Two Flinders University graduates were recognised at this year’s Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) state awards. Dr Penelope Steele (PhD(Med) ’88) was named General Practitioner of the year for SA and NT, and Dr Will Staridas (BMBS(GradEntry) ’08) was named as GP Supervisor of the Year for SA and NT.
Dr Steele is part of the team of doctors at Danila Dilba Health Service in Darwin. For the past 15 years she has worked at the Maningrida Clinic in Arnhem land and recently joined Northside Health NT, a comprehensive practice that has won awards for service to the LGBTI Darwin community. Previously she was the Medical Director at Family Planning NT.
“I am pleased to have won this award as it has given me a voice to express some opinions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia,” says Dr Steele.
“We have spent billions of dollars addressing this issue, and in my opinion, Indigenous health is getting worse. We must stop throwing money away and take time-out to look again.”
“Primary health care, especially GPs, can play a pivotal role in addressing the basic tenets of health and I encourage SA and NT GPs to contribute to this.”
Dr Steele began her career as a scientist and has a Master of Science from Oxford University and a PhD in Medicine from Flinders University. She then worked in the Physiology department at Flinders University and as an National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Fellow for several years. However, she missed the interaction with patients and decided to move into general practice.
After 25 years in general practice, Dr Steele has a wealth of knowledge and experience, with a special interest in mental health, women’s health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
A general practitioner at Regency Medical Clinic in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, Dr Staridas has been supervising general practice registrars for the past four years.
“One of the biggest transitions a doctor in training can make is from hospital to general practice. It is a challenging move from a highly supervised hospital environment, to sitting alone in a room with a patient,” says Dr Staridas.
“I think it is very important to support junior doctors through that transition, and in the process help them to become a well-rounded general practitioner,” says Dr Staridas.
Dr Staridas completed a Science degree with Honours in Physiology and Pharmacology before undertaking the Flinders University Graduate Entry Medicine program. He feels that being more mature and studying with a diverse range of students in this program helped him as a junior doctor. During the third year of his medical degree he participated in the MD Rural Stream (formerly Parallel Rural Community Curriculum Programme) in Victor Harbor, which he says also enhanced his medical skills.
State awardees will go into consideration for a national award to be announced later this month.