The Australasian Society of Ultrasound in Medicine (ASUM) has recognised a doctor with Indian heritage and with roots in Fiji and New Zealand with the Sonologist of the Year award at the ASUM 2018 Conference in Auckland.
Australia-based Dr Sandhir B Prasad, a Sonologist in the Department of Cardiology at Royal Brisbane Hospital, was the only Fiji Indian speaker and recipient of the prestigious award at the conference.
The Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine is the premier multidisciplinary society advancing the clinical practice of diagnostic medical ultrasound for the highest standards of patient care. The purpose of ASUM is to promote the highest possible standards of medical ultrasound practice in Australia and New Zealand.
ASUM hosted its three-day annual conference at the Sky City Convention Centre between 10-12 August where doctors from around the world participated sharing their knowledge and experience in the respective fields and discussing new advancements in the field of medicine.
The Indian Weekender spoke to the doctor of his passion in the field of medicine, about the award and giving back to the community.
IWK: What was the purpose of such conferences?
Dr Prasad: The purpose of such conferences is two fold: one that it gives the professionals to come together and learn about the latest advancements in the field of ultrasound, some of these advancements are quite mind-boggling and very fascinating and is to update the education and knowledge of the doctors. The second purpose is to allow the professionals who are keen to promote ultrasound to countries like Fiji where there is a shortage of such facilities.
IWK: Can you tell us about your education and roots in Fiji?
Dr Prasad: I was born and brought up in Labasa and studied at Labasa College. My mother was a nurse at Labasa Hospital, and it was her dream to make me a doctor. My father's cousins were also surgeons, but it was my mother who inspired me to work and achieve the dream of becoming a doctor. I started studying Sonology in 2002 as a part-time when I was doing my cardiology training. Since 2008 I have been quite involved with a complete focus in Sonology.
IWK: Tell us about your training in New Zealand?
Dr Prasad: I came to Wellington for advanced training in cardiology, and it was a great experience. It was a fantastic place to train, excellent training facilities, amazing doctors and trainers. Also, parents live here, so I travel three to four times a year to meet them.
IWK: How does the field of sonology affect and benefit patients?
Dr Prasad: Cardiac ultrasonography is a big field in cardiology but also in medicine in general. Any sort of heart trouble requires a scan – something that is very relevant to Indian people as we have a high rate of heart disease.
IWK: How have you been able to give back to the community?
Dr Prasad: There is a shortage of cardiac facilities in Fiji, and there are some doctors who have dedicated their expertise in giving back to the community. A group of Fiji Indian cardiologists and cardiac surgeons have tried to set their services in Fiji. Two very prominent doctors in this space –Auckland's own Dr Parma Nand started the Friends of Fiji Programme that does open heart operations in Fiji and Dr Vijay Kapadia from Gold Coast who established the first cardiac catheterization lab in Suva, first in the whole of the South Pacific region. These two pioneers have paved the way for people like myself who are keen to go back and serve our motherland.
IWK: Tell us about the award you received from New Zealand?
Dr Prasad: While training for cardiology, in 2006 I was honoured with the research fellowship from the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand.
IWK: You are the only Fiji Indian to be the speaker and an awardee at ASUM 2018 conference. How does it feel?
Dr Prasad: It means a lot, especially for my family, parents and my roots in Fiji. I am grateful to my parents for giving me such a fantastic environment to study.
IWK: What advice would you like to youngsters pursuing excellence in their fields of study?
Dr Prasad: Prepare yourself to work hard, dream and do it.