UQ scholarship could help boost rural medicine

6 Jul 2016

A new University of Queensland scholarship is helping 50 aspiring doctors from regional and remote parts of the state to achieve their goal of studying medicine.

The scholarship has been offered to high-achieving Year 12 students at rural and regional Queensland schools to undertake the Undergraduate Medical Admission Test (UMAT).

UMAT is used specifically to assist with the selection of students into undergraduate medicine, dentistry and health science degree programs including at UQ.

Recipients in the inaugural year of the program include:  

  • Three students in the Hervey Bay area – from Aldridge State High School and Xavier Catholic College.

  • 13 students from eight Toowoomba schools including Centenary Heights State High School, Toowoomba State High School, St Ursula’s College and Downlands College.

  • Six students from three Bundaberg schools.

  • One students from Charleville State High School.

  • Two students from Dalby State High School.

  • One student from Gin Gin State High.

  • Five students from three Rockhampton Schools including Emmaus and The Cathedral Colleges.

  • Three students from the Gladstone region including two from Tannum Sands State High School.

  • Two students from Whitsunday Anglican College, near Mackay.

  • Seven students from the Cairns region including one from the Cairns School of Distance Education.

  • Three students from Innisfail State College.

  • Two students from Mt Isa’s Spinifex College.

  • Two students from Townsville Grammar School.

The scholarship – valued at up to $950 – includes the $250 UMAT fee and a contribution towards travel and accommodation costs where appropriate.

Associate Professor Geoffrey Marks from UQ’s Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences said the scholarship gave students greater educational opportunities while addressing the wider problem of the shortage of rural doctors.

“Rural areas of Australia often have limited access to education opportunities and medical services, and we know that the distribution of our doctors between urban and rural areas is skewed, with higher concentrations in metropolitan areas,” Associate Professor Marks said.

“We know that when students from rural backgrounds complete at least a year of their medical training at a rural clinic, they are more likely to continue training in the local hospital or serve in the regional community.

“If we can assist students from these communities study medicine at UQ and then return to those areas, it could help ease the shortage of regional doctors.

“We need great rural doctors who understand the unique needs of rural communities and love working in them.”

The 50 successful applicants will sit the UMAT at Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville or the Gold Coast on Wednesday 27 July.

Media: Kim Lyell, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences media, +61 7 33465214, 0427 530647,k.lyell@uq.edu.au.