$16million Federal Government funding boost for Deakin Medical School’s rural teaching program

23 July 2009

Deakin University's Medical School has been awarded $16.07million over two years from the Australian Government's Rural Clinical Schools Program.

The funding announced today (Thursday 23 July) by the Minister for Health and Ageing, The Hon Nicola Roxon, will be used to establish training facilities and recruit teaching staff in Ballarat, Warrnambool and other parts of south west Victoria to support the Deakin medical students' clinical training.

The Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University, Professor Sally Walker, welcomed the funding.

"I sincerely thank Minister Roxon and the Federal Government for their ongoing support of the Deakin Medical School," Professor Walker said.

"One of the strengths of the Medical School, and indeed Deakin University, is its commitment to working in partnership with Government, regional health services and local communities.

"This funding is another example of the partnership we enjoy with the Federal Government as we work together to help address the health challenges faced by rural and regional Australians."

Professor John Catford, the Dean of Deakin's Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, said the establishment of Rural Clinical Schools was important for the training of medical students and also for local communities.

"This funding is not only important for developing teaching, training and research facilities within the Medical School, it will also help to expand the capacity of hospitals, general practices and specialist services throughout south west Victoria," Professor Catford said.

In 2010 the first cohort of students will begin the clinical years (years 3 and 4) of the Deakin medical course based at one of four clinical schools attached to hospitals, general practices and other healthcare facilities in Warrnambool, Ballarat, Geelong and Box Hill. A cohort of students will undertake a full year of training at regional general practices in Ararat, Camperdown, Colac, Daylesford, Hamilton, Horsham and Stawell.

The Rural Clinical School funding will provide teaching infrastructure and residential accommodation needed to support students in Ballarat, Warrnambool and affiliated rural general practices during their clinical placements.

"The funds will be used to provide additional consulting rooms, IT facilities, teaching equipment and study spaces in medical practices and rural hospitals, as well as securing residential accommodation in the towns where the students will be placed," explained Professor Brendan Crotty, the Head of Deakin's Medical School.

"We are also establishing sophisticated computerised simulation equipment for teaching clinical and procedural skills at regional hospitals. We are confident that these facilities will be a strong attraction for our students to complete Years 3 and 4 in rural sites and to choose careers in rural medicine after graduation."

Deakin Medical School was officially opened by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in May 2008. As Victoria's first rural and regional medical school, it aims to train doctors who are skilled and motivated to pursue a career in rural and regional practice, either as specialists or general practitioners. Deakin students spend the first two years of the course in purpose-built, state of the art facilities at Deakin's Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds before moving to clinical sites for the final two years of the medical course.


Media contact

Mandi O’Garretty
Media and Corporate Communications
03 52272776, 0418 361 890
Email Mandi

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