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From selling flowers outside temples to Victorian Australian of the Year 2023: Incredible story of Dr Raj Khillan

"It is an honour, and privilege at the same time it brings a lot of responsibility to me to work harder to cater for the needs of Australian multicultural communities."

Dr Angraj Khillan (Raj Khillan), a 56-year-old Melbourne-based Paediatrician, has been recognized with the 2023 Victorian Australian of the Year Award by the Hon. Governor of Victoria Linda Marion Dessau AC at Government House on 8 November 2022.

Dr Khillan told The Australia Today, “It is an honour, and privilege at the same time it brings a lot of responsibility to me to work harder to cater for the needs of Australian multicultural communities.”

“One key can not open all locks similarly old-fashioned healthcare system can not cater for multicultural needs,”

added Dr Khillan

Standing humbled with the 2023 Victorian Australian of the Year award, Dr Khillam requests and calls all other healthcare professionals to work for specific multicultural needs.

“Our society needs healthcare professionals who can work voluntarily to understand and serve CALD communities.”

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Dr Khillan’s wife Preeti Khillan said in a Facebook post that “it’s an honour and proud moment to reveal the news that Raj Khillan has been declared Victorian Australian of the year 2023 for his work for Multicultural community’s healthcare issues as a founder of Healthcare Awareness Society of Australia.”

As a student in India, Dr Khillan sold offerings outside a temple to fund his medical books. Since moving to Melbourne in 2010, he has worked to raise awareness of domestic violence and dowry abuse. he has been instrumental in delivering key healthcare and health education to culturally diverse communities in Victoria.

Dr Khillan co-founded and co-founder of Health Awareness Society of Australia (HASA) in 2018 to dispel taboos, myths and misinformation about health. Its volunteers deliver forums and virtual sessions in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Arabic on topics from mental health to COVID-19 vaccinations.

He says at the Health Awareness Society of Australia, “We are trying to remove the social stigma and taboo attached within multicultural communities when they are diagnosed with mental health issues.

He is popularly known as ‘Dr Raj’, the fly-in fly-out paediatrician, in the remote Aboriginal communities where he worked in 2004 after becoming the Royal Darwin Hospital’s paediatrician.

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Dr Raj Khillan with the Hon. Governor of Victoria Linda Marion Dessau AC (Image source: Facebook).

The nominations for Victorian Australian of the Year were announced on 25 October 2022 by the National Australia Day Council.

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National Australia Day Council chief executive officer Karlie Brand congratulated the nominees on their recognition.

“The 2023 Victorian nominees are a diverse group of achievers and community contributors. Their endeavours remind us of the power we all have to make a difference.”

Sixteen Victorian nominees were named across four categories – Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year, and Local Hero of the Year.

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The Victoria nominees were among 130 people being recognised across all states and territories of Australia. The finalists will come together for the announcement of the national award on 25 January 2023 in Canberra.

WATCH VIDEO: 2023 Victoria Australian of the Year Awards

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