New Planning Dean for the MDMS announced

Friday 7 Jul 2017

MDMS VC_250x150Charles Sturt University (CSU) and La Trobe University have announced the appointment of a nationally and internationally recognised expert as the new part-time Planning Dean for the Murray Darling Medical School (MDMS).

CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann (pictured left) said that as Planning Dean, Professor Richard Hays will assist in the response to the government review of the MDMS and will help with the next stage of the development of the School to ensure it can commence enrolments in 2019−20.

"Professor Hays is an international expert on rural medical education, regional training, and workforce development, and he has been involved with the Murray Darling Medical School over the last year advising on curriculum and the staffing profile for the School, as well as the clinical training and financial plans," Professor Vann said.

"He led the establishment of the highly successful James Cook University (JCU) medical program which is now delivering doctors into rural and regional Queensland, and he advised on the development of the Northern Ontario Medical program where 90 per cent of graduates go on to work in Northern Ontario."

Richard HaysProfessor Hays (pictured left) is currently Professor of Remote Health and Medicine with the Mt Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICRRH) at JCU, having just stepped down as Dean of Medicine at the University of Tasmania. Prior to this, he had roles in the development of several rural medical education programs including as the Foundation Dean of Medicine at James Cook University and an advisor on the early development of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. He has also been Dean of Medicine at Bond University and Keele University (UK), and is a consultant to medical programs of European universities.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said, "Richard advises medical programs all around the world on improving access to medical education for under-represented groups, and producing medical graduates that want to work in specialties and geographic locations that need them, to ensure equity in health care delivery".

Professor Hays said, "We now have a pretty good understanding from the rural medical programs run by institutions like James Cook University and Northern Ontario Medical School, as well as the Rural Clinical Schools program, of the strategies and approaches that increase the likelihood of medical graduates working in rural areas.

"The evidence strongly shows that rural medical schools are uniquely positioned to make a significant impact on rural medical workforce outcomes through the targeted selection of students with a rural background, and the integrated delivery of both undergraduate and postgraduate medical training in rural areas using a rural-specific curriculum."

Professor Hays said the MDMS has sensibly adopted this evidence-based approach.

"There are always challenges in implementing these models in rural areas, and I know from experience they can be disruptive," he said.

"But I hope that I might be able to assist the process of establishing the Murray Darling Medical School using my many years of experience from Australia and overseas in delivering rural medical schools that deliver rural medical workforce growth."

MDMS Foundation Professor of Medicine and Surgery Professor John Dwyer said, "I have known Richard for many years and I am looking forward to working alongside him to develop a plan that will ensure we are ready to enrol our first students in 2019−20".

Mr Mark Burdack, Executive Director of the MDMS, said, "I have worked with Professor Hays over the past year on the Murray Darling Medical School plan and he is someone who cares deeply about the social responsibility of medical schools to deliver outcomes that meet the needs of rural communities".

Director of the Mt Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health Professor Sabina Knight said, "I am delighted that MICRRH and JCU, through Professor Hays, can contribute critical expertise to this venture".


Media contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann and Professor Richard Hays.

About Professor Richard Hays:

Professor Richard Hays was a rural medical generalist in northern Queensland before becoming a teacher and education researcher, and gaining further qualifications in educational psychology and medical education.

He has been Dean or Head of School of Medicine at James Cook University, Keele University (UK), Bond University, and the University of Tasmania. He has been a member of Australian Medical Council panels to accredit medical schools, and has participated in numerous international medical education quality assurance reviews in New Zealand, Asia, Europe, the UK, and Western Pacific.

Professor Hays has had a strong research career, with several competitive research and development grants, resulting in about 220 peer-reviewed papers, 16 book chapters and 9 books, primarily on assessment, curriculum design and educational quality assurance. He still loves leading change based on medical education development, and remains in part-time clinical practice.

His research interests include curriculum and assessment practices that deliver particular workforce outcomes, with a strong social accountability focus. This overlaps strongly with his rural health service delivery and program evaluation interests. His services are in demand to address ways of improving access to medical programs for under-represented groups and producing medical graduates that want to work in specialties and geographic locations that need them, thus addressing equity in health care delivery. His expertise is well-recognised both nationally and internationally.

Professor Hays is a Fellow of the following professional and educational organisations:

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

Royal College of General Practitioners (UK)

Australian and New Zealand Association of Health Professional Educators

Association for the Study of Medical Education (UK)

Association of Medical Education Europe

Higher Education Academy (UK)

Academy of Medical Educators (UK)