The University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health (UONDRH) focuses on:
- facilitating student placements and learning
- enhancing the health of local communities through community projects and;
- conducting research into rural health issues.
The UONDRH delivers the Commonwealth Department of Health funded Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program and a number of other smaller programs. The RHMT program encourages students of medicine, nursing and other health professions to pursue a career in rural practice by providing opportunities for students to practice their clinical skills in a rural environment. It also supports health professionals currently practising in rural settings.
The UONDRH covers approximately 20% of the land area of New South Wales and includes Tamworth, Armidale, Taree, Moree, Port Macquarie and the surrounding communities in a corridor of land that stretches north to the town of Tenterfield on the border of New South Wales. In addition to providing rural placements for undergraduate students, the UONDRH also actively recruits postgraduate students, carries out research projects and provides valuable community support.
The University of Newcastle has been delivering Commonwealth funded programs in the local areas since 2002. These programs have continued to change to meet the needs of the local communities, the health care professionals who choose to live and work in these areas and the students who enjoy the rich learning opportunities available in rural and regional Australia. The new Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program commenced on the 1st January 2016. The RHMT recognises the value of providing students from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to live and study together in a rural environment.
The RHMT program supports students from a variety of health disciplines. Twenty five percent of the graduating cohort of medical students from the Joint Medical Program (JMP) will spend a minimum of one year at one of the three clinical school locations (Tamworth, Taree or Armidale).
Students studying Medical Radiation Science, Nutrition & Dietetics, Nursing Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Social Work all have the opportunity to complete clinical placements in the UONDRH footprint. In addition to support our students, the UONDRH has a strong record of providing continuing professional development to the locally based health care professionals who provide services in the region. The RHMT also aims to improve the health and wellbeing of regional, rural and Indigenous communities within the New England, North West Slops and Plains, Liverpool Plains, Upper Hunter Valley and Manning River regions of NSW.