Menzies scholarship propels UQ medicine alumnus to Harvard

A prestigious scholarship is helping University of Queensland alumnus Dr Nick Gattas pursue dreams of designing a prototype hi-tech hospital that specialises in chronic illness.

Dr Gattas has been awarded the RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard, and plans to focus on digital innovation during his Master of Business Administration study there.

UQ School of Medicine
Dr Nick Gattas … planning to combine digital innovation skills with his medical knowledge (Photo credit: UQ)

“Ultimately I hope the combination of digital innovation skills and medical knowledge will allow me to improve the quality, access and cost of healthcare in Australia,” said Dr Gattas, who graduated from UQ in 2013 with a Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery (Honours).

“I hope to use the MBA to enter a leadership role where I can directly change the model of care for patients with chronic disease, with a greater focus on data-enabled prevention, telehealth, and innovative funding.

“One way to do this would be to develop the model of care for a single hospital and then expand it across Australia.”

While at Harvard, Dr Gattas will look at launching a start-up company to address a specific problem, such as delivering specialist diabetes care to patients in remote areas, while developing services that can be scaled up in Australia and abroad.

“The challenge facing all health systems is providing care to an ageing population burdened by chronic disease, in a world where more funding simply is not sustainable,” he said.

“How can we consistently provide high-quality care to those who need it, using the few resources we have available?”

As part of the UQ Medical Leadership Program, Dr Gattas worked on a project with global management and consulting firm McKinsey & Co in Sydney.

After graduating as valedictorian and dux of his year in 2013, he decided he could better influence health systems at a strategic rather than clinical level, and accepted an offer to work at McKinsey.

“Addressing the challenges around an ageing population and chronic disease is my passion in life,” he said.

The RG Menzies Scholarships, valued at $81,860 ($US60,000), are Australia’s leading national awards for postgraduate study in the United States and are jointly awarded by the Harvard Club of Australia, Australian National University and the Menzies Foundation.

Selection panel members said they were impressed by Dr Gattas’s vision for improving systems and using international knowledge not currently maximised in Australia.

About UQ’s Medical Leadership Program

For UQ Medicine students who are also considering leadership roles in their career futures, the UQ School of Medicine has partnered with the UQ Business School to provide an accredited Medical Leadership Program offered exclusively to UQ MD students. Interested applicants may apply at the end of their first year of study of their medical degree.

Key benefits
By participating in this program, students will be able to
  • discover the keys to building strategies to affect continued transformation in the medical profession;
  • develop their personal and professional capabilities in areas such as leadership and management, managing change, thinking strategically, managing people, thinking innovatively, developing teams and an action learning culture, to name just a few areas;
  • explore how they can create a longer-term focus and make a significant impact on their medical outcomes, aligning their professional development around the core capabilities central to the achievement of their professional strategies;
  • formulate practical ideas, models and tools of behaviour, which will help participants advance their own personal and professional development; and obtain a Graduate Certificate in Executive Leadership

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