Local health professionals, community members, local Council members and Flinders University staff gathered at the Appleseed Café in Strathalbyn on February 14 to welcome Flinders University students to the Hills Mallee Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island (HMF) regions for 2019.
The Parallel Rural Community Curriculum (PRCC) program, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, originally commenced in the HMF region in 2006 with eight medical students allocated to local GP clinics for a year of intensive training.
The program allows students to immerse themselves in their local clinical environment and also in the local community in an effort to build on our future rural and remote health workforce.
Several students who have completed the program have since returned to rural communities to build their careers in medicine in the local communities where they formed close connections.
This year, nine PRCC medical students in the HMF region will be joined by over 300 nursing and allied health students, who will be completing rural clinical placement opportunities with local health care providers.
In welcoming students into the community, Clinical Director of South Coast District Hospital Emergency Department and the evening’s guest speaker Dr Jason Bament provided students with an entertaining snap shot of his journey through medicine.
Flinders University Rural Health SA Academic Co-ordinator Dr Leesa Walker also spoke, and acknowledged the commitment and support offered by GPs at Mannum, Murray Bridge, Strathalbyn, Goolwa, Middleton and Kangaroo Island.
General practitioner Dr Peter Gilchrist was also recognised for his contribution to the PRCC program as a Clinical Educator.
Dr Gilchrist was a dedicated and enthusiastic educator with Flinders for four years, having joined the program as one of the first PRCC students to graduate from the HMF region.
Students said they look forward to fulfilling their training in 2019.