Victoria's Junior Doctor of the Year

Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours)

Class of 2013

With a passion for rural medicine, award winning Griffith alumnus Dr Dan Wilson is firmly cementing himself as a community pillar in regional Victoria.

Dan was the first in his family to leave his hometown of Kempsey, bound for tertiary education at Griffith University on the Gold Coast.

Although he was unsure if a biomedical science degree was for him, he chose Griffith as he saw an opportunity to move into research or medicine. The University also offered an accelerated program, allowing him to complete his honours during his second and third years and to test the waters in research integration and postgraduate study.

Shortly after graduation he pursued his dream of regional living and a career in medicine. He left the sunny Gold Coast behind, which was unsuited to his fondness for cooler climates, settling in the Grampians region of Victoria.

“I went into medicine because I enjoy interacting and helping others,” Dr Wilson said.

“I really enjoy and appreciate the fact that I'm allowed into a patient's most vulnerable moments. As a general practitioner, we are the people who experience these moments the most in people’s lives, right up until their death. It’s a privilege to be there for them.”

Early career success

Dan’s studies at Griffith set the foundations for an award-winning career.

In 2019, he was awarded Victoria’s Junior Doctor of the Year by the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria (PMCV) and was a finalist for 2019 Australia’s National Junior of the Year, by the Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils (CPMEC).

Although delighted to receive such an accolade, Dan was surprised to hear of his nomination. He was also humbled to learn it had come from his mentors and colleagues in Ballarat, in recognition of his passion and advocacy for the welfare of junior doctors and education.

“My nomination was due to the success of a teaching program we developed where junior doctors were given the opportunity to voluntarily teach current medical students,” Dan said.

“It was beneficial for the students to learn from someone new to the profession. For junior doctors, it was beneficial to enhance their teaching skills and general professional development.”

A global–alumni network

Six years after graduation and an interstate move later, Dan stays in regular contact with his Griffith graduating class of 2013, some of which will be invited to his upcoming wedding.

“We were a very close graduating class, so it felt like we were graduating high school all over again!” he said.

“About 15 to 20 of us are still in regular contact and technology, more so the internet, has made it so much easier to communicate.”

His alumni network is now based in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and abroad including Oxford, England.

“The internet has revolutionised not only how I keep in touch with my fellow alumni for career advice and general friendship, but also how I facilitate some of the healthcare I provide through Telehealth,” he said.

Telehealth services use information and communications technologies to deliver health services and transmit health information over both long and short distances.

Work and life balance

When not dedicating his time to patients, colleagues and the community, Dan enjoys the serenity of time to himself. He is currently building his first home with his partner just outside Ballarat and has recently immersed himself in a new hobby of growing indoor plants in preparation for his new abode.

Eager to continually grow his skills and knowledge, he is also pursuing additional online tertiary studies in continuation of his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. He views the long hours and level of commitment as an investment rather than a burden.

“I’m always learning, every day, it doesn’t stop. If I add up how many years of tertiary education I’ve completed it will be around thirteen by the time I’ve finished, but it’s definitely worth it!” he remarked.

Dr Wilson aspires to be a mentor and teacher as his career progresses into obstetrics, LGBTIQ+ sexual health, and medical education.

“I’ve always been a life-long learner and see myself as a being a teacher, so part of my studies is to make sure I can be the best teacher possible.”

Dr Wilson is pursuing further tertiary education in a Master of Clinical Education and Master of Health Management.

Advice to new students

Reflecting on his early years at Griffith, Dan’s advice is to establish connections and networks early, even if it’s uncomfortable.

“I was hesitant to go to University as I knew no one and was the first in my family to go to University,” Dan recalled.

“I would really recommend for new and returning students to stick your neck out to make connections with friends and colleagues and build your personal and professional networks as early as possible.

“I found my feet at Griffith and I became really involved in the University community, both professionally through committees but also through job opportunities as well.

“Griffith offered a ginormous number of job opportunities to help me through my studies. You have to put yourself out there, take risks and seize opportunities that come your way through your networks.”