GP registrar Dr Isabel Hanson wins national award

All smiles: Dr Isabel Hanson won the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners GP in Training of the Year national award.

All smiles: Dr Isabel Hanson won the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners GP in Training of the Year national award.

Dr Isabel Hanson said in order to make "meaningful change" in primary care there needs three things.

"To understand what the problems are on the ground, to use research science to find solutions to the problems and to affect health policy to transform those solutions into reality," she said.

"My career dream is to work at the nexus of primary care, research and public policy to improve the health of all Australians.

"I hope to work across general practice, research, and public policy to make our primary and preventative health care system the best in the world."

The GP registrar at Gandangara Health Service in Liverpool recently won the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners GP in Training of the Year national award.

It comes after Dr Hanson won the NSW/ACT award in September.

Dr Hanson is passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and started working with the "dynamic and dedicated" team at Gandangara in February. In early 2022, she will complete her specialist training in general practice.

"When working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Liverpool, serving our patients is not just about treating their presenting symptoms on the day, it is about seeing the whole person in their context. When we see and treat people this way, we contribute to lifelong health and wellbeing, not only curing illness," she said.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the world's oldest living continuous culture, and yet have some of the worst health outcomes. The causes of this health disparity run deep in our collective history of colonisation. We need to speak the truth about the past - dispossession, intergenerational trauma, and ongoing racism - so that we can heal together and set a path for a better future.

"I want to see an Australia where there is no gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health."

At the end of 2022, Dr Hanson will be taking up the Sir General John Monash foundation scholarship to attend Oxford University, to complete her PhD in Translational Health Sciences and then return to Australia and work as an academic GP and policy advisor.

"My academic post research project is aimed at identifying social prescribing activities and gaps in current knowledge. So say a patient presents with mental health issues and a number of chronic conditions, a GP may be able to change their health trajectory by prescribing a non-clinical service such as joining a local walking group where they will exercise, connect with their community, and enjoy being in uplifting green spaces outdoors," she said.

"GPs know all too well that social disconnection and isolation contributes to poor physical and mental health - we see the end product of this every day.

"I want to learn more about the barriers standing in the way of social prescribing in Australia."

And how did it feel to win the RACGP GP in Training of the Year, National Award?

"It feels amazing! I am honoured. I am passionate about best practice primary and preventative care and I'm thrilled that my commitment to our work is being acknowledged in this way," she said.