The pathway to a career specialising in the care of children emerged early in his studies for Mackay Base Hospital’s Dr Gopakumar Hariharan (known to all as Dr Gopan).
“I always wanted to be a paediatrician, right from my medical graduate years,” Dr Gopan said.
“I was fortunate to have great feedback from my supervisors very early on in my career, which directed me to become a Paediatrician and Neonatologist.”
Following completion of specialist training in both India and Australia, Dr Gopan has now worked as a senior consultant in our Children and Adolescent Health Unit for the past five years.
He was recognised for his work recently at the Mackay HHS Excellence in Leadership, Teaching and Research Awards, taking out the MIRI Bert Sadleir Award for Senior Researcher.
“It is an honour to receive the award,” he said.
Dr Gopan, who is also an adjunct senior lecturer at James Cook University (JCU), wants to give credit to those he has mentored and worked with in producing research papers.
“I would like to acknowledge the junior medical staff and med students who have worked hard to do these projects and get work published,” Dr Gopan said.
“Several are new to research, and it’s been a pleasure supervising them.
“They deserve acknowledgement for putting in the hard work to complete the projects and publishing them in international journals.”
Dr Gopan said his research focus was on what was relevant to our regional centre, and a recent example involved consideration of the transfer of babies less than 32 weeks to Townsville University Hospital.
“One of the trainees undertook research looking at whether we can manage some of those babies locally rather than transferring to the tertiary centre (Townsville),” Dr Gopan said.
“That article was published recently in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health and will be presented at the RACP (Royal Australian College of Physicians) trainee awards.
“Our paediatricians are experienced in treating newborns with most conditions, including mechanical ventilation, and are well placed to manage common neonatal emergencies without having to transfer the babies to tertiary centres, particularly if the telehealth facility is utilised for advice from tertiary centres.”
“If the tertiary centre reviews the baby over telehealth and provide ongoing support, the research found more babies could be managed locally.
“This would mean less impact for the Mackay families if we could utilise local expertise and resources.”