Robin Jessup and Sonya Klimpsch

Deakin medical students recently visited Daylesford College to promote rural health careers, health literacy and engagement among high school students.

The visit to Daylesford College also provided the opportunity to highlight Deakin University’s School of Medicine Rural Training Stream (RTS) program which allocates 30 places specifically for rural applicants.

Ninety year 9 students participated in the activities facilitated by eight medical student volunteers from Deakin. Students worked through several stations to make them more aware of health and disease and the role of health professionals in each area. Stations included Drug and Alcohol Education, Cardiovascular Health, Eye Health and Skeletal Health.

This event was made possible through the assistance of Lisa Gunders, Careers Pathways Coordinator of Daylesford College, the Nursing, Occupational Health, Medicine and Allied Health at Deakin (NOMAD) Rural Health Club and the support of the National Rural Health Student Network (NRHSN). The NRHSN organises medical and allied health students to encourage rural students to undertake careers in rural healthcare.

Deakin has modified its entry requirements and medical curriculum to encourage more students from rural backgrounds to study medicine.

In 2024 changes to RTS will see successful applicants complete all four years of their training in rural campuses at Warrnambool and Ararat, enhancing Deakin’s existing representation across the Grampians and Southwest regions. Applicants from these areas can stay within their community or at home, rather than relocate to Geelong where the main Medical School campus is currently located. Data on destinations of Deakin medical graduates has shown that students who train rurally are more likely to work as doctors in rural areas.

Further changes to the RTS program to encourage applicants from the Southwest and Grampians region includes the removal of the requirements for applicants to have completed a university degree in the past 10 years as well as waiving the requirement for of the Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT). The minimum weighted GPA requirement for applicants is 5.0. These changes are aimed at removing barriers that students from rural backgrounds may eperience.

Lisa Gunders said, “This activity was very beneficial for the year 9 students because it showcased the various health careers open to them. The new developments for the Rural Training Stream by the Deakin School of Medicine is exciting news indeed for rural applicants.”

Robin Jessup and Sonya Klimpsch are 4th Year Medical Students completing their studies at Deakin University’s Ballarat Clinical School. Robin is Vice President of NOMAD and Sonya is one of NOMAD’s Rural High School Outreach Officers.