Inspirational Doctors receive Prestigious Scholarships

Two of Griffith University’s outstanding graduates have been awarded General Sir John Monash Scholarships to undertake postgraduate study with overseas universities in 2024.

Sir John Monash, one of Australia’s greatest civic and military leaders, believed education is not given for individual benefit, but for the higher duties of citizens who seek to advance society.

John Monash Scholars work in their chosen fields of expertise to respond to some of the greatest challenges of our time.

Dr Dinesh Palipana
Dr Dinesh Palipana

Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM is a researcher and senior lecturer in spinal cord injury at Griffith University, a lawyer and disability advocate, and works in the Emergency Department of the Gold Coast University Hospital.

He was the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland and the second person to graduate medical school with quadriplegia in Australia.

Co-founder of Doctors With Disabilities Australia, he has also worked with the Australian Medical Association to create national policies for inclusivity in medical education and employment.

Dr Palipana will join the University of Edinburgh and Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh, which are among the oldest leading institutions globally providing medical education, to complete a Masters in Internal Medicine.

“Combined with a fellowship from the Australasian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, this degree will allow me to help some of the most marginalised communities in Australia with high-quality medical care,” he said.

“I am so grateful for everything I have been given in this life, so to be able to give back to Australia, who took me in from war-torn Sri Lanka, and contribute to a better future for people with disability while working toward systemic change, those are my ultimate goals.”

Dr Praneel Kumar
Dr Praneel Kumar

Meanwhile, Dr Praneel Kumar is dedicated to improving outcomes in maternal health care.

As an obstetrics doctor, he was troubled by the statistic that a woman dies every two minutes due to largely preventable pregnancy complications worldwide.

“The maternal mortality ratio is approximately five in Australia and 192 in our closest neighbour in Papua New Guinea,” Dr Kumar said.

“This statistic alone reveals the stark differences in health outcomes faced by women between high income and low-income countries.

“My goal is to lead change to improve maternal health outcomes in disadvantaged communities in Australia and our region.”

Dr Kumar will head to John Hopkins University to complete a Masters of Public Health, to gain foundational knowledge on the upstream causes of health inequality.

Professor Shaun Ewen
Professor Shaun Ewen

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education) Professor Shaun Ewen praised Dr Palipana and Dr Kumar for their achievement.

“Dr Palipana and Dr Kumar have already made great contributions to Griffith University, to Queensland, and to Australia through their work to support disadvantaged communities.

“The awarding of John Monash Scholarships is a fitting recognition of the leadership they have already demonstrated, and of the potential they have to make even greater contributions at a national and global scale.

“We are very proud of them.”

A total of seven outstanding Griffith students have now been awarded John Monash Scholarships since the program started, which are amongst Australia’s most prestigious awards.

Dr Palipana OAM and Dr Kumar will attend the John Monash Scholars’ Global Symposium in Sydney in December, meeting the other 14 John Monash Scholars for 2024, and will commence their studies in late 2024.