IMage of Geoff McColl

It is my great pleasure to bring you the 2017 edition of Chiron, the Melbourne Medical School alumni magazine.

This year we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Austin Clinical School. Half a century ago, in 1967, the first cohort of 17 medical students ventured from Parkville to Heidelberg to undertake their clinical training years at The Austin Hospital. So began a mutually successful partnership between the University of Melbourne and Austin Health that has since produced over 3000 talented and dedicated doctors.

Reflecting on the history of medical education at the University and its clinical schools has given us the opportunity to ponder the formative decisions that have taken place in our own medical training. What were our moments of insight, inspiration, conviction or choice and were they sparked by peers, teachers, patients or locations or a combination of all?

For many, embarking upon a medical degree is a calling to prevent illness and to help make the sick well again. Others are lured by the challenge of unravelling the mysteries of science, biology, physiology and anatomy to better understand human health and how it can go wrong. Some enter the profession because that is what they feel is expected of them (although my observation is that there are very, very few—if any—who end up in medicine by accident). Apart from being a long and challenging university degree, the learning doesn't end upon graduation: becoming a medical practitioner is a life-long journey of enquiry and discovery that fulfills an intellectual, metaphysical and philosophical calling.

Regardless of our original motives for commencing the study of medicine, the clinical years are absolutely formative. It is in our clinical years that we finally put into practice all we have learnt in lecture theatres, tutorial rooms and practical classes. We shadow great physicians and surgeons and observe their work at close range. We witness the privilege of serving each and every patient who turns to us to manage their unique medical needs, and alleviate or eliminate their pain and sickness. Through this period of clinical training, knowledge comes to life: textbook scenarios become patients we care for,
our peers become our family, our clinical school our home, and our teachers the elders from whom we learn.

In Chiron we acknowledge and applaud the achievements of just a few of the many talented alumni of the Melbourne Medical School and their service to our profession. As well as celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Austin Clinical School, in this edition of Chiron we mark the opening of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) and the University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research (UMCCR) with articles about the pioneers, new facilities, history and future of cancer research and treatment.

As always we welcome and encourage your feedback.

Professor Geoff McColl

Head, Melbourne Medical School
(MBBS 1985, PhD 1996)