Doctor of Medicine (Rural Pathway)

New university facilities opened in Shepparton to train medical students from regional and rural backgrounds, in regional Victoria

New MD1 building

Regional and rural medical students from across Victoria and broader Australia can now live, work and study to become a doctor entirely in Shepparton, following the official opening of new teaching and accommodation facilities at the University of Melbourne’s Shepparton campus on Wednesday 4 May.

The facilities are located on the doorstep of Goulburn Valley Health and supports a partnership between the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University to address the chronic shortage of doctors in regional and rural areas.

The facilities also provide the best learning and teaching experience possible to the first-ever rural cohort of Doctor of Medicine students in a rural setting.

University of Melbourne Professor Julian Wright, Head of the Department of Rural Health, said evidence from studies show that the longer students spend in the country, the more likely they are to choose to live and work in a rural setting.

“The Doctor of Medicine rural pathway is part of a series of programs funded by the Federal Government under the banner of the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network (MDMSN),” he said.

University of Melbourne Professor John Prins, Head of the Melbourne Medical School, said the program can accommodate up to 30 students per year and is an important step to training and retaining outstanding doctors in Victoria’s regions for the future.

“These fantastic next-gen facilities, in addition to being able to complete the same curriculum as University of Melbourne Doctor of Medicine students in the city, will be a great way to bring the best that we have to offer to the best students in the regions,” he said.

University of Melbourne 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, providing regional students with a further unique learning experience.

“Rates of chronic ill-health are high in rural areas, and access to healthcare can be difficult. This provides rural students with rich and diverse learning experiences,” she said.

“They’ll also benefit from a curriculum designed to support new ways of working which includes new technology suited to regional delivery.

“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,” she concluded.

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