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Professor Kelvin Kong

2021 Australian Society for Medical Research Medallist
Hearing Versus Listening
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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Arrival 11:30am, Lunch served 12pm, Address commences 12:30pm, Concludes 1:30pm

National Press Club of Australia

 

A/Professor Kong, BSc, MBBS (UNSW) FRACS (ORL-HNS) is an ENT Surgeon based in the Hunter region of NSW; he regularly travels to remote Australia to provide specialist ENT services to Indigenous patients. His clinical practice is complemented by his ongoing research into the causes and treatment of ear disease, together with his involvement in community outreach programmes designed to improve access to healthcare and break cycles of disadvantage for Indigenous Australians.

He was the first Indigenous Australian surgeon and is now one of Australia’s leading ENT surgeons with a driving passion to reduce the disparity between health and learning outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

A Worimi man from the Port Stephens region, north of Newcastle, A/Professor Kong comes from a medical family, whose support and encouragement he credits for his success His mother Grace is a community nurse and women’s health worker, his father Tony is a GP in Malaysia, and his twin older-sisters are also doctors: Marlene is a GP working in Public Health in Sydney and Marilyn is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Grafton.

His research focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of otitis media, “glue ear”, in children under three. Otitis media is experienced at higher levels in Indigenous than non-Indigenous communities and affects as many as 70% of children in remote communities It can lead to hearing impairment and/or loss, and failure to treat it can have negative impacts on children’s education, childhood development and social outcomes.  He is also working on studies of pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance among Indigenous and non-Indigenous trial groups with the hope of informing new treatments.


VMO Surgeon: John Hunter Hospital, John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Newcastle Private Hospital, Hunter Valley Private Hospital,

Professional Affiliations:

  • Royal Australian College of Surgeons (member of the Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Indigenous Health and Fellowship Services Committees)
  • Australian Society for Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
  • Australia New Zealand Society of Paediatric Otolaryngology
  • Australian Indigenous Doctors Association

Conjoint Associate Professor: University of NSW

Conjoint Lecturer: University of Newcastle (Allied Health Lecturer)

Research: A/Professor Kong’s research focuses on alleviating the consequences of social disparity in health, especially the impact of hearing-related issues amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children. He views his research projects as a part of a broader goal in changing community health outcomes by combating the high number of Indigenous children with recurrent infections and poor hearing – conditions that contribute towards educational and social disadvantage.

Menzies School of Health Research: Chief Investigator, Research Excellence in Ear and Hearing Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Joint Chair, Hearing for Learning Initiative; a community-based training initiative that focuses on prevention through early detection of ear issues in young children by a locally trained and community-based workforce. The initiative focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of otitis media, or “glue ear”, in children under three. Otitis media is experienced at higher levels in Indigenous than non-Indigenous communities, and affects as many as 70% of children in remote communities. It can lead to hearing impairment and/or loss, and failure to treat it can have negative impacts on children’s education, childhood development and social outcomes. 

Hunter Medical Research Institute: Member, Alloiococcus Otitidis Research Group. Alloiococcus Otitidis is an organism which is prevalent in ear disease.

Previous Awards:
2017:
   Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association Australian Indigenous Doctor of the Year

2019:   Royal Australian College of Surgeons Graham Coupland Medal in recognition of his dedicated history of service not just to our profession, but also to the broader community.

2020:   Menzies School of Health Research Menzies Medallion for his for his leadership in Aboriginal health service delivery, advocacy and research, in particular his work to improve ear health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

2021:   Newcastle Citizen of the Year 2021


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