Pioneer students pave the way for regional student medical society

02 July 2023
Cohort of RMP medical society students in Bundaberg

The establishment of a new medical society for CQUniversity’s Regional Medical Pathway (RMP) student cohort has seen students thriving in their communities as they engage in opportunities for social and professional development.

Established in 2022 by the foundation cohort of students in CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine), the CQUniversity Medical Society (CQUMS) aims to create a supporting peer community for students who are aspiring to work as practitioners in regional health settings. 

The Society organises activities, events and professional development opportunities to help peers feel connected to course and their communities. 

“It’s been amazing to see the students demonstrate their commitment to the community by taking part in events like the Rocky River Run and volunteering alongside CQ Shines for the event,” said Maggie Hefer, Course Manager for the Medical Science program within the Regional Medical Pathway.

“Overall, the diverse range of events and activities they take part in have not only enhanced their personal growth – but also nurtured their passion for medicine and instilled a sense of responsibility towards their community.”

Emphasising the social and health benefits, Mrs Hefer said the activities provide the students with a refreshing break from the rigors of academic life and makes newcomers feel welcome.

“We have also been able to facilitate expert talks to provide advice around stress management as a medical student and we’ve got plans to continue organising similar events to ensure RMP students are able to maintain their connection to healthcare during their pre-clinical years.”

Based in Bundaberg, CQUMS President and second-year student Varun Lad was one of the first students to enter the Regional Medical Pathway and relocated to Bundaberg from Sydney to commence his studies. 

Varun said that the society has been pivotal in instilling strong bonds within the cohorts across both Capricorn and Wide Bay regions, in turn fostering and building professional networks.

“We knew we wanted to create something for ourselves and all of the new students who would follow us that to settle into their study journey and in some cases to settle into a new community. 

Many of us have relocated to Bundaberg or Rockhampton to become a part of the Regional Medical Pathway so this has really brought us together and ultimately been a really empowering experience,” he said. 


“We’ve been able to engage with the wider health communities in the Wide Bay and Central Queensland areas – and already we have been invited to various professional events organised by hospitals and clinical schools in both Rockhampton and Bundaberg. 

“What started as a random idea during study time at the library has become a very real society that organises social and professional events and ensures RMP students have plenty of extracurricular activities to involve themselves in. This has been only possible due to the support of CQU staff both at a campus and course level." 

Vice-President Muhammad Abdul Hadi is part of the pioneer cohort in Rockhampton and has played an integral part in the formation of the CQUMS, leading a 30-member strong cohort in the Capricorn region.

“I believe this medical society is an integral aspect of this (RMP) program, as it allows students to really move forward efficiently through very busy periods of study and stress with an aspect of beneficial distraction for them,” Hadi said.

Fellow Bundaberg student Alisa Mckenzie said she was excited for the future of CQUMS and what it will bring for future RMP cohorts.

“I have enjoyed the sense of community created by the society and I hope it helps to pave the way for new cohorts of students who will enter the program and who may be relocating to the Wide Bay or Central Queensland from other parts of Australia,” said Ms Mckenzie. 

The CQUMS has more than 60 across Rockhampton and Bundaberg, and is likely to continue growing as their reach and impact goes on to demonstrate the social, health and professional benefits.