Charles Sturt academic awarded King’s Birthday honour for work in rural health

14 JUNE 2024

Charles Sturt academic awarded King’s Birthday honour for work in rural health

A Charles Sturt University academic has been awarded a Public Service Medal (PSM) as acknowledged on the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of his contributions to rural and regional healthcare.

  • Charles Sturt University’s School of Rural Medicine Associate Professor Rex Prabhu was awarded a Public Service Medal
  • He was one of just 55 people to receive the medal as part of the King’s Birthday honours
  • The award recognises his outstanding public service to regional medical services

A Charles Sturt University academic has been awarded a Public Service Medal (PSM) as acknowledged on the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of his contributions to rural and regional healthcare.

Associate Professor Rex Prabhu in the Charles Sturt School of Rural Medicine is one of just 55 Australians to receive the medal, awarded for his outstanding public service to regional medical services.

Professor Prabhu said he was both honoured and surprised to hear of the news.

“I am truly privileged to receive this honour, but I feel as though the recognition is also testament to the grit of all the amazingly talented and gifted health professionals that I work for and with to deliver better health outcomes,” he said.

In 2019, Professor Prabhu was appointed the Executive Medical Director of Swan Hill District Health in Victoria where he played a key role in the development of Charles Sturt’s Mallee Clinical School.

“This allowed us in 2021 to develop the seeds of Victoria’s first end-to-end sub-regional general practitioner (GP) training program from Charles Sturt University through to final-year GP fellowship training in a single town and a single location,” he said.

This was achieved despite workforce and COVID-19-related challenges and lead to increased access to GP Care in Swan Hill, with reduced wait times from four weeks to next-day appointments in 2023.

Professor Prabhu previously worked as the Assistant Director of Medical Services at Manly and Mona Vale Hospitals in Sydney and Westmead in 2018. Before then, he worked in several hospitals in Perth as a paediatric and medical registrar from 2015.

He was instrumental in developing a roadmap to build the senior workforce by facilitating rural general practitioners working alongside specialists, giving doctors more pathways to train locally.

“We have grown from four to 24 doctors now, working in different areas of service delivery, thereby enhancing our abilities to have postgraduate trainees,” Professor Prabhu said.

“Our postgraduate intake has increased by eight new positions including a GP intern position and advanced skills in anaesthetics, obstetrics and emergency medicine.

“I have also worked on developing a unique medical model supporting nurse practitioners and the emergency medicine department has gone from being fly-in, fly-out only to having full-time senior medical officers.

“In 2023, we had our highest intake of GP registrars; six of them, and we now have seven supervisors in our practice.”

The award citation also acknowledged that “Professor Prabhu’s innovative approach has yielded positive outcomes for the community, fostering a culture of excellence and implementing effective recruitment strategies.

“I hope to inspire a generation of young and early career medical executive leaders to move to the regions and shape the future of our health system,” he said.

Professor Prabhu said the support at Charles Sturt University, as well as at home and in the workplace, have been pivotal in his achievements to date.

“The care teams of Swan Hill District Health are always striving for innovation, quality improvement and change to challenge the status quo,” he said.

“The sacrifices and support of my wife Nathalie, and my girls Roxy and Lexi, allow me to accomplish and succeed.”

ENDS


Media Note:

For more information or to arrange an interview with Associate Professor Rex Prabhu, contact Jessica McLaughlin at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0430 510 538 or via news@csu.edu.au

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