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Dr Meera Agar



I currently am Director of Palliative care, Braeside Hospital, – which has
20 bed inpatient unit, two-day a week day hospital, and community service.
It is linked with the south west sydney area palliative care service which
covers a huge area of south west sydney – with hugely diverse cultural
backgrounds in the population we serve. My other main interests have been
education – and have been lecturing with Flinders university in post
graduate courses; and assisted in the curriculum development processes for
palliative medicine in Australia; and clinical research – currently doing a
PhD in Delirium in advanced cancer.

I have been interested in the Asia pacific for a long time – my Mother is
Sri Lankan Malaysian, and I have two out of my four sisters who are adopted
– one from Calcutta and one from Sri Lanka. I had always hoped my medical
career would involve some work broader than Australia but had not really
envisaged exactly how. I have taught with Hospis Malaysia for 4 or so years,
and also have taught with the Grad Cert in health (Palliative Care),
Flinders University in Singapore. It is so remarkable to see how
hard these students work, and how hungry for knowledge and experience they
are. Their desire to help those in their communities despite a lot working
against them is heartening. The best part has been watching them find
friends and mentors in the region – and being able to have a network for
ongoing support.

Locally – I have had now three registrars from the Asia Pacific – this was
more by accident as they had applied independently to do training in the
Sydney network and were rotated to my unit – two from Sri Lanka and one from
the Phillipines – all who have done 6 months of time in my unit – and have
enjoyed immensely watching and supporting them blossom in to avid advocates
and clinicians in palliative care. I have also seen how hard it was for them
to be uprooted from their countries into a foreign health system; and still
ponder how these clinical placements can best work.

Though filled with enthusiasm – I am constantly reminded in all these
endeavours how much more I have learned rather than taught – and have
watched and learned a lot from Rosalie and her approach in the region – and
believe I still have a lot more to learn.


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