More aspiring rural doctors than ever on Border

Eight aspiring rural doctors are a step closer to realising their dream, as they embark on a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) at La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga campus.

The intake is the highest seen at the campus since the end-to-end rural medical program launched in 2019 – a partnership between La Trobe and the University of Melbourne designed to help solve Victoria’s rural doctor shortage.

Each year 15 rural and regional students are selected, following a rigorous recruitment process, to study at either La Trobe’s Bendigo or Albury-Wodonga campuses, before they pathway to the University of Melbourne’s Doctor of Rural Medicine (Rural Pathway) in Shepparton.

This year eight of those students will be based at the Albury-Wodonga campus, with seven in Bendigo – the first time there has been more enrolled on the Border than in Central Victoria.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar AO, said the high calibre of applicants seeking to study at the Albury-Wodonga campus this year is very encouraging for the region.

“These impressive young people who have a passion for rural medicine will spend the next three years embedded in north-east Victoria, developing networks and gaining valuable local experience, before completing their studies in Shepparton,” Professor Dewar said.

“When they emerge as qualified doctors in seven years, they will be in an ideal position to care for the people who need it most – with both a passion for, and strong awareness of, the specific health needs of regional communities.”

The rural medical program was announced in the Australian Government’s 2018-2019 Budget, and involves a unique collaboration between the two universities which have a long and respected track record in medical, health and rural education.

It was funded under the banner of the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network (MDMSN), which was created to address chronic shortages of doctors in regional and rural areas, by training students from the regions, in the regions.

Including this year’s intake, 24 students have commenced the Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) in Albury-Wodonga since the program launched in 2019.

A further two La Trobe Albury-Wodonga Bachelor of Biomedical Science graduates gained entry to Melbourne University’s Doctor of Medical (Rural Pathway) via the usual, highly competitive national application process.

Image courtesy of Mark Jesser / The Border Mail.

Media contact: Kate O'Connor, k.o', 0346 189 629