The further you live from a major city, the higher your risk for potentially fatal illness, accident or injury.
The disparity of health services in rural and remote areas is a contributing factor to poorer health outcomes for people in regional Australia. The new breed of rural health practitioners is already making a difference by choosing coalface medical education in the areas where they are most needed.
The Longlook program, a collaborative initiative developed by Queensland Rural Medical Education (QRME), provides an opportunity for Griffith University medical students to experience the joys and challenges of rural medicine. Medical students moving to country areas may also be offered subsidised accommodation for the term of their stay.
“Third year students can complete their clinical year at regional hospitals in Kingaroy, Dalby, Beaudesert, Warwick or Stanthorpe,” says QRME Medical Director Professor Scott Kitchener.
“Fourth year students are offered places at Murgon, Kingaroy, Oakey, Pittsworth, Clifton, Kingsthorpe, Inglewood and Goondiwindi, while also spending time at hospitals in Toowoomba.”
Longlook is a patient-centred and fully integrated approach to medical education, with students who live and work within the communities they serve.
The program has been a spectacular success and may also be an option for students of midwifery, dentistry and other allied health professions.
“Students often see Longlook as a way to test the waters and decide whether or not rural medicine is for them but most choose to return to rural areas after graduating,” Professor Kitchener explains.
QRME also offers specialty placements and research opportunities in Toowoomba as part of its Griffith University Rural Clinical Stream.