UOW students

As I write it has been an exciting week, with new senior medical students commencing their year-long placement in various locations across the North Coast. The University of Wollongong (UOW), in collaboration with the University Centre for Rural Health North Coast (UCRH), has three regional training hubs, Murwillumbah, Lismore and Grafton. Each year, these hubs offer 20 extended clinical training opportunities that are highly contended amongst the University’s medical students.

“The word amongst my peers and classmates who  have completed placement on the North Coast is that the educational opportunities are excellent. Staff are welcoming and so willing to teach, the clinical experiences so diverse,” said current UOW medical student Alexander Mills.

The North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) has announced it will receive $720,000 in federal funding for a new funding partnership with North Coast GP Training, which will be a range of local networking and education events.

Investment in building the skills and capacity of primary health care workers is a proven strategy to ensuring a healthy community, according to the PHN, the coordinating body an estimated 6,200 primary health care professionals working within its Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie footprint.

Veterinary surgeon Mike Fitzgerald

As someone who works all day with animals, as a Veterinarian, I am often reminded of W.C.Fields’ famous quote : “never work with children or animals”. It helps to trot this one out when my furry patient is not sticking to the script or has an entirely different agenda.

Last week I was reminded of the enormous value of animals, in particular the canine species, working with us humans, when I met Bruce the labradoodle who had been trained to work as an Assistance dog for a client who suffered from PTSD/Anxiety.

Bruce seemed like your normal happy, tail-wagging young dog during his checkup and immunisation. The only clue that he was different was the red harness his owner held, emblazoned with the words ASSISTANCE DOG.

Our cover this month is the painting “Love 2019” by local artist Katka Adams. Katka has explored the refugee experience in her recent exhibition “Coming Home”. She describes her inspiration and motivations below and on Page 15 editor, Robin Osborne details her journey of  escaping the Soviet crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968 and the start of a new life in Australia as “that Czech girl”.

Dislocation from one’s cultural roots is a common experience for many Australians from European, African and even Aboriginal backgrounds. For some art gives voice to their experience, for others it is the written word.

I believe - That the Lord God created the universe
I believe - That he sent his only son to die for my sins
And I believe - That ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America
I am a Mormon! And a Mormon just believes
I Believe, from The Book of Mormon, by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez

The Book of Mormon, the No. 1 hit musical in Australia, follows the journey of two devout young men as they set off on their mandatory two years of missionary work far from their home in Salt Lake City, Utah where the church is headquartered..

The Book of Mormon is the work of South Park creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, which as be expected given this pedigree is irreverent, scatalogical and confronting. In short, not the normal fare of religion, making its success with mainstream audiences seem highly improbable, even though its central theme touches a cord for the religious and irreligious alike.