Medical student inspired by remote health trip to Central Australia

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Medical student Jasmin Grajzman meets Des Smith during a dialysis session at the Santa Teresa clinic in Central Australia. The clinic is community controlled and auspiced by NACCHO member  Congress Alice Springs (CAAC) . Picture: Diana Carli-Seebohm

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A trip to Central Australia has ignited an interest in remote health for WA medical student Jasmin Grajzman.

Jasmin was one of eight students, selected from more than 100 applicants around Australia, who took part in the Go Rural “City to Centre” experience last month.

They visited remote communities, met local health workers, learnt basic emergency skills and swam in spectacular gorges during a four-day visit to Alice Springs and beyond.

“It opened my eyes to the fact that you don’t have to go overseas to see third world medicine,” says Jasmin, a second year medical student at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle. “It’s right here in our own backyard.”

The students discovered that Central Australia is the dialysis capital of the nation, with a huge effort being made to treat above-average levels of kidney disease amongst Indigenous people.

Jasmin spent time talking to Des Smith, a resident of the Santa Teresa community 80km from Alice Springs, while he was undergoing one of his regular dialysis sessions at the local clinic.

Des was very interested in the Go Rural program and the young visitors to the clinic. He liked the idea that they might return to practice medicine in his community.

“So they might come back to work here in Santa Teresa when they’ve finished studying? That’s a good thing. We’d like to see more doctors coming here.”

The Go Rural “City to Centre” visit was organised by NT Medicare Local in collaboration with Rural Health Workforce Australia. It is part of a national campaign, funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, to attract medical students and young doctors to careers in rural medicine.

“The Northern Territory Medicare Local was delighted to kick off this year’s Go Rural program with a red centre adventure, showcasing rural practice to some of Australia’s next generation of doctors,” says Debbie Blumel, CEO of NT Medicare Local.

“Our workforce team is dedicated to bringing more health professionals to the NT and Go Rural is a great opportunity to plant the seed that will hopefully bear fruit once students graduate.”

It seems that seed is already germinating with Jasmin Grajzman. She says the Go Rural trip has inspired her to further explore remote medicine during an elective year at Notre Dame.

Find out more about the Go Rural Australia campaign at www.rhwa.org.au/gorural

Media inquiries: David Ball, Northern Territory Medicare Local, 0458 672 961,

or Tony Wells, RHWA, 0417 627 916.

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