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Gamechanger health hub officially opens in the Goldfields

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Curtin University’s new Goldfields health hub designed to support students to live, study and work in regional Western Australia and ensure communities get the care they need, has been officially launched in Kalgoorlie today.

The Goldfields University Department of Rural Health (GUDRH) will work closely with healthcare providers including the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Western Operations) to deliver world-class education, placements, research and local careers for the future health workforce. Funding for the GUDRH is provided by the Department of Health and Aged Care under the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) Program.

Launched at Curtin’s Kalgoorlie campus by The Hon Emma McBride MP, Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health; Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, the GUDRH will provide clinical training opportunities, help to retain healthcare professionals in the region and ultimately support the provision of accessible and high quality health care in the Goldfields.

“This University Department of Rural Health will play a critical role in improving health outcomes in the Goldfields region, as well as offering social and economic benefits,” Assistant Minister McBride said.

“Everyone has a right to quality health care, no matter where they live.

“Giving health care students outside the major cities a chance to remain close to home and study in the communities they know and understand is important to improving health care in rural and regional areas.”

Curtin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Paul Brunton said the Kalgoorlie-based GUDRH builds on the University’s existing medical education and training presence in the region.

“Curtin believes every Australian deserves the best healthcare, no matter where they live. This hub will offer our health workers of the future the opportunity to learn their skills in the regions where they will deliver them,” Professor Brunton said.

“We are delighted to have welcomed our very first cohort of GUDRH nursing students to Kalgoorlie, who have undertaken placements at Kalgoorlie Health Campus, supported by WACHS. The first semester of operation has seen the GUDRH provide a rural experience for 27 nursing and occupational therapy students.

“Curtin looks forward to continuing to work hand in hand with the local communities to build capacity to respond effectively to the contemporary health challenges they face.”

Curtin’s GUDRH will focus where possible on providing students with a rural and remote interprofessional experience in collaboration with local healthcare providers and creating upskill opportunities for existing health professionals throughout the Goldfields.

It will also develop and establish a pipeline for First Nations and rural/remote-based students to enter various health professional training programs; as well as undertake research informed by local health care priorities and health service gaps.

Prior to commencing their placements, all students participate in an orientation session and a site-specific cultural awareness workshop, facilitated by Ms Wendy Boyle, the Department’s Aboriginal Cultural Liaison, providing them with the opportunity to learn about culturally safe ways of working.

The GUDRH is led by Director, Professor Fiona Doolan-Noble and Business Manager, Ms Chelsie Grace. It is based at the Curtin University’s Kalgoorlie campus and is co-located with Curtin’s Rural Clinical School.

The launch event was also attended by representatives from Federal and State government agencies, the WA Country Health Service, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Goldfields UDRH Advisory Council.

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