Rhodes Scholar set for Oxford
University of Adelaide final-year medical student Christopher Wong has been named the 2011 Rhodes Scholar for South Australia.
Mr Wong, 24, of Toorak Gardens, is the University's 103rd Rhodes Scholar and will study for a Masters of Global Health Science at the University of Oxford.
"I chose this course because it offers graduates the opportunity to develop skills in a wide range of medical areas, including public health, health economics and management, epidemiology and statistics," Mr Wong said.
"Undertaking my Masters at Oxford will provide me with a foundation for further doctoral studies, and also a future career as an academic and health advocate, in which I hope I can take a leadership role.
"As I have progressed through university, I have realised that one can make a greater difference in healthcare via a range of pathways, including research, teaching, health administration and medico politics," he said.
The scholarship is the latest honour for the former Pembroke School student who has been lauded by some of the country's most respected medical researchers for his achievements to date.
Mr Wong graduated as Dux of Pembroke School in 2004, matriculating with eight perfect SACE scores (20s) after undertaking nine SACE subjects at Year 12 level.
In 2008 while in the 4th year of his medical degree, Mr Wong was awarded one of the nation's top cardiovascular prizes for his research into atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder in the world.
He was the first undergraduate student in the country to win the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand's Affiliate Prize for Scientific Excellence, chosen ahead of 2000 other delegates, most of who were established postdoctoral scientists with years of experience behind them.
Earlier this year he was a guest presenter at the European Society of Cardiology's Scientific Congress in Stockholm, providing results of a study on Australian heart disease.
Mr Wong is a former President of the Adelaide Medical Students' Society, an accomplished violinist who has played with the Adelaide University Medical Orchestra and the Australian Doctors Orchestra, a keen marathon runner, participating in the London Marathon in 2009, and a fundraiser for both the National Heart Foundation and Oxfam.
He is also currently a student representative on the University of Adelaide Council.
He is described by one of Australia's leading cardiologists, Professor Prash Sanders, as "the most outstanding student" he has ever supervised.
The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Professor Justin Beilby, said Mr Wong was an "excellent choice" for South Australia's next Rhodes Scholar.
"What is impressive about Chris is his passion to pursue quality clinical training at the same time as developing a research career. He wants to be part of an exciting partnership between clinical care and research and this is one of the new challenges for health care," Professor Beilby said.
Nine Rhodes Scholars are chosen in Australia each year - one for each State, plus three for Australia at large.
The selection of the Rhodes Scholar for South Australia is made by a committee chaired by the Governor of South Australia, His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR, and comprising former Rhodes Scholars and community leaders.
The Scholars are chosen based on their academic achievements, as well as community work, leadership and sporting activities.
Story by Candy Gibson