UNE appoints leading medical educator for new boost to rural health

Published 16 November 2011

nhudsonThe University of New England’s newly-appointed Professor of Innovation in Medical Education and Rural Medicine will bring with her a wealth of experience in improving access to health care for under-served populations.

UNE’s School of Rural Medicine announced today the appointment of Professor Nicky Hudson to the new position. Arriving at UNE at the beginning of March 2012, she will also fill the role of Deputy Head of School and outreach director for programs targeting the delivery of health care to under-served and disadvantaged populations.

Professor Hudson (pictured here) comes to UNE from the University of Wollongong where, as Professor of Community-Based Health Education, she has contributed to the development of that university’s new Graduate School of Medicine – including the introduction of several initiatives to address shortages of health workers in regional, rural, and remote Australia. Most recently, she has implemented a program of placements for medical students in which each student lives, learns, and works for one academic year in regional, rural or remote NSW. This has engaged a range of local citizens and health professionals, and has provided teaching and learning resources in those communities.

Her clinical experience includes work in remote health with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in South Australia, in Indigenous health at the Nunkuwarrin Yunti centre in Adelaide, and as an urban GP in Adelaide. Her international work has included academic positions in Southampton and Exeter in England, and the Fiji School of Medicine in Suva. In Exeter, she was foundation Academic Leader in Human Function at the innovative Peninsula School of Medicine in regional and rural south-west England. In Australia, she has contributed to curriculum and assessment reform at the University of Adelaide as well as the development of the new School in Wollongong.

Professor Hudson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Australia, a Master of Science (Microbiology) degree from Queen’s University in Canada, a BMBS degree from Flinders University in Adelaide, and a PhD in medical education from the University of Adelaide. Her current research interests include investigating the outcomes of regional and rural community-based health education from the perspectives of patients, students, clinicians, and the communities involved.

“I’m looking forward to meeting and working with all the communities engaged with the School of Rural Medicine to build capacity for regional and rural health, and to helping inspire students to contribute to health care for the under-served nationally and internationally,” she said.

In announcing the appointment, Professor Peter McKeown, Head of the School of Rural Medicine, said: “With the recent announcement by the Commonwealth Government of a new focus on the development of Australia’s rural and regional health workforce, this is a critical appointment for UNE’s School of Rural Medicine. We are in a strong position to show leadership in addressing the aspirations of rural communities to access high-quality health care.”

UNE’s School of Rural Medicine is part of the Joint Medical Program – an expansion of the highly successful University of Newcastle medical program in partnership with UNE, Hunter New England Health and Central Coast Health.