UCRH Director of Education, Dr Michael Douglas, with University of Sydney medical students.

As the year of 2014 winds down, the University Centre for Rural Health North Coast (UCRH) is celebrating an ‘annus mirabilis’ (year of wonders), having hosted its largest ever number of university clinical students undertaking placements in GP practices, hospitals and clinics throughout the Northern Rivers.

A number of UCRH placement students have graduated at or near the top of their academic programs, and more of them than ever are choosing to return here to take up work opportunities after graduation.

In addition, several major initiatives were launched, and research staff recognised nationally through prestigious grants, scholarships and appointments to high level boards.

Reviewing the year, UCRH Director Professor Lesley Barclay AO said, “We received very positive feedback from medical and allied health students from the Universities of Sydney, Wollongong and Western Sydney who have done their clinical placements in the Northern Rivers.

“They report great benefits from the experience and mentoring provided by the wonderful professionals in our hospitals and other health care settings. Many students who do their practical training here are returning to the area to take up local work opportunities, for instance as interns at Lismore Base Hospital.

“This is excellent news for boosting the clinical workforce in regional areas, locally and around Australia. The UCRH is playing a national role in making high quality health services more accessible to rural residents, and leading or contributing to milestone research work.”

Professor Barclay said UCRH’s major achievements for the past year included –

Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan congratulated UCRH for what he called “an outstanding year under the guidance of Director, Professor Lesley Barclay and her dedicated team.”

Mr Hogan added, “The scope and depth of their work over the last 12 months shows the talent and can-do attitude of the staff at UCRH. Their work is crucially important in addressing rural health issues from a distinctly rural perspective, and ensuring that regions like ours are not disadvantaged in health care simply because we choose to live in a regional area.”