New facilities opened in Shepparton

Additional accommodation and new learning and teaching spaces have been opened by the Federal Minister for Regional Health David Gillespie, which will enable medical students to live and train in the Goulburn Valley and be workforce-ready after graduating. This partnership between the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University moves us a step closer towards providing complete training for students in a rural setting.

The program is a part in a series of programs funded by the Federal Government under the banner of the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network (MDMSN) and has been created to address chronic shortages of doctors in regional and rural areas by training students from the regions, in the regions.

Professor Julian Wright, Head of the Department of Rural Health (DRH) said rural and regional communities have identified an aspirational need; the recruitment and retention of a secure health workforce.

“This is an important next step for the growing population in the Goulburn Valley region. The Department of Rural Health has been here since 1999. Since then, great progress has been made and collaborations forged with La Trobe University and governments for the benefit of the local community,” Professor Wright said.

Professor John Prins, Head of the Melbourne Medical School said the program can accommodate up to 100 students.

“Evidence shows that the longer students spend in the country, the more likely they are to choose to live and work in a rural setting,” he said.

“All medical students will receive excellent medical education and a rewarding rural experience.”

Professor Jane Gunn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry, and Health Sciences believes health issues presenting in the bush are often different to those affecting urban populations.

“Rates of chronic ill-health are high in rural areas, and access to healthcare can be difficult. The students will benefit from a curriculum designed to support new ways of working which includes new technology suited to regional delivery,” she said.

“Personally, I am excited about this initiative, and I look forward to watching these students develop into wonderful medical practitioners to help address the rural medical workforce shortage upon graduation.”