Deans of Medicine of Australia and New Zealand
The Deans publish data annually to report on the number of medical students enrolled in Australian universities. The dashboard allows data to be broken down by rural/urban background to provide rural and remote people with up to date information about how their local university is performing in supporting rural and remote students to study medicine and address rural doctor shortages.
Why is this useful for rural and remote people to read?
Research shows that medical students from a rural or remote hometown are up to 4 times more likely to work as a rural doctor compared to students from a regional or metropolitan city. It is critical for rural and remote people to know how their university is going in recruiting rural and remote students to see whether they are likely to deliver outcomes for your town. The problem with the data is that the Deans use Rural/Urban background as the definition of a student’s home location. This means that regional city students (who are no more likely to work rurally that students from capital cities) are mixed together with rural and remote students. As a result, we cannot tell how many rural and remote students are actually enrolled in medical schools in Australia, despite the fact that these are the students who are most likely to work rurally. This is a huge gap in the ability of rural and remote people to hold universities to account. The data does, however, paint an interesting picture of the general performance of medical schools. For example, some city universities recruit more rural students than regional universities which seems odd. If you want to chat with your local Vice-Chancellor about how they are going in recruiting local students into their rural medical programs, then this is a valuable source of information.
RURAL HEALTH & MEDICAL WORKFORCE
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