The University of Newcastle community is celebrating after one of its own picked up a prestigious Deadly Award last night.
Associate Professor Peter O'Mara, whose passion is "making good doctors" received a community Deadly Award for Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. The Deadlys celebrate Indigenous achievement in entertainment, music, sport and community.
A Wiradjuri man from central New South Wales who has worked as a general practitioner in an Aboriginal community-controlled health service for nearly 10 years, Dr O'Mara took an unconventional road to medicine. He had an established career in the Hunter Valley coal mines before deciding to become a doctor.
Dr O'Mara completed his medical degree from the University of Newcastle in 1999. He became a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners in 2003 and obtained his Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice/Graduate Diploma in Rural General Practice in 2003.
Dr O'Mara plays a pivotal role as Associate Professor of Indigenous medical education and head of the discipline of Indigenous Health at the University of Newcastle, a position he took on in 2008.
"The medical degree can be difficult for students financially and, if they are a long way from home, the isolation can be tough. Part of my job is supporting Indigenous medical students through their studies and attracting more to study areas of health," Dr O'Mara said.
Almost half of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors are graduates of the University of Newcastle.
The Deadlys will be broadcast on SBS on Sunday October 3 at 10.30pm on SBS and Wednesday October 6 at 8.30pm on SBS Two.
For interview: Dr Peter O'Mara is available by appointment