The next generation of doctors has started their medical careers as the inaugural cohort of the Darling Downs – South West Medical Pathway at the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ).
Twenty-two students were selected to undertake UniSQ’s first intake of the new Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Medicine Pathway), with graduates of the program eligible to move directly into The University of Queensland’s Doctor of Medicine at the UQ Rural Clinical School Toowoomba as part of a collaboration between the universities and health services.
One of these students is Georgia Betts, who relocated from Brisbane to Toowoomba to undertake the medicine pathway.
“I finished Year 12 in Brisbane last year, but I grew up in Parkes in News South Wales, and I have always wanted to go back to the country,” Georgia said.
“When my careers counsellor at school told me about this opportunity, I thought it was the perfect scenario for me because it was the medicine program I wanted to do, but it was in a regional area that would help me pursue my career in rural health after I graduate.”
For Jiayong Jiang, who completed Year 12 at St Ursula’s College in Toowoomba, it was an opportunity to pursue her medical dream while living at home.
“I have always wanted to study medicine, and I have always wanted to practice rurally,” Jiayong said.
“When I heard about this pathway, I was really excited to be able to stay in Toowoomba with my family but also know I was on a path to contribute to rural health in my future.”
Darling Downs Health Board Chair Mike Horan AM said the pathway allowed university students to complete all their undergraduate and postgraduate studies and clinical training in the region, with Darling Downs Health and South West Hospital and Health Service to provide student placements, internships and specialist training.
“I’d like to welcome the first cohort of students participating in the Darling Downs and South West regional medicine pathway,” Mr Horan said.
“Our local regions are home to some of the most remarkable medical professionals arguably in Australia, which makes us excited for the next generation to come through.
“This milestone marks the first of many cohorts building a medical workforce of not just skilled clinicians, but community leaders, innovators, and doctors our towns can rely on.”
The Medicine Pathway is an evidence-based workforce strategy designed to improve health outcomes in regional, rural and remote Queensland by increasing capacity in our rural medical workforce as well as provide opportunities for local students to study medicine close to home.
At the inaugural welcome event last week, new students were presented with a stethoscope donated by the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation. The stethoscopes were presented by Groom MP Garth Hamilton, and Toowoomba Hospital Foundation CEO Alison Kennedy as many friends, family and collaboration representatives watched on.
Learn more about the University of Southern Queensland’s Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Medicine Pathway).