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Rural health scholarships awarded to Otago medical students

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Thursday 7 November 2013 3:49pm

The 2013 Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship has been awarded to two University of Otago School of Medicine students who will travel to India, Nepal, Gibraltar and The Falkland Islands to further their rural health education.

John Farry, chairman of the Trust, has announced that David Neynens and Rebecca Craw will both receive NZ$5,000 to assist their elective travel in the first term of 2014.

“The Trust assists young people to spend valuable time in innovative and challenging overseas situations, to return, and to become the next generation of idea generators here in New Zealand,” says Mr Farry.

It was was established in 2010 to support the sustainability and quality of health services to rural communities.

One of the ways in which the Trust does this is by providing scholarships for undergraduate medical students who are considering careers as rural GPs, to travel internationally to observe new concepts, develop their own skills and share their learning with other students when they return.

From mid November David Neynens will work for four weeks at the Lady Willingdon Hospital in Manali, India. He will then travel to Gibraltar where he will work for eight weeks at St Bernard’s Hospital.

David Neynens

David Neynens is interested particularly in expanding his knowledge of emergency medicine, believing that “core knowledge of emergency management of patients is especially critical in a rural scenario, where a patient’s outcome may rely on a single clinician’s competency, unlike in the larger teams seen in urban hospitals.”

Student David Neynens has transferred from Christchurch to the Dunedin campus of the University of Otago School of Medicine for 2014 and will spend the year based in Invercargill at Kew Hospital. He spent his high school years in Invercargill, was Dux of Southland Boys High School and calls Glenorchy home.

Student Rebecca Craw will travel to the Falkland Islands in February 2014 to be based at a small hospital in Stanley that often receives emergency cases from Antarctica. She will also be taking care of patients in outlying villages reachable only by lane or four-wheel drive vehicles.

Rebecca Craw

Then in April she will travel to Kathmandu, Nepal, to spend time in hospitals learning how to provide care for larger populations with limited resources.

Originally from Tauranga, Rebecca Craw is based at the Christchurch campus of the University of Otago School of Medicine. Rebecca is looking to both experiences to increase her “passion for wilderness and rural medicine” and for the experiences to “broaden her knowledge base and skill set.”

This is the second scholarship that Rebecca Craw has been awarded by the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust. Earlier in 2013 a grant from the Trust assisted her to travel Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, in Victoria, Australia for a two week rural health exchange between Monash University and the University of Otago School of Medicine.

David Neynens and Rebecca Craw were both selected by the University of Otago School of Medicine to join the Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP) for fifth year students in 2013. David Neynens was based in Balclutha and Rebecca Craw in Greymouth.

The Programme was established by the late Dr Pat Farry in 2007. Annually, 20 fifth-year medical students considering a rural based medical career are chosen for real life experiential learning immersed for the academic year in one of six rural centres. Transferring to one of the centres to live for the year, students learn, under the guidance and mentoring of experienced general practitioners, rural hospital generalists and tertiary hospital specialists. The rural community becomes their own learning and living environment.

In 2012, an in house survey of 76 RMIP alumni as to their experiences and their future intentions for working in a rural environment found that 85 per cent of the ex-RMIP students intended to return to rural communities after completing training and that this outcome had been positively influenced by their experience in the RMIP.

“By supporting the learning experiences of medical students like David Neynens and Rebecca Craw, the Trust continues Dr Pat Farry’s instinct for finding and mentoring rural General Practitioners of the future,” says Mr Farry.

For further information, contact

Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust
Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust

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