Australia’s first Indigenous neurologist joins UNSW Medicine & Health

Faculty welcomes neurologist and stroke physician Dr Angela Dos Santos to the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program

Emi Berry

Dr Angela Dos Santos, a Gumbaynggirr and Kwiamble woman from the NSW Mid North Coast and the first Aboriginal neurologist in Australia, has been appointed to the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program. She will work as a clinical academic at UNSW South Western Sydney Clinical School. Angela joined us at the end of July and will move from her current home in Melbourne in early 2022.

Dr Dos Santos graduated medicine from Western Sydney University in 2011 and completed physician and neurology training in Sydney in 2018. She underwent further stroke speciality training with a Fellowship at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in 2019.

Dr Santos knew she wanted to become a stroke specialist early on in her career. “When I was a junior doctor, I treated my first stroke patient in the emergency department. It was a young mother who had recently given birth. She was treated swiftly, and her stroke symptoms resolved within minutes of treatment. It was then I knew I wanted to be a stroke specialist.”

Professor Mark Parsons was Dr Dos Santos’ PhD supervisor at the University of Melbourne and said he’s delighted to have her join UNSW, where he is now also working. Professor Parsons – an internationally recognised leader in stroke medicine – informed Dr Dos Santos about the UNSW Scientia Fellowship Program. After reviewing the program, she decided to apply for the program as it aligned with her career objectives.

Angela will also be a fantastic role model and mentor for our Indigenous students, as well as for Indigenous Australians in South Western Sydney and beyond.

“Angela has been a pleasure to work with over the past few years and it will be great for her to join the UNSW team and continue our work together. Angela has a soft spot for South Western Sydney, having trained in medicine there. Angela has been trained in clinical research and clinical trials to the highest standard, and we look forward to her building upon the clinical research and trials culture at South Western Sydney. Angela will also be a fantastic role model and mentor for our Indigenous students, as well as for Indigenous Australians in South Western Sydney and beyond.” 

Dr Dos Santos said her research to date has focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, specifically their experience of stroke.

“I have written papers that examine the incidence of stroke, risk factors, treatment of stroke and outcomes. I have looked at metropolitan, regional and remote populations,” she said.

“I am privileged to be working with UNSW to support my continued and developing research goals and aspirations. This appointment allows me to evolve my research skills and with the mentoring program, I can foster a truly meaningful research career with a focus on improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.”