Sydney Adventist Hospital (the San) heart surgeon Dr Ian Nicholson has been named as one of four New South Wales finalists in the 2016 Australian of the Year awards.
Dr Nicholson is one of Australia's leading cardiothoracic surgeons.He has been a volunteer with Open Heart International since 1994, regularly travelling to developing countries to treat children and adults suffering from a range of heart conditions.
One of the organisation’s most active volunteers, Dr Nicholson has been a part of 37 individual teams to visit countries in the Pacific and in Africa.
"It is a great honour to [receive]recognition of my work with Open Heart International,” Dr Nicholson said.
“This work is not successful because of one person, but because of an amazing team of committed people that I am part of. It is also quite humbling to be recognised alongside other great Australians who are all very worthy nominees.”
Dr Nicholson, who also practices at Ramsay Health Care's Westmead Private Hospital, is not the only finalist with a connection to the San.
Palliative care advocate Yvonne McMaster, a former palliative doctor at the hospital, has been announced as a New South Wales finalist for Senior Australian of the Year.
Dr McMaster’s journey as an advocate began after she retired in 1998. She signed up to run a cancer support group at the San and hasn’t looked back since.
She is a much loved facilitator of support groups at the hospital’s cancer support centre and her passion for palliative care reform has been described as inspiring.
Adventist HealthCare chief executive Phil Currie said Dr Nicholson and Dr McMaster’s nominations were well deserved.
“We feel incredibly honoured to have had doctors of the calibre of Ian Nicholson and Yvonne McMaster work at Sydney Adventist Hospital,” Mr Currie said.
“Their expertise, compassion and commitment is well known to those of us who have been privileged to work with them. We are thrilled that their nominations allow the rest of Australia to learn about their great humanitarian work.
“To us they are both great examples of being the change that you want to see in the world.”
The Australian of the Year awards will be presented at a ceremony in Canberra on 25 January 2016.