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31 March 2011
Deakin University has received a multi-million dollar boost to support initiatives to address the critical health workforce shortages in rural and regional Australia.
The Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills, The Hon. Peter Hall MLC, today (Thursday 31 March) announced $7million from the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund towards the University’s new Regional Community Health Hub (REACH).
Deakin University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, welcomed the State Government’s support of this exciting venture.
“This contribution from the State Government is significant in that it will allow us to enhance this development and provide much-needed facilities earlier than we would otherwise have been able to,” Professor den Hollander said.
“The regional health hub building is the second building in a multi-staged plan to create a regional health and medical education and research precinct at our Waurn Ponds campus.
“The medical school was developed first and we have had recent discussions about the potential location of both private and public hospitals on this campus. This would create an unrivalled regional health hub to provide for teaching, research and clinical practice all in one location.”
REACH will provide new and enhanced higher education opportunities for health students and practitioners in rural and regional areas.
Through the health hub Deakin will:
• introduce new teaching programs in optometry, pharmacy and exercise and sports science;
• enable a community based program in sport to be offered to Indigenous students;
• offer an innovative e-learning service – Deakin Health Online – to link health services, practitioners and educational institutions for the clinical training of health professionals.
The Dean of Deakin’s Faculty of Health, Professor John Catford, said that through REACH the University would be responding to the critical health workforce shortages in rural and regional Australia.
“Rural and regional communities throughout Australia are suffering from a growing, unmet demand for a range of health professionals, including doctors, optometrists and pharmacists,” Professor Catford said.
“REACH is an exciting addition to Deakin’s rural and regional health programs and will strengthen the University’s commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of all people in Australia and our surrounding region.”
The Regional Infrastructure Development funding will go towards fitting out the 6,800m2 facility at Deakin’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus.
The new three level building will be linked to the adjoining Deakin Medical School and will include a 200 seat lecture theatre, tutorial and problem-based learning rooms, simulation centre, laboratories, office and student facilities, all fully equipped with AV and ICT equipment. It will accommodate 1500 students and 172 staff and serve as a hub providing electronic outreach training support to the University’s partner agencies.
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