Presentation to Multicultural Arts Victoria: Migration: Women & Resilience

Presentation on Migration: Women & Resilience by Dr Mrin Nayagam - A reflection on the event

Thu 26 April 6.00-8.00pm


My Culture, My Story
Multicultural Arts Victoria
CO.AS.IT -Museo Italianno
199, Farady Street Carlton


This is multicultural Australia as we know it today. None more so than Melbourne, the capital city of the state of Victoria. Migrants arrive here from all parts of the world and assimilate into Australian society.

At times this occurs easily, while at others with great difficulty. This may be due to the varying mores and folkways of the migrants, language barriers, religious differences, dietary restrictions or cultural disharmony. In these circumstances often, it’s the birth of the next generation of migrants that helps to bridge the gap between Australia and the migrants, enabling them to say with truth, “I still call Australia home”

On a balmy evening on the 26th April 2018, the day after Anzac Day celebrations which saw Collingwood FC beat Essendon FC at the Melbourne Cricket ground, people from all walks of life, arrived at the Museo Italiano located in Faraday Street, Carlton, Victoria.

They came in large numbers, by bus, tram, train, by car or on foot, to hear and listen to several amazing women of resilience, speak of their journey from the land of their birth, to Australia, their now, adoptive home.

Some spoke in the heartfelt language of song, while others spoke through pre-recorded video presentations. Some read their stories out loud with a poignancy which left the audience spellbound while others gave power point presentations either about themselves or of the journey of close family members.

Whatever the medium used the audience applauded as these inspirational women gave those present in the packed hall, an insight into the lives they left behind in the countries of their birth, for varying reasons; be it racial violence, rape, religious hatred or insecurity. They described their journey in overcoming the hardship of migration, with its associated loss, grief and emotional disempowerment. Their true to life stories of how they became the beacon of hope in building a better life for their family, for generations to come, were inspirational.

After listening to these empowering presentations by 10 women of resilience from Bosnia (Nela Trifvokic), China (Edith Chen), Italy (Lucia Ciampa narrated by her Grandchildren), Germany (Sabi Buhler), Kurdistan (Maryam Babaali), Italy (Carmalina Cinanni), Sri Lanka (Dr Mrin Nayagam), Indonesia (Arnesia Ranggi), Iran (Gelareh Pour) and Greece (Maria Vamvakinou MP) the audience walked away in the realisation that living in multicultural Australia today, is indeed a blessing.

Dr Mrin Nayagam

Author Talks Rotary Clubs & Libraries

Author Talks in Mornington, Ivanhoe & Mount Eliza

Author Talk at the Mornington Shire Library- 28/11/2017

A big THANK YOU to everyone who attended my Author Talk at the Mornington Library. It was booked out-humbling and heartwarming -The fact that many books were purchased by the attendees was fantastic for all profits from the book sales go to assist the financially disadvantaged in the Frankston and Mornington communities.

Author talk at the Mount Eliza Rotary club – 05/12/2017

A big thank you to the Rotarian's of Mount Eliza for your kind invitation, support and purchase of many books.

Author Talk at the Ivanhoe Library- 22/03/2018

"What a fascinating, funny and moving author talk from Dr. Mrin Nayagam"- Ivanhoe Library

Author Talk to the Inner Wheel Club of the Mornington Peninsula- 05/04/ 2018

A big thank you to the president of the Mornington Peninsula Branch of the Inner Wheel Club, Margery Withycombe and her committee for the gracious invitation for an Author Presentation about my book Silver Linings -True stories of resilience from a General Practice. I had a great time, the dinner scrumptious, the audience super, and asked many relevant questions. Thank you for the wonderful results with the book sales, all the profits of which goes to the Silver Linings Charitable Trust which aims to help the financially disadvantaged in the Frankston and surrounding areas

Author Talk to the Rosebud Rotary Club- 27/09/ 2018

"Great speaker at last night's Rotary meeting in our new club rooms. Dr Mrin Nayagam took us on the journey which led to her publishing 'True Stories of Resilience from a General Practice'. - Libby Wilson
Amazing venture by the Rotarians of Rosebud/Rye to fundraise and build their wonderful new premises. Congratulations, one and all and credit to you all. Such a warm and welcoming group, I had a great time meeting and dining with you all. A big thank you to everyone bought my book.

AMA VICDOC Magazine – Member Profile

Member Dr Mrin Nayagam has recently become an author and published her first book. She spoke to Vicdoc about her medical journey.

Why did you want to become a doctor?
This was the poem I read out at the start of the author presentation, at the launch of my book-“Silver Linings- True Stories of resilience from a General Practice”:

Emily Dickinson 1830-1886 Part One: Life
If I can stop one heart from breaking I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching, Or cool one Pain
Or help one fainting Robin Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in Vain.
I always wanted to be a doctor.

Perhaps it was just me, or perhaps it was the encouragement from my parents. Who can tell? This desire to be a doctor was
always with me from a very young age. My father’s words, “Tether your wagon to a star…” and my mother’s, “Do noble things, not dream them all day long…” were my inspirations when growing up.

I recall year after year at school I documented my ambition of becoming a doctor. At times I wrote (in my ignorance) that I wanted to be a doctor or a surgeon one day. As I grew older, I fine-tuned this to be a children’s doctor. In 1980 when I passed the MRCP (UK) Paediatrics, my wishes were realised.

Where did you do your medical training?
The road to medical school back in Sri Lanka is tough. 150,000 students vie for 150 places in the premier medical school located in Colombo. The life of a medical student was fun, but exams were hard because the standards were very high. Unlike the present day, we had real anatomy lessons, and we dissected human cadavers, with six students assigned to each body. Cunningham’s Textbook of Anatomy was our prayer book and Gray’s Anatomy was our Bible.

My initial post-graduate training was in Colombo. I interned in paediatrics
in the professor’s unit and had a great rotation in general surgery as well. After this, my extended residency was in a district hospital close to Colombo where I worked in the fields of medicine, surgery, obstetrics, emergency and paediatrics over a two-year period. That invaluable experience still gives me confidence in my work today.

Having passed the MRCP (Part I) in Colombo, my husband Prakash and I left for England in 1980 to sit Part II, which is only held in the UK. This comprised
of six short cases and a long case, followed by a gruelling interview with three specialists from the chosen field. Times were hard. While working at the Great Ormond Street Group, I had to quit as child care was unaffordable. We moved to Brighton and Hove, and I stayed home to look after our two-year-old son, keeping my hand in with occasional weekend locums at the nearby Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

So, imagine my utter joy when six of us sat for the MRCP Paediatrics from the Brighton Area Health Authority (UK) and I was the only one who passed!

It was unbelievable! The next day the senior dermatologist in the area offered me a post which was created for me under a scheme where women doctors with family commitments unable to work full-time (who also had post-grad qualifications) were entitled to jobs created for them to suit their individual needs. I chose my hours – it was the thin edge of the wedge and in time I was the clinical assistant (the equivalent of a staff specialist here) in dermatology. I practiced dermatology and paediatrics at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

What brought you to Australia?
We spent 10 years in England and they were happy times, however consultancies were thin on the ground, especially physician/geriatrician posts (for my husband). Further, the climate did not suit my health – I had severe Raynaud’s for nine months of the year. So, when an opportunity arose to migrate to Australia, we decided we were young enough and moved continents, once more, in 1990 – the same year Collingwood won the premiership! I have been a one-eyed Magpie ever since!

Moving to Australia presented its own obstacles when doors for paediatrician training in my local area did not open. Rather than fragmenting the family, I decided to do general practice with a special interest in paediatrics.
For a long-time you have collated a list of ‘interesting patients’ you have seen. What prompted you to do this and how did it lead to your new book?
Over the years I have surprised myself when, time and again, a gut feeling about a diagnosis came true and the patients were saved many months of investigations and the cost of many specialist visits.
As I had a part-time teaching appointment at the Department of General Practice at Monash University, a practical knowledge of real-life patients came in handy during teaching sessions.
Whenever I used the deidentified patient’s notes to enhance the students’ knowledge of a subject I kept a note of the patient’s details in a list. I like keeping lists – it’s a relic from studying for exams. From these small beginnings, my list of patients with an interesting or even rare diagnosis grew.
I transferred the names on the piece of paper to a book classifying the names under specific conditions or simply as interesting cases.

Patients are intrigued and at times amused when I pull my notebook out and include their names in one of the lists. As I made more exotic diagnoses by following clinical principles rather than referring to specialists, my list grew. I referred the patients to specialist for fine- tuning. Most specialists were happy to send them back for continued follow-up and management as they knew I would re-refer, if I needed further guidance. One of the first such cases was myasthenia gravis I diagnosed in a 30-year-old female at her first presentation. I referred her to Prof Edward Byrne for further management and it was this interaction early in my life in general practice that led me to appreciate the rewards of investigations.

One day a fourth-year medical student sitting with me at the practice leafed through my book of lists and suggested I could write a book. The seed was sown! I always wanted to be a published author, this being a consequence of extensive reading during my formative years, so I had given the subject much thought.

How did you select your stories for inclusion in the book and what level of cooperation did it require from your patients?
Writing a narrative about patients and their journeys when faced with a devastating diagnosis or a traumatic event (either physical or emotional) seemed an acceptable start.

The main hurdle, however, was that I was unwilling to write about my patients
for personal financial gain, so I decided diverting the profits to charity would be a good idea.
I first asked my solicitor to draw up a legal agreement incorporating all the caveats I could think of to get informed consent from the parents (if the patient was a child), or from the patients themselves, if adults.

Once this was done and all issues were covered I wrote to 50 patients for their consent to take part in the project. I explained that all the profits would go to charity. To my delight, all but one agreed. The patient who did not was moving away from our area.
Many stories were written during my vacations and on aeroplanes when the rest of the passengers were asleep, or at my home, in the still of the night. Once read, edited and re-edited several times over, the final version was presented to the patient to read and give signed consent for publication.

All of the proceeds  from your book are going to your charity, the Silver Linings Charitable Trust…Can you tell us a little bit about this?
Since 2006, under the auspices of the Village Clinic and run with
the support of all the doctors and staff, a collection of non-perishable food for distribution to the needy and financially disadvantaged of the Frankston area takes place at
the end of each year. This is done in collaboration with Frankston Community Support.

The food collected at the clinic – donated by patients, specialists, staff of the clinic, pharmaceutical reps/ companies, pathology and radiology providers as well as friends and family of the Village Clinic – is packed by the staff and myself into 50-litre plastic tubs, hence the name – 15 Tubs Appeal – as the original target was to fill 15 such tubs.

In 2016 we filled 102 tubs, which was 5,200 litres of food that found its way to feed the needy at Christmas time. I felt it was important to sustain this through the year, as often the larder of Frankston Community Support is empty, so I established a charity – the Silver Linings Charitable Trust – aimed at supporting the financially disadvantaged throughout the year.
There is no administration fee, and the trust has been accorded a charity status by the ACNC and also has a DGR status from the ATO. All profits from the sales of my book will be directed to the trust. All donations made to the trust will be acknowledged with a tax receipt, and books may be bought in bulk for business purposes, for which a tax invoice can be issued.
To buy a book or make a donation, please visit www.


post from the RACGP /news GP

Silver Linings - Stories of resilience from a General Practice

22 January at 21:08 ·

Dr Mrin Nayagam’s lifelong bonds with many of her patients is evident in her recently published book.

Dr Mrin Nayagam’s book, ‘Silver linings: True stories of resilience from a general practice’, details some of her most memorable patient journeys.
Born in Sri Lanka, Dr Mrin Nayagam studied medicine and qualified as a doctor in Colombo, after which she and her husband, also a doctor, decided to leave their homeland to complete their postgraduate studies in England.

It was then, as a stay-at-home mother with a working husband, that Dr Nayagam managed to find the time to study and pass her exams, earning first postgraduate medical degree (Member of the Royal College of Physicians [MRCP]). She began working in hospital paediatrics in London and later in Brighton when, in 1990, her husband was offered a post in Victoria. The family (now with two sons) packed up and embarked on a new life in Australia.

With the desire to broaden her medical career, Dr Nayagam joined the general practice training program and soon gained her Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP).

A few years later Dr Nayagam found herself running a local practice in Mt Eliza, on the Mornington Peninsula, after the existing partners moved on. She has remained at the Village Clinic, Mt Eliza since and has forged many strong bonds with her patients over the years.

She feels the clinic’s holistic approach to care is what keeps the patients, as well as the general practice registrars, coming through the door.

‘Our patients are very loyal and our registrars want to return to work with us,’ Dr Nayagam told newsGP. ‘This indicates my belief that we are a good practice, because they want to come back.’

Dr Nayagam’s steadfast devotion to her patients and registrars has always been very fulfilling and helped to form the foundation of her role as a community doctor. It was around 2005 that she had an idea to spread her philanthropic efforts across the community.

‘I was thinking how blessed I was, coming from Sri Lanka, where one lives beside poverty,’ she recalls. ‘And there was still poverty outside [in Australia], so I decided that I would do something about it.’

It was from this idea that the 15 Tubs Full initiative was born – a collaborative appeal between the Village Clinic and Community Support Frankston that collects food hampers to donate to those in need in surrounding communities.

Now in its 13th year, 15 Tubs Full has helped hundreds of people and fills Dr Nayagam with pride, knowing that the Village Clinic has made a significant contribution to her community.

‘We went beyond the square to help people,’ she said.

Work commitments and restructures within the practice eventually meant that Dr Nayagam had to take a step back from her charity, but she never stopped contemplating ways to keep this support flowing through the years.

‘Every time I make a good patient diagnosis it goes into my little book diagnoses,’ she said. ‘One day, one of my medical students asked, “Why don’t you write a book, you have so many interesting patients?” and that’s when the penny dropped.

‘I thought about a book. I had all the material at my fingertips because I keep lists, so I went back to my list and selected [the] patients.’

The idea was to gather a series of case studies of various patient journeys – from diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, revealing each one’s unique story of resilience through the eyes of their GP. This process resulted in Dr Nayagam’s book, Silver linings: True stories of resilience from a general practice.

All profits from the book go to the Silver Linings Charitable Trust, which was always the backbone of the idea behind the publication. Rather than making money from the sales, Dr Nayagam wanted to have her book published to share patients’ stories and put GPs on the map for helping their patients.

When it comes to the GP’s role in patient resilience, Dr Nayagam believes that continuous support is the key.

‘We walk beside them, hold their hand, support them,’ she said. ‘It’s almost as if they are in a stormy sea and we are the navigators of the ship.

‘We have to help navigate through the troubled waters until we reach a safe harbour.’

With this analogy, Dr Nayagam relived each of her patients’ journeys when preparing her book.

‘It was a very emotive experience because most of them I have known my whole career,’ she said. ‘They all have something special. Every one of them has a take-home message of resilience to inspire people: there is always a silver lining despite the problem.’

And Dr Nayagam’s take-home message for GPs and future doctors?

‘Make your lists and be proud of your diagnoses,’ she said. ‘If you can keep those lists, then you can later look back on your life and know it was worth it and that you have helped people. We are GPs for all seasons, in good times as well as bad.

‘This is what our brief is as a family doctor, to help those under our care.’

Originally published on the RACGP’s newsGP webiste –…/Dr-Mrin-Nayagam-Experiences-of-patient-r…

Mrin’s Radio Interview Podcast information

Podcast Information:
"Dr Mrin Nayagam’s Radio interview about SILVER LININGS True stories of
resilience from a General Practice with Muriel Cooper
on 18th October 2017
Mrin was a guest on Muriel Cooper’s radio show here at RPP FM 98.7 and 98.3 The podcast is now ready to listen to on our website"


To Listen–>Go onto the ‘home page’, (, click’ podcasts’ on the black menu at top of page and scroll down..>to ‘Muriel Cooper’ , click on ‘View Podcasts & Articles then scroll to date as above.
Happy Listening




Please support the program with a thumbs up <:) Please like and share with your friends

Over 1000 books sold in the 2 months since the launch
All profits from book sales are for charity which has a zero % Administration fee and aims to assist the financially disadvantaged in the Frankston/Mornington Communities

Available - AUSTRALIA Website( free postage across the country
Victoria -All Robinsons Bookshops in the major shopping centres.; Readings Bookstore located in Lygon Street,Melbourne
Mornington Peninsula-Robinson's Bookshop (Frankston); Farrell's Bookshop(Mornington); Petersen's Bookshop (Hastings); New-agency -Mount Eliza, Bendigo Bank(Mount Eliza)

$10,000 donated to Community Support Frankston on 22nd December 2017

Keeping a promise made at the launch of Silver Linings-True stories of resilience from a General Practice- on the 5th August 2017, all profits from the sales of this book were donated to the Silver Linings Charitable Trust.
The Silver Linings Charitable Trust donated $10,000.00 to Community Support Frankston (CSF) on 22/12/2017.
All the funds donated will be  used to assist the financially disadvantaged of Frankston and surrounds (in Victoria, Australia) have food to sustain their families at Christmas time.
Below is a post from Facebook

Please visit Silver Linings – Stories of resilience from a General Practice,
like and share

?Thank you to all my patients, family and friends, Romy Nayagam , David Nayagam, Bryony Nayagam, Prakash Nayagam who have supported my endeavors to publish Silver Linings-True stories of resilience from a General Practice and donating to the Silver Linings Charitable Trust(Zero %Admin fee, fully tax rebatable ). Our combined efforts have resulted in this donation to Community Support Frankston. Looking forward to your continued support in 2018.

Please visit the website to donate /purchase the book (Tax Invoices available for business purchases of books)

All donations over $2.00 are Tax rebatable

This Charity has NO Admin Fee(0 % )

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Peaceful 2018!

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

Frankston Community Appeal

An amazing $10,000 donation from the Silver Linings Charitable Trust presented by the trusts directors Dr Mrin and Dr Prakash Nayagam at Community Support Frankston. CSF, through the Frankston Community Appeal will use 100% of this donation to assist the financially disadvantaged in our community. Photo Shows the treasurer of CSF, Terry Mackay  accepting the check.

Update 6 months after …February , 2018

Update -February 2018; 6 months after the launch of Silver Linings



On 22nd December 2017, we took a cheque for $10,000 to Community Support Frankston, (CSF),honouring the promise made at the book launch, that the profits from book sales and donations will be given to CSF.  You contributed to this $10,000 either by purchasing a book/s and or by your donations to the charity.

It was a humbling experience witnessing the raw need of those from our community. I would like to share with you the story of a man who arrived in search of food to feed his family. He had the choice between selecting a bag of 4 bread rolls or a loaf of bread. He chose the loaf. I politely and respectfully inquired as to why he chose the loaf of bread to which he replied, “Well, there are more serves in a loaf”. The very basics of life that I am sure many of us never think about.

I could barely hold back tears as I thanked him for his honesty and wished I had more funds to donate…

Today, I would like to humbly ask for your help in continuing this task, to assist the financially underprivileged in our community, the success of which we all share. 100% of the profits of the book sales are donated to the Silver Linings Charitable Trust. The work of the charity is pro bono and 100% of all donations is distributed to the needy.

If you already bought the book/s and enjoyed the read, please recommend them to your friends/family. If not, perhaps you too would consider a purchase of a book/s?

Books for Business purposes is tax deductible.

No amount is too small if donated to the Charity and attracts a tax rebate.

Please visit to purchase the book or to make a donation

With Warmest wishes,


Dr Mrin Nayagam


Founding Director

Silver Linings Charitable Trust