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Deakin University's aim to tackle the severe shortage of general practitioners in rural and regional areas has received a boost with a donation that will allow the University to establish its first named Chair - The Alfred Felton Chair of General Practice. The position will be based at the Kardinia Health GP Super Clinic in South Geelong and at Deakin University’s Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds.
The Chair will be funded through a philanthropic gift of $750,000 from the Felton Bequests' Committee.
The Chairman of The Felton Bequests' Committee, Sir Andrew Grimwade, says the Committee's decision to make the grant had been motivated by a commitment to improve the health of women and children in rural Victoria.
'Our strategic vision encompasses the establishment of a dedicated Chair of General Practice, which will train young doctors to work in this neglected and important part of our community.'
'I am pleased that our latest Flagship Project is to be linked to Deakin University, which has a significant influence in rural areas and has the capacity to address this health need. We also hope that this funding will inspire future financial support for other Chairs.'
Deakin University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sally Walker, says she is delighted that the funding has been approved.
'The Alfred Felton Chair of General Practice is Deakin University's first named Chair,' she says.
'The establishment of the Chair is an important step towards addressing the severe shortage of general practitioners in Geelong and the surrounding region. This is a problem for the large numbers of young families moving into the area who require access to primary care services, particularly for the management of women's and children's health.'
Dean of Deakin's Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, Professor John Catford, says that the announcement highlighted the importance Deakin places on partnerships.
'The Faculty is immensely grateful to the Felton Bequests' Committee for funding The Alfred Felton Chair of General Practice. The establishment of the Chair is an excellent example of Deakin's commitment to developing effective partnerships and also of the commitment of the Faculty to building a better world through better health," he says.
'The Alfred Felton Professor of General Practice will greatly strengthen Deakin's work addressing the issues of community health and wellbeing in Geelong and western Victoria.'
Head of Deakin's School of Medicine, Professor Brendan Crotty, says that the Alfred Felton Professor of General Practice will establish a program of community-based research to address some of the critical health problems affecting women, children and other patient groups in regional Australia.
'The appointee will also provide clinical leadership in general practice, which will be critical for the development of innovative, multidisciplinary models of primary care in Geelong and western Victoria. The appointment will also help to attract trained general practitioners to the region and encourage medical students and young medical graduates to take up a career in general practice through the delivery of general practice training programs at the Kardinia Health GP Super Clinic,' he says.