Australia has honoured four people of Indian-origin with civilian awards for their contributions in the field of medicine and work towards the community.
Purushottam Sawrikar, a Sydney-based medical practitioner, received the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for 2017 announced on Australia Day (26 January) for his service to medicine and to the Indian community.
Sawrikar, who arrived in Sydney in 1972 from Hyderabad, India, is also known for his social work, having reached out to the community on health-related issues through radio, print, TV and audio CDs. He has also organised several free health check-ups on blood pressure and diabetes, and is former president of Australian Indian Medical Graduates Association (AIMGA) and has advocated on behalf of India-trained doctors who find it hard to qualify for registration. Sawrikar also founded a community radio called Akashwani Sydney.
Professor Mark (Makhan Singh) Khangure from Perth received Member of the Order of Australia (AM) award for his significant service to medicine in the field of neuroradiology, to education, and to a range of professional medical associations, said he was “delighted” to hear the news.
Professor Khangure has also served on the boards of a number of medical organisations, including Australian and New Zealand Society of Neuroradiology, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists and the Australian Medical Association.
Sydney-based radiopharmaceutical scientist Dr Vijay Kumar got the AM award for significant service to medical research in the disciplines of nuclear medicine and biology, to professional organisations, and to the community. “I feel very honoured by this recognition. What makes me particularly happy is the fact that this will bring recognition to the discipline and hopefully encourage aspiring scientists to take it up seriously,” said Kumar, who is a founding member of the Sydney Tamil Sangam Association, was also awarded Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Award in 2007 and 2014.
Melbourne-based doctor Ranjana Srivastava received the OAM award for service to medicine, particularly in the field of doctor-patient communication. “I’m very humbled, and a little thrilled,” Srivastava said after she received the Order of Australia medal.
More than 950 Australians were named in the Australia Day Honours this year with former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victoria’s Governor Linda Dessau, organic scientist Andrew Holmes and former Liberal MP David Kemp receiving the nation’s top Australia Day medal, the Companion of the Order of Australia.