The foundation year of students within the new Regional Medical Pathway have this week commenced their studies in Bundaberg and Rockhampton.
Students are now studying their first units as part of the initial course within the Pathway' the Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine).
The three-year course delivered by CQUniversity will see graduates gain direct entry into The University of Queensland's four-year MD program which will also be delivered in the regions' meaning students will be able to complete the entirety of their studies in Rockhampton and Bundaberg.
As part of the Regional Medical Pathway' the Hospital and Health Services in Central Queensland and the Wide Bay will also provide student placements' internship opportunities' and prevocational and vocational training places within their regional footprints. This will include placements at major hospitals in Rockhampton' Gladstone and Emerald (CQHHS) and Bundaberg' Hervey Bay and Maryborough (WBHHS)' as well as rural hospitals and multipurpose health services. Importantly' they will also be immersed in the community' particularly the many primary care settings such as general practices.
Head of Course for CQUniversity's Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine)' Dr Sonia Saluja said that the commencement of the new course was a milestone achievement for the University' the students' and the pathway partners.
"The Regional Medical Pathway is a unique and powerful partnership between CQUniversity' The University of Queensland' and the Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services with the aim of training more doctors who will study and work in regional Queensland.
"We are delighted to finally have our foundation year students on campus and studying with us.
"These students have the remarkable opportunity to be among the first group of doctors to be trained entirely in the Central Queensland and Wide Bay regions' something that has never been offered before'" said Dr Saluja.
"We hope that these students will complete their studies right here in regional Queensland before going on to practice and specialise as doctors' helping to future proof our health workforces."
First year student Alisa McKenzie has commenced her studies at the Bundaberg campus and said she was looking forward to studying the course as it gave her the opportunity to leave her hometown of Brisbane to experience life in a regional area.
"I have always wanted to experience what it would be like living away from Brisbane and I have always wanted to study medicine' so this made the course very appealing to me.
"Bundaberg seemed like a great choice as it is still close enough to Brisbane and my family while still being regional area and giving me exposure to something new.
"I am really looking forward to establishing connections and networks with my fellow students and within the local community'" said Ms McKenzie.
Rockhampton local Matthew Steffen said he chose medicine as he wanted to be able to stay in his hometown and do something that would make a difference to his local community.
"I want to help people in the regions' especially in rural and remote areas as they are underserviced when it comes to healthcare delivery.
"I feel that cities seem to get all the love and it is a shame that people who live in regional miss out on the opportunities that city people have'" said Mr Steffen.
"When I knew I could study this at CQU I jumped at the chance because it meant I could stay with my family' study something that will allow me to make a difference in the community I call home."
During their first year of the course students will complete study in several medical science foundation units and will also undertake observational clinical placements in diverse healthcare settings.
The first-year students were welcomed to the Regional Medical Pathway at special events in Bundaberg and Rockhampton on 3 March' where former Queensland Chief Health Officer and current Government Dr Jeanette Young and Laureate Professor Peter Doherty provided message of support via video.
The welcome events were attended by local health professionals and administrators' CQU and UQ teaching staff and the families of the students.
Students were also provided with their first stethoscopes of both the Bundaberg and Rockhampton Health Services Foundations.