Dr Ranjana Srivastava OAM, is an internationally-renowned oncologist, Fulbright scholar and award-winning writer. She is the recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia for her contribution to the field of doctor-patient communication. In 2020, Ranjana received the John F Kennedy Merit Award and a second prestigious Fulbright award to obtain a Master in Public Administration at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Educated in India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, Ranjana graduated from Monash University with a first-class honours degree and several awards in medicine. She has since worked in the public hospital system of Victoria. and specialises in geriatric oncology, the care of elderly patients with cancer. She has a keen interest in serving patients from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, who are often disadvantaged and vulnerable.
Ranjana is a regular writer for The New England Journal of Medicine and The Guardian newspaper, where her acclaimed writings on medicine and humanity have made her a two-time finalist for the Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism. She is also a health presenter on television and radio and speaks frequently on health matters, ethics and doctor-patient communication at scholarly and community events. She has appeared at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, the Wheeler Centre for Books and Ideas, the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, the Jaipur Literary Festival and many other events.
In 2004, she received her first Fulbright award, with which she gained an ethics fellowship at the University of Chicago. In 2014 Ranjana was recognised by Monash University as the Distinguished Alumni of the Year. She was also appointed an adjunct associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Ranjana was included in Westpac’s 100 Influential Women of 2015.
Ranjana’s writing has been published worldwide, including in Time magazine and The Week, and in medical journals The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association and Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care Management. In 2008 her story Ode to a Patient won the Cancer Council Victoria Arts Award for outstanding writing. Ranjana’s inaugural Melbourne Magazine column was featured in the Best Australian Science Writing of 2012.
Her first book, Tell Me the Truth: Conversations with My Patients about Life and Death, was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award. Her second book, Dying for a Chat: The Communication Breakdown between Doctors and Patients won the Human Rights Literature Prize. Her two books on navigating cancer, A Cancer Companion and After Cancer: A Guide to Living Well have been warmly reviewed and widely used. Her fifth book, What It Takes To Be A Doctor: An Insider’s Guide, was a finalist in the Australian Career Book Awards. Her most recent book, A Better Death: Conversations about the art of living and dying well, was published in 2019.