Articles and Case Studies

Changing one person’s world at a time

06 Feb 2023

Changing one person’s world

Dr Daniel Nour, 2022 Young Australian of the Year, was a keynote speaker at the recent MEDCON22 conference in WA. This remarkable young man has proved inspirational to even the most seasoned doctors.

For Daniel, the goal was never to change the world – but to change one person’s world at a time.

Daniel’s father, John, migrated from Egypt to provide a better future for the children he had yet to have – a lesson in hope that has not been lost on Daniel.

John eventually got married and had two children, Daniel and his brother Christopher. Christopher’s early life was affected by medical concerns, and Daniel watched him go from the healthiest, most active person he knew, to someone riddled with pain in hospital.

Daniel noticed how his brother’s condition would change and improve every time he went to the hospital. He also saw how his parents were overwhelmed by the anxiety surrounding his brother’s illness – but observed how the doctors attended to his parents, just as they attended to his brother.

“Subconsciously, I realised the healthcare system was the fix for my family.”

Far from being the exemplary child, including getting kicked out of school, Daniel was told by a high school career adviser that a job as a car salesman might be his best fit.

But the naivety and arrogance of youth – traits that have since served him well – propelled Daniel to turn his grades around enough to enter medical school. Daniel couldn’t think of another career where he could contribute so positively to the community.

While in his final year of medical school and pursuing a career in cardiology, Daniel had the opportunity to attend the Imperial College of London.

“What happened in London changed the trajectory of my professional and personal life,” he said.

Going home after a shift at the Hammersmith Hospital, he was at the Waterloo station when he saw a man clearly having a seizure, with a crowd around him. Although questioning whether he should respond – “Am I appropriate… should I be responding to this guy… I’m only a final year medical student… am I really trained…” – he did.

Afterwards, a group of bystanders told Daniel the man had been having seizures for months, but often in an alleyway where no one had really noticed. Daniel asked why he hadn’t seen a doctor and was told, “The healthcare system barely cares about you, let alone us.”

That event horrified Daniel for days and weeks to come. He returned to Australia, did some research, and discovered there were indeed barriers to health care – which included lack of access to transportation, cost, stigma, embarrassment, and the timing and location of appointments.

Knowing there were people in the streets suffering in silence prompted Daniel to do something about it. Hence the idea of Street Side Medics – healthcare for the homeless – was born, with one mobile healthcare van.

“I quickly realised I was a medical student about to become an intern, I wasn’t even a doctor,” Daniel said. Although fear kicked in, his mentors pushed him along.

He quotes actor Will Smith (whom he loves, despite the slap!): “On the other side of fear is greatness.” This, along with a saying he saw engraved on a mirror in Mykonos that said, ‘Don’t forget that you are going to die’, have deeply resonated with Daniel, fuelling him to overcome fear of failure, and arming him with a passion to deliver a service he truly believes in.

Today, Street Side Medics has grown to three vans servicing nine different areas in and around Sydney – with potential interstate expansion, and more than 1,200 volunteers providing health care and medicines free of charge; even helping those who don’t have a Medicare card.


Edited from Medicus Aug 2022 with permission from the AMA (WA)


Dr Daniel Nour is currently a Registrar at the Royal North Shore Hospital.


Daniel is also the founder of Street Side Medics, a medical service dedicated to those experiencing homelessness. For more information, visit


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