The University of Sydney’s medical leaders are meeting MPs and Councillors in the central west to update them on the University’s vision for a new Graduate Rural School of Medicine in Dubbo.
Sydney Medical School recently submitted an application to the federal government to establish a fully-fledged four-year graduate entry medical school program based in Dubbo.
This follows the May Budget when the government announced a rural health package that will invest $95.4 million to establish a Murray Darling Medical Schools Network.
Our vision is to expand and transform our existing presence in Dubbo into a fully-fledged Graduate Rural School of Medicine
The new multi-University Murray Darling Medical Schools Network includes new initiatives to improve rural and regional education.
This includes the establishment of a network of rural medical schools from regional Victoria through Wagga, Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo in Central Western New South Wales.
Participating universities from New South Wales are the University of Sydney, University of NSW, CSU/WSU, and from Victoria, La Trobe/Melbourne, and Monash University.
“Our vision is to expand and transform our existing presence in Dubbo into a fully-fledged Graduate Rural School of Medicine, which will deliver our four-year graduate-entry medical program end-to-end to 24 commencing students by 2021,” said Dean of Sydney Medical School, Professor Conigrave.
“We will be targeting our recruitment to maximise the number of students accepting places for the Dubbo program who are drawn from the region and from other rural, regional and remote communities.
“This will include a focus on prospective Indigenous student recruitment working with schools and communities. When fully operational in 2024, 96 – or more than 10 per cent of domestic students enrolled in our medical program – will be based permanently in Dubbo.
“The program will be delivered not only with the Dubbo Health Service and local facilities, including those in close-by regional centres such as Narromine and Gilgandra, but we envisage that students will undertake placements in regional centres such as Bourke, Walgett, Brewarrina, Coonabarabran and Cobar. The Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health will also play a prominent role,” said Professor Conigrave.
In addition, students from the University’s Sydney campus will continue to undertake one-year placements in Dubbo and Orange.
Head of the School of Rural Health, Associate Professor Mark Arnold said: “We were delighted with the Budget announcement to support to expand the School of Rural Health so that we can offer the full four-year medical program.
“Increasing the number of students here is a major investment in Dubbo and recognises the quality of training in Dubbo and Orange. Currently 34 per cent of first-year medical students at the University of Sydney are from a rural background.
Increasing the number of students here is a major investment in Dubbo and recognises the quality of training in Dubbo and Orange.
“Strengthening our presence and capability in Dubbo will enable us to greatly enhance the contribution we make to health education and clinical and preventive care in the Dubbo and the north west region of NSW,” said Professor Arnold.
“It will also enable us to better serve the communities of Far Western NSW through our links in the far west and north west to Broken Hill, through the north east to our site at Lismore and to the south through Wellington and Molong to our Orange clinical school.
“Our rural sites will be linked through state-of-the art information technology and will operate seamlessly with our network of metropolitan campuses and clinical schools.”