UNSW Medicine has strengthened its commitment to rural medical education, opening its fifth rural clinical school campus
The Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, officially opened the Griffith campus at an event attended by local community members and clinicians, along with UNSW staff and medical students.
The Griffith campus joins four other UNSW Rural Clinical School (RCS) campuses across the state: Albury-Wodonga, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, and Wagga Wagga.
The new campus allows students to study year-round, extending UNSW’s presence in the area. Since 2002, UNSW medical students have undertaken four-week rural clinical placements in Griffith.
“We are committed to enabling medical students to complete their degree from the one rural location,” says Professor Peter Smith, Dean of UNSW Medicine.
Medical students are currently able to study four of the six years of their Medicine program at a RCS campus.
“Through the Rural Clinical School, students are able to study Medicine close to home without the financial and social burden of studying in a metropolitan city,” says Dr Lesley Forster, Head of the Rural Clinical School and Associate Dean of Rural Health.
Located opposite Griffith Base Hospital, the UNSW campus offers students state-of-the-art medical teaching facilities. Students are placed at the hospital and in the community as part of their learning experience.
There are currently six students who are undertaking a 12-month placement in Griffith, and 25 students completing four-week rural placements throughout the year.
Head of the Griffith campus, Dr Damien Limberger, says: “It is widely recognised that communities in rural Australia have less access to tertiary education, especially medical education and medical care – we are committed to addressing this imbalance.
“We really value having students do long-term placements in rural areas – it’s important for medical students to receive a positive and supportive experience of rural healthcare and to become fully immersed in our rural communities.
“We are confident that through our program, students gain an insight into the benefits of a rural lifestyle and practising rural healthcare and so are more likely to live and work in rural areas after completing their training,” he says.
Dr Limberger attended high school in Wagga Wagga, gained entry into medicine at UNSW through the Rural Student Entry Scheme, studied at the UNSW Wagga Wagga campus during his medicine degree, and is now Head of the Griffith Campus.
“A 2013 survey of graduating Rural Clinical School medical students revealed that 88% intended to work as a doctor in the country when they completed their medical training,” he says.
“UNSW is very successful in training the next generation of rural doctors.”
Media contact: Joel Katz, Publicity Officer, UNSW RCS Sydney Campus, 0490 148 167, firstname.lastname@example.org