UOW presents Community Fellowship Award to Mudgee for leadership in rural healthcare

UOW presents Community Fellowship Award to Mudgee for leadership in rural healthcare

The University of Wollongong today (Friday 17 February 2017) presents its prestigious Community Fellowship Award to the people of Mudgee, Gulgong and surrounding communities in recognition of their outstanding civic leadership and service in support of the University’s Graduate Medicine students. 

In a formal academic ceremony held in Mudgee Town Hall, UOW Chancellor Ms Jillian Broadbent AO conferred the award on the community, with Mayor of Mid-Western Regional Council, Councillor Des Kennedy, receiving the award on the community’s behalf.

UOW Community Fellowship Awards recognise the contribution of communities and organisations for their outstanding community leadership in one or more of the University’s communities, and the provision of services that transform lives and communities.

In conferring the award, Chancellor Broadbent said the Community Fellowship Award recognises ongoing relationships between the University and its communities.

“On behalf of the Council of the University of Wollongong, I congratulate the people of Mudgee, Gulgong and surrounding communities on their exceptional contributions in sponsoring initiatives to support the University’s Graduate Medicine students, making this community a most deserving recipient of the University of Wollongong Community Fellowship Award,” she said.

The community has supported the University’s Graduate Medicine program and students in a variety of ways, particularly by establishing ‘Mudgee House’.

In 2010, the Mudgee community initiated a project to build a house for Graduate Medicine students in Mudgee with the Mid‑Western Regional Council, Club Mudgee, Moolarben Coal, Peabody Energy, Wilpinjong Coal, and several community service organisations and citizens supporting the project.

The five bedroom Mudgee House was officially opened in September 2012, and has since accommodated UOW Graduate Medicine students during their 12-month clinical placement in Mudgee.

UOW Council and Honorary Awards Committee member, Dr Liz Magassy, delivered the citation acknowledging the community’s support.

“Rural communities and economies are the backbone of our nation and the key to Australia’s future prosperity. For far too long however, rural Australia has been left behind when it comes to adequate health services.

“That is being turned around by communities like the Mudgee community.

“The University of Wollongong is proud to share a strong relationship with the Mudgee community and its leaders. In conferring this award the University thanks you wholeheartedly for your dedication, commitment and generosity of spirit,” Dr Magassy said.

In her official address, UOW’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health Strategy) and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science Medicine and Health praised the community for the lasting benefits flowing from its support.

“The leadership you have shown in supporting our medical program and embracing our medical students is, and will continue to, improve the health outcomes for the people living in this great region for years to come. That is something you should all be truly proud of,” Professor Jones said.

Following the ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE highlighted the clear alignment between the community’s and UOW’s commitment to improving rural and regional health.

“Through the Mudgee4Doctors Program, local businesses, community groups and residents have demonstrated outstanding support for initiatives to attract and retain health care professionals to provide the Mudgee Gulgong region with continuous access to quality healthcare.

“The tireless efforts of the Mudgee community in support of this program aligns with UOW’s longstanding commitment to training doctors to address the chronic shortage of medical practitioners in regional, rural and remote communities,” Professor Wellings said.

Since the establishment of UOW’s Graduate Medicine in 2007, the Mudgee community has hosted and supported 27 UOW medical students. In 2013, under the Mudgee4Doctors Program, the community presented students with discount coupon books from local businesses as an extra incentive to connect with the wider community.

UOW students undertaking placements in Mudgee assist doctors at South Mudgee Surgery, Mudgee Medical Centre, Gulgong Medical Centre, Mudgee Hospital and Gulgong multi-purpose health service, along with other community and private health settings.

Since its inception UOW’s Graduate Medicine has graduated nearly 500 medical students as doctors specifically trained to deliver primary health care in rural, regional and remote communities.