Season’s greetings to all our readers. As 2008 draws to an end it is appropriate to reflect on some of the achievements of another demanding year. A record 154 medical students, 43 dental students and 49 health science students have completed their studies and will graduate next year. The medical student numbers in particular continue to grow and approximately 210 students will enter final year in 2009. This has required a major effort throughout 2008 to ensure recruitment of sufficient academic and professional support staff to expand our existing teaching capacity. Forging new partnerships across the health sector has enabled many new staff with a passion for teaching and / or research to join our ranks. The Faculty is particularly grateful to the Department of Health (W.A.) for all its assistance in enabling us to develop new academic units at the Joondalup Health
Campus, Armadale-Kelmscott Memorial Hospital, Rockingham-Kwinana District Hospital, Graylands Hospital and Osborne Park Hospital, thereby helping us ensure an ongoing quality teaching and learning experience for our students into the future. As a testimony to that quality it was especially pleasing this year to see Associate Professor Tony Celenza, from the discipline of Emergency Medicine, as the recipient of an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Award for Teaching Excellence. Our Rural Clinical School was also honoured this year as the recipient of one of five Premier’s Award for 2008, in the category of “Creating Jobs and Economic Prosperity for Western Australia”. They were also finalists in the category “Strengthening Capacity in Regional
This medical school seeks not only to train a substantial number of its students in rural areas, but also to actively recruit both Indigenous students and students from rural and remote Western Australia, and this year we saw three Indigenous students and 22 of our rural recruits complete the MBBS, our largest number of rural graduates yet, and a number which will double over the next four years. This year also saw the expansion of our Outer Metropolitan High Schools recruitment program from three to 10 schools. In that program, schools are targeted that have never sent a student to study medicine or dentistry at UWA and our staff and medical student volunteers work with the teachers, students and their families to nurture aspirational goals and provide mentoring and support through the otherwise complex entry process into our courses.
On the research front, the Faculty has had another successful year in the National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grants round and, as the many stories in this issue of MeDeFacts (and throughout 2008) attest, this research is making a large difference to the health and wellbeing of our community. It is at an international level in both its reach and quality. In this issue also, the importance of early undergraduate experiences in medical research in shaping the leading medical scientists and educators of tomorrow is once again emphasised through the testimonies of two of our renowned alumni, Professor Terry Nolan and Professor James McCluskey, who relate how sentinel their Bachelor of Medical Science research experience at this Medical School was to their future careers. The donations and pledges to our Foundation Professors B Med Sci scholarship program this year have been generous and now total close to a half a million dollars. I commend this program to you as a way you can make a real difference in shaping the medical researchers of tomorrow. You will also read in this issue about the success of the Students in Health and Medical Research Conference held this year, a tangible demonstration of the increased interest and participation in high quality medical research by our current students which you can further encourage.
To those who are wondering how the above photograph fits in with my reflections on some of the significant achievements for 2008, it is a picture of my first grandchild, Daniel Yu Jin, who arrived on 12 November. His mother, Julia, is Korean and I am advised Daniel resembles at least one of his grandparents. Yu Jin means compassionate and generous and when I tell people he was named after his proud grandfather the retorts have included “Which grandfather?” or “I didn’t know your middle name was Daniel”. Apart from an opportunity to boast, his picture is included as a reminder that when considering all the achievements we are privileged to share in as a Faculty, the most important thing is to keep them in perspective, putting families and relationships first and UWA a close second. I hope this Christmas is a time of rich joy and blessing to you all as you celebrate this special time with your loved ones. Let’s see what we can achieve together in 2009.