SL born quadriplegic doctor is Queensland's Australian of the Year
2 years ago
Dr Dinesh Palipana, a 36-year-old founder of Doctors with Disabilities Australia has been named as Queensland’s 2021 Australian of Year, Brisbane Times reported today. Sri Lankan-born Dr Palipana OAM is senior resident at the Gold Coast University Hospital, a recent law graduate as well as the doctor for the Gold Coast Titans physical disability rugby league team. Dr Palipana has built an international profile through his speeches with TEDx talks and has contributed immensely to spinal research in Australia. He was named by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at a special presentation on Tuesday night, ahead of the national Australia Day awards in January. Dr Dinesh Palipana knows no barriers," Ms Palaszczuk said on Tuesday night. "He is a truly inspiring person and a much-deserved recipient of the Queensland Australian of the Year Award." Dr Palipana is the first quadriplegic medical graduate and medical intern in Queensland. "As co-founder of Doctors with Disabilities Australia, he helped create national policies for inclusivity in medical education and employment," Ms Palaszczuk said. "He speaks, writes and advocates for the equitable treatment of people with a disability and has contributed significantly to the advancement of treating spinal cord injuries and restoring functions for people with paralysis." Dr Palipana was seriously injured in a car crash on Brisbane’s Gateway Bridge in 2010 that robbed him of the use of his legs and left him with limited use of his arms. In 2019, he began research on equipment that could – in the future – help people with disabilities walk, or even ride a bike again. Dr Palipana and fellow researchers are working on a BioSpine which reads brain patterns, bypasses the spine and sends sends electric signals to a patient’s legs. Meanwhile, Torres Strait Islander elder Aunty McRose Elu was named Queensland's Senior Australian of the Year for her community advocacy and work in climate change management. Brothers Daniel, 24, and William Clark, 22, were named Queensland's Young Australians of the Year for their work and fundraising efforts to protect endangered orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra, Natasha Johnston, 47, the founder and director of Drought Angels, a group which supports drought-stricken Queensland and New South Wales' families, was named Queensland's Local Hero.