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Rural Medicine Pathway paves the way for future doctors

A smiling person in a lab coat standing in front of a laboratory workspace with equipment in the background.
UniSQ Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Medicine Pathway) program student Mitchell Sternes.

University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) student Mitchell Sternes has always been drawn to the idea of working in rural health, having grown up in rural and regional communities himself.

It was this attraction to rural health that led Mr Sternes to the UniSQ Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Medicine Pathway) program, which sets students up for a rewarding career in rural medicine.

“I was born in Toowoomba, then went to Dalby, and then Mornington Island, which is a mostly Indigenous community up north, and I’ve always wanted to give back to those communities in which I was brought up,” Mr Sternes said.

“The Medicine Pathway program at UniSQ has given me that opportunity to give back, and to pursue a career in medicine specifically for rural and regional areas.”

Mr Sternes was one of 16 students who donned their lab coats and safety goggles for the first time this year, with classes kicking off this week at the Toowoomba campus.

Rashmi Chandran was another keen student, perfecting her pipetting technique and learning about cell permeability in the first class for the year.

Ms Chandran, who grew up in Warwick, said she was looking forward to the challenges and diversity of rural medicine.

“I think rural medicine really prepares you to be able to take on anything; any cases that come through the door. You’re given a lot more responsibility when you first start out, and you get a lot of flexibility as well,” Ms Chandran said.

“When I found out that UniSQ had a pathway to medicine, I was really keen to get on board with that.

“It means I can do placements in places like Warwick, where I came from, or places like Toowoomba and Chinchilla as well,” she said.

Students who graduate from the UniSQ Medicine Pathway program will be eligible to move directly into The University of Queensland (UQ)’s Doctor of Medicine at the UQ Rural Clinical School in Toowoomba as part of the Darling Downs-South West Medical Pathway – a collaboration between the two universities, Darling Downs Health, and South-West Hospital and Health Service.

Find out more about the University of Southern Queensland Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Medicine Pathway) program.