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Spotlight on… Dr Lee Mey Wong

Spotlight on... 15 Feb 2021
Mey Lee Wong 16 9

Dr Lee Mey Wong is a women’s health general practitioner with Jean Hailes for Women’s Health.

Why did you become a doctor?

My dad inspired me to become a doctor. He was a rural GP in Bintulu, a coastal town on the island of Borneo, where I grew up. For a long time, Dad was one of only two doctors in the local district hospital – he delivered me and most of my classmates!

When I was a little older, Dad converted a downstairs bedroom of our house into a treatment room. I recall as a child that it seemed as if everyone in Bintulu knew where we lived. There were lots of past-midnight calls and emergency attendances, and this forms one of my earliest memories of the role of a GP.

What makes the strongest impression on me is that as a GP, you can connect with people from all walks of life. I’m curious about people, their roots, and their lives. I believe it is a privilege that patients trust us and allow us into their lives. I enjoy the continuity of care of patients – the true cradle-to-grave medicine. Not many specialties have that privilege, I think.

What drew you to the field of women’s health?

I always love a good story and hearing narratives from people from all walks of life. I find that women are very good storytellers. From a young age, I understood what an important role a woman plays in ‘keeping things together’, the mental load they carry, the behind-the-scenes role. Dr Jean Hailes’ famous quote “If a woman is in good health, her family, community and the society around her also benefit” speaks to this.

Working at Jean Hailes has provided me an opportunity to meet women from all walks of life and culture. I am passionate about encouraging women to be aware of self-care. The concept of ‘putting your oxygen mask on before you put it on others’ is a theme I like to drum on and often must remind myself. My act of self-care is also a form of role modelling to my children – regardless of whether they are sons or daughters. It’s about normalising self-care. If you think about family as a unit, self-care is an act of selflessness, because you are doing it for the good of the family.

What are some of the common health complaints that women bring to your clinic?

As a GP, I receive a wide range of concerns through all stages of life. It can range from contraceptive choice or menopause management to more specific concerns like PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), endometriosis, painful intercourse, sexual dysfunction and complex trauma.

What type of approach do you take for the management of women’s health issues?

Time! All my new clients get an hour at their initial appointment which allows us to get to know each other better. My approach is to spend time working holistically with clients and empower women to reach their goals.

I believe that advocating for women through their partners is important. Nothing beats a supportive and understanding partner, and I believe there is more work to be done in building awareness of this.

How do you enjoy your time away from work?

I love learning about vintage and antiques. You may find me browsing through op shops looking for bargains, usually children’s books and interesting knick-knacks. I love cooking and spending time with my two children and my dog, a very enthusiastic Staffy.

Music and rhythm makes me happy. One day I hope to be able to learn the cello or even drums!

Health professionals

Our patient list is growing. So is our need for more clinicians. If you’re a health professional interested in working at Jean Hailes, please contact Jean Hailes' Practice Manager Kay Perkins on email kay.perkins@jeanhailes.org.au, or phone 9562 7555.