First UWS medical students graduate

The communities of Greater Western Sydney received a special gift this December when the first University of Western Sydney medical students graduated. They will join the ranks of doctors working in our hospitals from early 2012.

The inaugural UWS School of Medicine graduation ceremony is the culmination of five years of study and clinical training for 86 students – over 60 percent of them from Western Sydney. It was held on Wednesday 21 December at the Parramatta campus.

UWS Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid says the 'home-grown' doctors will make a valuable and much needed contribution to addressing the shortage of health professionals in Greater Western Sydney and beyond.

"The UWS medical school graduates now become the nation's doctors and medical researchers working to address the pressing health challenges of our time and, importantly, helping to directly improve the health and wellbeing of individuals in our communities," says Professor Reid.

"The University is tremendously proud of its medical graduates as we are of all our UWS graduates which now total well over 100,000.

The establishment of the UWS School of Medicine in 2007 immediately created opportunities for students from Western Sydney who aspire to a career in medicine to study and train in their own community.

The School also builds on the health and medical research endeavours of UWS, with four students to be awarded their Doctors of Philosophy and two receive a Bachelor of Medical Research - all of which were undertaken with supervisors from the medical school.

Dean of the School of Medicine, Professor Annemarie Hennessy, says the locally-trained doctors will better understand the health challenges facing the burgeoning and culturally diverse population of Greater Western Sydney

"UWS medical students spend many hours in clinical schools attached to hospitals across Western Sydney and Rural Clinical Schools in Bathurst and Lismore. They also work in the community with GPs and local and Indigenous health services which gives them a unique perspective on complex, chronic health problems," says Professor Hennessy.

"This close connection with the community produces graduates with practical clinical experiences and first-hand knowledge of the social challenges at the heart of many chronic health problems in Australia today, including cardiovascular diseases, mental illness, obesity and diabetes."

Professor Hennessy has been a part of the UWS School of Medicine since its inception and has played a significant role in the education and training of the first cohort of students.

"I am personally very proud of the achievements of our graduating medical students. We have gone on a journey together as the new School expanded around us. We have grown from fewer than 100 students to almost 600, we're now in a state-of-the-art teaching and research building and we have new clinical schools across Greater Western Sydney and in regional New South Wales. But this is just the beginning for both our graduates and our School."

Foundation Dean of the UWS School of Medicine Emeritus Professor Neville Yeomans will deliver the Occasional Address at the graduation ceremony.

Honorary Doctorates were conferred on Professor Alexandra Bune and Emeritus Professor Bruce Barraclough in recognition of their work in the medical profession and within the School.

Mr Peter Brennan, CEO of Bradcorp, will also received an Honorary Doctorate for his many contributions to the community and the School.

WHAT: Inaugural UWS School of Medicine Graduation
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday 21 December 2011
WHERE: Ian and Nancy Turbott Auditorium, Building EE, UWS Parramatta campus, Corner James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere


21 December 2011

Contact: Paul Grocott, Senior Media Officer