Rural Medical School expert joins team

The expert who led the establishment of the highly successful James Cook University medical program in rural and regional Queensland is coming on board with the Murray Darling Medical School.

Professor Richard Hays will come on as Planning Dean to help with the development of the proposed School to ensure it can open as soon as practical.

“Professor Hays is an international expert on rural medical education, regional training and workforce development,” said Professor Andrew Vann, the Vice Chancellor of Charles Sturt University which is working with La Trobe University on establishing a new regional medical school in rural and regional Victoria and New South Wales.

“He has been involved with the Murray Darling Medical School over the past year advising on curriculum and the staffing profile for the School, as well as the clinical training and financial plans. He led the establishment of the highly successful James Cook University medical program, which is now delivering doctors into rural and regional Queensland. Richard also advised on the development of the Northern Ontario medical program where 90 per cent of graduates go on to work in Northern Ontario.”

Professor Hays is currently Professor of Remote Health and Medicine at the Mt Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health at James Cook University, having recently stepped down as Dean of Medicine at the University of Tasmania. He has also been Dean of Medicine at Bond University and Keele University in the UK, and a consultant to medical programs at several universities in Europe.

The Director of the Mt Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health, Professor Sabina Knight, said: “I am delighted that MICRRH and James Cook University, through Professor Hays, can contribute critical expertise to this venture.”

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said: “Richard advises medical programs all around the world on improving access to medical education for underrepresented groups – and producing medical graduates who want to work in specialties and geographic locations that need them.”

Professor Hays said: “We now have a very good understanding from the rural medical programs run by James Cook University and Northern Ontario Medical School of the strategies and approaches that increase the likelihood of medical graduates working in rural areas.

“The evidence strongly shows that rural medical schools are uniquely positioned to make a significant impact on rural medical workforce outcomes. This comes through the targeted selection of students with a rural background, and the integrated delivery of both undergraduate and postgraduate medical training in rural areas using a rural-specific curriculum.

“There are always challenges in implementing these models in rural areas, but I hope to assist the process of establishing the Murray Darling Medical School using my many years of experience from Australia and overseas in delivering rural medical schools that deliver rural workforce growth.”

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Media Contact: Tim Newhouse – - 9479 2315 / 0416306759