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01 Dec 2022

VCCC Alliance In Person: Associate Professor David Kok

  • VCCC Alliance
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

I was interested in both medicine and education and I was quite torn deciding between the two fields. So, being young and a bit foolhardy, I thought why not both? I started by doing my basic medical training, then stepped sideways, completed a Masters of Education, before returning to specialise in oncology.

It’s proven to be a great mix. Really rewarding. Radiation oncology is my primary clinical work, as well as running the Moorabbin campus of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. And that complements my other major role as Co-Convenor of the University of Melbourne Master of Cancer Sciences, which was co-designed by the VCCC Alliance.

What really drives me is the joy of watching somebody learn. When someone doesn't understand or know a concept exists and you show them, then there’s that moment of seeing their eyes light up and they understand. That's a very, very powerful moment. It's just an amazing feeling! When you have those moments that's what keeps you going. And, interestingly, it’s that same in both the clinic and the classroom. Humans are natural learners. We want to understand things. Good medicine is not just about making the right decisions. It’s also about getting patients to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing and to actively participate in it.

As far as educational programs go, there's relatively few players in the international space who can provide top level oncology and educational knowledge in a single package, so I think this is an amazing opportunity for the VCCC Alliance. We have a breadth and depth of exceptional research and clinical experience across our 10 partners. There are people who are doing really world-leading things. There's also a growing group of people with the educational skillset who can deliver courses in a modern and innovative way that appeals to today’s learners. By bringing those two things together there's every chance the VCCC Alliance can set the international standard in this regard. I hope that wherever learners are – be that in Australia, the UK, Asia or anywhere else – those who want to seek out the best possible education in oncology will immediately think of the VCCC Alliance. I'm pretty excited by that opportunity, and feel very privileged to be in a position to help achieve that.

Associate Professor David Kok is the Chair of the VCCC Alliance Cancer Education and Training Advisory Committee, Co-convenor of the Master of Cancer Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and a Radiation oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

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