The Department of General Practice had its inception in the late 1980’s as a unit within the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. It was established as a separate department within the School of Medicine in 2001 and established the Primary Care Research Unit (PCRU) as a centre of excellence in primary care research, research training and knowledge exchange in 2006. With an increased profile within the Melbourne Medical School, the Department has utilised its growing network of general practitioners (GPs) and primary health care providers in the community to ensure that University of Melbourne medical students are provided with quality community based medical education. The Department delivers postgraduate training for primary care nurses, and research training for medical, Honours, Masters and PhD students. For more than 20 years the Department has run a very successful academic registrar program.
Teaching and Learning
The Department of General Practice successfully coordinates up to 900 MD (Doctor of Medicine) student placements in General Practice Clinics every year, involving a highly engaged primary care network. Teaching GPs are supported by an excellent administrative and academic team that work closely to ensure that student learning is optimised throughout all placements. Our placements provide an exciting opportunity for students to obtain a relevant professional experience to help further develop their clinical skills and transfer theory into practice. Feedback regarding the General Practice rotation of the MD course has showed that both students and GP Teachers have consistently had a positive experience.
Research and Research Training
The Department focuses on clinical and health services research and training to achieve its vision through:
- Clinical data analytics, where primary care data is analysed and interpreted; data is linked to explore patient pathways; and we describe epidemiology of health and disease in primary care;
- Primary care innovation, where we develop, test and implement innovations including digital technologies in primary care and policy initiatives with emphasis on co-design patient centred care, the medical home and stepped care models;
- Understanding the patient and practitioner experience and involving them in identifying the challenges designing and testing solutions.
The Department has successful research programs in Cancer; Children and Young People’s Health; Diabetes and Cardio-Metabolic Conditions; Mental Health; and Abuse and Violence.
We have strength in a wide variety of research methodologies analysing and interpreting primary care data, randomised trials of complex interventions, mixed methods research including qualitative design and robust evaluation methods.