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Relocating Rural as an International Medical Graduate

Dr Vikrama has had a varied career working in hospitals in Kuala Lumpur, before transitioning to a rural GP in far north Queensland and now at Lime Medical Clinic in Mildura. Having relocated between countries and rural Australian towns, both he and his wife have become accustomed to the experience of building life anew in a different environment and work setting. Dr Vikrama shares with us what he’s learnt along the way, and how RWAV’s recruitment and grant support helped him to settle into Mildura.

Where has your career taken you so far?

I’m from Malaysia, I graduated in 2008 and went through Malaysian training for a few years. I took care of the emergency department in one of the big hospitals in Kuala Lumpur. After that I passed the AMC Part 1 and Part 2, I got onto Health Workforce Queensland and got a posting in Ingham in far north Queensland. We lived there for four years, enjoyed it thoroughly and learnt how to be a rural doctor. Then my wife had a posting to come here, Mildura, which is when I got through to RWAV and was recruited to Lime Medical Centre.

How did you find the recruitment process through RWAV?

It was good. Victoria had not been in the picture before because I think initially the issue was that I just didn’t have accurate information about the system requirements. A good friend of mine put me through to Ben (RWAV Recruitment Program Officer), and then Ben told me the real process. After understanding what was right and what’s wrong, it was quite smooth from there. He said you’ve got enough experience, your RLRP has already been approved, and I just needed to transfer it over. Then he helped me through all the processes and I came to Mildura. 


How has the transition to Mildura been for you?

When you move practices, you start from scratch altogether again. People don’t know you, but you start to build your name again. I received an RWAV Relocation Grant so that helped a lot for us. I had to buy a house, and that’s where I got a bit stuck financial wise and this relocation grant really helped me a lot. 

Here in Mildura, you’ve got, first of all, a lot of help, and second, you’ve got a lot of education. Every week we’ve got something on, this week we had a pathologist come in to talk about lung cancer, last week we had an orthopaedic doctor talking about arthritis, the week before last was ENT, emergency, so you know even without having to do CPD online I’m just getting my points up. Which is good I think, I don’t have to force myself and we’ve got allocated time every week to do that. We’ve got a lot of registrars here as well, and we’ve got a quite good setup whereby everyone comes one day and discusses a topic.


How are you and your family enjoying Mildura?

I think it’s a very suitable place for young families. I’ve got a five-year-old and the schooling is really great. They’ve got standards on par with big schools in Melbourne. A lot of doctors are happy to come here and commence work because of that. There’s always some unique things you can find if you want to do stuff. There are a lot of activities going on with the Murray River. I started doing 5k runs every weekend, and you get to meet people. I can only see a lot of development going on here. Having said that, I think the junior guys should want to come here as well. 


Do you have any advice for doctors who are considering moving rural?

I think they should visit here. Just try it first. You know, a lot of us foreign doctors, only know big cities. Australia is so huge. All we know is, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide – that’s what we think. So they think it’s going to be hard for school, it’s going to be hard to travel, but it’s actually not. Everything is here. 

So the problem I think is the perception about rural communities, they need to update that. And the only advice I would give them is to have some faith and come and visit us. Come here, look at it. See how it goes and then make a decision because it’s only a one hour flight away.

You get to invest more and you don’t waste time on the road. You know, you’re winning in all sense. And if you do come here, you learn so much more. Your opportunity to learn is huge. So give it a try and then decide.

Rural Workforce Agency Victoria (RWAV) supports health professionals to pursue a rural career in Victoria through a free recruitment service and professional development opportunities. Our recruitment team consider your unique situation – assessing your eligibility, skills, experience and professional and educational goals to match you with a practice to suit your needs. Services are free of charge and on-going post-placement support for you and your family is also provided.

If you are interested in work opportunities in country Victoria, see our current vacancies on the RWAV website.

Snezana is a Human Resources leader with more than 15 years of experience in management, playing a pivotal role in driving team transformations across diverse industries, including FMCG, automotive, government, and non-profit sectors.

With a curiosity for business and its associated complexities, Snezana fosters collaborative partnerships to cultivate a highly motivated workforce that effectively executes strategic plans.

Msc (Fin), FCCA, FGIA, CA

Shay brings over 20 years of financial
management experience in commercial and not-for-profit organizations. He has a
rich and varied experience in multiple finance and leadership roles in the
United Kingdom and Australia, including CFO, GM Finance & IT, Commercial
Manager Operations, Finance Manager and Accountant.

His extensive leadership experience is
augmented by an FGIA, FCCA, CA, a Masters in Finance and an undergraduate degree in
accounting and finance.

RN, GradDip(Health Promotion), PRINCE2, Mini MBA

Kate is a Registered Nurse highly experienced in health promotion and project management. Her people and program management skills enable her to be agile and adaptable while maintaining an outcomes focus on improving quality access to primary healthcare.

Kate’s extensive experience working with all levels of government, the community and stakeholders across the sector have provided her with insights into the challenges rural communities and health professionals face. Kate has led the design and delivery of many innovative and strategic health promotion and grants programs, supporting better access to health services, health information and activities across communities. Whilst at RWAV, Kate has led the transformation of the RWAV grants program, enhanced the administration of a number of programs and developed the RWAV allied health portfolio. She has also led the development of the RWAV research program of activities.

Having worked at RWAV since 2020, Kate will continue positively influencing the rural healthcare workforce and access to services.

Social Work (BA Hons), DipSW

With a background in social work and a proven record in recruitment, project management, and business development, Jo brings strategic leadership and a wealth of experience in driving positive outcomes within the health, human services, and State Government sectors.

Jo specialises in managing health professional recruitment and outreach programs, including the More Doctors for Rural Australia and 3GA programs. Her focus is on implementing innovative workforce strategies and clinical governance to bolster RWAV’s mission of enhancing healthcare accessibility in rural and regional Victoria.

Having previously excelled at RWAV, Jo spearheaded successful internal change initiatives while fostering strong relationships with external stakeholders. Her efforts consistently align with RWAV’s strategic direction, ensuring a cohesive approach to driving impactful change.

Beyond her professional expertise, Jo’s passion lies in uniting communities and championing positive transformations in rural healthcare in Victoria.

Martin is a governance professional and lawyer with experience in private practice and in-house legal roles. He has been a company secretary for public and private sector organisations across a range of industries including VicTrack, Regis Healthcare Limited and Dairy Australia Limited. He holds Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of Melbourne, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia (GIA) and is a fellow of the GIA.

With a rich background of consulting and in-house people and culture roles with the corporate, government and community sectors, Andrea is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Andrea has significant experience in leading teams across culture, capability, diversity, equity, leadership, organisational development and learning programs as well as core human resources partnering.

With a strong focus on building and maintaining psychologically safe organisations, Andrea’s team is dedicated to ensuring that RWAV is a place where people can work well and be well at work.


Rosemary has had a varied career as an academic teaching economics, public policy and industrial relations, and as a consultant, advocate, health union official and as a director.

She brings strong governance and strategic skills to the Board, as well as knowledge and depth of experience in health policy, economics and investment.

Rosemary was a Director of Aware Super for nine years, and Chair of the Investment Committee for three years. She was also a member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, the Governance Committee and the REM and HR Committee. Rosemary is currently a member of the Investment Committee of Cbus.

She was the Secretary of the Victorian Psychologists Association Inc for 20 years and knows first-hand the difficulties in attracting and retaining health professionals in rural and regional Victoria.

Dr Louise Manning is a rural GP Obstetrics trainee practising in Central Victoria where she delivers general practice, obstetric and sexual health services. Growing up in a small town she has lived experience of the difficulties accessing healthcare in rural and regional areas, and is dedicated to advocating for equitable health outcomes regardless of geography.

Louise is also a Board Director of the Rural Doctors’ Association of Victoria.

BAppSci GradDipBus MBus GAICD FIML

John Biviano is an experienced senior executive who has held many senior roles in government (Health Dept) and also in professional associations related to healthcare. Until recently, John was the CEO of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, where he oversaw the digitisation of a range of Member offerings, including aspects of training. 

BA (Politics/Philosophy) BEc GDipBus MBA GAICD FGIA

Roger is an accomplished CEO, Non-Executive Director and Chair with experience in the health, human services, law enforcement, education, transport, and environmental industries – across private, public sector and not-for-profit organisations

.He brings strong governance experience, commercial acumen, risk management and strategy skills combined with a passion for innovation and business development having also been Chair of numerous Finance, Audit, Risk, Investment and Community Advisory Committees.


Assoc Prof Phelps has practiced as a Gastroenterologist and Acute Physician in regional Victoria for more than 20 years.

He trained in safety and quality at Dr Brent James’ Institute at Intermountain Healthcare in the US and has held management and leadership roles in Victoria and Tasmania. More recently he completed a two-year project as Director of Clinical Governance for Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

Grant currently works as an independent consultant providing advice to hospitals and organisations on clinical leadership and safety and quality

LLB BSc MMgt (Strategic Foresight) GAICD

As a lawyer and business consultant Jane has worked with company boards and senior management across a range of areas including IP commercialisation, internet-based businesses, healthcare products/services, privacy and data/IT security. Jane is currently general counsel for .id Consulting – population demographers, economists and forecasters.

Jane served as a director of BreastScreen Victoria for 10 years, is a current director of Ballarat Health Services and chairs RWAV’s Governance Committee.

BMed MMedSci FRACGP FARGP FACRRM DipPractDerm DipMedHyp DipFP DipBusAdmin GAICD

Assoc Prof Rawlin is an experienced General Practitioner and medical educator. He is currently in clinical general practice in suburban Melbourne and previously practiced in rural Victoria for 10 years.

Assoc Prof Rawlin is Chair of the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaborative and a past Chair of the Mental Health Professionals Association and is a board member of the Mental Health Professionals Network. He is also the Medical Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Victoria.
He is a member of the RACGP Victoria Council.

Albert Giorgini is the Senior Advisor to CEO at RWAV.

As an experienced finance executive, with an extensive career in public transport and in the automotive and industrial gas sectors, Albert has honed his skills in driving financial performance improvements with a commercial and business transformation focus.

Through his strategic financial skills, Albert has demonstrated an exceptional capacity to lead and develop large teams in complex and changing environments to achieve the financial and regulatory requirements of the business. His extensive experience has given him a deep understanding of the industry and its challenges, equipping him with the expertise to drive impactful change.

Albert has highly developed communication and stakeholder management skills to support his strong planning, analytical and financial performance improvement acumen, always striving to create innovative solutions that drive growth and success.


Lauren commenced in the role of Manager People and Culture in August 2018 and is responsible for leading the implementation of RWAV’s People and Culture strategy, policies, processes, functions and team.

Lauren’s team is committed to implementing activities and initiatives to support the achievement of RWAV’s strategies and strengthen RWAV’s position as an ‘Employer of Choice’.

Lauren is an experienced Manager and HR professional, with a career spanning the professional services, automotive, defence, and not-for-profit sectors.

BHlthSci(Hons) MPH PostGradDipMgt GAICD AFCHSM

Lauren Cordwell commenced in the role of Chief Executive Officer in August 2023. She took on the role of Acting CEO in April 2023 and previously served as the General Manager since February 2020.
Lauren has leadership responsibilities for strategy, communications, data, stakeholder engagement and program delivery.

Lauren’s team is committed to supporting communities in rural and regional Victoria to have timely access to affordable and safe health care.

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