University launches innovative Inland Health Strategy for Central Western NSW

21 APRIL 2009

Residents of the Central West of NSW will benefit for years to come from Charles Sturt University’s Inland Health Strategy and the roll out of the first regional health education plan to be launched in Orange.

Residents of the Central West of NSW will benefit for years to come from Charles Sturt University’s Inland Health Strategy and the roll out of the first regional health education plan to be launched today in Orange.
 
Professor Elaine Duffy, Head of the Nursing and Midwifery School, in the Faculty of Science, announced this important new initiative today (Tuesday 21 April).
 
“We’re serious about educating inland and regional health professionals and creating networks to encourage more to practice in inland Australia. This strategy and the subsequent health education plans we’ll be rolling out detail how it will be done. It will unify the University’s activities across our inland regions.”
 
The innovative Inland Health Strategy – Central Western Health Education Plan is the first of a series of Plans that Charles Sturt University will unveil over the coming months.  Plans for the Riverina-Murray and Rural and Remote Communities will be launched shortly.
 
The Central Western Health Education Plan focuses on the Orange and Bathurst campuses and will create two distinct inter-professional health science hubs. They will cover mental health, emergency care, nursing, allied health, pharmacy, dental and medical sciences.  They will allow the University to conduct more cutting-edge research and develop targeted action plans to promote healthy inland communities and lifestyles.  This will see more students, staff and facilities across the Central Western campuses over time.
 
“Charles Sturt University’s mission has always been to meet the needs and aspirations of our inland communities.   Our commitment is long term, and we are therefore planning long term” said Professor Duffy.
 
“The proof of our success, as they say, is in the pudding.  More than 70 per cent of our rural origin on-campus health students will return to professional health practice in rural and regional communities.  Our Inland Health Strategy is about building on this success and extending opportunities more broadly across inland communities.
 
“To put this in perspective, between 1995 and 2000 (before the first Charles Sturt University pharmacy students graduated) an average of three metropolitan trained pharmacists located to practice in regional areas each year. Every year since Charles Sturt University’s first pharmacy graduates, 35 graduates or more have chosen to practise in rural and regional settings. Without Charles Sturt University, many of our towns and communities would not have a local pharmacist leading to a further decline in professional services across inland Australia.”
 
“Charles Sturt University aims to ensure that we give our students the highest quality preparation for professional practice anywhere in the country, as well as maximising the opportunities for those students who wish to return to their inland communities as highly skilled health professionals,” said Professor Duffy.
 
Orange Health Service Community and Allied Health Manager Judy Lovenfosse said the expansion will lead to great benefits for the local health services.
 
"We know that we are more likely to retain health professionals locally if they have studied here. The combination of the fantastic academic facilities and the Orange and Bathurst health services will see Orange and Bathurst develop as major health precincts and magnets for health professionals," Ms Lovenfosse said.

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