Congratulations to Dr Sam Heard, Medical Director of the Flinders NT Regional Training Hub who was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2019 Queens Birthday Honours for his service to medicine. Sam is well respected for his long term commitment to medicine in the NT and to improving communication across health care through electronic health record (EHR) research.
Sam trained in Adelaide and completed his GP training in central London and established a teaching practice in Shoreditch as a lecturer in the St Bartholomew’s Medical School. Sam continues as a Senior Visiting Research Fellow with the University College London.
After leading a European project on electronic health records, Sam returned to the NT and joined the Menzies School of Health and Research team where he helped John Matthews establish the Master of Public Health course. Sam then took on the role of Regional Director of GP Training for the NT. During this time, he maintained his obstetric practice and helped set up the home birth program that is still operating in the NT.
Sam has been active internationally with the open EHR standards group and published the open EHR specifications. Open EHR is a messaging standard that is used worldwide and is still being modified to meet the changing data needs of the healthcare world. He has also published on a wide variety of primary care subjects including outreach surgical programs in the NT which was published in the Lancet.
For the past 7 years Sam has concentrated on coal-face learning and supervision; first at the Palmerston Super Clinic and more recently as Medical Director at Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. In 2017 he was awarded the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners General Practice supervisor of the year for South Australia and the Northern Territory. In June 2018, Sam commenced as the Flinders NT Medical Director of the Regional Training Hub (RTH) in Central Australia in conjunction with his role at Congress. Recently Sam has joined the board of the Australian Digital Health Agency overseeing the My Health Record.
Since joining the Regional Training Hub, Sam has been instrumental in devising and launching a pilot program for Advanced Training in Remote Indigenous Health which has a strong focus on rural generalist training for very remote areas. The program is set to continue with remote clinics from across the NT joining in 2020.
Sam conceived and initiated the No Cola, Just Fun tour which will be delivered through remote communities in October this year.
Along with Dr Olivia O’Donoghue (Medical Director Regional Training Hub – Top End) Sam has been involved in scoping the proposed NT Rural Generalist pathway, and promoting this with the GP Colleges, federal Department of Health staff, and the National Rural Commissioner Emeritus Professor Paul Worley.
Sam loves to play music and started the Cheeky Docs, a group of GP’s who play regularly at Conferences and other venues.