cohealth would like to acknowledge the life of Dr Moss Cass who was instrumental in the foundational years of cohealth in Melbourne’s west during the 1960s. cohealth is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr Cass on 26 February 2022.
Dr Moss Cass was a visionary in bringing health services to the people. In the 1960s Dr Cass envisaged a reformed health system and was involved in the development of universal health insurance in Australia – the Medicare system that now provides almost universal access to medical care. He was a staunch advocate for providing health care in the community, seeing health care as a right, not a commodity.
Dr Cass was the first Medical Director of the Trade Union Clinic and Research Centre, established in 1964 by the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union. The clinic was established to address the poor health of working people in the western suburbs. It provided free health care and helped pioneer a new model of community health care. This clinic in Paisley Street, Footscray went on to become the Western Region Health Centre and grow to become cohealth, one of Australia’s largest community health organisations. Free health services are still provided by cohealth at this site.
A champion of progressive causes Dr Cass advocated for the reform of abortion law and the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Dr Moss Cass became the federal member for Maribyrnong from 1969-83 and was environment minister in the Whitlam government.
His legacy runs deep and wide.
To remember and honour Dr Moss Cass’ work, cohealth continues to present the annual Moss Cass Award which recognises staff achievements in promoting health equity.
cohealth is grateful for the support, intelligence and leadership that Dr Cass provided to the organisation and will continue to work to honour his memory. cohealth sends our deepest sympathies to the family of the remarkable Dr Moss Cass at this very sad time.