Rural Health School expands courses

Rural Health School expands courses

04 Aug 2009

La Trobe University’s $62.7 million Rural Health School is expanding its regional course offerings in 2010 to podiatry and speech pathology. 

Both courses aim to plug major workforce shortages in two critical health fields, demonstrating the University’s commitment to building the economic, social and cultural fabric of regional communities.

Dr Amanda Kenny, Director of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Bendigo, said: ‘Podiatry and speech pathology services are highly sought after by the Australian public and the current workforce cannot keep up with demand.’

‘These courses have been welcomed by both respective professions and are a major step forward for students wishing to study health in the regions.’

As a consequence, the Rural Health School is introducing the Bachelor of Health Sciences/Master of Podiatric Practice and the Bachelor of Health Sciences/Master of Speech Pathology double-degree programs in Bendigo.

‘The career prospects for graduates from these courses, at a time when unemployment is rising, is very strong: most of our graduates have jobs ready for them when they leave,’ she said.

‘These two courses will enable young people to study highly popular courses in regional Victoria.’

Research reveals that the foot health needs of the Australian community are substantial, with 40% of the public reporting foot problems, 60% experiencing foot pain and around 20% of workplace compensation claims relating to injuries to the feet and toes.

‘These statistics, together with the increasing incidence of diabetes related foot disease in the community, explain why we have already had such a huge interest in the course,’ said Dr Adam Bird, Head of Podiatry at La Trobe University.

Podiatry focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle conditions. Graduates work with people with complex medical conditions and work in specialised areas of practice such as sports injury, paediatrics and surgery.

Speech pathology services across Australia are in equally high demand as one in seven Australians has a communication disability. Around 2.7 million Australians experience problems with speech, using and understanding language, voice production, reading and writing or hearing. Speech pathologists are professionally trained to diagnose and treat children and adults with any of these communication disabilities and to work in the community to prevent people from developing such problems.

Dr Jenni Oates, Head of the School of Human Communication Science, said the course would enable graduates to take up positions immediately, treating and assessing people with a range of communication disorders.

‘The profession is ideal for students who enjoy language, have good communication skills and are passionate about improving people’s ability to participate fully in society,’ she said.

The Federal Government allocated the University $62.7 million to build the La Trobe Rural Health School in Bendigo. This, together with the four-year La Trobe Regional Strategic Plan will see course expansion designed to enrich and develop the economic, professional, social and cultural fabric of the communities surrounding regional campuses in Bendigo, Albury-Wodonga, Mildura and Shepparton. It is anticipated that the new La Trobe Rural Health School alone will increase enrolments in health sciences by 70% over four years.

Zerin Knight
Phone: 03 5444 7375
Mobile: 0428 463 161




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