High calibre medical recruits join Health Service

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Dr Alexander 'Sasha' Belonogoff and Dr Jasraaj Singh are among 50 new junior doctors starting their careers at the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service this week.

Dr Alexander 'Sasha' Belonogoff and Dr Jasraaj Singh are among 50 new junior doctors starting their careers at the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service this week.

A national rural health award winner and an Olympian are among dozens of new junior doctors starting their careers at the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service this week.

CHHHS is welcoming 50 medical interns this week, who have all selected to work in Far North Queensland after several years of studying medicine.

All of the new interns will participate in a week-long orientation program to familiarise themselves with the Health Service, its clinical practice and procedures.

They’ll then begin the first of five rotations through a variety of units that may include general medicine, surgery, emergency medicine and additional elective terms in other specialised areas.

Among the interns undergoing orientation this week is Jasraaj Singh, who received the 2022 Rural Doctor Association of Australia’s Medical Student of the Year Award.

Dr Singh, who grew up on the Sunshine Coast, said Cairns was the perfect place for her to intern, after she discovered her passion for rural and remote medicine through the Extended Rural Cohort at Melbourne Medical School and John Flynn Placement Program.

‘After my 2022 placement with Cairns Hospital, I was drawn to the friendly atmosphere, beautiful surroundings and opportunities to expand my knowledge of rural and remote health,’ she said.

‘I’m looking forward to the warm weather, close-knit community atmosphere, beautiful landscapes, tropical and rural medicine opportunities, exploring a new place and developing practical and useful skills to apply as a future rural generalist.’

Also starting work at CHHHS is Australian Olympic rower Alexander ‘Sasha’ Belonogoff, who studied medicine at James Cook University.

Dr Belonogoff, who grew up in Rockhampton, made his Olympic debut at the Rio De Janeiro 2016 Games where he claimed a silver medal in the men’s quad sculls.

He said he was extremely passionate about rural medicine.

CHHHS Executive Director Medical Services, Dr Don Mackie, said the Health Service continued to attract high calibre medical recruits.

‘Our junior doctor program has been very successful since it was introduced at the Health Service in 1988, and we have a great reputation as a teaching facility nationally and internationally,’ Dr Mackie said.

‘We attract graduates not only from our own region, but young doctors-in-training from all over the world. And not only that: the majority of our interns stay on with us after their initial 12 months of training.

‘Our junior docs love coming to Far North Queensland for the high-quality medical training, the breadth of clinical experience, and the great lifestyle that accompanies working for us in this beautiful part of the world.’