Tristar Doctor Wins Award

Published April 15th, 2014 by Tristar Medical Group

AMA(Australian Medical Association) 2014 Excellence in Health Care Award

Dr Mehdi

Dr Mehdi

Dr Mehdi Sanati pour –Winner of the 2014 award: Dr Mehdi Sanati pour from Tristar Medical Group Mildura has won the AMA Excellence in Healthcare Award for 2014. This award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to improving health or medical care in Australia. Dr Mehdi Sanati pour is a General Practitioner and GP Supervisor at Tristar Medical Group in Mildura, Victoria. He was born in Iran, and trained and practiced in Turkey before migrating to Australia. He started to work and train as a GP registrar in Mildura in February 2008 after moving from Melbourne, where he worked in the public system for almost 3 years. After two years of GP training and one year of Advanced Rural Skills Post in Mental Health, he was awarded Fellowship of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). During his training years, he realised how a shortage of general practitioners was impacting on rural areas, and applied for a GP supervisor role at Beyond Medical Education, as to assist in the training and retaining of new GPs in rural Victoria. During his training in Mildura, he discovered that there was a shortage of specialised services in rural and regional areas. This shortage was much more pronounced in culturally and linguistically diverse groups. He has been involved in communities from different cultural backgrounds and realised how language barriers and cultural isolation can negatively affect social participation and access to a range of services, particularly medical services. This lack of social participation and access is particularly evident in the area of mental health. As a result of this observation, he decided to gain expertise and improve his skills in the area of mental health to help patients who are more vulnerable to mental illness and have less chance of accessing mainstream services. These groups include socially isolated communities such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and refugees. In the past few years, he organised two community-based health assessments for the Turkish community with the support of Sunraysia Community Health Services and Mallee Division of General Practice. He also presented more than 10 health related topics to the Turkish community between 2008 and 2011. These topics covered many health issues including CV health, skin cancer, and women’s and men’s health issues. Another area he tried to assist in was the way in which service providers approach culturally diverse communities. He discussed issues and barriers for these groups of people to access health services in his presentation at Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC) in 2009. More than 20 stakeholder groups were present at this presentation. He works closely with Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC) to facilitate the arrival and settlement of refugees (mainly from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka) in the Mildura region and to improve their access to health services, especially much needed mental health support. To reach out to under serviced women in general practice, and especially where cultural issues prevent them to have a women’s health check regularly by male GPs, he organised the “Pap Smear and Women’s Health” evening sessions on 2 consecutive weeks between 5-8pm for working women and also women who want to have access to a female Pap Nurse (unscreened and under screened women). This service was provided by the female Pap nurse in practice. He informed different communities about this service and organised an ad in the community’s newspapers to reach out to more women. The practice’s Pap smear nurse, Anita Elderton, was awarded “The Pap Nurse of the Year” award for her role in the evening Pap smear clinics Dr Mehdi Sanati pour is committed to working with underprivileged members of the community. He runs a refugee health clinic every Thursday morning for 3.5 hours. At this clinic, refugees from different ethnic backgrounds have access to a comprehensive health assessment on their arrival to Australia, including a mental health assessment, and would be linked to any other services which they may need. As part of this clinic, he works closely with Refugee Health Nurse, Kate Maloney, at Sunraysia Community Health Services. He currently is the main provider of the Mantoux test to Refugees and other members of the community in the Mildura region. As part of his up skilling to provide better service to refugees in the region, he is working closely with Professor Beverley-Ann Biggs at the International and Immigrant Health Department of the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH). Dr Mehdi Sanati pour is respected and loved by his patients. Dr Mehdi Sanati pour supervises GP registrars and actively supports International Medical Graduates (IMGs) at his practice. He is involved in the education of IMG who are planning to start working in the Australian health system. He also trains candidates for RACGP fellowship examination. Dr Mehdi Sanati pour is a RACGP examiner, and since he became an examiner, he has participated in all RACGP clinical examinations so far. He is dedicated to research in general practice. At the moment, he is involved in a community-based study of refugee health issues with Professor Beverley-Ann Biggs. He has some studies and papers which were previously published. Dr Mehdi Sanati pour is involved with local communities on many levels. He organised a blood donation event at Red Cross in which 29 units of blood were donated and increased awareness about the importance of blood donations in the community. He also organised a first aid course for ethnic communities in May 2013. This was a comprehensive 8-hour training course, and 86 people we able to complete the training and received a first aid certificate. He also organised a “men’s health awareness” program during men’s health week 2013 at Men’s Shed Mildura. In this program, he himself and Dr Manirul Islam presented at Men’s Shed and answered men’s health questions. An important part of the program was mental health awareness. Experienced mental health clinician, Mr Brett McKinnon, presented about mental health issues in men. Most recently, he organised a series of health promotion presentations for Afghani men at Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC) with support of the refugee health nurse at Sunraysia Community Health Services. The first of these presentations were held on 19/02/2014. He was awarded as RACGP rural registrar of the year in 2011 for his dedication to general practice and rural communities.

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