20 Year Celebration of the Rural Medical Program in Mt Gambier


Last Friday, current and past students, staff and educators gathered in Mt Gambier to celebrate 20 years of the Flinders University Rural Medical Program. 

Members of the CMPH executive team who travelled for the occasion shared morning tea with staff and had an opportunity to tour the facilities at the Mt Gambier campus, prior to their meeting which campus staff joined.  

Current third year MDRS (Medicine Rural Stream) students enjoyed lunch with visiting staff, Prof Robyn Aitken (Dean of Rural and Remote Health), Assoc. Prof. Christine Dennis (interim Deputy Dean), Prof Alison Jones (Dean of Education), Mark Clayton (Director College Services MPH) and Jane Russell (Alumni and Advancement Partner). Students shared stories about their journeys prior to applying to study medicine at Flinders, 2022 rural placement experiences and their plans for the future. 

In the afternoon, Christine Dennis hosted an informative roundtable discussion with Prof Robyn Aitken, GP supervisors, representatives from the Limestone Coast LHN, local government, the Member for Barker and campus staff. 

The day finished with a wonderful cocktail party at the Main Corner Complex in Mt Gambier. As well as past students, educators and staff, guests included the Mayor of the City of Mt Gambier and community members. Jan Armit is a community member who is fondly regarded, a trained actress now in her 80’s, Jan played the role as a standardised patient for students in clinical simulation sessions from 2002, was a community representative on the GGT rural sub quota selection panel and has only recently retired. 

Aunty Michelle Jacquelin-Furr, a proud Boandik woman welcomed everyone to country and Prof Robyn Aitken gave a warm welcome to guests. Prof Lucie Walters spoke about the programs’ early days and challenges, and the dedication of staff and educators to ensure future success. 

Past students Dr Carrie-Ann McKenzie (2009). Dr Angus Bauman (2011), Dr Chula Murray (2019) and Dr Jacinta Clark (2017) spoke about their time in the program and their career paths since graduation. 

Previous students who were unable to travel to Mt Gambier for the celebration shared short videos, Dr Alison Malpass (2002), Dr Andrew Churchman (2004), Dr Bjorn Cartledge (2009) and Dr Damien Kearney (2018). Professor Jennene Greenhill, past Director of the program also shared a video and spoke about the beginnings of the GGT program and her appreciation of the staff, students and amusing challenges faced in the early days. 

With all celebrations, there must be a cake and the GGT celebration cake was one like no other. It was a beautifully translated representation of the Dr Seuss book, “Oh The Places You’ll Go”.  A copy of this book is given to all GGT PRCC/MDRS students at the end of their placement year, signed by their fellow students, staff and educators and treasured. Alison Malpass shared a shot of hers in the video she sent. The cake was cut by Prof Robyn Aitken, Prof Lucie Walters and Jan Armit, bringing together the past, community, present and future, a great finish to a wonderfully planned and executed evening. 



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Medicine Mt Gambier

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