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Home-grown radiologist returns to his roots

Published:  22 February 2021

North Queensland local Dr Sam Smith has become the first Townsville University Hospital-trained clinical radiologist to return to the public system for his consultancy, putting eight years of education into practise.

A clinical radiologist specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases using medical imaging such as x-rays, CT, MRI and ultrasound.

Dr Smith was born in Atherton and completed his medical training at James Cook University before finding his passion for radiology during his intern year at Townsville University Hospital (TUH).

“Radiology is a really interesting field of medicine that’s growing rapidly,” Dr Smith said.

“I enjoy strong scientific basis; there’s not as much ambiguity when reading an image.”

After being accepted into the radiology program Dr Smith completed his first two-and-a-half years of training across the Mackay and Townsville hospitals before transferring down to Brisbane for his final two years of training.

Dr Smith, whose wife is also a JCU graduate that has started at TUH as a paediatric consultant, said it was a ‘good feeling’ to be coming home as a consultant.

“We were here for 10 years before moving to Brisbane; we’ve got friends up here and we really like the area so coming back to North Queensland was an easy choice,” he said.

“Apart from the drive to work being much nicer there are many opportunities here; Townsville in particular being a tertiary hospital and having close ties to the university offers a lot of academic and teaching opportunities.”

Dr Smith said he was looking forward to continuing his education.

“This is a really supportive environment and there’s a lot of on-the-job upskilling,” he said.

“As a doctor, the learning never stops, especially in radiology; medicine is a life-long learning career.”

Townsville University Hospital radiology clinical director Dr Shiromi Prematunga said she was delighted to have Sam join the team as a consultant.

“Sam was one of our best registrars and we are delighted to welcome him back as the first local radiologist to come back as a consultant in the public system,” Dr Prematunga said.

 “Sam was mentored by our team here so to have him return to us was just wonderful.

“Townsville University Hospital training for doctors continues to grow; we love training locals who already know the benefits of working in North Queensland.

“There’s amazing work/life balance and there’s no need to compromise your career with Townsville University Hospital being a tertiary university hospital.”

Dr Smith joins a growing list of JCU medical graduates and locally trained specialists who have returned to work in Townsville and Far North Queensland.

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