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How family shaped a focus on service

A family commitment to service has influenced Dr Cameron Korb-Wells' career. 

A man sits next to an older woman, looking at one another
SydneyConnect image: Dr Cameron Korb-Wells with his grandmother Mary Wells.

With two distinct traditions of service in his family, it might seem that Dr Cameron Korb-Wells was destined to work as the Medical Director at the National Centre for Veterans’ Healthcare (NCVH). 

Coincidentally, those two strands of service – healthcare and military – first came together almost 80 years ago at Concord Hospital. It was there that his maternal grandmother, Mary Wells, served as an Army nurse in the final days of World War II.  

Dr Korb-Wells credits the influence of his grandmother, mother and sister, all nurses, for guiding his choice of career. “Their background certainly influenced my decision to pursue a career in health care,” he said. 

The military service of his grandmother, grandfather, father and other family members also played a significant role in his decision to join the NCVH team. 

“When the opportunity arose to contribute to a health service directly supporting veterans, my family background again drew me towards the role,” Dr Korb-Wells explained. 

Helping military veterans was a defining element of Ms Wells’ time at Concord in the 1940s. She celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year but her memories of tending to returned prisoners of war remain vivid and emotional.  

“When all of the buses and coaches all arrived with all these poor emaciated people, I was very sad. The injuries were very confronting,” Ms Wells told The Saturday Telegraph in a recent interview. 

“The casualty wards were just flat out all day. The burns unit, the amputees and even the psychiatric ward was just always full of people. 

“The doctors were very, very clever people; they rebuilt the bodies.” 

Dr Korb-Wells said he and Ms Wells have discussed her time at Concord and how the treatment of military veterans has evolved over the past 80 years. 

One of the most significant changes at Concord has been the introduction of the NCVH in recent years. Dr Korb-Wells noted that the multidisciplinary nature of the Centre’s service is pivotal in ensuring better outcomes for new generations of veterans. “The ability to provide an integrated and holistic service to effectively manage and support veterans’ needs across a breadth of issues has been very successful in achieving substantial gains in health and quality of life for our veterans,” he said.