Dr Isabel Hanson is a General Sir John Monash Scholar 2022, she will undertake further postgraduate study at Oxford University in the field of translational health sciences. Isabel is currently training at Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council Health Services, and she has completed an RACGP academic post as part of her GP training.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in Sydney on Cammeraygal lands and completed my medical training at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Before studying medicine, I worked in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet with interests in behavioural economics and policy strategy. I have a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in political economy.
For my hobbies I teach yoga and meditation skills to healthcare professionals to assist with preventing burnout, and I coordinate our local hospital choir with our brilliant musical director Liz Lecoanet.
Why did you decide to become a GP?
General practice is my dream job. I come home most days feeling like I have made a difference in people’s lives.
GP combines diverse clinical medicine with continuity of care and valuing the importance of people in their community context.
I have several special interests. I am passionate about child and adolescent health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and the translation of primary care research into health policy. I also have related interests in mental health and community connectivity as a support for physical, social, emotional wellbeing.
What has your supervision during training been like?
My supervision during training has been wonderful. I’ve been well supported by several excellent supervisors across my training journey, all of whom have had different specialty interests and have helped me to grow and develop my skills as a future GP.
What attracted you to undertake an academic component to your training?
The RACGP academic registrar post is a fantastic training opportunity. I have always been interested in academia – I completed my honours degree in political economy using mixed-methods research, and taught undergraduate subjects in political economy, economic history, and world politics.
What was your research project about?
My research is in social prescribing, which is an initiative to support GPs in linking clients with social activities that can relieve their loneliness, reconnect them in the community, and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
What was your motivation for the project?
Social disconnection and isolation contribute to poor physical and mental health. Social prescribing can be a supportive treatment modality for vulnerable groups such as people experiencing mental health issues, chronic disease conditions, social isolation, older people, and children in the first 1000 days of life.
What are your longer-term plans?
In October 2022 I will be travelling to Oxford to undertake my MSc and DPhil in Translational Health Science as a General Sir John Monash Scholar. My long-term plan is to return to Australia and work at the nexus of primary care research and health policy.
Australia is a beautiful, vibrant, and prosperous country. But wealth and health are unequally spread, and there is still much work to be done in addressing the social determinants of health, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I am energised to be part of that work in collaboration with others, and to see Australia become one of the healthiest nations in the world.
To learn more about academic posts visit the Academic research page on our website.