Notre Dame medical students return to WA's Kimberley region

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 13-8-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia’s School of Medicine is again providing the opportunity for its second year students to spend time working and experiencing life in remote Western Australia.

From 23 to 30 August, 94 students and four staff will travel to the Kimberley town of Derby where they will be billeted to pastoral stations, remote Aboriginal communities and town-based organisations. Students will interact with the local communities and health professionals to gain a deeper understanding of remote health issues.

Dean of the School of Medicine Professor Gavin Frost said the School’s mission is to graduate skilful, knowledgeable and ethical doctors who will practise in areas of unmet need, which is why they take the trip to the Kimberley.

Professor Donna Mak, Kimberley Placement Academic Coordinator Health commented, “Remote and rural Australia is an area of unmet need. While the nature of remote area medical practice might attract doctors to these areas, it’s not enough to keep them there for just a few months. The doctors who stay and are effective are those who like living, as well as working, in remote areas. "

As part of the preparation for the trip, students will participate in a number of debates on the Fremantle Campus prior to their departure. Topics include:

· Aboriginal health outcomes have declined as a result of policy changes introduced since 1967 to remove discrimination and ensure equal rights; · Medical culture is responsible for the current shortage of health care staff in rural/remote Australia and · Strategies to attract recruit and retain medical practitioners to remote area practice have not been cost- effective.

One of the debates entitled: ‘[Kevin Rudd’s] apology will sanction a view of history that cements a detrimental psychology of victimhood, rather than a stronger one of defiance, survival and agency.’ (Noel Pearson, The Australian 12 Feb 2008 http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23196221-28737,00.html) will be held in Derby on Sunday 24 August at 6pm. Members of the community are invited to attend. Mrs Elsia Archer, President, Shire of Derby/West Kimberley, Mrs Iris Prouse, Councillor, Shire of Derby/West Kimberley and Mr Tim O’Brien, Director Kimberley Population Health Unit have agreed to judge the debate.

Media Contact: Dr Donna Mak 0448 949 829 or Michelle Ebbs 0408959138