Born in Istanbul to a French father and Greek mother, Josette migrated with her sister and parents to Sydney, Australia, as a young girl. That Josette not only survived but thrived, excelling at school despite her inability to speak English, was a sign of her intelligence and determination, qualities that would typify her career.
As a Sydney University medical student, junior doctor, trainee nephrologist, consultant, and ultimately unit director, Josette spent much of her life at The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and truly became part of its fabric. There was no aspect of its structure, operations, politics, or indeed its potential that she did not know and use to the advantage of her team and her patients, for above all, Josette was a clinician who cared for her patients.
A PhD in B cell biology at the University of Sydney's Centenary Institute followed by postdoctoral studies under Kathryn Wood at Oxford were critical elements of Josette’s training. A deep knowledge of transplant immunology underpinned her clinical practice and ongoing research in the laboratory and clinic, yielding many papers in journals including Journal of Clinical Investigation, British Medical Journal, American Journal of Transplantation, and of course, Transplantation. Working with Kathryn Wood provided Josette with a model of how women could and should contribute and lead in science and medicine, a concept which she embodied throughout her career. As mentor, supervisor, and role model, Josette inspired, trained and retained numerous women in our field. The Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) Josette Eris Award for Women in Transplantation has now been created in recognition.
Josette excelled in service and leadership as Councilor of The Transplantation Society, Chairing the Women in Transplantation committee. She held many roles including President of the TSANZ, Co-chair of the TTS-TSANZ World Transplant Congress of 2008 in Sydney, Chair of the Dialysis Nephrology and Transplantation committee of ANZSN, and was the Area Director of Renal Medicine at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.
Treasured and admired by her colleagues, Josette was also loved by her patients, whose care and welfare she valued so highly. The only thing more fundamental and important to Josette than patient welfare was her family. Josette is survived by her husband, Jonathan Blackwell, and their 2 boys, Matthew and Alex, her sister, and her mother.
Josette passed away after a few month’s illness and far too soon. By her own admission, Josette had still much to do. Although we are all the poorer for her passing, we remember the many achievements and the wonderful person that we were fortunate to have as a friend and colleague. Vale Josette.