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Sydney alum off to Stanford as Monash scholar

13 December 2016
Life-changing opportunity to learn from world’s best

University of Sydney alumnus Dr Martin Seneviratne has been named the 2017 Roden Cutler NSW John Monash Scholar. The award will see Dr Seneviratne head to Stanford University to continue his ground-breaking work into clinical informatics.

Life-changing opportunity: Dr Martin Seneviratne (left) receives the 2017 Roden Cutler NSW John Monash Scholar Master in Biomedical Informatics at Stanford University from New South Wales Premier Mike Baird.

Dr Seneviratne (BSc (Hons 1M) '10, MBBS (Hons 1) '14) said the Monash Scholarship was a life-changing opportunity to learn from some of the world’s best and bring that knowledge back to Australia.

“My program at Stanford is unique worldwide, drawing on the resources of the Schools of Medicine, Computer Science and Design, in partnership with Stanford Hospital,” Dr Seneviratne said.

Clinical informatics is often referred to as the intersection between computer science and clinical medicine.

“It brings together clinicians, engineers and designers to create new ideas for how technology can transform healthcare,” Dr Seneviratne said.

“For over 30 years now, Stanford has been the leader in digital medicine where the agile philosophy of Silicon Valley and the traditional culture of medicine coalesce.”

Dr Seneviratne said while working as junior doctor he saw countless examples every day of how software could increase efficiency, enhance the capacities of clinicians, and improve the patient experience.

“The future of medicine will be in using data to design a learning health system”, he explained, “one that understands the patient as an individual and can offer personalised care.

“Australia has all the ingredients to lead the world in digital medicine: an amazing public health system, an emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem, and a strong history of clinical research.” 

Describing his field as “inherently multidisciplinary”, Dr Seneviratne thanked his “terrific mentors” from the University of Sydney Medical School, St Paul’s College, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) and the Health Informatics Society of Australia who helped him achieve this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Scholarships like the John Monash offer the ultimate intellectual freedom because they are not tied to a specific project or research outcome,” Dr Seneviratne said. “They actually allow for truly groundbreaking exploratory work by young Australians at the start of their careers.”

Acting Dean of Sydney Medical School Professor Arthur Conigrave said the School was delighted that Dr Seneviratne had been awarded the prestigious Roden Cutler NSW John Monash Scholarship for 2017.

“Martin was a very good student when he was in Sydney Medical School, and he is committed to improving health outcomes by developing better methods of clinical decision-making," Professor Conigrave said.

"This scholarship will enable him to do just that, by continuing his studies within the field of clinical informatics at Stanford University. We wish him all the best."

Dr Seneviratne has a Bachelor of Advanced Science with First Class Honours, an MBBS with First Class Honours and was awarded the University of Sydney Medal.

Currently at the RPAH, he has worked in France, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea.

He sits on the national board of the Health Informatics Society of Australia, and advises the Australian Digital Health Agency. He also represented Australia at the World Economic Forum.