Leading for the west

By Tate Papworth

A neurologist on a mission to make the western suburbs one of the leading research areas in the world has been honoured with an award.

Professor Tissa Wijeratne was presented with the Priscilla Kincaid-Smith award by the Australian Medical Association last month.

The inaugural award recognises a senior specialist who has contributed above and beyond in patient care, research, education or advocacy.

Professor Wijeratne said he didn’t even prepare a speech before the ceremony and was simply honoured to have been recognised.

“The firepower of brain is abundant in this state. We have a lot of clever doctors, a lot of clever specialists … so despite the fact that I’ve been working hard, I didn’t think I’d win such a prestigious award,” he said.

“I’ve studied Priscilla Kincaid-Smith’s story and she is a special kind of a lady.

“To have a tiny person like me attached to her name is something I can’t put words to.”

Professor Wijeratne said he hopes the award will provide a further platform for him to continue his mission in promoting brain health.

“We should not forget that the brain matters. People are reading this article because they have a functioning brain, but at this time our brains are at a crossroads.

“One in three of us are going to get dementia or have a stroke, one in five of us suffer from disabling migraine-type disorders … then there’s a whole variety of other disorders like anxiety, depression, risk of suicide, and addiction. They all have a common theme – they are all driven by brain.

“Therefore it is important we promote brain health, initiatives and supporting research activities.”

He also hopes the award can show others that the western suburbs have a lot to offer.

“Hopefully the other thing this award will do is show youngsters in this part of the state, that while this part of the state has challenges, there’s also opportunities unique to this area.”

“I’m a firm believer in getting things done. On the western side of the town we face a lot of challenging situations compared to other parts of the state, however I don’t believe in complaining,” he said.