The University of Newcastle
Department of Rural Health
Department of Rural Health



The University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health (UoNDRH) has made it possible for medical students studying at The University of Newcastle to complete a large part of their clinical training within a rural setting.

About the Program

Joel, Medical studentThe UoNDRH centre's across Northern NSW offer greater "hands on" clinical experience and small group learning beyond that offered in a metropolitan setting, such as Newcastle. Placement within the UoNDRH also provides the opportunity to be an important key member of an interdisciplinary health care team with the exposure to a range of clinical experiences all set within an extensive rural referral network.

The Joint Medical Program (JMP) is characterised by an innovative problem- based, integrated curriculum with early clinical exposure and substantial community involvement. Emphasis is placed on understanding clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, learned in the context of the relevant basic science concepts and mechanisms. The program is integrated, which means students make connections between the different areas in medicine and the basic sciences in order to apply them to specific medical problems.

The curriculum differs from traditional programs in its integration of basic and clinical sciences and its early orientation towards clinical practice in medicine. The curriculum centres on problem-based, self-directed learning where students work in small tutorial groups to analyse clinical problems, and to gain an understanding of relevant scientific data.

Early clinical experience is a feature of the Newcastle program. Clinical exposure (i.e. visiting hospital wards and outpatient clinics, contact with patients, and spending time with doctors in practice) begins in first year and continues throughout the subsequent years. Many hospitals in the Hunter region and throughout New South Wales are involved in the Faculty's education program, as are various community health units operated by the New South Wales Department of Health.

The program is community oriented. Students are expected to understand and respect the community as a living entity and to identify their roles in serving the needs of the community. The program emphasises the promotion and maintenance of health, both of individuals and of communities. Preventive care is pursued as the most effective approach to complement treatment of the individual patient. Students are encouraged to see the individual in context, treating the patient as a whole person and in a manner consistent with his/her social or physical environment.

All the academic disciplines traditionally associated with a medical program, e.g. medicine, surgery, paediatrics, are represented. Other areas of study, including general practice, public health and behavioural science reflect the program's particular orientation towards serving the needs of the community.

Placement options

Year 4

  • Medicine and surgery
  • Women, adolescent and children's health

Year 5

  • Medicine
  • Emergency, anaesthetics / ICU
  • Oncology / orthopaedic surgery
  • Psychiatry / palliative care
  • PHCS

Program contacts

Dr Lauren Cone
Ph: +61 2 6755 3500

Dr Garry Hutchinson
Ph: +61 2 4055 1900

School of Rural Medicine
University of New England
Ph: +61 2 6773 3796
Email: AskUNE