Undergraduate medical teaching at The University of Western Australia will be significantly boosted with a $5 million grant from the Federal Government.
The funding, announced by Federal Minister for Education Julia Gillard, will be used to improve the University's capacity to provide teaching and learning facilities on the Joondalup Health Campus, which is servicing a rapidly growing outer metropolitan growth corridor.
UWA was the only university in WA to receive funding from the Federal Government's Capital Development Pool program. The University is collaborating in the Joondalup project with Ramsay Health Care, the Joondalup Health Campus operators.
A Community Clinical School for the training of undergraduate students from medical and allied professions will be built on the Joondalup Campus. Currently, accommodation at the site is under pressure and the new building will guarantee the program in future years and cater for the increasing enrolments of medical students.
As provider of WA's pre-eminent medical training program, UWA's Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences is preparing for an expected 20 per cent increase in enrolments.
Welcoming the funding announcement, Acting UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bill Louden, said the funding would do much to expand the currently limited medical education options in outer Perth metropolitan areas.
"The expanded capacity will improve staff-student ratios, and enhance undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and training in the hospital sector. It will also encourage medical students to view the outer metropolitan area as a place of future employment," Professor Louden said.
UWA General Practice Professor, Alistair Vickery, said the current facility, which included a simulation lab, was particularly useful for training in the fields of emergency medicine, psychiatry and general practice.
"This is an opportunity to have greater clinical exposure in a variety of clinical settings and for more first-hand preferential training," Professor Vickery said.
"Joondalup Health Campus is a rapidly expanding outer metropolitan hospital and students are exposed to tertiary care patients and teaching while involved in the management of the patients throughout the entire health system."