December 10, 2021

Dr Amanda Baric awarded Order of the Polar Star, Mongolia’s highest state honour

Dr Amanda Baric, one of our very own anaesthetists, has been awarded the highest state honour of Mongolia, the Order of the Polar Star, in recognition of her contribution to Mongolia’s healthcare sector.

Ambassador of Mongolia to Australia D.Davaasuren presented the award on 3 December in Canberra.

Previous winners of the Order of the Polar Star include former US President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Northern Health anaesthetists have a long standing association with Mongolia, starting with Associate Professor David Pescod. He first visited Mongolia in 2001 to attend the Mongolian Society of Anaesthesiologists (MSA) 40th-anniversary meeting. Dr Ganbold Lundeg, then president of the MSA, invited David to return and initiated a collaborative learning model and development of the anaesthesia profession.

Amanda first visited there in 2006, helping David deliver training and initiating conversations about the potential for the advancement of anaesthesia training in Mongolia.

In 2008, the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA) signed an MOU with the Mongolian Government to improve anaesthetic training.

The following year, the MSA first delivered an 18-month training program in Mongolia. The training program was developed by David, Amanda, and other Northern Health anaesthetists in collaboration with the MSA.

Since 2008, a combined MSA/ASA scientific congress has been held annually in Mongolia. Each year, the team includes at least six doctors from Northern Health and some of our nursing and midwifery colleagues.

The “Emergencies in Anaesthesia” course was first delivered in Mongolia by doctors, mainly from Northern Health, in 2012, and from this initiative, the specialty of emergency medicine emerged in Mongolia.

“Part of the attraction of coming to work at Northern Hospital is that it has a worldwide reputation of providing education and service in low to middle-income countries,” says Associate Professor David Pescod.

As for Amanda’s achievement, David says, “There can be only one polar star and that is Mandy!”

Chief Medical Officer A/Prof. Wanda S Stelmach agrees. She says, “Mandy, is Northern Health’s shining star albeit a silent one! Her engagement in so many aspects of our health service is appreciated by all who work with her. She is truly a team leader, leading by example yet acknowledging all these around her. Her work in Mongolia is known to her colleagues but what this has meant to the peoples of Mongolia was never really appreciated us  – a totally well-deserved acknowledgement!”

Dr Amanda Baric with her signature modesty, is quick to point out the hard work the Australian volunteers and the members of the MSA have done to make enormous improvements to health care in Mongolia.

“The MSA has been exceptional in its vision and leadership. Without that, we visitors would not have enjoyed the success we have all had together,” she says.

Featured image shows Associate Professor David Pescod, Ambassador Davaasuren and Dr Amanda Baric.

Dr Ganbold Lundeg on extreme left as part of a study tour to Northern Health in April 2019. Dr Amanda Baric is at centre with former Northern Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr John Ferguson.