Hi Vin, thanks for taking the time to allow us to get to know you a little more. We’re going to run through a series of questions to help our community get to know you.
What drew you to Medicine? And particularly to General Practice?
The truth is I fell into medicine - it felt like a challenge to get in to medical school from a country town high school. I started when I was 17 and 3 months … I don’t believe we know enough about the world to make an informed choice at that stage! Regardless I grew to love it, and general practice was a very intentional choice. I like to see and help the whole person and to positively influence their journey in healthcare.
Times have changed a lot and so has medicine. How do you see technology affecting medicine?
Medical knowledge is now vast and growing. Technology helps us bridge the gap between the client in front of us and this vast human knowledge. A good GP can give reassurance that Dr. Google cannot, or prevent major problems as yet unimagined by the client.
What can your patients expect of a consultation with you?
I will be frank. I may say things the client is not dying to hear, but needs to. Uncertainty and probability plays a role in every consultation and diagnosis and I will be honest about this. I hope that I will also be gentle and empathic. I know first hand how difficult it is to face truths one would rather avoid.
As a General Practitioner you are expected to know a lot about a lot, taking that as a given, is there an area that you really like working with?
I like to see EVERYTHING, but I have spent extra time in research and in studying women’s health (the Diploma of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and a Bachelor of Medical Science Honours degree in lab work aiming to prevent early births) and am particularly keen to improve the GP care for conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis and menopause. I spent 3 years overseeing the delivery of, and examining, babies at Perth hospitals and thoroughly enjoyed this. I’d be happy to see newborns, help with early breastfeeding difficulties and antenatal consultations.
Thinking into the future in the realms of medicine what excites you?
There is so much uncertainty about the world I tend not to make bold predictions. However, cancer treatment is moving forward in leaps and bounds. An improved understanding of genomics, the gut micro-biome and the brain will yield new ideas. It’s an exciting time, but it’s also daunting - there are also threats. Antibiotic resistance and a global flu pandemic are real and under-appreciated dangers.
When you are not working or studying or thinking about your patients what do you like to do? What are your hobbies?
It's true, many GPs are guilty of spending a lot of free time studying or thinking about patients ... but I love a great book, leisurely sailing, competitive badminton, patting various dogs, food (eating > cooking), active and adventurous travel (although NOT an adrenaline junkie), sci-fi novels, piano playing and I am a proud supporter and a member of the LGBT community - keen to find a local LGBT friendly faith/church group.
Who are your medical heroes?
Tough question. My favourite heroes are the ones who are honest about their difficulties. For example Mother Theresa, famous for her Christ-like focus on the poorest and sickest Indians, is less famous for her struggle with maintaining her faith. Particularly heroic is the struggle of transgender people to live authentic lives, and for people with severe mental illness to live normal lives! I see a lot of heroism in my patients some of whom suffer greatly but maintain a sense of optimism or appreciation for life.
At the time of writing this Q&A you are somewhere between WA where you grew up, on adventure through southern India and moving to Melbourne for the first time. What are you looking forward to about Melbourne? What have been your impressions of it on the trips that you have made here in the past?
Melbourne is the cool, calm underground cultural life-force behind modern Australia. The city gives the impression it cares less about appearances than grit, depth, substance, integrity. While it will be nice to have access to all the things big(ger) cities offer, I look forward most to being amongst its people - in their diversity of origin, form, lives, and ideas.