First day at Notre Dame’s Medical School

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Summer 4-2-2005

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia welcomed its first cohort of medical students last month, with 81 foundation students commencing the graduate-entry program in the second Medical School to be established in Western Australia.

There are a diverse group of students entering the program including Melissa Sandelin-McCann, a pharmacist from Kangaroo Island and Karen Jackson a mother of 3, whose 18 year-old daughter is also completing a medical degree. Among these students is ex-policeman Phil Argy from South Australia.

It was whilst working as a Police Officer in the remote north-west of South Australia, that Mr Argy saw first-hand the poor health status of the Aboriginal people. Mr Argy developed a strong relationship with the Aboriginal community and took up a position with the Department of Family and Community Services as a Senior Youth Worker after 16 years with the South Australian Police Force.

He later worked as Community Development Worker for the Aboriginal Health Division which involved the establishment of rural GP mobile services to Aboriginal people. Mr Argy completed an Associate Diploma in Justice Administration during his time in the Police Force and later completed a Bachelor of Behavioural Science at Monash University, Victoria.

Mr Argy said that from a young age he’d always been interested in medicine - which included the mandatory chemistry set.

“I contemplated medicine at the age of 12 but never pursued the dream until now. I finished school and decided to join the Police Force because there wasn’t an opportunity to go back to study at the time and a few friends were doing the same.”

“I experienced outback South Australia and got to know people in Aboriginal communities in their traditional settings, which became an enriching and positive experience. Later I completed some scientific training and worked as a Crime Scene Investigator in a Forensic Investigation Unit with the South Australian Police, which allowed my interest in science to be rejuvenated,” he said.

“I was attracted to Notre Dame’s medical program because of the commitment to rural health and the focus on servicing areas of unmet need. I have moved to Perth from South Australia to commence my degree and am interested in working in rural and remote regions to practice when I have finished.”

“I’m also interested in visiting the Kimberley region while I’m in WA to learn more about their Flying Doctor Service in conjunction with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, such as the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service, which was my inspiration for assisting in the establishment of the Aboriginal Health GP Services in rural South Australia,” Mr Argy said.

Mr Argy is married with four children and his side interests include cave diving and playing guitar.

For media related information contact: The Media Office, University of Notre Dame, Direct line: 08 9433 0698, Mobile: 0408 959 138, Email: media@nd.edu.au