2023 | Volume 24 | Issue 4


Dr Kelvin Kong -- ABC News Tahnee Jash

What better way to welcome NAIDOC Week 2023 than to congratulate one of our very own RACS Fellows, Professor Kelvin Kong, for winning the National NAIDOC Person Award!

Professor Kong is a Worimi man who grew up on Country in Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia. He is the first identified Indigenous Fellow and chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee. An Otolaryngology, Head and Neck surgeon, Professor Kong is one of three recipients of the prestigious 2023 national award.

The national NAIDOC Week Awards ceremony is a respected event in Australia and recognises the outstanding contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make to improve the lives of people in their communities and beyond. The Awards ceremony also recognises and celebrates those who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen field and this year Professor Kong was a worthy recipient.

Professor Kong is passionate about addressing the disparity in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. It is estimated that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experience the highest levels of chronic otitis media (middle ear disease) in the world, affecting up to 70 per cent of children in remote communities.

Each year, he spends a portion of his time working in, and for, remote Indigenous communities providing access to quality healthcare that would otherwise be limited or completely unavailable. His work includes visiting the Kimberley in Western Australia each year to perform specialist consultations and surgery.

He is also passionate about improving pathways to specialist medical training and improving the Indigenous workforce across the health and research sector.

Professor Kong mentors high school students to encourage more Indigenous people to consider careers in medicine and surgery.