As a medical student at The University of Melbourne, and a student member of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), Jasmine Davis is well on her way to building a rewarding career in rural generalism. Holding a position on ACRRM's Future Generalists Committee, and recently appointed as the President of the Australian Medical Students' Association (AMSA) for 2022, Jasmine is blazing a trail as a strong advocate for medical students around Australia, and health equity in rural and remote communities.
Having grown up in the regional Victorian beachside town of Ocean Grove, Jasmine places great importance on the value of community. Her desire to give back to the town she called home, as well as communities like it, drives her passion to bridge the disparity between health care in rural and remote Australia and the nation’s urban centres.
Jasmine’s passion has only been strengthened by her experiences with the Melbourne Medical School’s Rural Clinical School, where she has undertaken placements in Shepparton and Echuca.
‘These placements have really opened my eyes to the need for dedicated rural generalists and showed me that we have a long way to go in creating a healthcare system and environment in which people are not disadvantaged based on their location.
‘In 2020, I undertook the Extended Rural Cohort program and completed a longitudinal GP placement in Echuca ... I was lucky enough to work with rural generalists who had been working in this community for 40-plus years. This really drove my passion for rural generalism as I was inspired by their flexibility, ingenuity and their passion for holistic care.’
The experience of parallel consulting in rural general practice in Echuca also provided Jasmine with the highlight of her medical journey so far.
‘Being able to see the patients on my own, take a history and do an examination to hand over to the doctor was truly rewarding. I loved antenatal care in particular and was lucky enough to assist in a few births in the hospital for patients I had seen in the clinic. Being able to follow up with patients over time and see their progress was incredible for my learning and is something I miss in the hospital setting.’
These rich experiences, along with Jasmine’s involvement as a member of ACRRM’s Future Generalists Committee, have only served to strengthen her commitment to a rural generalist pathway.
‘Attending RMA19 on the Gold Coast was the experience that truly opened my eyes to how wonderful ACRRM is. Being able to attend that conference as a sponsored student showed me that ACRRM is not only a college, but also a community, and there are so many doctors and students who are invested in future rural generalists, which has just made me so inspired and welcomed.
‘While I’d love to eventually return to a beachside town such as the one I grew up in, I’d love to spend some time travelling around the country and experiencing the diversity of rural or remote general practice. I see myself hopefully spending some time in our rural Indigenous communities to learn from the oldest culture in the world. I don’t know exactly where my career will take me yet, but I am looking forward to helping reduce the health inequities that rural and remote Australians face.’
To this end, Jasmine is also studying a Master of Public Health, in addition to her Doctor of Medicine degree. This is providing an opportunity to expand her interest in health advocacy and public policy, where she can contribute to the kind of system-level changes that will address the health inequities she is concerned about.
‘I’ve been lucky to study lots of interesting topics such as health economics, health policy, Indigenous health and health promotion. I’ve also been completing research in women's health. Alongside this, a large proportion of my time is spent in my role as National Projects Officer for AMSA.’
Jasmine’s pursuit of rural and public health advocacy works hand in glove with her volunteer role at AMSA. Her involvement in the national body representing Australia’s 17,000 medical students across 23 medical schools means being part of a team of over 500 volunteers dedicated to the improvement of medical education and medical student welfare around the country. Next year, she will have an even greater impact on this front, when she takes up her position as AMSA President.
‘I am so honoured and thrilled to have been elected for this role, as I am so passionate about ensuring medical students' voices are heard. The medical students around this country inspire me every day. I’m looking forward to giving back to the medical student community and working with our stakeholders to improve medical education as well as the overall health of the nation.’