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Students begin Regional Medical Pathway

Regional Medical Pathway CQU Christian Lane-Krebs Hannah Earl
First year student Christian Lane-Krebs, second year student and president of the CQU Medical Society Varun Lad and first year student Hannah Earl with Associate Vice-President of the CQU Bundaberg and Wide Bay Region Luke Sinclair.

CQUniversity has welcomed 34 new medical students as the second cohort of the Regional Medical Pathway (RMP) program including Hannah Earl and Christian Lane-Krebs from Bundaberg.

As a fresh-faced doctor-in-training, 18-year-old Hannah said she was excited to begin her studies in a regional area where she one day could contribute to the health and wellbeing of its community.

“I feel that establishing a strong health workforce in regional and rural settings is incredibly important; a person’s location should in no way lessen the quality of healthcare that they have access to,” she said.

“I feel that everyone should have an equal chance of living a healthy life no matter where they live, and therefore believe that increasing the number of medical professionals working in these settings – through programs such as the Regional Medical Pathway – is vital to improving health outcomes for these communities.”

Hannah was inspired at an early age to study medicine after a medical team saved her grandfather’s life.

“When I was very young, an amazing healthcare team operated on my granddad after an aortic dissection,” she said.

“I have always thought it incredible that their knowledge and skill allowed them to save his life and give him the gift of more time with his family.”

Having lived in rural areas herself, Hannah felt drawn to the Regional Medical Pathway program.

“I felt that the RMP would provide fantastic opportunities to be exposed to rural medicine and the diverse needs of remote communities,” she said.

Christian defies odds to start medical career

Christian said he was also eager to kick-start his career in medicine at CQUniversity, having already studied a few courses through the Start Uni Now program (SUN) while still in school and now enrolled in the Regional Medical Pathway.

Despite living with a disability and a complex medical condition himself, Christian is eager to give back to the profession that saved his life nearly 18 years ago.

“As a person with a disability and complex medical condition, I have experienced positives and negatives of regional health systems including the necessity of regular travel to metropolitan areas for treatment,” he said.

“My lived experience has identified discrepancy between rural/remote and metropolitan medicine. 

“This is the defining reason for my pursuit of becoming a medical practitioner.

“Additionally, being a person who experienced traumatic birth events, I would also say that a couple of my initial treating doctors, such as Dr Judy Williams, who is the hero that saved my life, have shown me the impact that medical practitioners can have on a person’s life.”

Christian is definitely defying the odds after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of two, experiencing an intra-hepatic bleed due to birth trauma, and being hearing impaired.

“I have often felt like an outcast in many social situations, especially within my younger years, as I was worried if people were only seeing me as a person living with a disability,” he said.

“However, through this adversity I have been able to overcome the setbacks and am now in a place where I can use my platform to help those experiencing a similar situation.”

34 new medical students in Regional Medical Pathway

CQUniversity welcomed the 34 new medical students to Central Queensland and Wide Bay this week as the second cohort of the Regional Medical Pathway program are presented with their stethoscopes and begin their studies in Bundaberg and Rockhampton.

These students will be commencing in the Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) course at CQUniversity which will enable students to continue into the Doctor of Medicine course at University of Queensland.

The Regional Medical Pathway program is a partnership between CQUniversity, University of Queensland (UQ), and the Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services.

Regional Medical Pathway CQU Christian Lane-Krebs Hannah Earl
First year students to the Regional Medical Pathway, along with a group of second year students and partners from CQU, UQ, WBHHS and CQHHS.

CQUniversity Head of Course Associate Professor Sonia Saluja said the RMP had grown into more than a medical educational pathway.

 “The RMP program has evolved into a wonderful community of educators, mentors, clinicians, and advocates committed to improving regional, rural, and remote health outcomes,” she said.

 “A key feature of the course is the observational placements that the students attend in their first year. The placements provide the students with significant community linkage and integration within a broad variety of health provider domains in the regions.

“Last year, students spent time in the CQ and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and with other health providers. Some of the community placements included pharmacies, aged care facilities, physiotherapists, and psychologists.

 “The placement opportunities provided the students with an immersive observational learning experience, where they gained an understanding of the bigger picture of health care delivery within regional communities.”

This week community and industry stakeholders welcomed the new cohort of first-year medical students at special events in Bundaberg and Rockhampton during the University’s orientation week.

CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) is a three-year course which enables students to continue into UQ’s four-year Doctor of Medicine course.

Both courses are studied in Rockhampton and Bundaberg, producing doctors who are far more likely to stay and work in rural and regional Queensland.

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