This week the 42nd recipient of the Jack Bercov Memorial Prize, Ms Melissa Simonds, attended our meeting to collect her prize certificate and address our meeting. With us for the presentation were Jack and Stella Bercov's 3 children, Donelle Rockman, Rodney Bercov and Sharon Snader, and Mel's mother, Jenny.
Prior to the presentation, Michael Lee gave us a background to the prize: Dr Jack Bercov was a much loved and respected Claremont General Practitioner and a member of the Rotary Club of Claremont-Cottesloe. He was held in the highest esteem by his patients and the community for the selfless service which he showed as a family and community doctor over a period of 30 years.
After Jack's passing in 1974, using monies raised by public donation, the Rotary Club of Claremont-Cottesloe established the Jack Bercov Memorial Fund to honour and perpetuate his memory. The Fund provides an annual prize which is awarded to a UWA fifth year medical student who shows in their studies and in their commitment to their patients, those same qualities that were so evident in Jack. The Rotary Club of Western Endeavour now sponsors the Fund.The Jack Bercov Memorial Prize is arguably the most prestigious prize in undergraduate medicine in Western Australia.
Mel was presented with the Certificate by President Tony Parker. Note that the Award had previously been announced, and cheque presented , at the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences Awards Night.
Mel then went on to give us a brief history of herself.
Mel was attracted to the STEM subjects at school and initially did a science degree majoring in microbiology. While at school, she was aware of some fellow students suffering debilitating autoimmune illnesses, and recalls feeling frustrated that their illnesses couldn't be cured. That led to Mel deciding to pursue a medical degree following the science degree. During the course she has had some inspiring placements in general practice and is planning to pursue her career as a Physician.
Congratulations to Mel on being a very worthy winner of the Jack Bercov Memorial Prize. We wish her the very best in pursuit of her medical career.