The Notre Dame Rural Clinical School hosted its 11th annual Rural Conference on April 16 at the Lithgow campus for 120 first year medical students undertaking their MD studies with the Notre Dame School of Medicine, Sydney.
The university reported it was one of the most successful conferences held at the University and was a highlight for the Rural Clinical School.
The theme for this year's conference was 'Cultural Security for Indigenous Australians' with the keynote speaker Professor Juli Coffin from Broome in Western Australia.
She said that she had "never driven so close to the clouds in driving from Sydney Airport to Lithgow".
Professor Coffin is an eminent Western Australian Aboriginal and a prominent researcher in the fields of cultural security, education and chronic disease as well as human nutrition, contextualising bullying and health promotion among Aboriginal people.
Her lecture was widely appreciated by the visiting students and an excellent introduction to Aboriginal health and cultural issues from such a widely published and highly regarded researcher.
The local doctors panel of Dr Hilton Brown, Dr Siva Kan along with Dr Lauren McCormack, GP Registrar, Dr Marian Dover, a former Lithgow UND Alumni and two final year MD students, Lisa Morgan and Emily Murray were interviewed by the Head of the Rural Clinical School, Associate Professor John Dearin about their preferences for rural life and practicing medicine in a non-urban environment.
The panel discussion is always popular with the visiting students and again created great interest with a number of students who had never thought about practicing in a rural area becoming enthused about that possibility after graduating.
Another conference theme was rural postgraduate training under the sponsorship of the University of Notre Dame Riverina Rural Training Hub in Wagga Wagga. The Training Hub's executive officer Ms Fran Trench, Chris Russell NSW Rural Doctors Network and Dr Marian Dover now undertaking postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Wagga Wagga spoke of the many opportunities for postgraduate students to undertake much of their specialist training in the rural hospital setting with the purpose of promoting rural specialist practice and addressing the medical workforce maldistribution that currently pertains with the large numbers of medical graduates practicing in urban settings.
The Acting Associate Dean Rural, Associate Professor Andrew Dean facilitated a seminar on the topic of Emergency Medicine training and other clinical and social issues facing prospective rural doctors and this created lively discussion among the students.
The visit to the Lithgow Mines Rescue Centre was as always very popular with the students in increasing their understanding of non-urban working environments and the world class innovative technology available in Lithgow for training in mines rescue not only for local but also international mine supervisors.
The next important event on the University calendar will be the Rural Trauma Week in August when the Rural Clinical School will host the second year cohort of students to undertake an intensive course in Emergency Medicine as part of their practical preparation for the ensuing clinical years in the Teaching Hospitals of Sydney, Wagga Wagga, Ballarat, Lithgow and Melbourne.