La Trobe students join national network

La Trobe University, Bendigo campus students are putting health onto the agenda for Victoria’s rural and regional communities.

Three La Trobe University health students have been elected onto the Allied Health portfolio within the National Rural Health Students Network.

Laura McClure, oral health student, was elected as the first Oral Health and Dentistry Liaison Officer for the Network, in Cairns last month at the National Rural Health Conference and is the first La Trobe Oral Health student to have a position on the committee. 

Earlier this year Cristen Flemming, Bendigo, Pharmacy student, was elected as the Co- senior Allied Health Liaison Officer and Clarissa Rentsch, Kennington, Pharmacy student, as the Co- junior Allied Health Liaison Officer.

Dr Amanda Kenny, Director of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Bendigo, said the elections were a clear indication of the impact La Trobe had in rural health education.

“To have three students representing allied health from one University is an amazing achievement,” she said. 

“It augurs well for the future of our students and for rural health in general.”
Laura McClure said: “We are all passionate about rural health and expanding opportunities to people in rural areas.” 

“Being part of the Network allows us to be part of the bigger picture of regional health across Australia, and to play an integral part in putting allied health on the map.”

The three elected students are members of the La Trobe Rural Health Club. Nine attended the conference in July.

The La Trobe Rural Health Club runs a number of projects including visits to rural high schools where members are able to encourage students to think about doing a health course.

Ms Fleming, from Stratford on Avon in Gippsland and Ms Rentsch from Hamilton are familiar with the difficulties faced by people living in smaller rural communities, who often can not readily access health services in the same way as their metropolitan counterparts.

“There’s a shortage of health workers generally in rural and regional towns and I want to do what I can to change this. Trying to make a difference is as much about informing people about the disadvantages as it is encouraging professionals about the rewards of living in a rural community,” Ms Fleming said.

Zerin Knight
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