Ram Nataraja

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

<a href="https://www.monash.edu/medicine/research/supervisorconnect" onclick="target='_blank';">https://www.monash.edu/medicine/research/supervisorconnect</a>

20032023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Biography

Having obtained a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in paediatric surgical higher training in the London Deanery I worked as a Paediatric Surgical Consultant at both Barts Health, and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, United Kingdom. My training was primarily in the London Deanery but also included a fellowship at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. In 2015, I relocated to Monash Children’s Hospital (MCH) in Melbourne Australia to take up my current position as Director of Surgical Simulation and a Paediatric Surgical Consultant. I obtained my FRACS (Paeds) in 2017 from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at Monash University and coordinate paediatric simulation-based educational (SBE) activities at MCH in my role as the Director of Surgical Simulation and the Director of Monash Children’s Simulation (MCS) & MCH Simulation (MCH Sim). These are organisations which I founded in 2015 conduct both internal and external SBE and collaborative educational projects with organisations such as the W.H.O. Since forming MCS we have delivered more than 500 educational activities to more than 5000 participants. This includes inter-professional learning and surgical courses targeted towards General Surgery, Paediatric Surgery and Obstetrics & Gynaecology with a novel home-based laparoscopic programme. The medical programme includes courses targeting neonatology, paediatrics, and surgery for both nursing and medical participants. In the COVID-19 Pandemic we have converted most of the portfolio to virtual courses with equivalent feedback to the traditional face-to-face courses. I am also the co-director of multiple postgraduate courses at Monash University leading to the award of the Graduate Certificate of Clinical Simulation.

I am an academic paediatric surgeon with sphere of practice within clinical research, global health, and educational domains. I have more than 100 peer reviewed publications including RCTs, 87 international conference presentations, 2 co-authorship textbooks - Rapid Paediatric and Child Health by Wiley-Blackwell in 2004 and the 2nd edition in 2010 and 10 book chapters. I believe that everything that we do whether it is in the clinical or educational domains should be evidence-based to ensure its impact.

I have been a pioneer in both minimally invasive surgery in children and surgical simulation for many years having designed the first validated paediatric surgical bench trainer model in 2002 at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. This was one of the first validated models for paediatric surgery, and I have continued this research with technical skills acquisition for surgeons both in Australia and in low resource settings such as Myanmar using low-cost simulation. I believe that SBE does not have to have to be expensive to have a great educational impact and this also promotes the accessibility of these novel techniques to low-resource settings. An example of this is the simulator which I have primarily designed, validated, and published was used to introduce a novel technique into Myanmar for the treatment of a common condition, intussusception. This simulator and the educational intervention significantly reduced the operative intervention rate for this condition. With my passion for educational reform in Low- and Middle-Income countries I am the Monash Children’s Hospital International country lead for Myanmar and have successful conducted a simulation-based medical education programme for the last 6 years with my local in country colleagues. This project was awarded the project innovations award in 2022 by Simualtion Australasia. 

This work has also led to my appointment as an advisor to the World Health Organisation, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. I am currently coordinating a remote training programme for paediatrics in Papa New Guinea in collaboration with the WHO and have been appointed as a consultant in surgical education to WHO WPRO in December 2021.

I have been awarded multiple awards including most recently in 2020 the Dean of the Faculty of Faculty of Medicine Nursing & Health Sciences award from Excellence in Education and then the prestigious Monash University Vice Chancellors Award for Excellence Innovations in Learning and Teaching.

My aim is to continue to bridge the academic clinician divide and strive to achieve equality in the care that is provided to children though the delivery of well-constructed educational activities worldwide.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Education/Academic qualification

Senior Fellowship to the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), Higher Education Academy (United Kingdom)

1 Mar 2022 → …

Award Date: 1 Mar 2022

Masters of Surgical Education (1st Class Honours), University of Melbourne

… → 1 Feb 2021

Award Date: 1 Feb 2021

External positions

Consultant in Surgical Education, WHO - WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific

1 Dec 2021 → …

Temporary Advisor to the W.H.O on Simulation, WHO - World Health Organization Cambodia

23 Apr 201826 Apr 2018

Co-Chair of the MCH Simulation Service, Monash Children's Hospital

1 Mar 2016 → …

Director of Surgical Simulation, Monash Children's Hospital

30 Mar 2015 → …

Paediatric Surgeon, Monash Children's Hospital

1 Mar 2015 → …

Research area keywords

  • Simulation based education
  • Paediatric Surgery
  • Paediatric Robotics
  • Surgical Education

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or