Renowned as a ‘trailblazer’ in radiology, a pioneering neuroradiologist, a women’s rights advocate and an inspiring educator, Juniper Trinity resident Professor Lesley Cala has been recognised for her outstanding life achievements as a recipient of University of Western Australia’s prestigious Chancellor’s Medal.

Surrounded by friends and family, Professor Cala was presented the medal by UWA Chancellor Robert French AC during a ceremony held earlier this month at Juniper Rowethorpe’s Sutton Community Centre in Bentley.

As one of only four women to graduate with a Bachelor of Medicine degree at UWA in 1964, Professor Cala returned to UWA as a tutor of anatomy and physiology, before relocating to the UK to undertake further medical training to complete a Diploma and Fellowship of the Faculty of Radiologists.

Having established herself as a leading expert in Neuroradiology, Professor Cala returned to Perth where she spent her subsequent years building an illustrious career that saw her work in many respected roles in radiology at Perth hospitals including Royal Perth, Sir Charles Gairdner and Princess Margaret Hospitals.

Among her most significant career milestones include procuring the first CT machine in the Southern Hemisphere for Perth in 1975, and producing a ground-breaking thesis on

‘Neuroradiological diagnosis of intracranial tumours’, which paved the way for better diagnosis and treatment options for patients.

In addition to her impressive medical career, Professor Cala also built a reputation as a passionate women’s rights advocate, having held a number of influential roles in organisations including the National Council of Women Australia, the International Council of Women and the UWA Centenary Trust for Women.

Now a beloved resident at Juniper Trinity Residential Aged Care Home in Bentley since February 2023, Professor Cala is described by her fellow residents and staff as a vibrant and intelligent woman who is full of light, passion and wisdom.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have a career that I was very passionate about, so it didn’t feel like work.” – Professor Lesley Cala, Juniper Trinity resident

On receiving the medal, Professor Cala, 84, said she was deeply humbled.

“I’m overwhelmed, I really wasn’t expecting this at all,” Professor Cala said. “I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have a career that I was very passionate about, so it didn’t feel like work.”

Juniper CEO Russell Bricknell said he was immensely proud to see Professor Cala recognised in such a way for the incredible achievements in her life and career.

“Like many older Western Australians in our Juniper community, Professor Cala has contributed much to this State. Her ground-breaking medical work helped form the very foundation for better diagnosis and treatment for patients today.

“Today, Professor Cala continues her passion, pouring over medical journals and articles to keep up-to-date in her field, which helps her to prepare lessons for undergraduate medical students at UWA.”

Chancellor French added that it was an honour to present Professor Cala with the medal.

“As a UWA graduate and a proud member of the Convocation of the University, Professor Cala is a highly deserving recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal, recognition of a lifetime of remarkable achievements and a deep commitment to her community,” he said.

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