UNE appoints Clinical Dean of Rural Medicine

Published 03 September 2009

puxtyDr Maree Puxty (pictured) has been appointed Clinical Dean of the Tablelands Clinical School at the University of New England.

The Tablelands Clinical School is one of five clinical schools that are part of the Joint Medical Program (JMP) offered by UNE in partnership with the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and Northern Sydney Central Coast Health.

Prof Victor Minichiello, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of The Professions at UNE, said the establishment of the Tablelands Clinical School and the appointment of its Clinical Dean was an important milestone in the development of UNE’s School of Rural Medicine.

“This program places medical students in a range of clinical rural environments to ensure that they have the competencies and high-level skills to be effective practitioners,” Prof Minichiello said. “For this reason the appointment of a Clinical Dean who understands clinical practice, and particularly rural medicine, is critical.”

The appointment is supported by Hunter New England Health who has made office space available in the Armidale Rural Referral Hospital to house this important position.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, welcomed this appointment, adding Dr Maree Puxty will play a critical role in the further establishment of links with practitioners and the Area Health Services as the University and JMP implements its strategic plans for the Tableland Clinical School.

“UNE’s focus on the provision of rural-based courses is founded on the evidence that rural-trained graduates are more likely to take up careers in rural settings and is central to the University’s mission.”

“The appointment of Dr Maree Puxty will be of immeasurable benefit to medical students seeking professional placement in the region,” Prof Pettigrew said.

Prof John Fraser, Head of the School of Rural Medicine at UNE, said he was delighted about Dr Puxty’s appointment.

“The Clinical School model — in which Dr Puxty will play a crucial role — of developing a centre of excellence in clinical education and service to the community will be vital in increasing the recruitment and retention of medical professionals working in rural Australia,” Prof Fraser said.

Dr Maree Puxty was raised in Cessnock in the Hunter Valley and went to school in Cessnock and Maitland.  She studied medicine at the University of Newcastle and worked as a clinician in Sydney and the United Kingdom. After a stint in the city, Dr Puxty and her husband (who is also a doctor) went to Moree as part of their GP training. They liked it so much they spent the next 10 years working as GPs in Moree, before moving to Armidale.

Dr Puxty said she was excited to be taking up her appointment at UNE’s School of Rural Medicine.

“The JMP is aiming to train high standard medical doctors equipped with a mix of rural, regional and metropolitan experience for the global community.  The Tablelands Clinical School at the University of New England will be an important part of this process.

“This means making sure we produce the best doctors we can, who will hopefully want to practice medicine in rural areas because they realise country living is so good.”