Professor Michael Cousins leaves extraordinary legacy

We would like to acknowledge the remarkable life of pain medicine pioneer and former Royal North Shore Hospital specialist Professor Michael Cousins AO who has sadly passed away.

Michael was a trailblazer in anaesthesia and pain medicine, and a mentor to many at the Kolling Institute and on the Royal North Shore Hospital campus.

With a career spanning more than 50 years, Michael dedicated his life to helping others through pain management and better care. He changed the way that Australia managed pain, believing that access to pain management was a fundamental human right. He instigated change not only in Australia, but on a global scale.

Michael designed Australia’s National Pain Strategy, and was a founding member of peak Australian pain advisory bodies and academic faculties. In 1995, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia.

Michael was instrumental in the establishment of Royal North Shore Hospital's Pain Clinic and the Kolling Institute’s Pain Management Research Institute (PMRI). This multidisciplinary centre is internationally regarded for its clinical care, teaching and research.

In 1998, the institute was recognised by the National Health and Medical Research Council as one of only eight Centres of Clinical Excellence in hospital-based research, and in 2012, it was named the lead site for pain research in the state by the NSW Ministry of Health.

Today, it continues to support the community, delivering world leading research and improvements in care.

Current PMRI Director Professor Paul Glare said he first met Michael in the early 1990’s and worked alongside him in an academic capacity.

“Little did I know at the time that I would replace him as Chair of Pain Medicine and be the beneficiary of the incredible academic legacy he left here in Northern Sydney,” he said.

“His passing is very sad for all of us in the Michael J Cousins’ Pain Management Research Institute.

“I would like to recognise his truly incredible efforts to lift standards of care and improve the management of pain across Australia and internationally.”