Celebrating 20 Years of Success in Shepparton

The University of Melbourne, Department of Rural Health, celebrated their twentieth anniversary of success in Shepparton on February 1, 2019.

Around 180 people attended the function, including key University of Melbourne staff, and enjoyed entertainment by a jazz band, a smoking ceremony and a performance by a local Aboriginal dance group.

Rural health
Local Aboriginal Dance Group performed for the crowd

Department Head Professor Julian Wright said the twentieth anniversary was a time to look back and celebrate the university's considerable achievements in Shepparton.

"Thanks to this initiative 20 years ago, Shepparton now has doctors who grew up here, trained with us, and now treat patients in their home region," Professor Wright said.

Established in 1999, the University of Melbourne's Department of Rural Health sought to address a need for better recruitment and retention in the Shepparton health workforce.

"Health issues presenting in the bush are often different to those affecting urban populations," Professor Wright said.

Rural Health
The Department of Rural Health Celebrates 20 Years. L-R: Professor John Prins, Head of the Melbourne Medical School; Professor Lisa Bourke, Director of the University Department of Rural Health; Professor David Simmons, Professor of Medicine at the Western Sydney University Macarthur Clinical School and first Head of the Department of Rural Health; Professor Julian Wright, Head of the Department of Rural Health; Professor Duncan Maskell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne; and Professor Shitij Kapur, Dean of the MDHS and Assistant Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.

"Rates of chronic ill-health are high in rural areas, where the population is generally older and obesity levels are high and cultural barriers can sometimes inhibit people from accessing treatments for a range of issues," he said.

"Our researchers are investigating rural health issues affecting the community, and we are working hand in hand with the Indigenous community on issues unique to them."

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