Medical education in Australia is set to be revolutionised with the opening today (Thursday 9 June) by Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Flinders University Northern Territory Medical Program (NTMP) Complex in Darwin.
The first stage of a $27.8 million Federal Government-funded program, the building features the Meti Learning Space, a state-of-the-art information communications technology which records medical students’ interactions with “patients” and simulators.
In addition to building a portfolio that can span the student’s academic course, the Meti Learning Space offers a common repository for assessment and allows staff trained at existing facilities to continue to use that training.
Flinders Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber said the hi-tech system reflects the progressive nature of the NTMP itself.
“In its inaugural year, the NTMP – delivered by Flinders University in collaboration with Charles Darwin University – has a full quota of 24 students undertaking medical studies in the Northern Territory for the first time,” Professor Barber said.
“All of those students will have the opportunity to practice medicine across the Northern Territory when they graduate. Within that cohort are 10 Indigenous students, with another four in Adelaide making it the single largest intake of Indigenous students into a medical program anywhere in Australia,” he said.
“The NTMP and its graduates will serve as an inspiration to other Territorians and Indigenous students.
“I expect this remarkable building and its facilities will similarly serve as a beacon of inspiration.”
Almost 10 per cent of the project expenditure was committed to providing ICT to enable multi-site teaching through interactive videoconferencing to connect with lectures in Adelaide and students and teachers across the NT.
“The NTMP follows on from a series of innovations in medical education at Flinders University: the creation of Australia’s first Graduate-Entry Medical Program; and the creation of the internationally recognised Parallel Rural Community Curriculum, which for more than a decade has been boosting the medical workforce in rural areas,” Professor Barber said
“On behalf of the University and our partnership with Charles Darwin University, I am delighted to be able to celebrate today’s launch as the exciting next phase of the NTMP, when students move into these purpose-built facilities,” he said.