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25 May 2022
Austin Health registrar, Dr Jasmina Kevric, was awarded the prestigious Australia Medical Association Victoria Junior Doctor of the Year Award recently.
The Award recognises a doctor in training who has made an outstanding contribution to the medical profession and/or the community and can demonstrate effective and inclusive behaviour.
Jasmina has been working at Austin Health since 2018 when she started her surgery training and is about to sit the Royal Australasian College of Surgery Fellowship exam. Community health and general surgery practice have always been what she is most passionate about.
“My aim has always been general surgery. It’s so versatile and variable, and you can take your skills anywhere in the country and the world. When I was a junior doctor, I spent several months working at the Myanmar-Thai border in a refugee camp and at a hospital in eastern India. Watching the doctors work so hard, I always wanted to gain more skills then return to give back to those communities.”
In the meantime, Jasmina is working with refugees and communities a bit closer to home.
Ten years ago, Jasmina co-founded Footprints Enterprise, a not-for-profit community organisation in the southeast of Melbourne, to help build the wellbeing and social connection of refugees.
“Through creative arts, we help people work out what it means to be a refugee and accept their own story. We provide education to help people’s talents grow and to help them to share their stories with others. Sharing stories is an important part of coming to a new country – you need to be comfortable with who you are so that you can find connections with others.”
Starting afresh in a new country is something Jasmina understands well.
She arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2000 and spent the first couple of years focusing on learning and developing her English language skills. She spent the following four years focused on doing well at school and after finishing her VCE, studied medicine at the University of Melbourne.
“We arrived in Australia with nothing. We just had a hope and a dream."
“I just knew I had to make the most of this second chance. While I was at school in Australia, I could see that people back in Bosnia and Herzegovina did not have those same opportunities. I knew I had to make the most of it."
Jasmina says receiving the Young Doctor of the Year Award was a huge honour, especially because her parents were there to share the moment.
“I feel like the sacrifices my parents made were recognised with this Award and I was honoured to win. To come from a refugee background and be in a room with so many great doctors was very overwhelming. I was in such wonderful company."
“Success is never achieved alone. I have been so lucky. I have always had amazing mentors and colleagues who have been supportive and love this profession. I feel very privileged, humbled and fortunate, and I am more determined than ever to give back to the community."
“To my colleagues I would like to say that while we are going through all these exams and difficult times with staffing shortages and COVID, it’s important to maintain perspective. We can do our best, and our best is good."
For anyone having a difficult time, Jasmina says “my main message is about second chances.”
“Going through something in your life, whether that is illness, war or something personal that may impact on wellbeing, it’s important to recognise that this an event that may shape you. With positive thinking and community you can work towards a better life.”