Rowan Nicks Fellowships and Scholarships - Scholars


Find a surgeon

The Find a Surgeon directory is a listing of active Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons who meet the requirements of the College's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program and have opted to be on the list. This list excludes retired or inactive Fellows.


Rowan Nicks Scholarship

Since 1991 over 80 international scholars from 31 countries have been awarded a Rowan Nicks Scholarship or Fellowship to undertake training attachments in one or more hospitals in Australia, New Zealand or Asia.

Many Rowan Nicks Scholarship recipients have assumed leadership and teaching positions in the years following their scholarship attachments. The following profiles highlight just a few examples of the scholars' achievements after completing their Scholarship placements.

Rowan Nicks International Scholars

Rowan Nicks Pacific Islands Scholars

Rowan Nicks United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Fellows

Rowan Nicks Australia and New Zealand Exchange Fellows

Rowan Nicks International Scholarship

Recipient Profiles

Datuk Harjit Singh


Scholar profilesIn 1994, Datuk Harjit Singh, a staff surgeon with the Ministry of Health in Malaysia, became the third recipient of a Rowan Nicks International Scholarship, undertaking an attachment supervised by Professor Russell Strong at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital. The Scholarship enabled him to focus his vision on hepatobiliary and liver transplant surgery. Datuk Singh firmly believes the Scholarship gave him the much needed head start to plan and develop the Department of Hepato-Pacreato-Biliary Surgery at the Selayang Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. Since returning to Malaysia, Dr Singh has fulfilled Rowan Nicks' vision for his Scholars to become leaders in their fields, becoming President of the Malaysian Society of Transplantation and being awarded the "Most Esteemed Order of Malaysia" (or Panglima Jasa Negara) for Meritorious Service, bestowed by the King of Malaysia.This prestigious award is an achievement of a lifetime and carries the esteemed title of "Datuk"

Dr Manjul Joshipura


Ramesh Bhandari , Mr M & ManjulDr Joshipura was passionate about the need to strengthen the care of the injured in India, and indeed globally, and utilised this opportunity to focus his learning on the organisation of trauma systems in Australia. In addition to refining his surgical skills in Orthopaedic surgery, he was exposed to the elements of organised trauma systems including team organisation, protocols, training, trauma registry, research methodology and QI tools.  Upon his return to India, Dr Joshipura successfully used his Australian experience to advocate for a more efficient emergency medical service (EMS) and to pass EMS legislation within the state government to better support the service as a whole. He also advanced a National Trauma Management Course in India and then into Sri Lanka to build the capacity of doctors in trauma life support skills. He subsequently became medical director at Apollo Hospital, Ahmedabad. He successfully utilised the network of his Australian peers to support his mission to improve the care of the injured in India and elsewhere. He published several peer reviewed articles on trauma care and serves on the International Editorial Board of "Injury". In 2011, he was selected to lead the policy, practice and research for trauma care at WHO in Geneva. Dr Joshipura also leads the global activities for the fifth pillar of post-crash care of the UN Decade of Action of Road Safety and is responsible for the creation of the Global Alliance for the Care of the Injured.

(Picture: Ramesh Bhandari (L), John Masterton (Centre), Manjul Joshipura (R))

For further information and published articles by Dr Joshipura, please see the following links:

Trauma Quality Improvement in Low and Middle Income Countries of the Asia-Pacific Region: A Mixed Methods Study

Guidelines for Essential Trauma Care: Progress in India

Trauma Care in India: Current Scenario

CRASH-3 tranexamic acid for the treatment of significant traumatic brain injury: study protocol for an international randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Overview of the Essential Trauma Care Project

Professor Tahmina Banu


Tahmina And Rowan EditedProfessor Banu is a Paediatric Surgeon and specialist Urologist from Chittagong in Bangladesh. She was one of the first recipients of the Rowan Nicks Scholarship, and was supported to undertake advanced training in Paediatric Surgery in hospitals across Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. When Professor Banu completed her scholarship in 1995 she was one of only ten Paediatric surgeons in Bangladesh, a country with over 60 million children. She has since gone on to mentor 47 trainee surgeons, four of whom have established their own Paediatric surgery units across Bangladesh.

Professor Banu's Melbourne supervisor Professor John Hutson, Chair of Paediatric Surgery at the Royal Children's Hospital, has since visited Chittagong several times and reported 'Professor Banu has clearly established herself as one of the leaders of paediatric surgery in developing countries and has provided a wonderful role model for young surgeons'. Professor Banu introduced new surgical techniques to her hospital including Hydrostatic/Pneumatic reduction of Intussusception - a skill she acquired during her Rowan Nicks Scholarship. In 2005, Professor Banu also introduced Paediatric Laparoscopic surgery to Bangladesh with Professor Hutson's assistance.

Since completing her scholarship, Professor Banu has expanded the Paediatric Surgery ward in Chittagong from 1 to 60 beds, added a day care surgical service, introduced a mobile service for regional patients and initiated the Shishu Bikash (Child Development) Centre. In 2013, Professor Banu published a paper in the World Journal of Surgery, evaluating the viability and success of the outreach mobile surgical service for rural children which she helped to establish.

Professor Banu's story has also featured in the College's International Development Magazine. To read more, please click here (page 38).

Other Papers:

Management of male H-type anorectal malformations

Cloacal malformation varients in male 

Dr Bibhusal Thapa


Bibhusal-Thapa-RowanDr Bibhusal Thapa was the 2009 Rowan Nicks International Scholar and undertook a 12-month Fellowship in Thoracic Surgery in the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Austin Health, Melbourne under the supervision of Mr Simon Knight. During his attachment, Dr Thapa gained skills and experience in a range of Thoracic surgery techniques including Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) (which he has since introduced in Nepal), Endo-bronchial laser, Laser metastatectomy, Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) and stenting of the esophagus and bronchial tree. He attended several scientific meetings whilst in Australia including the 2010 Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons of Australia (ASCTS) Annual Scientific Meeting at Hamilton Island and the 2011 RACS ASC. He presented papers at the ASCTS ASC and the Journal Club meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons of Melbourne.

In March 2013, almost two years after returning to Nepal, Dr Thapa wrote to the Rowan Nicks Committee to update the College on developments since returning home. He reported:

'Work has been good and I have been able to nearly quadruple the workload of Thoracic Surgery cases in our institute since getting back from Melbourne. The institute's data shows a jump from an average of 2 cases a week 2 years ago to 6-8 major cases per week. The other good news is that we are now doing nearly 70-80% of our cases via VATS. This increase in volume has improved not only the services of our hospital but also the training opportunities available to our registrars. Thanks to you and the Rowan Nicks Committee'.

(Pictured on left with his wife, Hosim and Rowan Nicks).

Dr Vuthy Chhoeurn


IMG 2010-04-01 Vuthy With Patient WebsiteDr Vuthy Chhoeurn completed his second attachment under the Rowan Nicks Scholarship in May 2012, undertaking a Paediatric Orthopaedic Fellowship throughout his first 6-month attachment and then returning in an observatory capacity for a three-week intensive training program in arthroscopic techniques. During his first 6-month attachment at the Royal Children's and Mater Children's Hospitals in Brisbane, Dr Chhoeurn worked under the guidance of Dr Geoff Donald, gaining extensive exposure to a wide array of surgical procedures, as well as burn management and neurosurgery. During his 2012 visit, Dr Chhoeurn toured a number of hospitals and observed over 90 arthroscopic procedures and 17 open surgical procedures, providing a valuable learning opportunity in surgical advancements. He was also supported under the Scholarship to participate at the 2008 ASC in Hong Kong as well as the 2012 ASC in Kuala Lumpur. Dr Chhoeurn has since developed specialised paediatric orthopaedic training in Cambodia and is actively involved in education as a lecturer at the University of Health Sciences and the International University of Phnom Penh. Dr Chhoeurn is a great advocate of the Rowan Nicks ethic to "teach the teacher to teach others" and is working to improve the paediatric training program for general surgeons to teach them to better manage emergency cases.

Rowan Nicks Pacific Islands Scholarship

Recipient Profiles

Dr Dudley Ba'erodo

Solomon Islands

Scholar profilesDr Dudley Ba'erodo is the first surgeon in his home country of the Solomon Islands to specialise in Urology. He completed his second Rowan Nicks Scholarship attachment in June 2012 at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne. Under the supervision of Dr Damien Bolton, Dr Ba'erodo gained significant skills and knowledge of the current management practices of urological diseases, specifically learning endoscopic Urology procedures which had not been possible in his home country due to a lack of equipment and absence of a trained Urologist. Dr Ba'erodo also attended a number of training courses and conferences, including the Definitive Surgical Trauma Care course, Disaster Preparedness training in Darwin, and the 2012 ASC in Kuala Lumpur. Since returning to the Solomon Islands, Dr Ba'erodo has been able to establish a formal urology unit within the National Referral Hospital, and as head of Head of General Surgery has plans to establish the country's first cancer and palliative care treatment service. Read more about the development of Urology in the Solomon Islands here.

(Pictured: Dr Ba'erodo doing an optical urethrotomy supervised by Dr David Angus)


Surgical Care in the Solomon Islands: A Road Map for Universal Surgical Care Delivery

 Dr William Kaptigau

Papua New Guinea

Rowan Nicks - William KaptigauDr William Kaptigau came to Australia under the Rowan Nicks Scholarship in 2002. He carried out his attachment at Townsville Tertiary Hospital under Professor Eric Guazzo. By the end of 2004, Dr Kaptigau had successfully completed his Masters of Surgery at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), becoming the first qualified neurosurgeon in PNG, in addition to the first indigenous neurosurgeon in the South Pacific. Today, Dr Kaptigau is a consultant surgeon and is in charge of the Neurosurgery Unit at the Port Moresby General Hospital in PNG (which also serves as the teaching hospital for the UPNG). He has high aspirations for the future of Neurosurgery in PNG including improving management of complicated neurosurgical cases in PNG.

(From right: Dr William Kaptigau, Prof Jeffrey Rosenfeld and colleague, Dr Sammy Thomas)

Rowan Nicks United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Fellowship

Recipient Profile

Professor Iain Whitaker

United KingdomIain_Whitaker_2011

Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon Professor Iain Whitaker was awarded the 2011 Rowan Nicks United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Fellowship and undertook a Fellowship in Reconstructive Microsurgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital under the mentorship of A/Prof Mark Ashton and Professor Ian Taylor. He also undertook research at the Taylor Laboratory, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Melbourne. Prof Whitaker was supported to participate at the 2011 RACS Annual Scientific Congress in Adelaide, and returned to Wales in 2012 to assume the role of Chair of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery with Swansea University College of Medicine - the first Professorship of its kind in Wales. To read more about Prof Whitaker's appoinment featured on BBC News see here.

(Pictured left with Mr John Masterton).


Microvascular Reconstruction of the Upper Extremity

Current Techniques in the post-operative monitoring of micro-vascular free-tissue transfers

Autologous dermal grafts for rectus sheath reconstruction and application in closure of ventral myofascial defects

The anatomy and variations of the internal thoracic (internal mammary) artery and implications in autologous breast reconstruction: clinical anatomical study and literature review

Autologous microsurgical breast reconstruction and coronary artery bypass grafting: an anatomical study and clinical implications

Rowan Nicks Australia and New Zealand Exchange Fellowship

Recipient Profile

Dr Susan O'Mahony

New Zealand

Scholar profilesQueensland Surgeon Dr Susan O'Mahony completed an 11 month Cranio-Maxillofacial Fellowship in the Wellington Regional Plastic Surgery Unit under the supervision of Mr Charles Davis. Dr O'Mahony reported:

'One of the principle reasons I applied to work with Mr Davis was the opportunity to learn the technique of Spring Cranioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure applicable to a range of congenital craniosynostoses, developed in Sweden by Professor Claes Lauritzen. Mr Davis himself worked as Prof Lauritzen's Fellow and has undertaken extensive research into the technique'.

During her attachment Dr O'Mahony observed that the regional unit's approach to service minimised patient travel, and saw opportunities to apply this knowledge at home in Queensland where patients often travel long distances for treatment. Dr O'Mahony's Wellington colleagues hope to continue the association between the Wellington and Queensland craniofacial units.

Past Rowan Nicks Scholars 

Rowan Nicks Scholar Register 1991 - Present (PDF 108 KB)