Surgeons Supporting Students

When Professor Kate Drummond (MD 2008), Director of Neurosurgery, proposed a 4-month support program for struggling medical students over the “holiday” period, the Neurosurgeons at The Royal Melbourne Hospital generously donated their own money – over $22,000 – through the RMH Neuroscience Foundation, enabling three medical students to gain experience in world-class research and provide much-needed financial support during what has been lean times for most.

“The Neuroscience Foundation stipend made a particular difference to me in 2020, for which I am hugely appreciative. Professor Kate Drummond and Dr Ben Hunn were great to work with, and the opportunity to participate in a project that aims to publish data in an evolving field (Low Grade Glioma treatment and survival in Adolescents and Young Adults) was rewarding in and of itself, and of benefit professionally as I hope to continue to combine clinical and research work in an ongoing sense.

“In addition to this, the financial support provided came at a time when I was under some stress attempting to balance clinical obligations as a final year medical student with financial difficulties that arose in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. During my medical studies, I have worked weekend and night shifts as a disability support worker in supported independent living facilities, with many residents who were high-risk Funding and Supporting Neuroscience Research at The Royal Melbourne Hospital in Brain Tumour, Epilepsy, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Huntington’s Disease and Movement Disorders for severe COVID-19. As the pandemic evolved, I had to stop working shifts in order to continue clinical placements at the hospital, however as my employer was not eligible for JobKeeper and I am an NZ citizen, I had little recourse in terms of financial support. The Neuroscience Foundation stipend was a timely lifeline which relieved this financial pressure in the final stages of my medical studies before commencing my internship.”

Nic Pearson, Intern at The University of Melbourne

“The support from the Neuroscience Foundation has massively eased my financial burden. It has helped me cover the costs for basic needs like groceries through to monthly rentals and in doing so has enabled me to support myself as I continue my education at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. Emotionally it has eased the anxiety faced by my family who resides overseas and has been working tirelessly amidst the pandemic to help with my educational expenses. I am extremely fortunate and grateful for such a wonderful opportunity and to experience research that has helped tremendously towards my professional growth.”

– Visnu Khanijou, MD4 Student at The Royal Melbourne Hospital

“The RMH Neuroscience stipend generously provided much-needed support to me as an international student during the COVID-19 lockdowns, when I was not eligible for any other financial supports during those difficult times. It covered much of my rent and groceries while allowed me to work on a fascinating neuro-oncology research project with RMH neurosurgeons and registrars. I would also like to thank Prof Kate Drummond and Dr Ben Hunn for their professional support throughout this time. This project deepened my understanding of brain tumour research and paved the way for me now as an intern at RMH in pursuing a career in neurosurgery.”

– Anthony Liu, Intern at The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Professor Kate Drummond (MD 2008) is Director of Neurosurgery at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Head of Central Nervous System Tumours for the VCCC Parkville Precinct.

Her chief research and clinical interests are in the biology and clinical management of brain tumours.

In 2019 she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to medicine, particularly in the field of neuro-oncology and community health.

Find out more about the   Royal Melbourne Hospital Neuroscience  Foundation.