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CDU announces new School of Medicine for the Territory

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Charles Darwin University (CDU) announces plans to establish a new School of Medicine in the Northern Territory.

A new School of Medicine will be established at Charles Darwin University (CDU) in partnership with Menzies School of Health Research, as plans progress to establish a new medical program across the Northern Territory.

From January 1 next year, CDU will establish the CDU Menzies School of Medicine, which will be established within the College of Health and Human Sciences under the leadership of College Dean Professor Dominic Upton.

Medical Director of the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) Professor Dianne Stephens will be seconded to CDU as part of a partnership to develop high-quality postgraduate programs for health professionals working at the frontline of health emergencies.

The new postgraduate courses in health emergency preparedness and response will commence Semester 1, 2022. Professor Stephens will take on the role of inaugural Dean of the CDU Menzies School of Medicine. 

A new steering group will be established to oversee the functions of the school and to seek Australian Government support for government-supported places for medical students in the Territory.

CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman AO said the new partnership and establishment of the CDU Menzies School of Medicine would put the necessary steps in place for CDU and Menzies to deliver a medical program for the Territory in coming years.

“Establishing a new School of Medicine and a new Dean, cements our plans to deliver and create a home in the Territory for a new medical program,” Professor Bowman said.

“CDU and Menzies are of and for the Northern Territory, have a deep history and understanding of the Territory and of serving the education needs of Territorians.

“As the Territory’s university, we will always put the needs of the Territory and its people first and this is a great initiative to meet the healthcare needs of this incredibly important place.”

NTCCTRC Medical Director Professor Dianne Stephens said the postgraduate program would strengthen the emergency response capabilities and workforce in the Territory and internationally.

“These courses are unique within Northern Australia and will draw on the experience, knowledge, and expertise of the NCCTRC as a global leader in health emergency response,” Professor Stephens said.

“It is very exciting to be involved in turning the vision of the CDU Menzies Medical School into reality - the appointment of a Dean and a Strategic Advisory Board is the next step on the pathway,” Professor Stephens said.

Menzies Director Professor Alan Cass AO said Menzies engagement in the partnership will ensure research and innovation are central to the development of the School of Medicine.

“This partnership will help in developing and implementing pathways which attract, enable and support young Territorians, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to apply for an independent, NT focused medical program,” Professor Cass said.

“This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the development of a new NT-led medical school drawing on Menzies experience of conducting world-class research which has delivered real health benefits to the Territory and our understanding of the challenges of health service delivery in the NT.”

NTCCTRC Executive Director, Professor Len Notaras AO said the centre was pleased to be supporting CDU and Menzies to deliver postgraduate medical education to health professionals in urban, regional and remote areas of the NT.  

“The NCCTRC is a clinical and academic leader in disaster, preparedness and response, ensuring Australia has the best readily deployable medical workforce to respond to emergencies through the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT). This is most recently evidenced through AUSMAT’s response to the global pandemic,” Professor Notaras said.

“We are pleased to partner with CDU on the development of the postgraduate programs which further strengthen our commitment to building capacity and capability in emergency medical response.”

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