‘Opening the door to a new era of disease-modifying therapies’: Westmead Hospital’s Niroshan Jeyakumar receives prestigious ‘best performance’ medal

Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) Neurology Advanced Trainee, Niroshan (Niro) Jeyakumar, has been awarded the Bryan Hudson Medal for the best overall performance in the 2023 Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Written and Clinical Examinations in Adult Medicine.

The RACP Written and Clinical Examinations are advanced, challenging examinations that all physician trainees in Australia and New Zealand must pass in order to progress into specialty training, such as neurology.

With more than 800 trainees sitting the examination each year, Niro stood proudly in front of an esteemed group as he was awarded the Bryan Hudson Medal for the best overall performance, a highly competitive award which goes to the trainee with the highest aggregate percentage in examinations across adult medicine.

I am very honoured to have ranked first amongst the countless exceptional candidates there must be across Australasia to be awarded the Bryan Hudson medal.

Niro Jeyakumar

In an interview about receiving this award, Niro told The Pulse this award is a testament to the support he has received at the district.

“It reflects the unique breadth and depth of clinical exposure that is part and parcel of working in WSLHD,” he said.

“Most of all, it is a testament to my extraordinary colleagues and mentors that showed me how to navigate this wealth of clinical material, amidst the chaos of working in it, and taught me everything I know.”

The Westmead network physician training program encompasses not only Westmead Hospital but also Blacktown, Orange Base and Hornsby Ku-ring-Gai Hospitals, which provides a necessary, diverse training experience.

I love science and I hate seeing suffering, so I entered medicine and neurology to use one to address the other.

Niro Jeyakumar

Niro started working at Westmead Hospital as an Intern in 2020 and this year, after passing the examination, he started his advanced training in Neurology with particular interests in movement disorders, neurodegeneration and neuroimmunology.

I think the ultimate realisation of this would be to someday solve the problem of what causes neurodegeneration and open the door to a new era of disease-modifying therapies, for what are currently devastating and irreversible conditions like Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Niro Jeyakumar

Alongside clinical training, Niro has researched various topics including Huntington disease, Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune encephalitis and, most recently, antibody disease, a multiple-sclerosis-like neuroimmunological condition that is the focus of his current Masters project.

Niro’s breadth of research is intentionally diverse so as to learn broadly and try to find connections between different areas that could be leveraged to solve complex problems in the future.

“This award is a simple reminder of what is still possible when you are fortunate to have great people around you, the opportunity to work hard, and if you don’t set yourself any limits.

“I hope I can draw on it through whatever challenges might lie ahead in trying to become, always, a better doctor.”

Receiving this prestigious award is an enormous individual achievement however, the humble Niro wanted to mention the highly respected Doctors, Physicians and Professors who helped him along the way.

“I don’t have enough space to name them all but at the very least I have to mention: Dr Oliver Archer, Dr Vlad Danaila, Dr Sumedh Jayanti, Dr Athiththa Satchithanandha and Dr Prakesh Vaheisvaran, Professor Clement Loy, Dr Ella Stephens, and physician training directors: Dr Andrew Henderson, Dr Lucinda Berglund and Dr Cristina Ciobanu.”

Niro’s accomplishment is a testament to his hard work, dedication and passion, all of which is displayed in his contributions to research and the field of neurology.