Students and staff stand in front of UNSW's Wagga Wagga campus
2021 Year 1 UNSW Wagga medicine students

UNSW students can now complete their full six-year medicine degree at the Wagga Wagga campus, with the inaugural group of first year students commencing their studies today.

Professor Tony O'Sullivan Acting Associate Dean of Rural Health from UNSW Medicine & Health said that offering the full medicine degree at the Wagga Wagga campus creates greater opportunities for rural students in the local community.

“UNSW is proud to support and further engage the Wagga Wagga community by ensuring we deliver highly trained medical professionals for the future of our regions. If rural students are trained locally there is a greater likelihood they will remain and practice in their local community,” Prof. O’Sullivan said.

“Being able to acquire the full UNSW Bachelor of Medical Studies, Doctor of Medicine (BMedMD) in Wagga Wagga allows students to stay close to family and friends and removes the financial barrier of needing to relocate to Sydney to obtain a medical degree.”

“In years ahead, we anticipate this will have a significant impact on medical service provision beyond Wagga Wagga. We support having trained doctors providing healthcare in the regions.”

Until this year, only the final four years of the UNSW Medical degree were taught in Wagga Wagga.

This year’s first year medical students will commence their studies from Harvey House on the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital campus.

Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the commencement of first-year medical school studies was a significant milestone.

“The students who have started their studies in Wagga Wagga today will be the faces of our regional and rural medical community tomorrow,” Mr McCormack said.

“This is an important step in the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network in which the Wagga Wagga UNSW medical school will play such a vital role.

“I wish the students all the very best on what is the first step on a pathway to an enriched career in rural medicine.”

Students commencing their UNSW Medicine degree having access to approximately 100 specialists at the Wagga Wagga campus.

“We have also recently made two dedicated appointments to deliver the first and second years of the Medicine program and support the students. Dr Michael Macartney has recently commenced as Phase 1 Coordinator of the medical program and Ms Rochelle McPherson was appointed as the Education Support Administrator last year,” Prof. O’Sullivan said.

“Last year the UNSW Medicine & Health’s Wagga Wagga campus celebrated its twentieth year of medical education, providing world-class medical education to rural students. The School prides itself on offering students with professional expertise from within the diverse local medical community.”

New appointments to UNSW Medicine & Health’s Wagga Wagga campus

UNSW is pleased to announce that Professor Tara Mackenzie has been appointed to the new position of Associate Dean, Rural Health based in Wagga Wagga. Prof. Mackenzie brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in healthcare, and specific leadership and expertise in Respiratory Medicine and Medical Education.

“I am very excited to welcome our inaugural group of first year medical students to Wagga. I look forward to watching them develop into exceptional medical professionals who love the regional and rural community as much as I do,” Prof. Mackenzie said.

Appointed as a Conjoint at UNSW in 2007, Prof. Mackenzie has also held important positions on several National and State committees. Prof. Mackenzie commenced her role earlier this month.

Associate Professor Rashid Hashmi has been appointed Director of Medical Education based at the Wagga Wagga campus. A/Prof. Hashmi stepped into this role in an acting capacity in early October 2020.

“I am privileged to be involved with the school at this important time when the foundation of phase one teaching is being laid in Wagga Wagga. The city is known for its medical teaching and training and incoming first year students will undoubtedly have a great learning experience here,” A/Prof. Hashmi said.

His detailed understanding of the undergraduate Medicine program and teaching experience, and his strong relationships with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and practising clinicians ensure he will be able to continue the fine work undertaken on the Wagga campus and across the region.