Dr Justine Mill is a consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist who graduated from medicine at the University of Sydney. Prior to this she completed a Bachelor of Medical Science with first class honours for research in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease at the Centenary Institute. She went on to complete her physician training at the Royal Prince Alfred hospital, where she also undertook her advanced gastroenterology training for 2 years. She completed her final year at Bankstown hospital.
After achieving her Fellowship to the Royal Australian College of Physicians, she went to Fremantle hospital, Western Australia for 2 years of fellowship training at the Centre of Inflammatory Bowel diseases. She was a primary and co-investigator in several clinical studies investigating Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. She has published in peer-reviewed international journals and has presented and been involved in research at both local and international conferences.
Dr Mill is a VMO at Bankstown hospital, North Shore Private hospital and the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse hospital. She is an accredited diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopist with the Conjoint Committee of Endoscopy. Her interests include investigation and management of inflammatory bowel disease, bowel cancer screening, irritable bowel syndrome, reflux disease, Coeliac disease, liver disease and nutrition. She is dedicated to delivering quality personalised healthcare with compassion and efficiency to achieved the best outcomes for patients.
Q&A with Dr Justine Mill
Physician training in gastroenterology and hepatology with endoscopy and colonoscopy skills accreditation. I also did a fellowship in inflammatory bowel disease.
I diagnose and treat conditions relating to the digestive system, anywhere from the mouth to bowel including the liver and pancreas.
Breaking bad news to patients never gets any easier.
That most of my patients are relieved after a scope. So many other aspects as well – the daily interactions with my colleagues and patients, making a patient feel better, doing procedures, being involved in health promotion. So many ways I could answer this question!
Having trained at RPA for 7 years and hearing about and watching Lifehouse come about, I knew I wanted to be a part of this hospital. The only surgical rotation I did at RPA as a junior doctor was in the head and neck department working with Prof Chris O’Brien who was such a charismatic, fair and caring doctor. It was easy to understand why he had such an impact on his patients and colleagues. I was also always interested in cancer medicine as my brother had cancer as a child. This personal experience is what motivated me to do medicine in the first place so the combination of gastroenterology and cancer screening and diagnostics was a natural fit for me. The ethos of Lifehouse is truly amazing.
Tough question. Getting my specialist degree was a huge personal achievement, one which I had worked towards for a very long time. So many people in my life also need to take credit for it as it was a team effort – without the support of my family, friends, mentors and colleagues it wouldn’t have been possible.
Go for a workout in the form of a run, pilates or gym session followed up by a nice meal and a glass of wine on the couch. In summer, I try to have a quick beach swim.
I tend to be the first doctor a patient sees who has to break the bad news I’m afraid. Usually the patient will then be looked after by a team of excellent surgeons and oncologists for their ongoing cancer treatment. I am always very happy to see my patients come back after they have successfully achieved remission for ongoing surveillance. Gastroenterologists are also in the business of cancer prevention which involves discussing lifestyle and diet changes and also screening and surveillance procedures.
The digestive system is fascinating! And I think most people would tend to agree. It is definitely having a moment in the spotlight right now. Understanding that diet and lifestyle impacts on everyone’s health and unlocking the evidence behind it is very exciting. I also like that is has a GI cancer affiliation and I enjoy the procedural aspect too.
I believe a team of experts is better than one person when it comes to successful, coordinated patient care.
I have a few but one in particular comes to mind. She had advanced bowel cancer which had spread and unfortunately was in the palliative phase of her treatment. Together, we came to the realisation of her situation and we both worked to have her in a comfortable, dignified environment for both her and her family (including her young daughter). We became very close. It was hard when she passed away, but knowing her impacted on me in so many ways which I think has given me empathy for patients in the same situation.