Two final-year students from Harvard Medical School in Boston have arrived at SA’s Riverland – and are enjoying their insights into the Australian rural health system.
Hosted by Flinders University’s Rural Clinical School at Renmark, the Americans are energetically involved into a month of training and community engagement.
As well as various on-the-job experiences in Riverland towns, including the general hospital at Berri and Barmera Aboriginal Wellbeing Centre, the pair will also visit the Pinnaroo Medical Practice in the Murray Mallee.
The Harvard students, Jeffrey Campbell and Jay Miller, also have notched up on-the-ground experience in Uganda in Africa, which has given them a different perspective on remote and rural health systems.
“I have a particular interest in the use of technology to deliver medical care in remote and resource-limited settings,” says Jeffrey, who aims to incorporate global health into a pediatrician residency.
While in the Riverland, he hopes to see how technology is used to reach patients and providers and make other observations about Australia’s rural health care systems.
“I also hope to gain a better understanding of the similarities and contrasts between rural medical systems in Australia and the US, which I hope will ultimately make me a more effective provider at home,” Mr Campbell says.
Fellow visiting Harvard medical student Jay Miller also spent a year in Uganda, conducting research on a village health worker program. He also had a rural clinical rotation in Alaska recently.
“I am particularly interested in rural health systems,” Jay says.
“I hope to learn from the well-developed rural healthcare system in Australia and am particularly excited to learn along side Australian medical students at Flinders.”
Jay plans to focus on primary care (general practice) after medicine at Harvard. He previously completed a Master in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
It is the second year the Flinders University Rural Clinical School has hosted visitors from Harvard.
Professor Jennene Greenhill, Associate Dean of the Riverland Rural Clinical School, says the Harvard Medical School Cambridge Integrated Clerkship offers their students hands-on learning opportunities, continuity in supervision and patient-centred learning.
“It’s similar to our Parallel Rural Community Curriculum, which gives medical students the opportunity to spend an entire year immersed in a rural community,” Professor Greenhill says.