Homeward Bound: Dr Pallavi Prathivadi goes to Antarctica

By Pallavi Prathivadi

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Part 1: Who am I?

Who am I in my personal life? 

My name is Pallavi (pronounced Palla-vi) and I'm an academic family doctor in Melbourne, Australia. I was born in Bangalore in South India and moved to Australia as a toddler.

I am an avid reader and a passionate intersectional feminist. I campaign strongly for diversity, promotion of women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics) and supporting women and girls in all countries to have the best opportunities for health, education and economic status. You might call me a STEMMinist

I currently serve as the Secretary of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Victoria Women-In-Medicine Committee and I'm also a member of the UN Australia Women National Committee and the Monash University Faculty of Medicine Graduate Research Committee.

Who am I in my professional life? 

In 2019, I am undertaking my PhD fulltime at the Department of General Practice (Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences), Monash University

My research involves improving safe prescribing of opioid medications (which you might know as morphine and related drugs).

My future ambition is to become a medical advisor to policy-makers and help improve worldwide opioid access for cancer, palliative and HIV/AIDS related pain. We also hope to limit unsafe or excessive opioid prescribing that may result in addiction or diversion into illicit forms like street drugs. 

On Fridays and some weekends, I practice at a wonderful clinic called Doctors@Knox. You can see my clinic door below! I am a consultant general practitioner with Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. 


If you want to know more about my background and education, please see my LinkedIn profile!

Still curious? Read more about me in recent media releases: 

The Monash Insider

The Australian Medical Association (Vic) Stethoscope

Part 2: But there’s a problem

Despite making up 45% of the global workforce, women are globally underrepresented in leadership positions. This is despite women comprising 57% of recent college graduates.

By providing women with leadership and strategic skills, a sound understanding of the science, and a strong purposefully developed network, we will enhance our ability to impact policy and decision-making for a sustainable future.

Encouraging women to pursue STEMM disciplines is important! Supporting women to stay in STEMM employment and pursue STEM-related leadership roles is even more important! 

FACT 1: We need more women in STEMM.

Women comprise 47 percent of all workers but just 24 percent of STEM workers. 

FACT 2: STEMM study and employment improves earnings.

On average, men and women earn $37.69 and $31.59 per hour, respectively, in STEM jobs—higher than the $22.56 and $18.17 that they earn, on average, in non-STEM occupations. All else being equal, women in STEM earn 35 percent more than their female peers in nonSTEM jobs. 

However, even today in 2018, we still have economic gender disparity. For every dollar earned by a man in STEM, a woman in STEM earns 84 cents, a gender wage gap of 16 percent. 

Read more:




Part 3: Homeward Bound

"What if men and women led our world in equal measure – would our world and the decisions we make on behalf of future generations be different?" (Homeward Bound says YES!)

What is Homeward Bound? 

Homeward Bound is a groundbreaking leadership initiative for women with a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) background. It aims to increase the leadership capability of women, and enhance their influence and impact on the policy and decision making which shapes our planet.

In 2019, 95 women (including myself) from various STEMM backgrounds have been selected from around the world to form the next prestigous Homeward Bound cohort of game-changers. I will receive personalised leadership training from prominent international scientists and leaders designed to help me become a future global leader. 

Some of the incredibly impressive leaders involved in Homeward Bound include Professor Jane Goodall, Dr Robert Kaplan and Ms Christina Figueres

The 12 month long intensive leadership program culimates in a 3-week voyage to Antarctica, departing from Ushuaia, Argentina. 

Read the profiles of the 95 inspiring and impressive Homeward Bound 2019 participants. 

Through my fundraising initiatives, media and publicity and direct involvement in the program, I will achieve the following goals:

1. Encourage and influence high school and university students to pursue STEMM study and employment

2. Increase visibility of women in medicine

3. Increase awareness and support of women in STEMM and encourage more women doctors to become leaders 

4. Develop critical leadership skills and training in visibility and science communication to support me in my leadership ambitions

Why Antarctica?

Antarctica represents the relative fragility of the natural world, but it is also an environment that can provide us with a lot of information about what’s happening on a global scale. Antarctica provides us with early warnings about climate change, which is widely considered to be the current largest threat to human health. 

Antarctica is also a spellbindingly beautiful and largely unseen part of our world. It inspires both awe and commitment, and provides the perfect environment needed for immersion in a program like Homeward Bound.

Part 4: You can join us

Undertaking such an enormous endevour can be costly. The total value of the Homeward Bound program is AUD $43,000 per person

The Dattner Grant Pty Ltd, partner of the program covers part of those expenses contributions to bring the cost down to AUD $25,000.  Additionally, sponsorship from great companies like Kathmandu also help cover some of our expenses. 

So far I have received overwhelming emotional support from family, friends and colleagues. If you'd like to support me financially to participate in this spectacular program and voyage to Antartica, please help me raise AUD $ 17,000. I will be self-funding the remaining costs by working a few extra weekends! 

  • Program fees including ship $US 17000
  • Approximately AUD$800-$1000 for Antarctic clothing
  • Cost of travel to and from Ushuaia of approximately AUD$4000
  • Argentinian reciprocal fee of US$100
  • Transfers between airports and hotels approximately US$50-100
  • Travel insurance approximately AUD$99-$300

Please donate directly through this page, and also help by sharing my campaign on social media, with your friends, family and colleagues and help make this dream come true! 

Your support is invaluable and I can't express my gratitude enough. 

Dr Pallavi Prathivadi

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Team Members

Pallavi Prathivadi