26 January 2022
An Anglican parish councillor, gastroenterologist and rotary member has been recognised in the 2023 Australia Day Honours List.
Dr Mark Stephens was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to the community through an array of professional and service organisations.
His citation mentioned his significant involvement with Rotary International and with peak bodies such as the Australian Private Hospitals Association, and his role as the Diocese of Melbourne’s COVID-19 compliance medical adviser.
A consultant physician in the area of gastroenterology, Dr Stephens’ advocacy efforts for the introduction of day endoscopic services, helped reduce lengthy waiting times for procedures and shorten hospital stays.
But Dr Stephens considers his rotary contributions, including his participation with a project to help disadvantaged communities in Cambodia, as among his most purposeful achievements.
“Giving back to others is the best thing you can do, and it’s lovely to have been able to do that by service to the community, rather than financially,” Dr Stephens said.
He said he was sometimes asked why he would focus some of his humanitarian efforts overseas when there was need in Australia.
“The government supports people in need or should support people in need. But overseas and particularly in Cambodia, those who are in need don’t get government support. And [there] you can do more with very little, as far as money is concerned,” Dr Stephens said.
A parish council member at St Stephen’s Gardenvale since 2020, he has also provided help with the church’s livestreaming services and website, borrowing from his more than 30 years’ honorary experience developing software and communications technology for medical and humanitarian organisations.
St Stephen’s vicar the Reverend Paul Carr said despite Dr Stephens’ professional and community accomplishments and endeavours, he was given to staying out of the public gaze.