The University of Newcastle, Australia

Community engagement

The Department of Rural Health is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of rural and remote communities. To achieve this, we’ve established strong partnerships with local community organisations, such as sporting groups, primary schools, childcare centres and many others.

Our students can participate in a variety of community activities during their rural placements. Engaging in community projects will help give you a meaningful and productive rural placement as you work to promote better health and prevent disease.

About to start a placement with us? You’ll receive more information about community engagement activities during your orientation session. Otherwise, speak with our academics for more information—you’re always welcome to join in!

At our teddy bear hospital, children would come up with their teddies and we’d stitch them up and give them referrals for x-rays. It was all about helping kids feel comfortable around health professionals.”

Paris, Nursing

Examples of community activities:

Health Education Workshops in Rural and Isolated Schools

Health Education Workshops in Rural and Isolated Schools

Students from allied health disciplines conduct health education in rural and isolated schools both face-to-face and in ‘live’ virtual workshops. Our students develop and deliver content for identified needs among children and youth in rural communities.

Teddy Bear Hospitals

Teddy Bear Hospitals

Students from multiple disciplines frequently conduct teddy bear hospitals in small and remote primary schools, early childhood centres and numerous community events. A teddy bear hospital is a fun initiative that helps to reduce the uncertainty and fear that a child may associate with a visit to health professionals.

Sailability Port Macqaurie

Sailability Port Macqaurie

Sailability Port Macquarie offers a sailing experience for people with a disability who have little or no previous sailing experience. There are a variety of roles every week that do not require any sailing knowledge. Ideal for students who wish to assist a dynamic volunteer organisation committed to serving community members with disability. Volunteering days are fit around clinical placement blocks.

Early Development Education Programs

Early Development Education Programs

Allied health, pharmacy and nursing students conduct education workshops in early childhood centres, supported playgroups and kindergartens. Examples include hand hygiene, dental health, ear health, healthy eating, fine and gross motor skills, and school transition activities.

After School Learning Centres

After School Learning Centres

Students can participate in after-school learning centres that target primary school-aged children, with activities taking place in partnership with Hillvue Public School in Tamworth and the Goori Learning Centre in Coffs Harbour.

Bounce Back (formerly Midnight Basketball)

Bounce Back (formerly Midnight Basketball)

Bounce Back tournaments are aimed at vulnerable youth aged 12-18 in Tamworth. It’s a fun, yet disciplined, program combining sport, culture and education. The program is dependent upon volunteers from the local community to bring along their expertise and skills. Students can volunteer to manage teams or present educational workshops aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle.