Over 500 applications were received for the program which — for the first time — allows students to complete their entire postgraduate University of Sydney medical degree in Dubbo.
“We are very pleased to have made 24 first-round offers to students from a rural background,” said Professor Cheryl Jones, Dean of Sydney Medical School.
“The high interest for the first intake is extremely positive and indicates that the program will be an important addition to the University of Sydney’s successful training of a new generation of doctors with an understanding of rural medicine and a passion for the region.”
The program, based at the University’s School of Rural Health, is part of the Australian government’s Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network which aims to encourage more practitioners to consider a career in rural or remote medical practice by giving students an understanding of rural life, rural communities and rural health services.
The Dubbo program builds on the University’s long history of close to 20 years delivering medical education in the Central West through year-long third-year and fourth-year student placements.
Construction of the new facilities at the School of Rural Health is in its final stages, with AV infrastructure and furniture being installed in the new teaching spaces.
The new facilities, in part made possible by philanthropic support, include an advanced anatomy teaching lab, simulated clinical environments, diverse learning and recreation spaces. These will complement existing on-site facilities including the student accommodation, outdoor gym, pool and tennis court.
The capital works, overseen by Patterson Building Group, are on track for completion by the end of the year. Local landscapers will then be brought in to finish the surrounding grounds.
In consultation with our local community, Indigenous designs and themes including commissioned artwork by Cara Shields have been used in the internal and external areas of the new teaching buildings and offices.
Professor Mark Arnold said the school plans to hold open day events for the local community to view the new facilities, with dates to be announced once lockdown orders have been lifted.
“We look forward to inviting the Dubbo community to view the new facilities and welcome discussions about how the new spaces can support further collaboration with our local community,” said Professor Mark Arnold, Head of Sydney’s Rural Clinical School in Dubbo.
The School of Rural Health looks forward to welcoming three new full-time staff who have been appointed for the program, including a year 1 coordinator and two lecturers.
Year 1 Coordinator Dr Annemiek Beverdam has a background in developmental genetics and has worked extensively in Europe and Australia on research studies into epidermal development and regeneration in mice and the genetic basis of human regenerative skin disease. She has broad teaching experience including in embryology, histology, cell biology, molecular biology, microscopy, and physiology.
“I feel excited about the opportunity to help give shape to the new degree,” said Dr Beverdam. “I also feel absolutely privileged to be part of raising doctors from Indigenous, rural and lower socio-economic backgrounds, and I love that the cohorts are relatively small so we really get to know the students,” said Dr Beverdam
Dr Ashik Srinivasan from the University of Otago, New Zealand and Dr Saeed Shokri from the Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Iran are both relocating to Dubbo as pre-clinical lecturers bringing with them a wealth of experience in science and medical education.
Banner image: Artist’s impression of the new campus facilities currently under construction at the School of Rural Health in Dubbo. Credit: University of Sydney / Conrad Gargett