Menzies scholarship propels UQ medicine alumnus to Harvard

10 May 2016

A prestigious scholarship is helping University of Queensland alumnus Dr Nick Gattas pursue dreams of a prototype private hospital harnessing technology to treat chronic illness.

Dr Gattas has been awarded the RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard, and plans to combine expertise in medicine and digital innovation to improve the quality, access and cost of healthcare in Australia.

“I hope to use the Masters of Business Administration to enter a leadership role where I can directly change the model of care for patients with chronic disease, with a greater focus on data-enabled prevention, telehealth, and innovative funding,” said Dr Gattas, who graduated from UQ in 2013 with a Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery (Honours).

“One way to do this would be to develop the model of care for a single hospital and then expand it across Australia.”

While at Harvard, Dr Gattas will look at launching a start-up company to address a specific problem, such as delivering specialist diabetes care to patients in remote areas, while developing services that can be scaled up in Australia and abroad.

“The challenge facing all health systems is providing care to an ageing population burdened by chronic disease, in a world where more funding simply is not sustainable,” he said.

“How can we consistently provide high-quality care to those who need it, using the few resources we have available?”

As part of UQ’s Medical Leadership Program, Dr Gattas worked on a project with global management and consulting firm McKinsey & Co in Sydney.

After graduating as valedictorian and dux of his year in 2013, he decided he could better influence health systems at a strategic rather than clinical level, and accepted an offer to work at McKinsey.

“Addressing the challenges around an ageing population and chronic disease is my passion in life,” he said.

The RG Menzies Scholarships, valued at $81,860 ($US60,000), are Australia's leading national awards for postgraduate study in the United States and are jointly awarded by the Harvard Club of AustraliaAustralian National University and the Menzies Foundation.

Selection panel members said they were impressed by Dr Gattas’s vision for improving systems and using international knowledge not currently maximised in Australia.

Media: Brian Mallon, School of Medicine communications manager,, +61 (0) 403 621 109.