Prof Ross Bailie, Director UCRH; Isaac Smith, Mayor Lismore; Kevin Page MP, Federal Member for Page; three SCU speech pathology students and current residents; Prof Robyn Ward, Executive Dean Faculty Medicine and Health, University of Sydney; SCU speech pathology student; Thomas George MP, State Member for Lismore

On Thursday 30 August 2018, a fortnight before returning to Canberra to take up his new cross-bench seat in the Parliament, the Nationals’ MP for Page Kevin Hogan officially opened the University Centre for Rural Health’s 30-bed student accommodation building in Lismore.

In tune with the government’s “jobs and growth” refrain, the construction and fit-out of the building was undertaken by local builders and contractors. The accommodation, off Uralba Street in what has become the Lismore health precinct, includes multiple accessible rooms, high-speed internet access and environmentally friendly features such as water recycling and solar hot water.

The building was funded by the University of Sydney to assist in accommodating the growing number of students supported by UCRH as part of the Commonwealth Government Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training program.

The UCRH facilitates over 1000 placements for medical and health students on the Northern Rivers each year, ranging from 2 to 38 week placements, according to Director, Professor Ross Bailie.

“The accommodation building is a welcome addition to the UCRH and the Lismore health precinct. We know that access to appropriate student accommodation is a significant enabler of rural placements. These placements have a strong association with intention to work in rural locations after graduation.”

In the last three years the UCRH has been tasked with doubling the number of multidisciplinary health placements. The intention of UCRH placements is to provide workplace-based and service-led education in areas of high need, to develop the rural health workforce of the future.

“UCRH has co-ordinated rural student placements for over ten years,” Prof Bailie added.

“Our aim is to provide high quality health professional education and placements in a rural setting based on strong partnerships and collaboration between the participating universities, community organisations, local health service network and clinicians.

"Our long term goal is that students will return and practice in our area following their training. While many of our students return to work in rural areas, all of them develop a better understanding of the needs of rural communities.”