Our sister clinic, Bluff Road Medical Centre, recently welcomed a new doctor to the practice, Dr Jason Lam. In this article, we discover who Jason is and why he is a man of many talents.
How did you end up a GP?
I was originally a professional dancer and artist, before collapsing a lung and needing to come up with a plan B. I had watched a lot of scrubs in hospital and it seemed like fun, so I thought I’d give it a go.
I studied at Flinders University in South Australian and did half my study in Adelaide and the Northern Territory.
I did plastic and reconstructive surgery and dermatology for a couple of years before deciding to change to GP and sports medicine.
Where has your career taken you?
For three years, I’ve been working as a doctor with the Australian Ballet, where I’m the Crichton Dance Medicine Fellow. Dance medicine is a relatively new field and so we do a lot of research trying to improve the health of our dancers. We’re associated with La Trobe University and some of the very best researchers in the field, so it’s a wonderful opportunity and lovely to come full circle back to dance. I’m part of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science and the Australian Society for Performing Artists’ Health.
I also did plastic surgery for a few years and during that time I undertook research on non-surgical management of hand fractures. In June, I presented the findings at the
International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand Congress in Berlin.
As part of plastics, we did a lot of skin cancer surgery and I learnt more complex repairs and a minimal scarring technique. You can never promise there will be no scars, but it can help to disguise the scarring and it’s less obvious at socially appropriate distances.
I did my medical elective in Swaziland, which was a phenomenal experience to see healthcare in a setting where 70% of the population is below the poverty line and where AIDS/HIV is around 30%. What was also eye opening was my work in the Northern Territory and seeing the conditions and health disparity in our Indigenous population and communities.
Two years ago, I got my Masters in Sports Medicine. I’ve also completed Part 1 of the Australasian College of Sports and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP) exam and plan to complete that training program. I obviously have a particular interest in dancers, but I’ve also done coverage for combat sports – boxing at the Commonwealth Games and the state Jiu Jitsu and MMA. I’m also one of the doctors with Carlton VFLW. I recently contributed a chapter in a textbook on the foot and ankle and wrote a course on dance medicine for ACSEP.
At Bluff Road Medical Centre, the two things I do mostly are sports medicine and skin cancer surgery. I do all sorts of procedures like nail bed injuries, ingrown toenails, abscesses, foreign bodies and general lumps and bumps.
What do you love about your job?
Medicine has taken me all around the world. I’ve met wonderful people and have been humbled by my mentors and patients. I’m always grateful for the privilege of being invited into peoples’ lives and hopefully being able to help in some way.
I love the surgical side of things; it’s practical and I really enjoy the craft aspect of it. I’m also passionate about sport and exercise. I enjoy helping people to get back to full function and encouraging them to have active, healthy lifestyles.
I’ve loved the opportunity to research and innovate as mentioned above, I also love my gadgets and am an avid ultrasound user. I bring my own ultrasound machine with me and I’ve been teaching on the use of ultrasound in General Practice for the RACGP. It’s handy for injections or for finding foreign bodies and identifying lumps and bumps.
I love teaching and am fortunate to be one of the Medical Educators for Eastern Victoria GP training. I enjoy seeing our training GPs growing into brilliant, fully-fledged doctors.
What are your hobbies outside work?
I design high-end, custom dinosaur-based jewellery at my Etsy store (http://bit.ly/CustomDino). I’ve also branched out into other things like medically accurate foetus cufflinks. I make pretentious short films, ride my bike (badly), and I have a baby son. I also do photography, mainly of travel, weddings and theatre performance.
Ready to book in with Dr Lam?
Jason consults at our sister clinic, Bluff Road Medical Centre, on Wednesdays and Fridays. To make an appointment, please click here or phone 9598 6244.
Dr Jason Lam with local children in Swaziland.