2023 | Volume 24 | Issue 4

Celine Hamid


With more than 25 years' experience, Dr Celine Hamid is an accomplished specialist paediatric surgeon providing exceptional care to children in regional Australia.

Originally from India, Dr Hamid's journey in medicine began with the guidance of her mother, who was a nurse, suggesting that medicine was an ideal profession for her. With a good academic record and a genuine affinity for the hospital environment, she chose the path towards becoming a physician.

However, it was during her internship in paediatric surgery that she found her true passion for the field. "I had a posting in paediatric surgery and fell in love with it. The supportive mentors and hands-on experience solidified my decision. It just felt like the perfect fit for me," says Dr Hamid.

After completing her medical training in India—MBBS, MS, and MCh (paediatric surgery)—from Calicut Medical College, Dr Hamid came to Australia to further enhance her expertise. In 2001, she undertook advanced training as a registrar and then Fellow at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney until January 2004.

After working 16 months in Malaysia Dr Hamid returned to Australia in 2006 when her husband, Associate Professor Abdul Lathif, who is also a paediatric Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, secured a job in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.

Although she lacked a Fellowship but held an overseas degree, she chose to pursue the specialist pathway. Working in Canberra and Melbourne, she wrote and passed the exam, marking the beginning of her professional journey in Wagga Wagga.

There were initial challenges posed by the lack of a robust paediatric service at that time in this regional area. But with tremendous support from the community, Dr Hamid was able to establish a thriving practice from scratch seeing typically about 700 patients a year and performing close to 500 surgical procedures yearly.

One notable challenge Dr Hamid encountered was a shortage of instruments. However, a generous family stepped forward with a donation from a bequest left by a lady passionate about supporting children's causes, enabling Wagga Wagga Base Hospital to provide the necessary instruments and endoscopes for her practice.

She believes that building a collaborative approach with rural GPs, local doctors, and specialists has been instrumental in her success.

"While there was already a reliable ENT service and some orthopaedic surgeons who treated children on occasion, the routine care of newborns and other paediatric cases only began after my arrival.

“I was grateful for the presence of skilled paediatric anaesthetists who were willing to collaborate. The local paediatricians in Wagga Wagga were supportive, and we worked together to train the nurses in post-operative care and recovery," Dr Hamid says.

She currently divides her time between Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, Calvary Riverina Hospital, and Riverina Day Surgery. Additionally, she is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Notre Dame University, where she teaches rural medical students at the Wagga Rural School.

She is also a conjoint lecturer at UNSW Rural Medical School in Wagga, specialising in teaching paediatric surgery.

In Canberra, Dr Hamid serves as the Head of the Paediatric Surgery Department, working at both Canberra Hospital and Calvary John James Hospital. Her part-time position in Canberra enables her to maintain her surgical skills and foster collegial relationships with other paediatric surgeons.

She also contributes to teaching students at the Australian National University (ANU) and is involved in the joint supervision of medical student research. She is also the ACT representative for paediatric surgery on the Australian and New Zealand Association of Paediatric Surgeons executive board.

Dr Hamid recognises that diverse perspectives and cultural backgrounds enrich the healthcare experience and lead to better outcomes for patients. "I strive to be a positive role model for young students, inspiring them to pursue their dreams," she says.

Beyond her professional achievements, Dr Hamid enjoys cooking and fundraising through long walks—channelling her energy into supporting causes for the community. She volunteers twice a year in the Solomon Islands, providing paediatric surgical services to underserved communities.