Fifty first-year medical students have begun a new chapter in their lives attending the inaugural orientation to Griffith University’s Doctor of Medicine (MD) program at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute (SCHI).
The orientation was highlighted by welcomes from the Dean of Medicine and Head of School, Professor David Ellwood and the Deputy Head, School of Medicine, Associate Professor Jen Williams; as well as special guest speaker Professor Judith Searle, the Foundation Dean of Medicine at Griffith.
Local Federal Member for Fairfax, the Honorable Ted O’Brien MP also met the first year students and teaching school staff as well as key stakeholders.
Students also were able to tour the school’s new teaching areas and ask pertinent questions as they commence their medical degrees.
Twenty-two year-old Currimundi local Tayla Dokonal was one of the 50 students to be part of the orientation and is overjoyed and not having to head south to start her studies.
“I would have had to pack up my life and move down the Bruce Highway and study at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus so to be able to live and study on the Sunshine Coast will make the next few years alot easier,” she said.
Furthering the Griffith Health Group’s commitment to providing the best educational outcomes in rural areas the Pro Vice Chancellor (Health) Professor Sheena Reilly said the inaugural cohort will “benefit from learning in the state-of-the-art facilities provided by the Sunshine Coast Health Institute.”
Adjunct Professor Naomi Dwyer, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive welcomed the students with a message of support.
“We are very proud to be Griffith University’s health service partner for their Sunshine Coast Medical Program, and are looking forward to supporting these students through provision of excellent clinical experience and education.
“This is a game changer for us. It’s great to have such dynamic educational partners as Griffith University and Sunshine Coast University supporting us to develop future generations of skilled and compassionate clinicians for our community.”
Expanding the MD program to the Sunshine Coast has been an excellent opportunity to partner with industry and educational providers in the area and from 2021 there will be 20 places available in the MD Program for Bachelor of Medical Science students from the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Deputy Head of School, School of Medicine Associate Professor Jen Williams said it was wonderful to see the calibre of student electing to start their degrees on the Sunshine Coast.
“We aim to ensure that each individual student has every opportunity to reach his or her potential and to provide our community with compassionate, knowledgeable and dedicated doctors.”
The Sunshine Coast Health Institute is a partnership between Griffith University, the University of the Sunshine Coast, TAFE Queensland and the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service. This important venture will allow Griffith University medical students to study in the environment they will work in, collaborating with various health industry professionals.