Leading remote health academic and long-term Northern Territory resident, Professor John Wakerman, commences today (Monday, 24 March 2014) as Associate Dean of Flinders University Northern Territory, with the continued provision of innovative health research, education and workforce development in the Northern Territory at the top of his agenda.
Having lived in Alice Springs for 24 years, Professor Wakerman takes up the position of Associate Dean in Darwin following a 15 year post as Director of the Centre for Remote Health (CRH), a joint centre of Flinders University and Charles Darwin University (CDU).
Professor Wakerman has a wide variety of current and past roles to his name including that of clinician, manager, researcher, educator and advocate for remote health.
“I am excited to take up this new challenge as Associate Dean of Flinders NT, and am keen to ensure Flinders NT continues to produce high quality education and research,” Professor Wakerman said.
“I intend to build on the strong partnership established by Flinders and Charles Darwin University to boost research effort, continue to strengthen the remote health workforce, prepare team–ready graduates, and strengthen health systems,” he said.
“We will focus on improving the health of Indigenous Australians, and producing a home-grown health workforce for the Territory.”
Professor Wakerman said the Flinders medical course in the NT has been a groundbreaking initiative of national significance.
“The Flinders Doctor of Medicine program has come a long way since the Australian Government’s 2009 announcement of funding to support the establishment of a full medical program in the NT,” he said.
“I look forward to working closely with the NT clinicians, including the doctors at Royal Darwin Hospital, Alice Springs Hospital and other hospitals and clinics across the Territory, to ensure we are training our medical students to meet the challenge of providing the highest quality medical care to our community.
“Our medical course is building the future medical workforce of the Territory, and has important values at its centre, such as social accountability, equity, cultural safety and the importance of context in the preparation of doctors.
“The course has attracted outstanding applicants, revealing the depth of interest in medicine among talented Territorians. At last, Territorians can study to become a doctor at home.”
Dean of Flinders University’s School of Medicine, Professor Paul Worley, said Professor Wakerman will be a great asset to Flinders NT.
“Professor Wakerman is the pre-eminent remote health academic in Australia, and is well regarded by leaders in health, education, government and the community,” he said.
“He is a passionate advocate for the Territory, with the skills and credibility to make his advocacy effective.”
As Associate Dean of Flinders NT, Professor Wakerman will seek to consolidate the delivery of the Doctor of Medicine and remote practice programs, and further develop effective collaborative research in and for the Territory.
He will also provide liaison between the School of Medicine’s activities in the NT and the rest of Flinders University, and will be a focus for further productive collaboration with CDU and its major research institute, the Menzies School of Health Research.
“Professor Wakerman has a deep understanding of the NT, its people, institutions and culture. This combination of academic experience and local knowledge is important in this role,” Professor Worley said.
“I have full confidence that Professor Wakerman has what it takes to ensure Flinders NT continues to provide innovative health research, education and workforce development in the Northern Territory for many years to come.”