More country students in medicine
The University of Adelaide has launched an ambitious student recruitment program to address the acute shortage of doctors in rural and remote areas of South Australia.
A range of incentives developed by the University in conjunction with the Department of Health and Ageing, the Spencer Gulf Rural Health School and the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency will ensure that from 2011 the University's Medical School will each year enrol up to 25 students with a rural background.
An intensive marketing campaign began last month to encourage rural students to consider medicine as a career option and increase their chances of selection into university.
School leavers from across Australia who have lived for five years or more in a rural location will be encouraged to study Medicine at the University of Adelaide under a new pathway.
From next year, prospective medical students who fall into this category will increase their chances of selection by competing only against other rural students for a place in the University's MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor Surgery) program, instead of the total application pool which numbers around 2000 each year.
"There is strong evidence that shows students who have spent time living and studying in the country or a regional area are twice as likely to practise in a rural location when they graduate," said the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Professor Justin Beilby.
Professor Beilby said the campaign would help overcome potential barriers for rural students, including financial costs and relocation.
The Spencer Gulf Rural Health School - a joint venture between the University of Adelaide and University of South Australia - has a range of measures in place to boost rural medical student numbers. These include:
- rural high school visits and the distribution of posters in these areas to promote Medicine as a career option;
- the provision of accurate and timely information about applying for and studying Medicine;
- promoting the Fairway Access Scheme, which gives rural students a 6-point bonus to their TER;
- mandatory short-term placements in rural areas for all medical undergraduates in the course of their degree;
- promotion of Rural Doctors Workforce Agency workshops to support rural students applying for Medicine.
Up to 25 Commonwealth-supported places will be offered by the University of Adelaide's Medical School each year to students with a rural background.
The Hon. Warren Snowdon, Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health & Regional Services Delivery, officially launched the 2011 Rural Background Entry Pathway into the MBBS Program at the University of Adelaide last month.
Story by Candy Gibson