The University of Sydney has welcomed the first cohort of students studying its new full four-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) beginning-to-end program at the School of Rural Health in Dubbo, New South Wales (NSW).
Students in the Dubbo MD stream will study the same world-class University of Sydney MD program, with the added benefits of living and studying in a regional location while gaining hands-on experience in rural and remote medical practice.
All the students in the first cohort have lived in rural Australia, including multiple students who grew up in the central-west and western NSW regions.
Professor Cheryl Jones, Head of School and Dean of Sydney Medical School, said the University was thrilled to see such high demand for the program.
‘We are really encouraged by the interest and are very pleased to welcome our first full cohort of 24 students. These students are in addition to the 234 new students who commenced the program in metropolitan Sydney. The Dubbo stream students will be a valuable addition to our strong commitment to training rurally committed doctors and other health professionals.
‘We know from our previous third- and fourth-year placements that many students who study out west develop a love of rural medicine and end up staying – I look forward to seeing the impact this four-year program has on rural health care in the region.’
Among the students are two Dubbo locals as well as Emily Turnbull, who grew up on a farm near Quambone in western NSW. Emily was particularly attracted to the rural focus of the program.
‘I’m really excited to be studying in Dubbo. Being born and raised on a farm, I’m thrilled with the opportunity to study a program that has a focus on rural medicine. I love living in the country and I’m hoping that, when I finish my studies, I’ll be able to come back to my community as a doctor,’ said Emily.
The Dubbo stream has been developed under the Australian Government’s Murray–Darling Medical Schools Network (MDMSN).
Professor Mark Arnold, Head of the University’s Rural Clinical School in Dubbo, said, ‘It is really rewarding to see how the efforts of the Sydney Medical School over the past decade have been supported by the Commonwealth, with the result that we have welcomed 24 students this week.’
As part of the new program, the School of Rural Health in Dubbo has undergone a $7 million expansion with new buildings and state-of-the-art facilities that are nearing completion. The new students will be using the latest in medical education technology including 3D-modelling and virtual and augmented reality.
This is the first time that students will be able to complete their entire medical degree in Dubbo and builds on the School of Rural Health’s long history of delivering medical education in central-west NSW. For almost 20 years, nearly 1,000 medical students from the University of Sydney have completed the third or fourth year of their degree at the School of Rural Health in Dubbo/Orange.