By David Sly
For nearly 50 years Flinders University has benefitted from the co-location of its medical school with Flinders Medical Centre in the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN). While the shape of this relationship has changed over time, the links between these institutions remain significant and strong.
Cardiologist Professor Philip Aylward AM (PhD(Med) ’85), former Director of the Division of Medicine, Cardiac and Critical Care Services at SALHN, has been involved in the collaborative relationship since the early days.
“It’s understood by everyone at the hospital that there is great value in this symbiotic relationship, and we know through extensive US data that shows hospitals aligned to academic programs provide a better quality of service to patients. We are all very proud of that,” says Professor Aylward.
“At the start there were 20 physicians at Flinders Medical Centre – now there are 20 cardiologists alone. We initially had 30 students in each year; now there are 140 per year level, so there is obviously a lot more pressure on everyone’s time, and finding the necessary space to accommodate everything, but we have overcome difficulties.”
Associate Professor Savio (George) Barreto (PhD(Med) ’10) has been teaching in the University’s medical program since 2008 and is now the Deputy Director. A consultant Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgeon at Flinders Medical Centre and a researcher, he has contributed to the development and delivery of the department of surgery’s Structured Clinical Instruction Modules and also leads MD Advanced Studies, a compulsory research subject integrated across all four years of the program.
Associate Professor Barreto has observed that the clinician input into the program has grown over time, “however, the level of general engagement seems to have taken off exponentially over the last few months, driven by the Clinician Support Team under Denise Caretti and supported by the vision of the Acting Director of the Medical Program, Dr Michal Wozniak.”
“This active dialogue with clinicians has revealed their longstanding desire to continue to be actively involved in determining the content of what is being taught, and assessed, at the various levels of the University’s medical program,” Associate Professor Barreto says.
Associate Professor Barreto says that while co-location at Flinders Medical Centre has been vital in the training of Flinders medical students, “feedback and experiences shared by students working at GP clinics and Lyell McEwin has shown that co-location is just part of the story. Continuing engagement and mutual respect between the University and the clinical partners is key to fostering a healthy relationship that will benefit our students.”
This article is from the 2022 College of Medicine and Public Health Alumni magazine: Read more