Younger Surgeon Mentoring Program

Mentoring has been present within surgical training for many years, albeit in different forms. There is evidence to show that mentoring within the field of medicine can improve patient outcomes while facilitating learning and personal growth in the mentee. It also allows the mentees to develop their ethical decision making, which will continue to mature when practised daily.

The AOA Younger Surgeon Mentoring Program was initially developed following extensive feedback from state branch chairs, AORA, the OWL Committee, the wider membership and the Board. At the time of its development, the feedback received highlighted the need for an AOA-specific program that was optional and informal.

As Mentoring evolves in different settings and states, it is being reassessed and refined. In WA, the Regional Training Committee is conducting a pilot which requires Intro Trainees to have a mentor. The needs of other mentoring areas, such as research and for regional and rural surgeons are being met in several different ways. The OWL Committee and Champions of Change Working Group are responding to the needs voiced by junior doctors and medical students through the AOA Diversity Mentors program

AOA also commends to you the Surgical Mentor website, developed by Sina Babadazeh and his Victorian colleagues. All younger surgeons and trainees are particularly encouraged to watch some of the wonderfully inspiring interviews on the site.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a process whereby an experienced, highly regarded, empathic person (mentor), guides another usually younger individual (mentee) in the development and re-examination of their own ideas, learning and personal or professional development. Mutual trust, respect and communication are important elements for a successful mentoring relationship.

Through mentoring mentees gain meaningful professional and personal development, working through issues in a non-threatening environment. Mentors are provided with an opportunity to share their experiences, give back to the profession, and develop self-awareness. 

Mentoring may occur for a specific purpose. For example this may be to assist the mentor in developing their surgical or research skills, to be supported to grow as a leader, to consider their career progression, or to work through an ethical dilemma. Mentoring relationships may be short term, or life-long.

Mentoring resources

AOA has developed and compiled resources for mentors and mentees. Both are encouraged to review the resources to develop an understanding of what is expected of both parties prior to commencing a mentoring relationship.
  • Surgical Mentor - A website resource connecting mentees with multiple mentors in an easy and effective manner developed by Sina Babadazeh and his Victorian colleagues. All younger surgeons and trainees are particularly encouraged to watch some of the wonderfully inspiring interviews on the site. 
  • Building the relationship – A guide on where the mentee and mentor establish trust and rapport and where they discuss expectations in the relationship 

  • Developing the Mentee – A guide on how the mentor can challenge and facilitate further thinking in the mentee

  • Transitioning the relationship – The final stage of the mentor process and where they transition from mentor and mentee to a new professional relationship

  • Mentoring: A Practical Guide – A summary of the above phases
    • AMA Victoria Mentoring Program – This program aims to facilitate a safe and supportive environment for Doctors in Training to discuss career opportunities with more experienced doctors who can mentor them. 

    Mentoring is a highly valued experience for both mentees and mentors. It is seen to support collegiality, engagement and care for colleagues, and to foster leadership and professionalism. It can also be an important tool for addressing culture change. As the relationship between mentor and mentee matures and evolves over time, it is hoped that both will be able to raise, address and resolve ethical issues.

    There is strong desire to keep the program voluntary and informal. Where a trainee or other member asks AOA to arrange a mentor for them, we do so by ascertaining the reason they are seeking the mentor. For example, is it for assistance with communication and technical skills, or do they need career advice or help with establishing a practice? We then approach a mentor and following discussion put the mentee in contact with the mentor.

    The following AOA members have volunteered to act as a mentor to a younger AOA surgeon. To the best of AOA’s knowledge they are fully registered, practising specialist orthopaedic surgeons.

    If you are interested in being mentored by one of these surgeons, please contact Regional and Education Development Executive Manager Elizabeth Burrell via

    Michelle Atkinson

    Nigel Hope

    Mark Baker  John Ireland
    Zsolt Balogh  Stuart Mackenzie
    Richard Boyle  Jonathan Negus 
    Tanya Burgess Tim Musgrove 
    Ian Farey David Parker 
    Matthew Giblin Andrew Redgment
    Jennifer Green Geoff Rosenberg
    Roland Hicks  Chris Wainwright 
    John Walsh John Negrine

    John Bartlett Phong Tran
    Michael Dooley Andrew Tang
    Tony Dunin Andrew Weber
    Shaun English  Alison Taylor 
    Elton Edwards Marinis Pirpiris
    Raphael Hau Russell Furzer
    Annette Holian Alvin Pun

    Phillip Dalton
    Michael Lutz
    Michael McAuliffe 
    David Morgan
    Chris Morrey
    John North
    Mark Ross
    Danielle Wadley

    Peter D'Alessandro     Colin Whitewood 
    Michael Halliday Greg Witherow
    Greg Hogan Michael Ren
    Kate Stannage Lorcan McGonagle
    Simon Wall  

    Scott Brumby Jai Rawat
    Bhavin Jadav Darren Waters
    Ted Mah Nicole Williams
    David Martin Jan Tomlinson
    Graham Mercer       Rob Wallace
    Orso Otsi

    Meet some of the mentors of the Young Surgeon Mentoring Program below. 

    John-Negrine-NSWJohn Peter Negrine 

    Adult Foot and Ankle Surgeon
    Location: private practice, Sydney

    My mentoring experience has developed through my role as Co-director of  the Foot and Ankle Fellowship. Over 14 years I have worked with many local and international fellows.

    My personal interests include the usual doctor's pastimes of golf and travelling as well as music. I am a violinist with the Australian Doctor's Orchestra and a bagpiper.

    Mentoring appeals as when you’re young you have all the book knowledge but no experience, 'good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.' There is much to pass on!


    Abhinav (Nav) Aggarwal

    Hand Surgeon

    I have had the great fortune of having amazing mentors through my training and I would like to return that experience to my junior colleagues. 



    David Parker

    Director, Sydney Orthopaedic Research Institute 

    I have a fellowship program and have mentored many fellows, both clinical and research, over the last 20 years. I have supervised many research projects ( PhD, Masters and other individual projects) and always have junior staff doing research under my supervision. My role in international organisations naturally involves mentoring junior surgeons from around the world.

    I am an Associate Professor at University of Sydney, and am regularly involved in teaching students. Passing on knowledge, experience and helping our younger colleagues to become better than we were is how we keep the profession moving forward.

    Within orthopaedics my main interest outside of clinical work is research and global education, through organisations such as the International Society for Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS) of which I am currently Vice President and the Asia Pacific Knee, Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine Society (APKASS) where I served as President from 2017 until 2019. I am also a member at large of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Study Group. 

    Outside of work my interests are my family, music and sport.


    Alison Taylor

    Adult Reconstructive Foot and Ankle Surgeon
    Location: urban Victoria, mostly east of Melbourne 

    I was mentored by some fabulous people when I first expressed an interest in orthopaedics, as well as along the way in my training and as a young consultant. I have in turn mentored many younger surgeons, registrars, and residents, assisting them to achieve their goals. I feel the importance of this area cannot be understated.

    I am the Head of Unit at Maroondah Hospital and the Deputy Director of Clinical Orthopaedics at Eastern Health. I also serve as a member of the AOA Younger Surgeons' Mentoring Program committee. 

    I have a particular interest in education and have been an examiner for the Orthopaedic Fellowship exam for several years. I am also fond of the concept of diversity and the involvement of a wide range of individuals in committee work and decision making. I find mentoring enjoyable and rewarding. It is a way of giving back to the community who have accepted and encouraged me throughout my career.

    I have two grown up children and live with my husband and our dog on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula.

    Andrew Tang

    Associate Director Robotic Surgery Musculoskeletal Institute, Epworth Healthcare

    I am primarily a knee arthroplasty surgeon with a strong interest in robot-assisted TKA based in Victoria. I am currently the Associate Director of Robotic Orthopaedic Surgery at Epworth Healthcare and until October 2021 was the Director of Orthopaedic Surgery. 

    We run an active educational and fellowship program in which I am currently involved as a supervisor of the final year Ortho Reg and the Arthroplasty fellow. I have previously mentored RMO’s, registrars and students, including VCE students. 


    Lorcan McGonagle 

    General Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgeon 

    I am interested in mentoring younger colleagues to help them find their feet when they first start consultant practice.

    I think young surgeons benefit from simple advice on a wide range of issues such as tips on how to run a clinic or operating list, dealing with MDT colleagues and other areas that may be overlooked in surgical training. 

    As an IMG surgeon there are a lot of hoops to jump through and I think I can help out with colleagues travelling down the same path. 

    My other interests include soccer, calisthenics and parenting!


    Russell Ian Furzer

    Rural Generalist

    I was once an RAAF medical flight OC and received specific training in human resource management (including pastoral care) as part of the officer's executive training.

    I am a clinical lecturer for UTAS. Through UTAS I am involved in training at many levels, from medical students at our rural clinical school through to the junior medical officers, service registrars, and as the Director of Training (DOT) for accredited orthopaedic trainees.

    I have a previous interest in mountaineering and flying as a private pilot.
    My current interests include running a 200 acre beef farm with my wife and supporting my family's interest in equestrian sport (my three boys are eventers, my wife prefers dressage). I also enjoy tinkering in my workshop on my classic British cars.