Professor Andrew Miller
Co-Director, Centre for Oncology Informatics
I am an Australian trained radiation oncologist and a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Wollongong's Graduate School of Medicine, undertaking research in the School of Informatics, the Centre for Medical Radiation Physics, and now also at the Centre for Oncology Informatics. i also have an appointment as Honorary Professorial Fellow at the School of Informatics.
Some of this requires explanation - a radiation oncologist is a medical specialist who deals (almost) exclusively with cancer patients and uses 'radiation' as his treatment modality. I say 'radiation' because the major amount of treatment uses x-rays (or "photons" as we like to call them!), but there is also a decent proportion treated with electrons. I won't labour the difference, you can look it up!
So you are wondering - what I had to do to be a radiation oncologist? No? Tough! I had to go to medical school (5 years), then be an intern (1 year), resident (2.5 years), registrar (5.5 years). So how long have I been at school? Primary (6 years), Secondary (6 years), science degree (3 years), education diploma (1 year), school teaching (7 years) ... then the medicine!
So the journey has been long and varied, starting with secondary science teacher training and 7 years in the country (teaching at Oaklands Central School (where's that!!?) and Leeton High School (and where's that!!?), for those interested). Medical training followed at the then innovative problem-based learning course at Newcastle University, where I got married and started having children (n=6!). After completing radiation oncology training at Newcastle and Sydney (RNSH and St George hospitals), in 1997, I uprooted the family and crossed the Tasman Sea (look to the east, its just there!) and spent 6 years in the green & blue of regional New Zealand where I succeeded (failed??) to the position of Head of Department.
It is tempting to think that a lot of time was wasted before getting to the main game, but in fact, all those previous experiences are responsible for getting me here and involved in Informatics. All professionals have a 'flavour', and the education and late medical start are a very distinct 'flavour' in my medical career. Mainly my thinking was not socialised into a medical mould because much of that had been done earlier. So if you are interested in medicine and you have already been through one career - it's not too late and later on you will be special because of the experience!
In 2004 the whole family returned home to Australia and settled in Goulburn. From there I undertook locums positions (Sydney, Halifax NS, Townsville, Bendigo) and tried to develop a consultancy business before finally returning to clinical medicine in late 2005.
It is important to have a hobby, especially as a doctor. The job can be more than full time, so a hobby can be difficult to develop and maintain. My hobby is computing and I am a lover of Open Source software, it is unwise to discuss Windows near me. Linux! that's the go.
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