AAustralia’s first Aboriginal surgeon, Associate Professor Kelvin Kong has tirelessly devoted his expertise to improving access to healthcare for the Australian community, particularly Australia’s Aboriginal communities, breaking cycles of disadvantage for Indigenous children. 

Kelvin hails from the Worimi people of Port Stephens, and was inspired to study medicine by his mother, a pioneer as an Aboriginal NurseAfter graduating from UNSW in 1999, Kelvin went on to qualify as the first Australian Aboriginal Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) in 2007, specializing in Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. 

Along the way, he has been privileged in serving the urban, rural and remote community. This has seen him initiate community clinics and outreach programs, and train local community health workers to assess and diagnose patients with ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders, improving access to vital resources for rural areas. These efforts are combating the high number of Indigenous children with recurrent infections and poor hearing – conditions that contribute towards educational and social disadvantage. 

He has also been humbled to partake in many committee and board roles to help ensure a voice for those not as fortunate. He is now practicing on Awabakal Country in Newcastle, working at John Hunter Hospital and embarking on further research to help alleviate the consequences of social disparity in health.