Message from the Head of School

Dear colleagues,

As we round the corner into spring, I hope that you and your loved ones have not been affected too badly by COVID-19 or the usual seasonal illnesses.

I am pleased to report that fine weather held for the first on-campus Open Day held in three years on Sunday, 21 August. I extend thanks on behalf of the Melbourne Medical School to the professional and academic staff, honoraries and student volunteers who spoke with members of the 45,000 strong crowd about School and Faculty programs, in particular the Doctor of Medicine (MD).

QiRui Soh and Felicity Thianesysavanh wearing University merchandise welcoming visitors to the Alan Gilbert Building on Open Day 2022. (L-R) Students QiRui Soh (MD3) and Felicity Thianesysavanh (MD1) at Open Day 2022.

In further MD news, the present COVID wave seems to be receding and I am pleased to report that student access to placements have not been significantly affected during this wave. I am delighted  to report that this year we have had more Indigenous MD applicants than ever before, with rural application numbers also very strong. We have also performed well in the annual Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand (MDANZ) student survey on outcomes conducted with the support of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Of note, results concerning total student preparedness for internship have gone up very significantly. It is pleasing to see that results across all categories remain strong despite the huge disruption caused by the pandemic. The National Data Report summarizing the responses to the 2021 survey across all participating schools can be accessed at: MSOD-National-Data-Report

I hope that many of you were able to attend the second Collaborative for Better Health and Regulation (CBHR) event on ‘Impact of medico-legal processes on the health of doctors’ held on Wednesday, 7 September. The recording will be available on the CBHR website over the coming weeks.

Before closing, I’d like to congratulate Professor Sharon Lewin, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases, on the establishment of the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics, within the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. This is the result of the generosity of Mr Geoffrey Cumming who has made a $250 million donation to the University - the largest ever philanthropic donation to medical research in Australia’s history. I acknowledge the large effort by Sharon and her team and our former Dean, Professor James Angus AO, in developing the idea and working through the planning and logistics for a Centre that will have lasting impact.  I also extend congratulations to Sharon for her recently announced Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences’ Outstanding Female Researcher for 2022 award.

This will be my final newsletter editorial as my term as Head of the Melbourne Medical School draws to a close on 21 October. I’d like to thank you all for the contributions and enthusiasm you have given to the wide range of proposals and projects the School has initiated or engaged in over the past three years. I’d also like to extend thanks to our outstanding health service and institute partners who have so willingly contributed to these activities. Particular thanks also to Professor Sir John Savill and the team at the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (MACH) and to Ken Jefferd and the team at Research, Innovation and Commercialisation (RIC). All have openly and generously shared ideas, initiatives and programs which are having, and will continue to have, impact on the health of our communities. I am deeply grateful for the support you have all provided to the School during my tenure as Head.

Best regards,

Professor John Prins
Head, Melbourne Medical School