Dr Ros Vallings, a general practitioner in Auckland and widely acknowledged as New Zealand's leading authority on ME/CFS, has been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2008 New Year Honours. She becomes MNZM, a Member of the Order.
Dr Vallings has been given the award for her voluntary work in both the local community and throughout New Zealand. The award is made with special recognition for her services to people with ME/CFS.
She has organised her practice so that she sees mainly patients with ME/CFS and related disorders. She has seen over 3,000 people with the illness, many of whom travel great distances for their consultations. GPs throughout New Zealand refer their patients with ME/CFS to Dr Vallings.
Her other special areas of interest also include women's health and the use of hypnosis in treating chronic pain and anxiety disorders. She is past president of ANZMES (Associated New Zealand Myalgic Encephalopathy Society), and is one of its medical advisers.
Dr Ken Jolly, who is also an ANZMES medical adviser, commented: "This is fantastic news. Ros is most deserving of this honour because of the empathy and caring that she naturally shows towards patients and their families. She never forgets that the families also need support.
"While she is very well known in the ME/CFS community, the award will bring her accomplishments to the notice of the wider New Zealand public and to general practitioners who are keen for more information on this perplexing condition. It will also add to her standing internationally as a New Zealander in the field of ME/CFS where current research around the world is exciting and widespread through many university centres."
Heather Wilson, president of ANZMES, said: "I am delighted to hear that Ros has been honoured in this way. There is no one more deserving. Her contribution to the community and the country is a positive example to others that change for the best can be brought about by commitment and application."
One of her patients, Steve Napier, ftom Whakatane, added: "Dr Vallings's very sound and practical advice allowed me to continue working through my illness. Without her help, I would have had to close my business down."
Ros Vallings has served ANZMES in a voluntary capacity for over 27 years.