Mini Blog: 2 minutes with…Ross Drake

Mini Blog: 2 minutes with…Ross Drake

07 September 2013

Ross is next on our 'mini-blog' line up - and here's another dinner party I would love to be a fly on the wall at! 


1. What is your current role/job/position?   Paediatric Palliative Care and Pain Medicine Specialist at Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland. I am also the Clinical Lead of the Paediatric Palliative Care National Clinical Network which is in its second year of formation.

I also participate on a number of other groups:        

  • Immediate Past-President of the NZ Pain Society
  • Chair of the Ministry of Health Palliative Care Advisory Group
  • Board Trustee of International Children’s Palliative Care Network – Asia-Pacific representative

2. How did you get into working in Pain Management?  My route to working in Pain Management was circuitous with my interest developing during my Paediatric Palliative Care fellowship.

I had identified Pain Management as an important part of my learning and in the first year of fellowship I spent 6-months with the Paediatric Pain Service at Starship and The Auckland Regional Pain Service at Auckland City Hospital working in acute and chronic pain management.

In my second fellowship year I had a 5-month secondment with the Symptom Control Team at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London with Ann Goldman, PPC Consultant, which included participation in the chronic pain clinic.

My final fellowship year was spent with the Pain and Palliative Care Service at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney where part of my fellowship was devoted to the psychological management of chronic pain in children with the Consult Liaison Psychiatry Service. These experiences only heightened my interest and ensured my clinical work with children in chronic pain.

3. If you weren't working in Pain Management what would you be doing?  This question is relatively easy to answer as I am a Paediatrician first and foremost and specialist trained in Paediatric Palliative Care.

However, if I never went to medical school, which was almost the case, then I would most likely be undertaking some scientific endeavour. My initial degree was a Bachelor of Science in Physiology. Who knows maybe the enquiry would have been in some aspect of the neuroscience of pain.

4. If you could invite any 3 people to have dinner, who would you choose and why?  Well good food and wine needs the accompaniment of good conversation and I can think of no one better than having Billy Connelly at the table with boundless travel anecdotes and ribald humour.

The other two guests seated at the table would be Martha Stewart and Elle Macpherson. Martha as she has become a cooking hero of mine. I am a very recent and occasional viewer of the cooking channel and I have been taken by the calm ease with which she explains cooking and making it look achievable to an inept cook like me. It would also be a good opportunity to get a few tips and, after a few wines, hear about her incarceration for tax evasion. I could say Elle would provide insights into the fashion industry, life of a supermodel and running a successful business which are all true and very valid but more simply, Elle was my teenage poster girl.

5. What is the most important advance you hope will be made in Pain in the next ten years?  The most important advance I hope to be made in pain in the next ten years aside of the obvious finding a “panacea” is the more fundamental desire to see pain recognized in New Zealand as a serious health issue with appropriate resourcing of Pain Services. Extending this aspect, and very close to my heart, is that this recognition be extended to children and the needs of children in pain with a fair level of funding for this vulnerable group. The current resources for children are as close to non existent as they can be and are nothing short of appalling.