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It’s 1961. The first bricks are being laid in the Berlin Wall; Yuri Gagarin has just become the first human to orbit the Earth; the Beatles are busy writing tunes for their first album. And the Sydney Morning Herald is echoing messages from the ‘establishment’, calling the idea to open a Faculty of Medicine at The University of New South Wales a “crack-brained plan”. And in some ways, it was. That first cohort of 75 graduates took a gamble, rejecting the established options for something new, untested, and experimental. Under the watch of first Chancellor Wallace Wurth, the initial goal was simple but succinct: strive for excellence. It was a risk for them and for the university, but it’s safe to say their risk has paid off many folds as UNSW Medicine & Health grew to become one of the top 50 medical schools in the world.
What has always made us different from some, however, is the way we’ve gone about it. Our reputation did not precede us: we have built it from the ground up. It takes dedication, intelligence, patience, and passion to create a voice loud enough to rise above those already seated at the table and be heard across the world. UNSW Medicine & Health’s unique voice comes from our distinct origins. We started out as makers, and I’m delighted to see our faculty grow from a small medical school to encompass a range of medical and health programs.
As Dean, I feel privileged to lead a faculty that takes on the biggest challenges we face, aiming to create solutions by bringing together excellence in teaching and research across our existing programs in Medicine, Optometry and Vision Science, Population Health, Exercise Physiology and Medical Sciences. Responding to the changing needs of healthcare and of our community with a focus on practical training, interprofessional skills and ethical practice, we are introducing four new degrees in our new School of Health Sciences: physiotherapy, pharmacy, dietetics and food innovation, and exercise science. Our aim is to improve the health of our community, and of communities around the world, and we are delighted to have the support of our amazing alumni community. We are keen to hear from you, about your journey since graduation, your life goals and advice for future students – our alumni make our faculty who we are today.
Professor Vlado Perkovic
Dean, UNSW Medicine & Health