Professor Mohamed Khadra received the University of Sydney Alumni Award 2015 last month for Professional Achievement in recognition of his outstanding contributions and varied career as a professor, surgeon, urologist, author and playwright.
Following a highly unique career path, Mohamed first studied medicine before undertaking a Master of Education at the University of Sydney in 1994, continuing with a PhD on the neurophysiology of the bladder in 1999.
A fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons since 1995 and winner of the Prostate Cancer Foundation Inaugural Fellowship in 1997, Mohamed went on to found the School of Rural Health at the University of New South Wales. Administering medical care in Western NSW, he served as the director of the School of Rural Health between 1999 and 2001.
“The idea was to train doctors in rural Australia so that they would stay and serve the community. We had to rethink the way medical education was delivered knowing that we could not simply replicate what was happening in the big tertiary institutions in the city. The result was a patient-centred model of education which continues to this day.”
In 2002, Mohamed was appointed Pro Vice Chancellor for Health, Design and
Science at the University of Canberra. He then founded and became the CEO of the Institute of Technology Australia, a private university with a social justice cause. The institution supported more than 1000 students from lowsocio-economic countries, including Kenya, to achieve tertiary degrees.
After this role a new chapter of Mohamed’s distinguished career emerged. While Professor of Surgery at the University of Sydney, he published his first book, Making the Cut (2009). It was quickly followed by The Patient (2010) and Terminal Decline (2010). Non-fiction with an autobiographical edge, one of his books drew on his own experience of making the transition from doctor to patient.
“For me, the experience of having cancer and surviving it certainly gave me an insight into the health system. It motivated me to make a difference by alerting people to the simple truth that at the heart of this mammoth health system there is a patient, a human being, with fears and anxieties who deserves our compassion and our competence.”
His passion for writing led on to another career avenue, co-writing a play with renowned playwright David Williamson (Don’s Party; The Club) after meeting him at the Brisbane Writers’ Centre. Their play, At any cost?, was performed at the Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli.
Today, Mohamed serves as Head of Urology at Nepean Hospital and Professor and Head of Surgery at the University of Sydney. His is also a member of the Board of the Faculty of Engineering and IT at the University and the Bureau of Health Information in the NSW Department of Health. His fourth book, Honour, Duty, Courage, which honours the humanitarian work of doctors and nurses who serve in the military, was published this year.
(Courtesy University of Sydney Alumni Awards).
Note: Before taking up medicine Mohamed spent two years, during the early 80’s studying dentistry at the University of Sydney and was the President of Sydney University Muslim Students Association (SUMSA), Public Relation Officer of the Australian Federation of Muslim Students Association (AFMSA) and a member of Senior Usrah (Islamic Unity Forum).