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Tony Clarke graduated from the University of Cape Town, South Africa with an MB, ChB, in 1970.
After completing his houseman year at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, he spent two years with his family in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Here he worked at Mpilo Hospital and prepared for his MRCP examination, which he completed soon after moving to the UK, in 1974.
Dr Clarke spent a wonderful year in Buckinghamshire. This was followed by nearly 4 years in New Zealand, where he began his training in gastroenterology with Gordon Nicholson and Cliff Tasman-Jones. He then dragged his long-suffering family to Canberra, Australia, where he has remained happily since.
Dr Clarke is in a group private practice. He is also appointed to the staff of the Canberra Hospital and the faculty of the University of Sydney Clinical School.
With his colleagues, he operates two endoscopy centers.
His particular interests include ERCP, therapeutic endoscopy, sedation, and quality management in clinical practice.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- It seemed like a good idea at the time. There were rumors that new drugs were being developed to control acid secretion. Endoscopy and ultrasound also seemed likely to offer new diagnostic options. It looked like gastroenterology might be an area of new clinical interest. That turned out to be right!
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- Jannie Louw and Stuart Saunders in Cape Town, Jimmy Thomas in Bulawayo (probably the best teacher I’ve ever met), Bruce Thomson in Amersham and Gordon Nicholson in Auckland.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- The study by Present et al. on the use of 6-MP in Crohn’s Disease. (Present DH, Korelitz BI, Wisch N, Glass JL, Sachar DB, Pasternack BS. Treatment of Crohn's disease with 6-mercaptopurine. A long-term, randomized, double-blind study. N Engl J Med 1980; 302: 981-7) The magnitude of the task, of managing a long-term study on such a heterogenous condition, made me realize what was required to answer important clinical questions.
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- There are lots to choose from! Not pursuing a hunch that there was a more important factor than acid secretion in duodenal acid pathogenesis. The fact that colloidal bismuth gave a lower rate of duodenal ulcer relapse than cimetidine treatment suggested this to me. It might have brought forward the recognition of the importance of H pylori.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- To get 3 more strokes off my golf handicap, to become a single-figure player.
- What is your greatest regret?
- That I have not spent enough time with many members of my extended family. There is a price to pay for all this interesting travel!
- How do you relax?
- Cheerful dinners with friends, TV drama, sport, and music.
- What is your favorite sport?
- Golf and skiing are my favorite participation sports. For spectator sports: rugby and cricket. The ACT Brumby rugby team are my particular passion, and watching the Wallabies beat the Springboks or the All Blacks always gives very deep pleasure. Cricket is more a background state of mind – knowing what the national team is doing is essential for any Australian.
- What is your best place in the world?
- Restaurants with a Sydney harbor view, dusty Karoo ‘dorps’, and English countryside and villages.
- What is your favorite film?
- "Out of Africa".
- What car do you drive?
- A BMW 740 (previously the Samoan ambassador’s – there are some advantages to living in the national capital).
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- Palm Vx.
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- "Midnight’s Children" by Salman Rushdie.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- Through Peter Cotton.