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Dr Pallavi Prathivadi - A remarkable GP career

Dr Pallavi Prathivadi

MBBS, BMedSc (Hons), MMed (Pain Mgt), DCH, FRACGP Academic General Practitioner and PhD Candidate Fulbright Future scholar (Stanford University 2020-2021)

Pallavi is a passionate and dedicated GP who completed her GP Training with EVGPT. Pallavi is a life-long learner and truly enjoys studying, the pursuit of knowledge and exciting others about the potential of medicine and science. 

During her training with us, she incorporated a number of interests into her training and was involved in a variety of professional development projects and research projects. She is also a PHD candidate at Monash University, a Homeward Bound recipient, a 2020 Fulbright Future Scholar and Chair of AMA Victoria Women in Medicine Group. 

Professional Recognition 

Pallavi was a joint winner of the 2018 EV Metropolitan Registrar of the Year and 2019 RACGP Registrar of the Year for Victoria and also took out the National Award. 

Dr Prathivadi reflected on this professional recognition as a “huge honour”. 

“This award is really a testament to how great my workplaces are. I work best when I’m happy; and I’m so fulfilled, supported and happy at both my clinic (MedCentral Knox) and at the Department of General Practice, Monash University. They’re both so accommodating and generous and encouraging of my ambitions.” 

She acknowledged the struggle of balancing work, completing her fellowship training and a PhD – but felt reassured by the award. 

“Managing a full time PhD, part-time clinical practice with my various other roles and responsibilities can be very difficult at times. Luckily, I have an incredible support network of friends and family who seemingly have unlimited patience and understanding!” 

Homeward Bound 

Midway through 2018 Pallavi was selected for the prestigious global leadership initiative Homeward Bound, which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. She joined 98 women from around the world accepted into the program, which involved the largest ever female expedition to Antarctica in November 2019 after an intensive 11-month program.  

Pallavi shared a reflection of the journey with us. 

It was an exhausting adventure and so rewarding. The other 98 women were incredibly inspiring and accomplished. It really hit me one night when I had dinner and our table of five included a post-doc in astrophysics at Caltech, a Fulbright scholar from Tunisia teaching at Cambridge, a Czech ID physician working as a policy adviser for the Australian government, and the first woman Professor of chemistry in our state. It was so surreal and cool.  

We also visited three research stations; Port Lockroy (the British base), Carlini (the Argentinian base), and the Great Wall (the Chinese base). Unfortunately we had bad weather/ snow/heavy winds and could not reach Palmer (the American base) despite three attempts. The ship and research bases were all pretty excited to have a group of 99 women STEMM leaders visit- it was a novel experience for all, I think.  

I am very grateful to all my sponsors (including EVGPT!!) for helping me to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I now have friends all over the states to visit when I move next year and a global network of world-changing women. I was also really proud to be the only GP in the cohort, although I did get a lot of corridor questions about sore limbs and seasickness! 

Fullbright Scholarship 

Pallavi was Awarded a Fullbright Future Scholarship in 2019 after an arduous application process. She was supported in her application by Professor Neil Spike, EVGPT Director of Medical Education and Training, and Dr Any Morgan, her then Monash Academic Supervisor and EVGPT medical educator. Her application was also supported by Monash University personnel. 

Pallavi aims to pursue her interest in improving opioid prescribing in Australian general practice. 

“Receiving this Fulbright scholarship is life-changing for me. It’s definitely called a career defining scholarship for a reason; the doors that it opens for me personally and professionally- beyond any of my dreams!” 

She had planned to travel to Stanford in July 2020 and spend 10 months there. However due to Covid-19, she has postponed this indefinitely and will reschedule when the situation is safer in both the USA and Australia. She shared her perspective on COVID here. 

We look forward to hearing the next instalment of Pallavi’s remarkable career.  

Dr Billy Stoupas - From registrar to practice owner with some media on the side

Dr Vasilios (Billy) Stoupas MBBS, FRACGP, DCH, ClinDipPallCare, BBiomedSci (Hons)

Billy trained with Eastern Victoria GP Training and was a fabulous advocate for GP training and played an active role as a Registrar Liaison Officer, representing registrars on matters related to training 

After Billy Fellowed in early 2019he initially took advantage of the flexibility that general practice offered and dropped his hours down to 3 days a week. The reason being that he and his wife (Monique) were expecting their first child. 

I basically got to choose my hours and be home with my wife and our new baby during the early months. This flexibility was useful as, once a Fellow, there is no paternity leave,” says Billy. 

Not long after this, he was fortunate to be presented with an opportunity to take over a practice in Oakleigh 

“Now I own my own practice called The General Practitioner – Oakleigh & District and have loved every bit of it. It is hard work but at the end of the day I get to have a say in the staff we have and get to create a good working ethos, and that’s what I’ve always wanted.” 

In 2020 Billy also became a presenter on the RACGP’s Generally Speaking podcast series. Billy co-hosts the show with Dr Gill Singleton. 

Well generally speaking I kind of fell into throle. I had done some media training for the RACGP and a couple of months later I got a phone call asking if I would like to take part in a podcast for the college as they had “scouted” me during one of the training sessions! 

As I had already toyed with the idea of doing podcast myself, I was all in, there was a couple of conditions, in particular wanted to have autonomy regarding the content but they really loved the idea of it being a show by GPs for GPs.” 

 “The aim is to inform as many GPs and GP trainees about latest medical developments, give them tips on personal wellbeing, connect GPs by having a common theme (the podcast) and underlying this, aiming to improve the health of the country. “ 

Generally Speaking is published on an open platform which means its international and anyone can listen by finding it on Spotify, or Apple Podcasts etc. Being produced by the RACGP it is however tailored to GPs in Australia including trainees. 

We are hoping to keep the conversation going. We want to continue having high impact and highly knowledgeable guests on the show that can improve our skillset (as a collective) and help us improve the art of general practice. 

Dr Jacqui McDonnell - Being involved in the community whilst practicing some really exciting medicine

Dr Jacqui McDonnell EVGPT Supervisor and Medical Educator

My first exposure to general practice was down in Wonthaggi, and I had this amazing experience. It was like trying on a comfortable coat and I knew it was for me. I loved the variety; emergency work, in-hospital work, even the tears and smears in clinic that everybody talks about. I loved really getting to know the patients and their whole families.

I started at Korumburra Medical Centre in my second placement as a registrar and I loved the area. As I live locally, I was originally concerned about living in the same town as I was working, but I am still here years later. Korumburra is a small town, but it has this village atmosphere. You feel like you are part of the community. One of the biggest draw cards about this area is how everyone cares about each other. You can get really involved in the community, whilst practicing some really exciting medicine.

Korumburra Medical Practice also runs the local hospital so we have a pretty exciting practice where we get to do some emergency work and in-hospital medicine, as well as providing services to our patients in clinic and our local Aged Care Facilities. We also provide a youth clinic once a week for our local high schools, where we are able to engage and support our local adolescent population.

As a practice, we all work really well together. We have some really enjoyable social activities. We have regular teaching, practice meetings and education sessions. We take it in turns doing on-call, but we also work together where there is greater complexity in the patient cases. We work well together as a team as we all have different skill sets.

During my time as a registrar I really valued my supervisors and the relationship and mentorship that we had. Becoming a supervisor was a natural progression for me as I love the opportunity to teach and to be a mentor.

I also have a role with Eastern Victoria General Practice Training. I help support and educate the Rural Registrars throughout their GP training journey. So in both my EV and GP supervisor roles, I get to see the registrars come through from hospital and have their first exposure to General Practice. I see them experience the breadth and variety of medicine , help them learn what is to be a great GP and support them through their college exams. They attain their Fellowship and become practitioners in their own right and then often become rural doctors too. It’s an amazing experience to support them through this journey.

The greatest benefit of being part of general practice training is having registrars come to our practice and letting them see firsthand how amazing it is to work in a rural area. Seeing the benefits that they give to improve the health in the local community and making a difference, not just for our town, but for all of rural Victoria.

Dr Tom Kefford - Conquering virtual training as both the learner and the teacher

Dr Tom Kefford EVGPT Registrar & Registrar Medical Educator

Working in General Practice means dealing with the unknown. The undifferentiated patient is a great challenge, often rewarding, sometimes disconcerting. Becoming comfortable with these consults takes time. I am learning every day and the Eastern Victoria General Practice Training (EVGPT) program has been a huge support, guiding me through these steep learning curves. The workshops held, approximately monthly, throughout the first year of training provide structure to our learning and allowed us to discuss the grey areas or our patients that typically guidelines won’t address. We discussed the anxieties and challenges we feel day to day, and for me were a great source of knowledge and comfort.

I have trained up to be a GP in a pandemic. This has brought a lot of new challenges to everyone and adapting to the constantly changing environment has been essential. One of the changes has been the transition of our workshops to being online. I have been a registrar learning at these online workshops, and now I am a registrar medical educator facilitating the workshops, and so have the unique position on having perspective from both sides.

As a registrar taking part in the workshops, I felt the EVGPT were able to keep that collegiality in the workshops. My favourite parts were the mentor debriefs, when we got an opportunity to talk through the nitty-gritty. These debriefs coupled with the engaging presentations from the experienced general practitioners giving us pearls of wisdom, gave great value in a full day on zoom. The pandemic can make you feel isolated at times and talking to colleagues of our shared experiences always made me feel better.

As a registrar medical educator, I now know how much effort goes into each workshop. To provide engaging content over a zoom call for a full day is a skill in itself, and as a team the EV medical educator have adapted wonderfully. Some new initiatives developed over the 18 months I have been part of the workshops have been around interactive quizzes using polls, more time in small groups for discussions on difficult concepts, and the continuation of engaging special guests and GP presentations.

The pandemic has been a challenge but through hard work and listening to feedback EVGPT has made constant improvements in delivering medical education remotely over the past 18 months. In my opinion, EVGPT provides workshops that are engaging, valuable and hopefully give EVGPT registrars the help they need to deal with the uncertainty that comes with our varied, and exciting days as general practitioners.