC Alloplastic TMJ Registry Development Group.

John was made a Fellow of NZDA in 2000 and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to Dentistry in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2008. John is one of only very few dental practitioners to have ever received such an honour.

John was a humble man but a gifted surgeon capable of elegantly performing a diverse repertoire of procedures with great skill and consummate ease.  In particular he was an expert temporomandibular joint surgeon. He was a caring, ethical practitioner and an astute diagnostician with excellent judgement. Patients lucky enough to have been treated by John were indeed fortunate, as were those of us who had the privilege of training under him. 

For many of today’s oral and maxillofacial surgeons in New Zealand (and some in Australia), their choice of career was as a direct result of John’s considerable, but subtle, influence.  John also had a somewhat unrecognised but substantial mentoring role for many of us well beyond our training years.

There can be no better tribute than to say that John was a most remarkable man who left this world a better place for having lived in it. His passing was a monumental loss to our speciality but his profound and gentle influence will persist for many generations to come. It is very fitting that the John Edwards Memorial Lecture will keep John in our hearts and minds while continuing to support learning for his colleagues, in perpetuity.

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