An intern from Orange hospital who was awarded a $120,000 scholarship this year is hoping to combine medicine and technology to improve healthcare in regional areas.
Jaffly Chen received the $120,000 Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship in February to look at ways of using technology and medicine in rural health where there are less resources and distance is an issue.
"Why help thousands of people in a year when I can help millions or billions through public policy," Dr Chen said.
"What I hope is to move into an area where I can use technology to bridge that gap between rural and urban healthcare."
The world we are living in today is going to be vastly different in five to 10 years.Dr Jaffly Chen
Dr Chen said through his experience in regional health he wants to overcome issues such as distance and look at the conditions that lead to people requiring medical treatment.
He said there was enthusiasm and need in country areas for technological solutions, however there was also less understanding of what technology was out there.
Dr Chen was one of 17 postgraduate students to receive part of more than $2 million in scholarship funding from the Westpac Scholarship Trust.
The scholarship was given to each recipient to help them investigate solutions to a variety of complex issues in Australia and the $120,000 is to cover their postgraduate studies, a nine-month leadership development program and the opportunity to study abroad.
"They are supporting me through my master of public health, they are going to support me through that for the next two to three years," Dr Chen said.
What I hope is to move into an area where I can use technology to bridge that gap between rural and urban healthcare.Dr Jaffly Chen
Before he arrived in Orange, Dr Chen took part in an internship with the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland, and he will travel to Boston in June for a boot camp with Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT].
Dr Chen said he is particularly interested in seeing how technology developed in Asia can be used in Australia.
"The more people that know what's out there the more who can bring that here," Dr Chen said.
"The world we are living in today is going to be vastly different to the world we are living in five to 10 years time."
Dr Chen grew up in Sydney but said completing his medical degree at university in Armidale changed his perspective and inspired his interest in regional medicine.
He started working as an intern in Orange this year and plans to stay on next year to do his residency.
"I finished my medical degree at University of New England, after graduation you have to do a year of internship at one of the teaching hospitals," Dr Chen said.
He said he decided to come to Orange because there would be increased chances of getting hands-on experience compared to metropolitan hospitals and he's enjoyed the experience.
Dr Chen said he's been able to undertake so much through the support of his family, mentors, fellow interns and scholarship recipients.
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