Conference & Event Summary - March 2023

23 March 2023

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The Australian Medical Association (AMA) Queensland held a sold-out health conference in Hervey Bay, on Badtjala country, at the end of February. The AMA Fraser Coast Health Conference was an invaluable opportunity for our recruitment team as they engaged in productive discussions with delegates highlighting the advantages of working in rural Queensland. 

The National Rural Health Student Network (NRHSN) held their first Council meeting of the year in Brisbane, Turrbal country, on 25 and 26 February. The event provided a great opportunity for our Future Workforce team to meet face-to-face with the presidents of the four Queensland Rural Health Club’s (RHC) and learn all about the inspiring work they are doing for their clubs. It was also a valuable opportunity for health students from across Australia to hear from a diverse selection of guest speakers, including Professor Ruth Stewart and our own CEO, Chris Mitchell, who presented on the topic of Leadership (pictured above). The NRHSN represents more than 9,000 members from 29 university Rural Health Clubs around Australia. It is Australia’s only multi-disciplinary student health network, and it brings together medicine, nursing and allied health students, encouraging them to pursue rural health careers.

HWQ were proud to be platinum sponsor of the much-anticipated Hope4Health student event in early March. Held in Stanthorpe, Ngarabal country, the theme of the event was “What’s it really like to be a Rural Doctor?” and showcased the lifestyle of a rural generalist. It showed students what being a rural doctor entails, not just from a medical point of view, but it also highlighted the flexibility a rural career can provide, and the diversity of advanced skills you can practice. Students experienced a ‘day in the life of a rural doctor’ from hospital-based SMOs, GPs and training registrars, presentations from important organisations on the training of rural doctors, such as ACCRM, RDAQ and QRG, networking opportunities, a tour of Stanthorpe Hospital, simulations of hospital cases, afternoon activities on a farm to showcase the rural doctor lifestyle and even an overnight stay camping at a farm. Evelyn from our Future Workforce team was excited to be there to experience this event and offer guidance and valuable insights to students on what it is really like working and living and rural Queensland.

The Red Ant Round-up Medical Conference was held in Kingaroy, Waka Waka country, on Saturday, 11 March and focused on mental health across the lifespan. Topics included perinatal and maternity wellbeing, children and young people, sexual health and gender dysphoria and culturally appropriate mental care. The event, hosted again by Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN, was targeted at general practitioners, medical and healthcare professionals, medical students, practice staff, medical educators, and service providers. Tessa Niumata and Rachel Patterson from HWQ were there to share and promote our services and had good conversations around recruitment, workforce funding and programs available plus discussions around scholarships and workshops. Tessa, as the regional coordinator, had thorough discussions around workforce issues that we are currently dealing with in the South Burnett area, with practice managers, practice principals and the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN team. The team were also thrilled to see Dineli Kalansuriya at the conference (pictured below right). Dineli is a UQ medical student and part of our GROW Rural Central Queensland student immersion program.

Pictured above: Left to Right - Naomi Wallace, Regional Coordinator, Central QLD, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast, at the AMA Fraser Coast Health Conference; Hope4Health, What's it really like to be a Rural Doctor student event in Stanthorpe; Saran Takemura, Hiruni Gunasekera, Elli Harford (current GROW Central Queensland participant and president of Hope4Health Rural Health Clubs) and Melanie Hobi (2022 Hope4Health president and JFPP scholar); Dineli Kalansuriya, UQ medical student and current GROW Rural Central Queensland participant with Rachel Patterson, MDRAP Coordinator, at the Red Ant Round-up Medical Conference in Kingaroy.

Pictured at top: Taken at the NHRSN Council 1 meeting. Left to Right - Tanya Lehmann (Guest Speaker), Jack Kelso-Ribbe (President, TROHPIQ), Andrew Dossetor (Present, BUSHFIRE), Finley Prentis (President, Club RHINO), Meredith Connor (Future Workforce Team Leader, HWQ), Elli Harford (President, Hope4Health), Anna Ryan (Chair, NRHSN), Chris Mitchell (CEO, HWQ) and Wendy James (Future Workforce Coordinator, HWQ).