Dean's Welcome

Professor Kathryn Refshauge

Professor Kathryn Refshauge, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences

On behalf of our staff and students I'd like to welcome you to the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. Whether you are exploring study or work options with us, or looking to collaborate with our people – you will find that the impact of our work, on both people’s lives and on policy, is truly remarkable.

Our faculty is a world leader in health sciences research and education. Our researchers are global leaders in ageing; disability; exercise, physical and mental health, and wellbeing; cancer diagnosis and survivorship; rehabilitation, speech and communication disorders; and arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. We attract the best and brightest minds to the faculty because our people are changing the health landscape.

Our educators and researchers are focussed on solving some of the biggest problems we face in health. In Australia, our health and social care sectors are now confronting some critical challenges. While Australians are relatively healthy, there are groups within our society who generally experience much poorer health than their peers, such as those living in rural and remote areas, people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, people who are socially and financially disadvantaged, and people with disabilities. The challenge is to to improve our health system, sustain our health workforce, in the context of an ageing population. Internationally, poverty and lack of access to health care continue to contribute to preventable ill-health and millions of deaths each year in developing countries.

At the Faculty of Health Sciences we aim to provide solutions to these challenges. We are committed to preventative action on health, and to improving health and wellbeing for all: individuals, families and communities worldwide.

But you may ask, how?

Educating the next generation of health professionals

We are one of Australia's largest educators of health professionals, particularly in the allied health professions. Our courses are rigorous, but they are also transformative and collaborative to ensure that we deliver the best possible graduates.

We aim to graduate health professionals who are outstanding clinicians, who are leaders in health, and who have an international perspective. Our graduates are preferentially employed and are ready for the new health era.

We are extremely proud of our network of over 26,000 highly engaged alumni scattered across the globe. Our graduates include CEOs of commonwealth authorities and hospitals, founders and directors of leading not-for-profit organisations, government officials, presidents of professional associations – and importantly, our alumni are leading clinicians and researchers across the whole spectrum of allied health.

The quality and impact of our research

In line with government priorities for 'promoting and maintaining good health', our research is focused on preventative health and on improving quality of life of individuals and families who experience impairment, injury, illness, chronic health conditions and disability.

The international ranking of our research and our success in attracting research funding, both competitive and philanthropic, is testament to the quality of our work. Our collaborations with international colleagues, industry, not-for-profit organisations, and community networks ensure that our work is relevant and has a direct impact.

A commitment to social and cultural diversity

We actively seek to increase participation of students from culturally and socially diverse backgrounds to build a health workforce that reflects Australia's diversity.

Currently we have students drawn from throughout Australia and 112 countries worldwide. This diversity makes for a rich campus environment and also informs the way we teach and carry out our research. We celebrate this diversity, and aim to enhance it further.

Thought leaders. Shaping health

Finally, we are passionate about sharing our knowledge. Our research and teaching does not only happen within the walls of the University of Sydney. We encourage our people – staff, students and alumni – to be present in the public domain, nationally and internationally, and to share their passion and expertise.

In this way our graduates and our researchers continue to make significant contributions to solving the health and social challenges facing us in the 21st century.

I welcome you to the faculty to contribute to this vision – be it as a first-time student, a returning alumnus/alumna, a teacher and/or researcher, a corporate or community partner, a sponsor or donor – and I look forward to meeting you.

Professor Kathryn Refshauge
Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences