Notre Dame appoints inaugural Churack Chair of Chronic Pain Education and Research

Professor Eric Visser has been appointed as the inaugural
Churack Chair of Chronic Pain Education and Research

10 April 2015

The University of Notre Dame Australia has appointed its inaugural Churack Chair of Chronic Pain Education and Research, Professor Eric Visser, based at the University's School of Medicine, Fremantle.

The Chair has been established with the aim of reducing the impact of chronic pain — one of the biggest unrecognised health problems in the community — through furthering research and the education of medical students in the area of chronic pain management.

Notre Dame is the first university in Australia to establish a Chair that enables the teaching of chronic pain medicine as a core part of a student's degree. Professor Visser will now bring his considerable academic and professional experience to the undergraduate curriculum.

"It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Professor Eric Visser as The Churack Chair of Chronic Pain Education and Research," said the Vice Chancellor, Professor Celia Hammond. "Professor Visser's appointment signifies the realisation of Mr Churack's bold vision to improve the quality of life for the millions of Australians experiencing the disabling condition of chronic pain."

The Churack Chair of Chronic Pain Education and Research has been made possible through the generous donation of Geoff and Moira Churack and several other major donors. More than 3.5 million Australians (including Mr Churack) suffer from the profound impact of chronic pain and the cost to the community is in excess of $34 billion.

Professor Visser takes up his appointment to the School of Medicine, Fremantle, on Thursday, 9 April 2015. The Professor will also have links with the School of Medicine, Sydney, and across all Health related Schools on both of the University's Campuses in Fremantle and Sydney and clinical schools in NSW and Victoria.

Notre Dame's Dean of the School of Medicine, Fremantle, Professor Shirley Bowen, is delighted to have Professor Visser's wealth of experience brought to the role of the Chair.

"His extensive teaching and clinical experience represents a wonderful opportunity for our students to have a deeper appreciation of the discipline of Pain Medicine," Professor Bowen said.

"Complementing the education of Notre Dame students would be important research undertaken by leading pain researchers at Murdoch University. Together with clinical research at Notre Dame, this will underpin much of the education and rehabilitation teaching of our students."

Professor Visser holds a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Western Australia, and is a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and a Fellow of the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. Professor Visser is one of the founding Fellows of Pain Medicine in Western Australia and has contributed to the growth of the Faculty significantly. He is also a member of the International Association for the Study of Pain and several other pain focused reference groups.

Professor Visser was previously a consultant in pain medicine and anaesthesia at both Royal Perth and Fremantle Hospitals until 2014. He is now Head of the Pain Service at Joondalup Health Campus and also a consultant in Pain Medicine at St John of God, Subiaco. He has significant expertise in both perioperative and acute pain and chronic pain management. Professor Visser has a significant history of teaching, examination and training of Anaesthetic registrars and Fellows. He will now bring this experience to the undergraduate curriculum.

Professor Visser has authored many publications and was also on the National Health and Medical Research Council working party developing international guidelines for management of acute pain. He also most recently published the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists guidelines on Pain Orientated Sensory Testing.

For more information about the Chair and chronic pain, please visit

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;