Message from the Head of School

Dear Colleagues

As you will see from the contents of this newsletter, and my recent announcements, the year is off to a flying start with funding success, exciting research projects coming to fruition and a wide range of upcoming events.

Department of Rural Health expansion

Key recent news for the MMS is that the Department of Rural Health has begun construction on its $6.5 million building expansion project that will deliver new student accommodation and teaching spaces at its Shepparton site, as part of the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network. We recently obtained the below 3D view of the student accommodation which I wanted to share with you as it is exciting to envisage the finished product just as the first sod is being turned.

3D view of new student accommodation
3D view of new student accommodation

I was delighted to attend the ‘turning of the sod’ event on Thursday 4 March, along with Mr Damian Drum MP, Member for Nicholls; Professor Julian Wright, Head of the Department of Rural Health; fellow colleagues from the Melbourne Medical School and La Trobe University; and members of the Goulburn Valley community.

L to R: Professor Robert Pike (La Trobe University), Professor John Prins (Melbourne Medical School), Professor Julian Wright (Department of Rural Health) attend ‘turning of the sod’ event
L to R: Professor Robert Pike (La Trobe University), Professor John Prins (Melbourne Medical School), Professor Julian Wright (Department of Rural Health) attend ‘turning of the sod’ event

I am pleased to report that a local company, Moretto Building, won the tender to construct the new student accommodation and teaching spaces. This will make an excellent contribution to jobs in the region. The expansion will provide accommodation for up to 30 more students, making it a total of 96 who we will be able to accommodate at any one time. A suite of new learning and teaching facilities that will enhance those already available for use by students, staff and the local community also form part of the project. Construction is on a tight schedule as it needs to be ready to house our new students at the start of the 2022 academic year.

The expansion will accommodate students from the inaugural cohort of the Doctor of Medicine postgraduate program in Shepparton as they develop the skills required to fill regional and rural health workforce needs. The project, in partnership with La Trobe University, is a part in a series of programs funded by the Federal Government under the banner of the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network and has been created to address chronic shortages of doctors in regional and rural areas by training students from the regions, in the regions.

For further information on how the new MD curriculum design is progressing, I draw your attention to the article 2022 redesign of flagship Doctor of Medicine course in this edition, for progress updates and details for joining the monthly information sessions.

Professorial promotions

Before closing I’d like to extend congratulations on behalf of the MMS to the following eight staff who were promoted in the most recent round to the position of full Professor which was announced by the Provost late last year.

Department of General Practice: Douglas Boyle
Department of Psychiatry: Sophie Havighurst and Andrea Phelps
Department of Medicine: Tomas Kalincik, Christopher Reid and Alex Thompson
Department of Rural Health: Jane Tomnay
Department of Medical Education: Robyn Woodward-Kron

These staff have demonstrated their commitment to the University and its values through the impact of their leadership, learning and teaching and research pursuits. Please join me in warmly congratulating our colleagues on this outstanding achievement.

I encourage all staff to have early discussions with supervisors and mentors about promotion potential, especially if you are considering applying in the 2021 round. The MDHS Careers @ Melbourne webpage brings together key resources, timelines and step-by-step instructions to support you to navigate through the promotions process.

Best regards

John Prins
Head, Melbourne Medical School