The Mirror News

Foster Medical Centre greets returning and new GP registrars, plus a student

• Foster Medical Centre has greeted this line-up of returning and new GP registrars and a medical student during the past month, which also included a personal welcome from one of Dr Owen Casson’s waiting room attendant chooks! From left, Dr Romina Madappuli, Dr Shi Han Wong, Dr James O’Sullivan with Ms Plymouth Rock, Dr Emily Bolton, and medical student Sarah Harrington.
Absent is Dr Samara Cua.

FOSTER Medical Centre (FMC) has warmly greeted two returning and three new general practitioner (GP) registrars plus a fourth year medical student at the practice during February 2024.

A GP registrar is a fully qualified medical doctor who is undertaking advanced training to specialise in general practice. 

Husband-and-wife medicos, Dr James O’Sullivan and Dr Samara Cua, have come back to the Corner Inlet district community after the past two years away, furthering their education and professional expertise at Leongatha and at Sale.

The pair so enjoyed their time working and learning at the FMC during 2021 that both have decided to concentrate on country doctoring and to finish their GP training overlooking Wilsons Prom while taking a serious view to settling here permanently.

The new GP registrars are Dr Romina Madappuli, Dr Shi Han Wong, and Dr Emily Bolton, who have especially chosen to come to the FMC to add rural and regional general practice experience to their respective medical repertoires.

The three have found themselves in the Corner Inlet district from all around the globe; Dr Romina was born in Sri Lanka, Dr Shi Han is Malaysian Chinese and Dr Emily emigrated to Australia from the United Kingdom in 2014.

Fourth year Monash University medical student Sarah Harrington will be spending a total of 18 weeks at the FMC for her GP rotation.

The returnees and the newcomers to the FMC have supplied some details of their individual stories to The Mirror and here they are below, not in any particular order.

Dr Romina Madappuli

“Hi, I am Romina Madappuli from Sri Lanka and I’ve been in Australia for more than 10 years.

“I graduated from the University of Melbourne Medical School in 2019 and trained at Geelong during my internship, then I’ve been continuing my training at Monash Health before coming to Foster.

“I have done rotations in paediatrics, mental health, geriatrics and gastroenterology, in addition to general medicine and surgery, and I decided to move into general practice after having my daughter, Cienna, with my husband, Sachin,  in 2022.

“My travels have taken me all over Gippsland, but I am yet to explore Wilsons Prom, and I’m hoping my time here in Foster will help me achieve this as well as providing excellent medical care to the community at large.

“You’ll spot me in the mornings jogging and in the evenings on walks with my daughter.” 

Dr Emily Bolton

“Originally from the UK, I seem to have taken a long and winding path to land here in Foster, but life is like that, and I am grateful for the lessons I have learnt and hope to bring those skills to GP training and Foster.

“After graduating at a new medical school in Brighton in the UK in 2008 at the age of 23, I entered the world of critical care, mainly anaesthetics and intensive care, and then adventure brought me to Western Australia in 2014.

“I worked for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in remote Australia for a year and met my husband Hugh at the Marble Bar races and so have been here ever since!

“I’m Mum to William, who is four ‘AND A HALF’ and to Rebecca, 20 months, and our Aussie family life is full of adventures; camping, biking, swimming and general outdoors fun at our home in the Dandenong ranges. 

“We moved to Melbourne for work, and I ended up working in anaesthetics and acute care across multiple tertiary hospitals in Melbourne.

“These included Monash, Peter Mac, Austin Health, Eastern Health, Western Health, the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear, and also Ballarat, so it could be said that I’ve done a good tour of Melbourne’s best healthcare for you!

“COVID-19 and becoming a mother led to evaluations, as many of us have experienced, about whether this life was fulfilling and sustainable, and the short answer for me was ‘no, it wasn’t’.

“I embarked on GP training in 2022, and my love for rural and remote medicine and being a generalist has led me to Foster; a place where education and support has been prioritised to attract doctors from all over Melbourne and greater Victoria.

“What a jewel of a place to work – thank you for creating such a warm and welcoming community and I am excited to be a part of it.” 

Sarah Harrington

“I am a fourth year medical student from Monash University, and I opted to complete my placement rurally this year because I was excited to see what rural medicine is like and to get a more ‘hands-on’ experience.

“I was also keen to return to the country after three years in Melbourne, having grown up in Ballarat, and to explore the many wonderful places that South Gippsland has to offer.

“I am a keen hiker, runner and cyclist and love being outdoors in nature, so I have been in my element in the area so far and am amazed by how much there is to do here.

“After I graduate from medical school I hope to return to work in the country, where I am currently interested in specialising in gastroenterology, however becoming a rural GP is also on my mind!”

 Shi Han Wong

“My name is Shi Han Wong and I am Malaysian Chinese.

“After completing my medical degree at Western Sydney University, I furthered my career in a regional area, at Albury Wodonga Health and learnt about the interesting part of rural medicine.

“I also learned how nice it is living in the country and felt the warmness of rural community.

“During my application for GP training, I saw Foster on the list and came to know of this town and how close it is to Wilsons Promontory. I had always wanted to visit Squeaky Beach.

“Before applying for Foster Medical Centre I visited the Medical Centre at that time and found that the staff were very friendly, the community felt very warm and hence I applied for Foster.”

Dr James O’Sullivan

“I am James O’Sullivan, one of the doctors starting at Foster Medical Centre again this year.

“I grew up in Walkerville on a farm and studied medicine at Monash University. I was a rural cohort medical student so most of my placements in medical school were in regional areas.

“After graduating from university, I initially worked in north-western Victoria before coming back down to South Gippsland for GP training.

“I worked in Foster for a year in 2021 and am very happy to come back this year after exploring other clinics.

“I also obtained an advanced skill in anaesthetics in 2023 and will be working in anaesthetics at South Gippsland Hospital in Foster and at Sale Hospital as well as working in general practice at Foster.”

Dr Samara Cua

“My name is Samara Cua and I studied medicine at Monash University.

“It was through the ‘extended rural cohort’ program that I was able to experience working rurally and found a passion for working in the country.

“Before moving to South Gippsland for GP training, I spent a few years up in north-western Victoria as a medical student and junior doctor.

“Although I loved the area and had a great experience, I missed being close to the beach and hence moved down to South Gippsland for GP training.

“I undertook my second year of GP training at Foster Medical Centre in 2021 and I thoroughly enjoyed working with all the staff, as well as the patients I met along the way and the wider Foster community.

“After spending 2023 upskilling in Palliative Care both at Latrobe Regional Health and at Monash Health, I chose to return to FMC to continue my GP training.

“I am now also working one day a week with the South Gippsland Hospital palliative care team and hope to continue supporting the South Gippsland community in this setting.”


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