New student leader champions rural health

7 February 2012

Simon Reid, newly elected as co-chair of the National Rural Health Students Network in 2012
Simon Reid, newly elected as co-chair of the National Rural Health Students Network in 2012

The cause of rural health has a new champion in Simon Reid, a third year medical student at the University of Sydney.

Simon, originally from Wollongong, has been elected as co-chair of the National Rural Health Students Network (NRHSN) for 2012.

The network represents more than 9000 medical, nursing and allied health students who belong to 29 university Rural Health Clubs.

"We are the future of rural health in this country," said Simon. "Our members are going to provide essential health services in hundreds of communities once they graduate.

"So it's critical that we have a say on issues like interprofessional training, rural placements, scholarships and support for country students moving to the city to study."

The network also focuses on activities that engage students with rural health over and above their formal university studies.

"We are delighted that Simon has been elected to this position," said Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of Sydney Medical School.

"His role as advocate and leader for rural health training is supported by Sydney Medical School which has a long history training doctors for rural communities."

Simon Reid is looking forward to a busy year promoting student involvement in Indigenous festivals and rural high school visits where club members give talks at country schools about career prospects in rural health. In 2011, club members visited more than 300 country schools.

"I want university students to learn to love rural health," he said. "Our Rural Health Clubs are a great way for students to connect with other people who share a passion for the country."

Simon first got involved with the network while studying health science at the University of Wollongong. He became president of the university's Rural Health Club, SHARP, and last year was the senior NRHSN representative for MIRAGE, the University of Sydney's Rural Health Club.

Simon is the first member of his family to study medicine and intends to work as a doctor in a rural coastal community.

The student network is supported by Rural Health Workforce (RHW), a national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving community access to primary healthcare. RHW is the national peak body for the state and territory Rural Workforce Agencies that recruit and support health professionals in rural and remote Australia.

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