Why Dr Raj Khillan is the doctor every doctor turns to
Dr Raj Khillan is not just a pioneering leader for healthcare in the Indian community; those whom he has mentored, say he is a visionary as well. “That’s because the biggest kick I get out of each day is being able to help someone,” says the good doctor.
A senior paediatrician with Western Health and Mercy Health Services, one of the fastest growing specialist centres in Australia and finalist in Australian Small Business Champion-2017 awards, Dr Khillan is a paediatric discipline leader at Melbourne Clinical School, Notre Dame University, and an examiner for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
“As a lecturer at Melbourne Clinical School, I have seen some fantastic graduates come through the ranks. When catching up with them a few years later, I was shocked to find that so many of them had given up on running a practice. Some have even left the industry altogether, which was the biggest shame, as I knew they had the potential to do great things,” says Dr Khillan.
“I often asked them why they’d given up and the most common answer I received was ‘it just got too hard’. I discovered it was because these practitioners were great at being health professionals, but not so great at running a business. You can’t blame them, business studies are not a course in medical school. I discovered a gap in the marketplace,” says Dr Khillan, who added entrepreneur to his set of skills. “So, I found my niche, a great business partner and a fantastic team of developers. I now help doctors become successes in their businesses,” he adds.
“In an entrepreneur’s life, mentors play a massive role. My parents were both incredibly smart and open-minded people and provided a critical formative experience for an entrepreneurial existence. Over the last 20+ years, I have had half a dozen formal and informal mentors who really shaped the way I view the world, approach situations, challenge myself, engage with others and accept the risk. Having a mentor had a significant, positive impact on the success of my business because they helped me to drill down to the essence of the challenge I faced,” he says.
Dr Khillan is an exceptionally qualified professional drawing upon his experiences from India (MBBS, MD), USA (International Fellowship of American Academy of Paediatrics), UK (Fellow of Royal College of Paediatrics and Children’s Health), Australia (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians), Switzerland (Membership of the Geneva Foundation of Medical Education and Research) and Saudi Arabia (Member of the Saudi Paediatric Association) to inform my clinical practice as a paediatrician in Australia.
“Working around the world, I can speak English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Arabic, and use these skills to cater for the social sensitivities of our community,” says Dr Khillan, who as an examiner of RACP-paediatrics, ensures that high standards of care are maintained.
Dr Khillan is also general secretary of the Overseas Medical Graduate Association (OMGA), founded as a medical, academic, political and socio-cultural platform for all new overseas trained doctors to help them cope in new lands. “OMGA was formed with the vision of creating a common platform for overseas trained doctors who have gone through the same but tough boat to establish careers and lives in Australia,” says Dr Khillan, who in his capacity as General Secretary has increased the member base from 30 to over 300.
“I was faced with several hurdles when I made the decision to migrate to Australia. The cultural and language gaps, the different medical educational system, a complicated medical registration system, the stress of being an outsider… that’s why I can relate what new migrants are feeling. I show them through my experience that hard work, commitment, perseverance, and dedication to follow your dream does lead you to success,” he says.
Dr Khillan has also revolutionised the provision of multi-disciplinary healthcare for the Indian Community, especially in the western suburbs, through the creation of Australia’s first combined Women’s and Children’s Health Clinic (Western Specialist Centre-Western Women’ and Children Specialist Centre) in St Albans.
“My mission is to create awareness in the Indian community about health-related issues which are poorly understood or not accepted due to lack of knowledge, education, awareness or cultural and social taboos,” says Dr Khillan, who has been a staunch advocate of philanthropic projects in India. He has also led fundraising campaigns for the Chennai and Fiji Floods, Nepal Earthquakes and East Timor reconstruction projects, raising a cumulative total of over $30,000 for such projects.
And when not being a mentor or a doctor, Dr Khillan, puts pen to paper. “I am a big fan of Hindi poetry and shayari. I have written many poems in Hindi. I will be publishing a book soon,” he says.
It’s all part of his dream, says Dr Khillan, to “make the world a better place”.