In Memory of Peter A. Leggat

In Memoriam Peter A. Leggat, A.M. by Gerard Flaherty

It is with profound sadness that I inform you of the death, earlier today in Brisbane, Australia, of our dear friend and colleague, and Immediate Past President of ISTM, Professor Peter A. Leggat. As a travel medicine community, we are devastated by the loss of our beloved friend. His service to the ISTM and to travel and tropical medicine in general are without equal and span nearly four decades.

Peter served as a Counselor on the ISTM Executive Board (2003-2005), as Secretary-Treasurer (2013-2019), as President-elect (2019-2021), and as President (2021-2023). He brought a sharp intellect, skillful diplomacy, and refreshing good humor to these and many other influential roles. Peter was always a great source of encouragement to the next generation of travel medicine leaders, and he was the reason I put myself forward for election as ISTM President in 2020. I know that many of you will have counted Peter among your most significant career influencers and most cherished friends in travel medicine.

At the CISTM18 conference in Basel, Switzerland less than four months ago, we all came together to celebrate a wonderful reunion as a travel medicine community. This was Peter’s conference, and his brilliance and gentle touch were written all over it. I addressed the following words to my friend in my inauguration speech, “To Peter Leggat, it has been a privilege working with you during your presidential term. You steadied the ship through rough seas and your decisions were always carefully considered, calmly communicated, and tactfully implemented. I look forward to your continued service as Immediate Past President.”

Peter’s academic and leadership roles extended far beyond the shores of his native Australia. I am particularly mindful of the acute sense of loss and sadness that is being felt by his many close friends and colleagues in his beloved homeland where, to say that Peter Leggat was a giant in the field of travel and tropical medicine, would be a considerable understatement. Peter served for more than 30 years in the Australian Defence Force and was promoted to the rank of Colonel in 2013. Among his numerous accolades was admission as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2013, the gold lapel pin for which he wore with understandable pride.

Peter was promoted to Commander of the Order of St. John in 2016. Less than two weeks ago, he addressed the very well attended 6th Annual Southern Cross Travel Medicine Conference in Sydney, hosted by the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine which Peter had co-founded in 1991. How fragile and precious human life is. Let us support and comfort each other at this very sad time.

It was a blessing for us to learn that Peter’s wife, Pan, and his father, Bruce, were by his side in his final hours. Peter was sadly predeceased by his mother, Dr. Frances Winifred Leggat, in July 2022. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family and friends, and all those who mourn the passing of this outstanding gentleman, physician, scholar, mentor, and leader. ISTM will have opportunities to celebrate Peter’s wonderful legacy at an appropriate time in the future.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Gerard Flaherty
ISTM President, on behalf of the ISTM Executive Board