The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has denounced the economic impact modelling from the Murray Darling Medical School as being vastly unrealistic.
AMSA President, Elise Buisson, said that the modelling was based on the assumption that there is no medical education infrastructure present in the Local Government Areas around Wagga, Orange, and Bendigo.
“The figures given in the Western Regional Institute’s Murray Darling Medical School: Economic Impacts Report are predicated on false assumptions,” Ms Buisson said.
“Five universities already provide medical training at these clinical school sites.
“The current sites would either have to be radically diminished, or shut down completely if the Murray Darling Medical School was established.
“The Report fails to account for the loss of jobs and student numbers that currently exist.
“Further to this, the modelling assumes that all of the students who would study at the Murray Darling Medical School would be new residents, rather than existing locals.
“While this allows for more generous economic predictions to be made, it is inconsistent with the ideology behind the school – to provide a means for local students to take up medical careers without relocation.
“Additionally, the University of NSW has recently announced the expansion of its existing Rural Clinical School (RCS) in Port Macquarie to allow students to complete all six years of their medical degree at the site.
“If approved, the Murray Darling Medical School proposal may threaten the continuing success of the Rural Clinical School Programs’ existing evidence-based solutions to the rural doctor shortage.
“It is clear that we do not need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to medical student education in the Murray Darling Region. The real need is to increase opportunities for medical graduates to remain in these areas following graduation.
“To achieve this, we need funding of more vocational training positions in that area.
“Rural training positions would bring more young doctors and their families to the region. This directly creates new jobs with no impact on existing employment opportunities, and provides rural Australia with increased access to the general physicians and medical specialists they need,” Ms Buisson said.
Recent evidence found that the Rural Clinical School (RCS) Programs that already exist are running effectively. A 2015 WA Study found that, of doctors who completed a one-year RCS placement, 16.3 per cent were working rurally compared with 4.7 per cent of controls. – Impact of the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia on work location of medical graduates – http://bit.ly/23UpOAY
When the RCS program was reviewed in 2008, it was found that RCSs had exceeded their requirements in delivering high quality placements that gave positive experiences to medical students and rural communities. The report also noted that RCS senior staff all live locally, and many academic clinicians are local medical professionals. The same review described the limited number of internships, pre-vocational placements, and vocational training opportunities in rural areas, which would serve as challenges that may undo the positive influence of RCS training, if unresolved. – Rural Clinical Schools Program – http://bit.ly/230BZ9G
AMSA’s 2016 Internship and Residency Guide is now live online! If you are a graduating medical student who wants to make an informed decision about your internship, this is the place to go. Keep an eye out for physical copies in your clinical or university common-rooms!
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has condemned all instances of sexual harassment within the medical workforce.
An Australian Medical Association (WA) survey of almost 1000 medical professionals showed that nearly a third of respondents had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, of those 81 per cent were females.
AMSA President, Elise Buisson, said today that the survey’s results reflect a systemic issue within the medical workforce that requires a cultural change from the top, along with a focus on safe and effective reporting systems for victims of abuse.
“The survey identified that often offenders took advantage of their seniority and intimidated those in junior positions,” Ms Buisson said.
“These patterns of unacceptable behaviour can lead to lasting mental health issues, but also potentially seriously impact doctors’ careers.
“Sadly only 14 of the 181 respondents who experienced sexual harassment in the last five years reported the incident, and only seven out of the 14 felt their concerns were taken seriously.
“Medical students, as the ‘bottom of the medical hierarchy’, are particularly vulnerable to bullying and harassment.
“They encounter further difficulty in reporting harassment, as hospital reporting systems are created for employees rather than students whom are undertaking placements.
“Urgent reform of the reporting system is needed and must account for how medical students will be protected.
“A two pronged approach is needed to address both reducing incidences of sexual harassment, and ensuring that those that do occur, can be confidentially reported and managed effectively.
“WA Health, in conjunction with the CEOs and board members of WA health services, need to focus on both the reporting structures and the environment of their hospitals.”
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is calling on the Government to urgently invest in training positions for junior doctors in rural communities, rather than continuing to fund the establishment of new medical schools.
AMSA’s ‘Doctors For Rural Communities’ proposal outlines a $46 million investment to enable 306 doctors to undertake 12 months of their training, or 61 doctors to undertake five years of their training, in regional, rural, and remote Australia.
The proposal seeks an investment roughly equivalent to the cost of establishing a new medical school.
AMSA President, Elise Buisson said today that there are immediate benefits in expanding rural specialty training pathways that follow graduation from medical school rather than investing in new medical schools themselves.
“Given the limited rural health resources allocated by the Government, investing in rural vocational training positions would directly help tackle the health disparities facing regional and remote Australia,” Ms Buisson said.
“A new medical school will not create additional doctors for rural Australia. Instead, it will strain a system that is already struggling to provide training to existing young doctors and students who are passionate about rural medicine.
“Medical training does not begin and end with medical school. In some cases, more than a decade of training in hospitals ahead of graduation is needed before students become fully-qualified doctors.
“We need to make sure we can provide high quality training in rural communities.
“We cannot be slow to act on improving rural health any longer. The people of rural Australia deserve better access to much-needed medical staff, including more general practitioners and other specialists.”
Respected rural doctors, Dr Darryl Mackender, a gastroenterologist at Orange Base Hospital and Dr John Preddy, a Head of Department at Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital, have already put forward their support for the ‘Doctors For Rural Communities’ proposal.
Nicholas Glasgow, President of the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand, has also come out in support of expanding rural training pathways and not funding the creation of new medical schools.
To find out more and to pledge your support, visit www.dfrc.org.au.
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has called on Australian governments to invest in rural specialty training pathways.
AMSA has launched a proposal, ‘Doctors for Rural Communities’, which offers a practical solution to the maldistribution of medical graduates, and focuses on providing increased specialty training opportunities in regional centres.
AMSA President, Elise Buisson, stressed the importance of considering innovative approaches to meet the needs of the rural population, rather than continuing to to fund the establishment of new medical schools.
“Medical graduate numbers have more than doubled in the past decade from 1,503 in 2004 to 3700 in 2015, yet the issue of medical workforce maldistribution for rural areas still persists. It is time to train more young doctors in the bush to improve the health outcomes of Australia’s rural communities,” said Ms Buisson.
The ‘Doctors for Rural Communities’ proposal seeks an investment of $46 million, roughly the cost of establishing a new medical school. This proposal would instead enable 306 doctors to undertake 12 months of their training, or 61 doctors to undertake five years of their training, in regional, rural and remote Australia.
“We lose many young rural doctors to the city because they are forced to move there in order to complete their training programs, which can be five years or more. This proposal would allow them to stay.”
Ms Skye Kinder, a Chair of the AMSA Rural Health Committee, said that, as a rural student, it was disappointing to see so few options available for specialty training in the bush.
“Governments and specialty colleges need to ensure that they are taking all steps necessary to enable regional and rural centres to meet the needs of their communities,” Ms Kinder said.
“Many regional centres are already offering high quality short-term placements for speciality trainees. Longer-term placements are now a logical step forward.”
The ‘Doctors for Rural Communities’ proposal is an evidence-based strategy to improving the health outcomes of people who live in regional, rural and remote Australian communities. AMSA will lobby for support over the coming months.
To find out more, visit www.dfrc.org.au.
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has called on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to increase investment in the recruitment and retention of Indigenous medical students.
AMSA President, Elise Buisson, said that Indigenous medical students have been overlooked in the Close the Gap health reform targets set by COAG in its National Agreements, to the detriment of Indigenous health.
“The national shortage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors is innately linked to the under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students in Australian medical schools,” Ms Buisson said.
In the first year of medical school, around 2.5 per cent of students are Indigenous – a proportion consistent with their presence in the general population. But during the second and third years this falls away dramatically, because of significantly higher withdrawal rates among Indigenous students.
Ms Buisson said this meant that the total enrolment of Indigenous students in medicine was low, at just 1.6 per cent, and the proportion who graduate was even lower, at 0.5 per cent.
“We have a serious issue with the retention and support of our Indigenous medical student colleagues that cannot be ignored any longer,” said Ms Buisson.
“The focus on early schooling targets in the COAG National Agreements is imperative.
“But we need to ensure those Indigenous students attempting to make a successful transition to further study after school, particularly in medicine, are supported as best as possible. We must increase the number of Indigenous medical graduates, in order to develop the Indigenous health leaders that we so desperately need, and pave the path for sustainable Indigenous health reform.
“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, along with all COAG leaders, must commit to fulfil their responsibilities and work with tertiary institutions to ensure there is population parity of Indigenous medical graduates. This must be a new COAG target if we are to Close the Gap.”
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has called on all Australian universities to invest in new, evidence-based strategies, to improve student mental health.
The Churchill Fellowship report, ‘The Wicked Problem of University Student Mental Health’, authored by 2013 AMSA President Ben Veness, recommended seven key findings on how Australia can improve student mental health.
AMSA President, Elise Buisson, welcomed key recommendations of the report including the need for a “tone at the top” that commits universities to improving its students’ mental health and wellbeing.
“The chancellors and vice-chancellors of our universities need to make a public commitment to prioritising their students’ mental health,” Ms Buisson said.
“Young Australians aged 16 to 24 years old have the highest prevalence of mental health issues of all age groups, and it has been shown that academic stressors have a significant impact on their mental health and educational outcomes.
“This is a cause for all young Australians and it cannot be ignored any longer. Every university student deserves the right to be in an environment that has their mental and physical wellbeing at the core of its concerns.”
Additionally, AMSA has backed the need for mental health task forces on campus that consist of both university administrators and students.
“Mental health task forces can effectively utilise students’ experiences to raise awareness of mental health issues to campus staff. It can also help ensure student representation in the development of evidence-based mental health policies, relevant to each university,” Ms Buisson said
“In representing current student populations, minority groups at increased risk of mental health problems, such as LGBTI and international students, should be identified by each institution as part of the development of their mental health strategy too.
“Ultimately, effective screening programmes for at-risk students, and sensitive GP and counselling services, must be readily available on campus.”
For further information, a direct link to the report can be found https://www.churchilltrust.com.au/media/fellows/Veness_B_2013_The_wicked_problem_of_university_student_mental_health.pdf
If you are interested in AMSA or anything it stands for, or you’re just a bit curious as to what goes on behind the scenes, come along to AMSA Council. No prior experience or knowledge of AMSA is needed and we’d love to have you.
There will be up skilling opportunities so you can learn more about leadership and advocacy, discussion on AMSA policy and reports from major organisations around Australia, so you can be informed on key issues and events involving medical students and future medical practitioners. Furthermore, there will be bonding activities and grooving socials to entertain all!
Council will run from Friday April 1st – Sunday April 3rd (9am-5pm most days). All meals except for dinner will be provided. Registration prices are $60 for one day, $110 for two days, $150 for full registration. Hostel accommodation is available at $30 per night.
Registrations close 18 March, 2016 so get in quick. We look forward to meeting you all at council!
AHEPA (Australian Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) is an organisation aimed at fostering Australian and Greek relations by actively promoting awareness of the Hellenic culture and language through cultural, educational, charitable and social events and activities.
The two main goals of AHEPA are:
- To promote public interest in and awareness of the Hellenic culture and language both in the Greek community and wider Australian society, and
- To raise funds for philanthropic works, organisations and welfare appeals.
Chapter Ippokratis, the medical events arm of AHEPA, has a strong commitment to the provision of support in the medical field. The Chapter’s initiatives range from organising presentations by health professionals on topics such as thalassemia and diabetes to providing support in areas as medical research and aged care.
As an expression of AHEPA’s recognition of the importance of medical education, we would like to offer preferably a final year medical student the opportunity to visit Greece. It is hoped that the recipient of the award will gain an insight into the Hellenic culture and medical system and, in turn, be able to provide an optimal and culturally sensitive medical service to Australian-Greeks in the future.
The selection criteria are as follows:
- The student preferably must be a final year medical school student and of Greek heritage.
- The recipient must demonstrate strong academic achievement.
- The student must demonstrate a keen interest in Hellenic culture and issues such as migrant and public health.
The deadline for the applications for the AHEPA Scholarship is by mid February 2016. Please forward a one-page letter and curriculum vitae addressing the selection criteria and curriculum vitae to firstname.lastname@example.org.