James Cook University to establish new rural health centre

3 February 2022

James Cook University‘s upcoming rural health centre will be a boost for rural and remote health in Queensland’s Central Highlands.

JCU Medical School building in Townsville
Learn more rural and remote medicine at JCU Medical School

Professor Sabina Knight, Director of JCU’s Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health at Mount Isa, said the new Central Queensland Centre for Rural and Remote Health (CQCRRH) will establish training sites in Emerald and outreach to the Gemfields region with plans for future expansion to Biloela.

“We currently have a modest established presence in Emerald and this is a fabulous opportunity to partner with the community, health services and practices to develop the health workforce in and for Central Queensland,” said Professor Knight.

She said around 43 per cent of healthcare workers in rural and remote areas of Queensland are JCU graduates.

“JCU is committed to the people of rural and remote Queensland, evidenced by our current operations and our graduate destinations. This new university department of rural health will allow us to grow that, particularly for the Central Queensland Region,” said Professor Knight.

She said the new centre will enhance , embedding students into practices, services, organizations and communities, and build engagement with Indigenous communities.

“It will extend employment opportunities for local clinicians, delivering much-needed primary care and allied health services to underserved communities,” said Professor Knight.

The federal government is funding the program through the Department of Health’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program with an initial $10m over 2 years and around $4.5m recurrent thereafter.

Minister for Regional Health Dr David Gillespie said the creation of the CQCRRH is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to increase the health workforce in rural, regional, and remote communities.

“Delivering quality rural health training requires a viable university presence across rural Australia. The new Centre fills a geographic gap in tertiary health education, and is a welcome announcement for people living in Central Queensland who are interested in a health career, and the broader community,” said Dr Gillespie.

“Partnerships, collaboration and rural integrity are core values of the program and our university. The community, local governments and health services have been so supportive of the proposal. We are looking forward to further developing our centre in the region and we are off to a good start in 2022!” Professor Knight said.

About the JCU Medical Program

The 6-year JCU MBBS degree is a comprehensive program with integrated instruction in biomedical sciences, professional practice, and clinical medicine. JCU medical students receive extensive training with more than 4,000 hours of clinical practice, and graduates will be uniquely qualified in the fields of rural, remote, and tropical medicine.

Extended placements are a part of JCU’s commitment to making rural health matter. Students like Georgia are not only making a valuable contribution right now, they are also gaining the experience and passion to become doctors who serve our regional, rural and remote communities.

Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 6 years

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