A GP known for his work championing holistic health care in western Sydney, Dr Sithamparapillai Thava Seelan was honoured with an OAM. Dr Seelan, whose practice was named RACGP NSW and ACT practice of the year in 2013, says he is passionate about improving health outcomes for struggling members of society.
Running a practice with his wife in Toongabbie, an economically depressed suburb 30km from Sydney’s CBD, has given him the challenge of doing that work at the coalface.
He says it’s not always been an easy journey since he set up shop in 2009, but he feels he is already making progress by focusing on holistic care for his patients.
“The whole person, the family, the community and whole societal approach is the fundamental ecological health model of primary care,” he says.
That has involved bringing in community volunteers to set up a local diabetes education program in his suburb, but also looking at working abroad as part of emergency relief programs in Sri Lanka, where he grew up.
“As a GP I have the privilege of being involved in my patients' lives
amid moments of joy, sorrow, heartbreak, celebrations, life and
finally death,” he says.
“Sometimes we can impact where their journey leads while other times we can only hold their hands as they walk a painful and difficult road.”