A short biography
Michael Mason qualified from Oxford and St Bartholomew’s Hospital London. After training under the direction of the late Dr W S C Copeman and Dr Oswald Savage he was appointed Consultant in Physical Medicine at the London Hospital, as a second consultant in that department with Dr W S Tenger, in 1955.
His practice was in the wider aspects of rheumatology and with Dr W S Tegner he set about enlarging the department at The London, and transforming it into the Department of Rheumatology. This led to the establishment of an associated academic professorial unit in Rheumatology in the University of London at the London Hospital Medical College. Additionally he was instrumental in the development of the Bone and Joint Research at the London Hospital Medical College.
He became renowned as a clinical rheumatologist and had the honour of presenting the Heberden Round in 1966. He was subsequently President of the Heberden Society, President of the British Association of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation and the first President of the re-constituted British League Against Rheumatism from 1973 until his death in 1977.
Additionally he was civilian consultant in rheumatology to the Royal Air Force and consultant rheumatologist to the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers and to the Royal Masonic Hospital. When Dr W S C Copeman was Chair of the Executive Committee of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council, Dr Michael Mason became Chair of the arc Executive, and subsequently of the combined Executive and Finance Committees.
He visited Australia on two occasions and was determined to foster the exchange of junior rheumatology staff between the United Kingdom and Australia, in both directions, but regrettably this did not come to fruition during his lifetime.
His untimely death was during the International Congress of Rheumatology in San Francisco on the 30th June 1977, just three months before he had planned to retire at the age of 60 years. Two memorial fellowships – The Michael Mason Fellowships – were set up by the Arthritis Rheumatism Council of Great Britain and the Australian Rheumatism Association to bring about the exchange of junior staff between the United Kingdom and Australasia he would have wished.
The British Society for Rheumatology established the Michael Mason Prize to encourage excellence amongst its younger members.