Students from the UTAS School of Medicine spent an entire week in the Huon Valley last week to gain experience and knowledge of the rural health system as part of the university’s annual Rural Communities Program.
The group of fourteen second-year medical students began their southern journey on Monday 16 September at the Huonville Community Health Centre with a welcome from Huon Valley Council Mayor Bec Enders and a talk from local GP Dr Louise Butler.
During the week the students stopped by medical centres and aged-care facilities around the Huon to meet with local health professionals and participate in a range of information sessions and workshops. The group also had the opportunity to experience our local industries and natural attractions, including some bushwalking and a trip down to Hastings Caves.
“Learning experiences outside of classes are important as we are able to learn about the community’s perspective on healthcare and develop communication skills.”
On their final day the students had the opportunity to chat with members of the Country Women’s Association before heading back to Hobart.
“I had a great experience with Rural Week,” said one of the students, Solbi Kang, who was participating in the program for a second time. “I gained a better understanding about the factors that contribute to the health of individuals in rural communities. I believe that learning experiences outside of classes are important as we are able to learn about the community’s perspective on healthcare and develop communication skills.”
Cr Enders said it was promising to see the level of interest from Tasmanian medical students in the rural health system: “The Huon Valley has a proud history of hosting the Rural Communities Program for more than ten years now, and I would like to thank the UTAS School of Medicine for giving us the opportunity to do so.
“I would also like to thank our local health service providers, industry and community groups for giving their time to share their knowledge the students, our doctors of tomorrow. Without your commitment to this program, we would not be able to partner with the university to make it happen each year.
“Importantly, I would like to thank and congratulate the students on their decision to become doctors and for their dedication to building their knowledge of rural health issues in Tasmania.”
Pictured: Huon Valley Council Mayor Bec Enders and General Manager Emilio Reale with Dr Louise Butler and UTAS SoM students