Hillside doctor Victor Lin may come from a scientific and medical background, but the arts and community are equally dear to his heart. He speaks with Benjamin Millar
What is your connection with Hillside?
I grew up in the northwestern suburbs, living in St Albans for a time before moving to Hillside in 1999. I attended a local primary school, and while I went on to study at a high school in South Yarra and later at the University of Melbourne for my biomedical and medical degrees, I continued to live in Hillside throughout my years as a student.
What do you love most about the area?
What I love most about the area is its sense of community. While the area looks very different now compared to when we first moved in, the one constant feature has been the geniality of the people who live in the area. We’ve gotten to know some very good people over the years and it continues to be the people who make the suburb such a privilege to live in.
What are your favourite local places?
I am a closet foodie and enjoy going to new places to eat. Two local restaurants that I am a big fan of are La Porchetta at Watergardens Shopping Centre and Quang Vinh in St Albans.
What can you tell us about your work in health?
I currently work as a junior doctor at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and blood cancer researcher at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. I am passionate about breaking down barriers for people in the community to lead healthy and productive lives and over the years have spearheaded a number of initiatives aiming to improve health literacy among young Australians and reduce deep-seated inequities that exist in the community with respect to key social determinants of health.
What can you tell us about your charity work?
I am co-founder of three not-for-profit organisations, including the Australian Cancer and Health Sciences Consortium (ACHSC), which aims to empower young Australians to make a meaningful impact in the fight against cancer; the Australian Students’ Society of Haematology (ASSH), the first professional society in the country for students interested in blood disorders; and Teaching for Impact (TFI), an initiative galvanising students and working professionals from diverse backgrounds to make tangible contributions towards the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through education. I am also Board Member of several other not-for-profit organisations, including Eternal Possibilities and the Student Science Squad; served leadership positions within the Melbourne University Health Initiative (MUHI); and provided pro bono consulting to several other charities, including Strive Student Health Initiative and Crepes for Change. For this and other work, I was privileged to have been a Finalist in the Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award as part of last year’s Victorian Young Achiever Award program and was humbled to be nominated again this year.
What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
While I come from a scientific and medical background, I harbour an enduring affinity for the arts. I love classical music and still play the piano recreationally. I am also a big fan of the work of many of the classic novelists, playwrights and poets. The arts provides a foray into aspects of humanity that are often overlooked in science and medicine and has to a large degree helped me build a more nuanced understanding of myself and a broader perspective on what truly matters in life.