- Charles Sturt receives $460,000 for scholarships for students to study at School of Rural Medicine in Orange
- Central West Medical Association donates money as organisation prepares to close
- Scholarships will be given to Indigenous and financially disadvantaged students from rural areas and used to support student research projects
The Central West Medical Association (CWMA) is closing but the legacy they leave behind will benefit Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) medical students for years to come.
After more than 25 years of giving back to the medical community in the central west, the CWMA made the hard decision to close earlier this year.
In a final generous act to the community, the organisation has donated $460,000 to medical scholarships for the new Joint Program in Medicine between Charles Sturt in Orange and Western Sydney University.
The scholarships will be available for Indigenous and financially disadvantaged students from rural areas accepted into the program and will also support the program’s research projects.
Charles Sturt Director of Advancement Mrs Sarah Ansell said the generous donation was a wonderful way to kick-start the program when the first cohort of students arrives in 2021.
“It’s important to be able to ensure that personal circumstances, such as financial hardship, are not barrier for capable rural and Indigenous students entering the program,” she said.
“We have been given a life-changing gift of almost half a million dollars and we want to thank CWMA for the work they have done for this community and the impact they will continue to have through the scholarships.”
Interim Head of the School of Rural Medicine Professor Amanda Barnard said the scholarships align with the University’s aims of recruiting students from rural backgrounds to the program.
“This generous donation will allow us to offer support to Indigenous and rural students, who might not have otherwise had the opportunity to study medicine in Orange,” Professor Barnard said.
“Evidence shows that rural students who train in regional and rural areas are more likely to remain in a these areas to continue their careers in medicine.
“One of Charles Sturt’s primary goals in establishing the medical school was to strengthen the quality and quantity of healthcare services in regional Australia, and these scholarships will assist in that endeavour.”
CWMA executive director Mrs Sandra Christensen said the board was determined to commit funds that would contribute to the regional medical community.
“We wanted to put our assets to use in a way we felt would benefit the community,” Mrs Christensen said.
“We always said we need medical students who were trained in rural and regional areas and that would create opportunities for GPs to stay in these areas.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes.”
The contracts have been finalised and potential students can apply for scholarships from September 2020.
The details of the scholarships and funding allocation will be sorted in time for the first intake of students when the course commences in 2021.
The scholarships are available to Indigenous rural students or financially disadvantaged rural students who can demonstrate financial hardship, sound academic achievement and community or regional involvement.
Charles Sturt offers a range of different scholarships and grants to students. The full list of the University’s scholarships and grants can be found on the Charles Sturt Scholarship website.