Welcome from the Head of Discipline

The University of Sydney Discipline of General Practice was first established as the Department of Community Medicine in 1975 as a result of a grant from the then Whitlam Government. The Foundation Chair Emeritus Professor Charles Bridges-Webb and a small group of general practice teachers first brought the discipline to the undergraduate curriculum.

Since then several key government and independent reports have supported the need for a greater role in community-based learning for Australian medical students and this has resulted in an evolution of our department from one which encompassed geriatrics and community medicine into a discipline-based Discipline of General Practice that recognises the specific role of GPs in our healthcare system.

The discipline today is integrated into the four Faculty of Medicine Clinical Schools and University Departments of Rural Health located around NSW. Within the new graduate-entry University of Sydney Medical Program, the discipline has an active role across all four years of the curriculum and a dedicated community-based term in the final year of the program. There are over four hundred dedicated GP teachers providing clinical learning and mentoring to the students in a range of urban and rural practices. The next few years will see more students placed in our rural attachments, particularly with the development of the Clinical School in Dubbo and our University Departments of Rural Health in Lismore and Broken Hill.

The discipline also has an active part in postgraduate general practice training within several major consortia for General Practice Education and Training (GPET) and an extensive continuing education program for the wider general practice sector.

Research activity is a prominent focus of the department. The Family Medicine Research Centre developed as a unit of this discipline. Many new research initiatives are now arising from the Commonwealth's PHC RED research capacity building initiative. The discipline has been funded until the end of 2009 to implement a range of activities and initiatives that will seek to increase the research and evaluation skills of primary care workers, facilitate networks of primary care workers and foster research collaborations in primary care research. PhD and Masters by research degrees are integral to the discipline’s life with many of Australia's leaders in general practice having trained with us.

We trust that you will find this website a useful tool for identifying resources and contacts and look forward to further contact with you.

Professor Simon Willcock
Head of Discipline