Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered a message to the historic UNE graduation celebrations on Friday 5 April to congratulate the first cohort of medical students who have successfully completed their five-year medical degree, the Bachelor of Medicine–Joint Medical Program. UNE and the University of Newcastle jointly offer the highly successful Joint Medical Program (JMP).
Ms Gillard acknowledged the occasion as a ‘wonderful landmark’ of achievement for the graduates and wished them every success. “I know each of you will make an outstanding contribution to our nation and its future. It’s also a landmark in the life of UNE — the first ever graduates from the School of Rural Medicine,” said the Prime Minister.
Professor Victor Minichiello, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of The Professions, oversaw the development of UNE’s School of Rural Medicine. “This day belongs to everyone who played a role in the graduation of these fine men and women who will make a difference to Australia’s medical workforce, and particularly to the determination of these students to reach their aspiration and dream of being responsible and caring doctors. The Prime Minister, like the previous Commonwealth government, has been great supporters of the School of Rural Medicine and the Joint Medical Program, and we thank them for their support,” said Professor Minichiello.
The development of the JMP expands on the long-term commitment of many medical and community stakeholders within the region to improve equity of access to health care for patients and improve health services in rural areas of Australia.
Ms Gillard also congratulated graduates from the School of Science and Technology and the School of Health, including UNE’s first Social Work graduates.